Looking to start a website or a blog and want to know what is WordPress?
This detailed guide will provide you with all the details about WordPress and know exactly why it is the most popular content management system out there at this time.
In this post, you’ll learn about:
- What is WordPress?
- What is WordPress used for?
- Things required to build a WordPress website?
- What is a WordPress theme?
- What is a WordPress Plugin and a lot more.
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 (CMS). Today it is capable of creating almost any website you can think of.
It has 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 51% of the world’s CMS websites. And the number is rising every passing day.
Interesting Stats About WordPress
- 1066 WordCamps have taken place in 65 different countries.
- 150 Wordcamps took place in 2019 alone.
- According to W3techs, WordPress has 63.4 % of the CMS market shares
- WordPress 5.4 has been downloaded 27,716,704 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.
Story of WordPress
We met with Matt Mullenweg, the co-founder of WordPress at World Camp Europe 2019 and here is what had to say about his creation.
Once you have installed the WordPress, you can select a theme for your website from the huge selection of templates & themes to start the professional looking websites within minutes.
It is easy to use, customize and maintain. If you need help to do advanced customization there is a wide choice of WordPress developers available that can help you.
WordPress is open-source software 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 user experience. This is the reason why it is the world’s most popular content management system.
What Language (codes) is WordPress Built With?
It works with a combination of four primary languages.
- HTML – For what a website says, the titles, body content, etc.
- CSS – How a website looks, colors, fonts, etc.
- PHP – Main programming language, what WordPress itself is basically written in.
We know what you are thinking, can I build a WordPress website if I don’t know these languages?
The answer is simple, Yes.
You don’t need to know a single line of code to built a WordPress website.
This is what makes it so popular & powerful.
What Type of Website Can You Make With WordPress?
Originally WordPress was used to create blogs only. But now it can be used to make all sorts of websites.
- Business Websites
- Ecommerce and online stores
- Membership Websites
- Online teaching websites
- Educational websites
- Any other thing you can think of
Here is a list of some big names that have used WordPress to build their websites;
All of these amazing and popular websites are powered by WordPress
WordPress.org VS. WordPress.com
Chances are if you have just found out about WordPress, then you must be confused between the two options. To clarify the confusion, we have listed a few major differences below between the two.
1. Website Hosting
The first major difference between the two is who actually hosts your website.
|No Need to buy your own hosting||Need to buy your own hosting beforehand|
|No installation required||Have to install WordPress software|
Based solely on this WordPress.com seems like the better option between those two. But you should look at all the difference make up your mind.
Learn more about different types of WordPress hosting & figure out which one suits your needs.
2. Domain Name
The second major difference between the two is the domain name.
In the free WordPress.com version will give you a sub-domain whereas, with the .org you get a custom domain name of your choice.
Sub-domain means that you will not get a custom domain name. WordPress.com will be added as a prefix to the domain name you want. Your domain name will look something like this:
Whereas, if you go with the self-hosted .org option, you will have to buy a personal domain name before you install the WordPress software.
Therefore, if you are a hobby blogger, you can start with WordPress.com the free version and test your blogging skills.
But if you are serious about blogging or your business, we would highly recommend going with the WordPress.org option because it will give you a lot more flexibility and control over your website as it grows in time.
The third major difference is in the flexibility & freedom to customize your website. The following are the few customization differences in the .com or .org versions.
|Cannot upload your own themes & plugins||Can upload our own theme & plugins|
|Limited choice of themes and plugins||Massive range of free & premium themes & plugins|
|Cannot add customization on themes||Allow Customization of themes as per your needs|
|You’ll face restrictions when you’re traffic increase||No problem when your traffic grows|
In WordPress.com you may upgrade to a premium version by paying them but still, it won’t allow you as much flexibility as you would get in self-hosted .org option.
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 and more control over your website.
Both .com or .org have pros and cons, it all depends on your requirements.
If your website or blog is your long term gig and you want full control and flexibility then nothing can beat self-hosted WordPress.org.
How to Install WordPress
It is an open-source software which means it is free but before you download it and start creating your website, There are two things that you need
- A domain name (Which will be your website’s name like myblog.com)
- A hosting account (a service that makes your website available on the internet)
Once you have both of these you can go ahead and install the software from WordPress.org.
To manually install WordPress you’ll need four things
- FTP Credentials
- FTP Client
- Text Editor
- Web Browser
Installing WordPress manually is a five-step process.
- First, you download the latest version of WordPress.
- Then you upload your WordPress file on your web server using FTP.
- Followed by creating an MYQSL database & user account for WordPress.
- Fourth is an important step, you connect your new database with WordPress.
- And lastly, you complete the installation process & set up your website.
Select a WordPress Theme
As per studio press, if you consider that your website is a car, WordPress would be the engine of that car and the theme would be the body of that car.
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 a hosting server to place your website on, you need to focus on how your website/blog should look like. For that purpose, themes come really handy.
Now, this is an important step because your website will represent your business. More like your online first impression!
Themes control the following elements of your website:
- Font size
- Colors scheme
Themes save you the trouble of starting from scratch and all that coding.
