You’ve probably heard of WordPress (WP) before, but what exactly is it? WordPress is the world’s most popular publishing tool for websites, blogs and online stores.
Several websites you visit are made with WordPress if you surf the Internet. According to WordCamp, more than every 3rd website is created with WordPress.
So What Exactly Is WordPress?
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WordPress Is A Content Management System
WordPress is a content management system (CMS). A CMS is software that helps the user to manage, create and modify digital content on a website.
When WordPress was first launched in 2003, it was a pure blogging platform for creating blogs, but today WordPress is the most widely used tool for creating any website. More than 1 in 4 of the websites you visit on the Internet are powered by WordPress.
As a result of how WordPress has evolved during the year since its launch, creating a website has never been easier.
You can also read How To Start A Blog
There are two main parts of WordPress. They are called the frontend and the backend of WordPress.
The frontend is your website, the page that visitors see when they visit. The backend of WordPress is the admin area, the dashboard, where you manage WordPress like content, users, settings and add-ons (plugins). The backend is also the place where you add and publish pages and posts.
No Need For Coding Skills
(Screenshot from Wikipedia This page was last edited on 17 January 2023, at 05:47 (UTC).)
If you check out Wikipedia, you can see WordPress is defined as a free content system (CMS) based on open source code, written in PHP and paired with a database from MySQL or MariaDB.
Free is self-explanatory, but open source means that the code WordPress is made of is free for anyone to see, modify, and distribute. This is great for WordPress users because developers worldwide can actively work to make WordPress better for you and me.
WordPress has an extensive library of free extensions. Currently, more than 58,000 extensions are from the WordPress website alone.
This means that if you need a feature not present in WordPress, there is a good chance that someone has created an extension that can add precisely that feature.
The same applies to themes. Themes determine the appearance of your website, and at the time of writing, there are more than 8,000 free themes at wordpress.org.
In addition, there are many developers that create and sell themes and extensions for WordPress users.
Two Versions of WordPress
You might have noticed that there are two WordPress sites, which can be confusing. I was quite confused for a while when I started learning about WordPress several years ago and it took time to get the full picture.
So if you are new to WordPress, don’t despair. You will understand the differences between the two after a bit of time.The important thing is to understand enough to make the best suitable solution for you.
What you need to know is that there are two different platforms with different capabilities.
The main differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com are the price, where your site is located, who looks after it and what options you have.
In my opinion, the best choice for most people is going the WordPress.org path with a self-hosted website/blog.
WordPress.com is a package solution that includes web hosting, automatic updates and maintenance. You can just sign up for a free account, and 10 minutes later, you’ve set up the framework or skin for your website.
It is straightforward, but it is necessary that you consider the following factors;
You also get far fewer options with a free website on WordPress.com. You cannot install extensions or choose the theme you want. On the other hand, you can go for a paid plan on the platform, but it will often be expensive – and will still not give you the opportunities you have going with a self-hosted option with WordPress.org.
The History Behind WordPress
WordPress was launched in 2003. It was developed based on a blogging tool created by a French programmer Michael Valdrighi called b2/cafeblog.
The first edition of WordPress was created by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. Other developers immediately joined Mullenweg and Little’s WordPress project, including b2/cafeblog creator Valdrighi.
The first edition of WordPress that supported extensions was launched later in 2004, and already in 2005, they added the option of themes.
Since then, the development of WordPress has been rapid. What was once a pure blogging platform is today a versatile tool that can be used to create any type of website.
Who Uses WordPress?
WordPress is used by individuals, big businesses, and everyone in between. This includes The New York Times, Spotify, TechCrunch, BBC, Facebook Newsroom, Walt Disney and the White House website.
The fact that WordPress works well for all these different sites is a testament to how flexible the platform is. The only limit to what WordPress can be used for is our imagination.
At the same time, it is important to emphasize that even though many major institutions and organisations use it, it is still a great platform that can easily be used by private individuals. For example, you can create a photo blog, travel diary, food blog or something else entirely!
The best thing about WordPress is that anyone can use it, and it’s free.
