Looking to start a website or a blog and want to know what is WordPress?
What is the big deal about WordPress?
This guide will provide you with all the details about WordPress and you’ll know exactly why WordPress is the most popular content management system out there at this time.
WordPress first started in 2003 when Mike Little and Matt Mullen created a fork of b2/cafelog. It started as a blogging platform but has evolved into a really powerful content management system. Today WordPress is capable of creating almost any website you can think off.
WordPress provided a solution to create a blog or a website with ease. You don’t need to know the coding or have complex technical skills to install WordPress to start your blog or a website.
WordPress is so popular that it powers over 32% of the world’s websites. And the number is rising every passing day.
A few other stats about WordPress:
- 635 WordCamps took place in 68 countries throughout 2017
- According to W3techs, WordPress has 58.55% of the CMS market shares
- WordPress 4.9 has been downloaded 170,314,493 times at the time of writing this post
- The latest version of WordPress (4.7) is written in 52 languages
- Fortune 500 companies like The Walt Disney company is powered by WordPress.
Once you have installed the WordPress, you can select a theme of your website from the huge selection of templates & themes to start the professional looking websites within minutes.
WordPress is easy to use, customize and maintain. If you need help to do advanced customization there is a wide choice of WordPress developers available out there that you can seek help from.
WordPress is a modern free open-source software built on PHP and MySQL. It is licensed under the GPL.
The term “open source” refers to something people can modify and share because its design is publicly accessible.
WordPress focuses on ease of use, speed, and the user experience. This is the reason why WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system.
WordPress.org VS. WordPress.com
If you have just found out about WordPress it is easy to get confused about WordPress.com & WordPress.org. To clarify this confusion, we have listed a few major differences below between the two WordPress options.
The first major difference between the two is who actually host your website.
By looking at this you might think that WordPress.com seems like the better option between that two. But you should look at the complete pros and cons of both of them before you make up your mind.
The second major difference between the two is the domain name.
Free WordPress.com will give you a sub-domain whereas with WordPress.org you can have a Custom domain name of your choice.
Sub-domain means that you will not get a custom domain name. In WordPress.com it will be added as a prefix to WordPress.com so the domain name you’ll be given would be something like below:
Whereas if you use WordPress.org, you will have to have a personal domain name before you can install the WordPress.
If you are hobby blogger, you can start with WordPress.com free version and test your blogging skills but if you are serious about blogging or your business, we would highly recommend going with the .org option because it will give you lot more flexibility and customization options as your website will grow in time.
The third major difference is in the flexibility to customize your website. Following are the few customization differences in the .com or .org version of WordPress.
In WordPress.com you upgrade to a premium version by paying them but still it won’t allow you as much flexibility as you would get in WordPress.org.
But if you are just interested in running a blog as a hobby WordPress.com could be the easiest option available to explore.
WordPress.org gives a lot more power to the users, you can upload/install themes and plugins giving you full flexibility, customization and more control over your website.
WordPress.com and WordPress.org both have pros and cons, it all depends on what are your needs and wants.
As per studio press, if we consider that your website is a car, WordPress would be the engine of that car and theme would be the body of that car. Luckily, it is quite easy to choose and customize your website theme.
Themes are a collection of files, which determine the graphical display & design of your website. These files are called templates, which can greatly improve the feel and look of your website.
So once you have a domain name and your hosting has been taken care off, you need to decide on how your website/blog should look. For that purpose WordPress, themes come really handy.
This is an important step because it represents your business. It is the first impression of your website that the user will get.
Themes control following elements of your website:
- The layout of your website
- Font size
- Colors on your website
How to Install a WordPress Theme
Installing a WordPress theme is easier than it sounds. All you have to do is:
From your WordPress dashboard go to Appearance >> Themes >> Add New
This will lead you to a small collection of free basic themes that WordPress already comes with.
You will also find your way to the WordPress theme directory where you will find a huge choice of themes. You can search or use the filter option to look for the right themes for yourself.
Once you have made up your mind on a certain theme just click on install now button to get started.
There are two types of WordPress themes
- Free themes
- Premium themes
WordPress theme directory has over 3,700 themes that you can select from. And when it comes to selecting themes most people find themselves drowning in an ocean of themes.
All you have to do is focus on your needs and requirements and be smart while selecting a theme, you don’t want to rush this step as changing a theme later can be a hard job.
Free WordPress Themes
WordPress offers thousands of extremely good free themes you can choose from. You can search or use the filter option to look for the right theme for yourself.
Here are a few extremely popular free themes on WordPress.
Sydney is a very professional theme, suitable for financial and business use.
It is one of the most popular WordPress themes.
This theme has a very professional and beautiful parallax background which makes your site very engaging & fun to scroll through.
The home page has built-in blocks which immediately gives your homepage a very professional look. Over 200,000 download and 250 five star ratings, which shows its popularity.
Features of Sydney
- 600+ Font Styles
- 12 Custom Widgets
- Ready to Use Page Templates
- Complete Documentation & Support
Hesia very modern multi-purpose professional theme, which is visually very appealing and creative.