The WordPress theme directory has over 3,700 themes that you can select from. You even have the option to use a third party theme if find one that suits your website needs.
When it comes to selecting themes most people find themselves drowning in an ocean of themes. There are two types of WordPress themes out there
- Free themes
- Premium themes
How to Install a WordPress Theme
Installing a WordPress theme is easier than it sounds. All you have to do is:
From your 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 the install now button to get started.
All you have to do is focus on your requirements and be smart while selecting a theme.
You don’t want to rush this step as changing a theme later can be a tough job.
Free WordPress Themes
You will find thousands of extremely good free themes to choose from. You can search for themes using the filter option to narrow down the results that suit your needs.
Here are a few extremely popular free themes.
Sydney is a very professional theme, suitable for financial and business use.
It is one of the most popular free 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
This is a 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. It is a one- page theme with a variety of great sections that can be used to create different types of website.
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.
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 themes 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.
This theme provides you with a solid foundation for your blog or a website, which is reliable, secure, highly flexible and SEO friendly.
It 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.
Who is the Genesis Framework For?
They say Genesis is so easy to use that a child could use it!
- 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.
A plugin is a small piece of software that enables you to perform a specific function and you can install to improve or extend the functionality of your site. A plugin is like your mobile application, which enables you to do a specific thing.
Whatsaap application: Allows you to send, receive messages & make calls.
Facebook application: Allow you to use your Facebook account with ease.
Plugins play a similar sort of role for your WordPress website.
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.
Always keep your plugins updated to keep your site secure and only install plugins, which you need. Lot’s of plugins can slow down your website. Also, it is a good idea to review plugins regularly and remove them, which you don’t need anymore.
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 as successful as it is 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 is 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.
Widget in WordPress 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.
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.
You can register more widgets in your theme using code and have these displayed on specific posts or pages as well instead of all of the website.
WordPress Pages & Posts
Once your website setup is complete and you are ready to create content.
WordPress offers you two options 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.
It 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.
Create a New Page
If you want to create a new page on your website, from your dashboard go to:
Page >> Add new
And you will see a page looks like this.
All you have to do is add the title and the text you want on that page.
You have the option of previewing the page, to check how it looks like.
If you think that it’s ready you can go ahead and publish it or save it as a draft, if you want to come back and edit it more.
Brevity, clarity & simplicity are the queens if the content is king. Keeping your website or blog organized neatly is crucial for success. Go with fewer quality pages/posts instead of lots of thin pages.
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.
Another important feature available in WordPress which allows you to store all of your media content like images, 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, it can now be inserted in 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.
Learn about image optimization for you website.
WordPress core is currently 30.8MB only, so most of your website size depends on your media. Always use the compressed image files and avoid uploading videos directly to WordPress media.
There are many reasons WordPress tops the list of content management systems, but one of its defining features 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.
After 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.
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 on your website can have a negative impact on your website.
Has slightly more power. A contributor can write a post but they don’t have the power to publish it or see the content written by others. They only have limited access to the dashboard of your website.
In terms of authority, an author comes 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 can write, edit, and publish not only new content but also content written by others.
Admin has the greatest power of all. They can control and contribute to the site in any way they want. Not the type of control you want to give to anyone especially taking into account the safety and security of your website.
Launch Your Website
Launching a new website can be stressful.
To make sure that you launch your WordPress website without any major glitch check out this WordPress website launch checklist.
If you allow anyone to register to your WordPress website, ensure that the new user default role is set to a subscriber by going to settings > general in the dashboard.
To say the least, WordPress is an amazing empowering platform to launch your own website for free.
It 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.
Want to Learn More?
Here is the list of few other guides that will help you master WordPress.
- How to Build a Website – Start With Why
- How to Decide the Best Hosting for WordPress
- What is WordPress Management? All You Need to Know
- Best WordPress Plugins – Ultimate List
- 11 Steps to Secure WordPress Website from Security Threats
- Ultimate WordPress Security Checklist – Updated 2020
- 15 Best WordPress Themes for Blogs, Business & Ecommerce
- 65 Types of WordPress Help Requests
- Image Optimization for WordPress in 2020: Everything You Need to Know
- How to Conduct a WordPress Site Audit – A Compete Guide
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.
The third major difference is in the flexibility & freedom to customize your website. WordPress.org is a self-hosted option and gives you a lot more control. 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.
Installing WordPress manually is a five-step process. 1. First, you download the latest version of WordPress 2. Then you upload your WordPress file on your web server using FTP. 3. Followed by creating an MYQSL database & user account for WordPress 4. Fourth is an important step, you connect your new database with WordPress. 5. And lastly, you complete the installation process & set up your website.
A WordPress plugin is a small piece of software that enables you to perform a specific function and you can install to improve or extend the functionality of your site. A plugin is like your mobile application, which enables you to do a specific thing. For example: Whatsaap application: Allows you to send, receive messages & make calls. Facebook application: Allow you to use your Facebook account with ease. Plugins play a similar sort of role for your WordPress website.
Widget in WordPress 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.