Popular As An E-Commerce Platform
Because WordPress was originally created for bloggers, it may seem surprising to many that the platform also dominates in other areas, such as e-commerce.
WooCommerce, the most popular e-commerce plugin for WordPress, powers 7% of all e-commerce sites on the Internet, according to BuiltWith. While this number is not very impressive, WooCommerce’s market share is bigger if you filter out sites with less traffic.
Of the top 1 million websites on the Internet, WooCommerce is still the most popular e-commerce platform, with a market share of 25%.
Why Use WordPress?
There are many different types of software tools that can help you create a website. Names like WordPress, Joomla, Shopify, Magento, Wix, Squarespace and ShowIt are some names you might recognise.
These names will become more familiar to you once you start creating your own website.
What is important to remember is that each platform has its advantages, but many are only used for niche websites with specific purposes. One example, Shopify is a commerce platform, not a platform you choose to start a blog.
Other platforms, on the other hand, are more flexible. You can choose these even if you want to create, for example, a purely online store or combine an online store and blog on the same website (hybrid).
Everything from Squarespace to Wix has impressive tools for certain skill levels, but none of them is as good as WordPress.
Pros Of Using WordPress
- The software is free and open source
- You can easily create any type of website
- WordPress supports many media types
- It is easy to learn and has a large community
- You can extend your site with themes and extensions
- No knowledge of code or programming is required
- You become more visible on the Internet (SEO)
- You own all data yourself and have complete control over the website
- WordPress is the best blogging platform on the market
Con’s Of Using WordPress
You are responsible for your website. That means you are also responsible for maintenance, security, backups and installing updates. You can automate all these tasks, but they will still require some attention (unless you use a managed WordPress web host)
It takes some time for most beginners to learn the basics. To get started faster, you can, for example, sign up for a course in WordPress.
What Do You Need to Use WordPress?
You don’t need much. The only thing you need to use WordPress is web hosting and your own domain name. You will find many suppliers who offer these services in all price ranges (and qualities).
Expect to pay around USD 13 recurring each year for a domain name and from $2.99 per month in hosting fees.
There is no licence and WordPress is free, meaning that anyone can afford to set up a website powered by WordPress. The only thing you need to pay for is a domain name and a hosting subscription.
Private, sole proprietorships, companies, associations or other small organizations can launch a state-of-the-art website ready for sharing to social media and online advertising on a micro-budget.
READ ALSO: How To Start Blogging
Once you have purchased web hosting and a domain name, you can (with most providers) install WordPress for free with the help of a few mouse clicks.
What Is A Domain Name?
A domain name is a name you type into your browser to visit your website. It is your address on the Internet like RoysinOnline has the address temp-roysinonline.siterubix.com and Google has the address google.com.
Choosing a good domain name is essential for online success. The domain name fronts all customer relations, and you build your brand around it. Take your time to make sure you make the right choice.
If possible, we recommend sticking to .com, a .org or a .net domain extension. These are the most well-known extensions and appear more credible. Modern extensions like .cool may look good at first glance, but they create a wrong impression at worst.
A domain name costs approx. USD 13 per year depending on which domain registrar you choose.
What Is Web Hosting
A web host service is the website’s residence on the Internet, where all files, images, videos, etc., are stored. Every website needs a web host so that the content on the website is available to other users at all times.
Web hosting costs about USD 3 per month, but there are significant variations between the various providers. Be aware that it rarely pays to choose the cheapest option.
How To Use WordPress?
Every WordPress website has a frontend and a backend, or what is known in the technical language as “frontend” and “backend”.
The frontend is the one that is visible to everyone who visits your website. The backend is the dashboard, where you control everything in WordPress, which is only available to those who log in with a valid username and password.
From the dashboard, you can publish content, configure site navigation or menus, choose a look, add features, do maintenance and much more.
All administration and publishing of content take place via your browser, so you do not need to install any programs or apps on your computer.
To learn more about WordPress, and how to create an online business based on blogging, I recommend taking a look at the platform I have learned from and giving it a try. I have used it, Wealthy Affiliate since 2020.
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Good Luck With WordPress!