Hestia is a slick, elegantly coded single page design, which can be a perfect choice for different types of business like restaurants, wedding planners, sports shops, corporate business, portfolios and online agencies & firms
The homepage has different blocks on a single page, which appears one after the other in a very stylish and engaging way that it keeps the users hooked.
Features of Hestia Theme
- Responsiveness & Speed
- Customize-able colors
- Elegant code & SEO Friendly
- Mobiles, Tablets & Browser compatibility
- E-Commerce ready
Shapely is a very strong and diverse Free theme on WordPress. It is a one- page theme with a variety of great sections.
The Parallax Section: Which has an image in the background that moves as you scroll down giving it a very classy look. You can add a short title on it, along with a brief text.
The Features Section: In which you can add the features of your site along and give them a logo for the wide range of logos already there.
Action Section: In this section, you can add stuff like forms & subscriptions.
Shapely would be perfect for you if you want to start a business or a blog. For blogs, shapely has a very versatile range of options you can choose from in terms of what should your blog look like.
Features of Shapely
- SEO Friendly
- Mobile Responsiveness
- Optimization & Customization
- Widgets (Any)
WordPress themes directory has a huge collection of themes to choose from to suit any type of website. Free themes are generally good if you are just starting out a personal blog or a basic website.
If you are serious about your business, it is worth exploring a premium theme that suits best for your business needs.
Theme Forest is one of the biggest marketplaces for the premium themes, which you can explore to find out the theme that suits best for your business needs.
WordPress premium themes are generally of high quality, well coded and backed up by a development team with regular updates.
A premium theme will cost you between $50-$100 and the value you’ll get will be quite substantial.
You can also look at Premium themes on Themify.me
Genesis Framework is one of the most used premium WordPress theme out there. When we started out back in 2010 building WordPress websites, one of the best investment we did was to purchase the premium theme.
Actually, we tried a number of premium themes and became a fan of the Genesis Framework. Since then we have developed hundreds of websites and blogs for customers using the Genesis framework.
Genesis framework provides you with a solid foundation for your blog or a website, which is reliable, secure, highly flexible and SEO friendly.
Genesis Framework gives you a solid foundation of code to begin, instead of starting from scratch if you are looking to build your own customized theme. Developers love this.
There are two parts of the Genesis framework:
- Genesis Framework
- Genesis Child Theme
Studio Press explains the Genesis Framework & child theme as follows:
- WordPress is the engine of the car
- Genesis Framework is the body of the car
- And the child theme is the paint job for that car
Genesis Framework contains the code that controls the design, the features & the functionality of the website- the back end in technical terminology
When the child theme is installed on it, it controls the visual elements of the design that you and the people visiting your site can see – the front end in technical terminology
A child theme also makes ensures that updates to parent theme do not harm the front end or the changes made by the child theme.
Who is the Genesis Framework For?
They say Genesis is so easy to use that a child could use it!
- WordPress Newbies
- Power users
- Customization & flexibility
- High-quality code
- SEO friendly
- Regular updates
- Reliability & support
There is a huge community out there that can help you with Genesis, you can find shortcodes, look at tutorials & ask for advice.
What is a Plugin?
A plugin is a small software that enables you to perform a specific function and you can install to improve or extend the functionality of your site.
At the time of writing, this post-WordPress has 55,444 Plugins in its plugin repository and the majority of the plugins are free.
To install a plugin all you have to do is, from your Dashboard >> Plugins >> Add New >> Install Now
You can even upload a plugin from your computer.
Once the plugin has been installed you will have to activate it from your dashboard.
Benefits of plugins:
It is believed that if WordPress is a candy store than the plugins are the candies. Without plugins, WordPress would not be that successful today.
Plugins can add features (simple & complex) to your website without even knowing a single line of code. There is a famous saying that goes around in the WordPress circle ‘there’s a Plugin for that’.
You want to add a form to your site, want to add sliders or check broken links, there is a plugin for all of these features and anything that you can think off.
It is strongly believed by many that plugins slow your website down if you install too many plugins.
There is no such thing as too many plugins, there are just bad ones you need to look out for as they can greatly reduce the speed of your website.
Popular WordPress plugins:
Here are a few popular plugins
Akismet is an anti-spam plugin with over a 1 million installations is one of the most famous and widely used plugins out there.
It scans your comments & contact form submissions for spams. It also protects your site from publishing malicious content.
If you are a blogger or are aiming to be ranked somewhere on the first page of search engines you need this plugin. It will help you better structure your posts so you can get ranking and increase your website traffic.
This plugin in one of our top favorite with 5 million + installations worldwide.
Contact Form 7
The Contact Form 7 is a plugin that helps you manage multiple contact forms. It allows you to customize your forms too.
The popularity of this plugin can be determined by the fact that it has 5 million + installations worldwide.
Wordfence Security – Firewall & Malware Scan
Word fence is a firewall and malware scanner that keeps your website safe. This plugin has comprehensive security plans against malicious IP addresses & malware.
Woo Commerce is an eCommerce plugin which you can use to sell anything (digital & physical) on your site. This plugin offers you full flexibility and control which is why it powers 30% of the online stores worldwide.
What is a widget?
Widgets is a self-contained piece of content that has a very specific purpose that gets displayed on a website.
For instance, there are many sites that have a sidebar area and in that area, you see Recent Posts & categories displayed on the side of the website. These are widgets.
How to add widgets?
Dashboard 》Appearance 》widgets
Here you have multiple options about the location and order of the widgets.
Now let’s say you want to add social media icons somewhere on your website. What are the options you have?
- The header area
- The footer area
- The sidebar
Now after you have decided upon where you want the social media icons to appear, you need to select the exact location and the order in which you want the widgets to appear.
WordPress Pages & Posts
Once your website setup is complete and you are ready to create content.
WordPress offers you two option to create content. You can create new content using a page or a post. This confuses lots of people, which one to use for what type of content creation.
WordPress started as a blogging platform and in early days WordPress only has the option to add posts. Each new post appears on top of the last post in chronological order.
WordPress has grown to a complete content management system and now offers the option of adding pages to your traditional WordPress blog as well.
It will be a simple choice once you know the difference between the two.
So if you are running a website about cars. You could have pages for different brands of cars, say a page for Audi, Mercedes & BMW. And then you can add a post on different cars and categories them under their respective companies. You can use tags for different models under each car category.
Creating a new Post
Creating a new post is very easy! if you have ever used Word or excel you will be familiar with the attributes like bold & italic. Now all you have to do it:
- Add a Post Title
- Add content (Text, Picture & videos)
- Categories the Post
- Publish it, Save a draft or Schedule the post for later.
It’s as simple as that.
When it comes to hacking, WordPress is a favorite target for malware writers because of its popularity.
Often WordPress websites get hacked but usually, it happens because of out-dated themes, plugins and insecure passwords.
Although WordPress puts in a lot of effort to take care of this problem for you, there are a few measures you can take to further ensure the safety of your site.
- Set your security setting to auto-update
- Keep your themes and plugins updated
- Use a good security plugin
- Use strong passwords
Security, themes, and plugins are updated in just one click. If you keep these things in check and use just a little common sense, you don’t really have to worry about WordPress security.
This is another important feature available in WordPress which allows you to store all of your media content like pictures, videos & documents that you need for your site on WordPress.
From your Dashboard >> Media >> Add New
You can upload or drag and drop files from your computer to the media library.
This is a very helpful feature as it allows you to have all of your media in one place. Once you upload your media to the WordPress media library, you can insert within your pages and posts by clicking on the insert media icon.
Please note adding videos to your media library will slow down your website greatly. This is why we do not recommend adding your videos to your WordPress media library directly.
You should host videos on third-party sites like YouTube or Vimeo and add videos within your content using the embed code provided by the video hosting sites.
There are many reasons WordPress tops the list of content management systems, but the defining feature of WordPress is that it keeps adapting and improving. WordPress always stays at the top of its game in making sure that their users are at ease using their software.
Before WordPress 3.0 if you had multiple sites on WordPress there was a separate software for that which was often presented users with the difficulty of managing multiple sites.
But with the 3.0 update, a new feature of multi-site was introduced by WordPress. This gives you the ability to use, manage and switch between multiple sites from your WordPress dashboard.
You can set themes and plugins on all other sites from your site, you can add and post content on multiple sites.
This feature is very beneficial for universities, schools & business with
- Multiple Offices
- Different Departments
- Several Office Locations
Anybody can register to a WordPress website.
WordPress has different user roles that you can assign to new users. User roles basically control the level of power that a user has over your website.
Subscriber: Has the lowest level of power to your website, they can only leave a comment and subscribe to get regular updates from your website. The other benefit of being a subscriber is that you don’t have to re-enter your name and email each time you leave a comment.
If your website allows anyone to register, you must make sure that they become the subscriber by default. Giving them more power than a subscriber to anyone who can register to your website can have a negative impact on your website.
Contributor: Has slightly more power. A contributor can write a post but they don’t have the power to publish it & they can’t see the content written by others. They also have limited access to the dashboard of your website.
Author: In terms of authority, an author come above a contributor as they have the power to write a post, publish it but they can’t see drafts that have been saved by others.
Editor: An editor can write, edit and publish not only new content but also content written by others.
Admin: Admin has the greatest power of all. They can control and contribute to the site in any way they want. This is not the type of control you want to give to anyone especially taking into account the safety and security of your website.
So to say the least, WordPress in this amazing empowering platform to launch your own website for free. WordPress powers all sorts of websites from small ones to these really huge ones like Microsoft and Skype.
WordPress is an opensource project, easy to learn, flexible enough to expand as you grow and SEO friendly. With themes and plugins, you can make your own site look stylish and professional without even having to learn how to code.
Hope this post has helped you understand what is WordPress in details.
Don’t wait. Start using WordPress to grow your blog or website now.