Getting Started With WordPress
Building and managing a website might be easier than you expect.
Many people cringe at the idea of designing, building and maintaining a website. The mere thought of having to learn and write code, then constantly make adjustments can be daunting.
Of course, there is also a fair number of us who are interested in delving into a project and creating a beautiful and functional website. This skill can require many hours of learning how to code while also testing patience and focus.
However, there is a middle ground where both internet-phobes and experienced web developers come together. We call this connecting link WordPress.
What exactly is WordPress?
Before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at the basics of WordPress. WordPress is a popular Content Management System (CMS) that is capable of building functional websites. A CMS is a web application that takes care of the behind-the-scenes details for you, so it’s very straight foward for a non-techie person to create and manage a website. A CMS such as WordPress also makes it easy for a user to add and remove content from their blog or website.
WordPress is a very versatile CMS. Although many people use it as a simple way to build a website you can also take it a step further and apply both frontend and backend adjustments to your site. Many professional web developers use WordPress daily to build and manage multiple websites.
What are the advantages of WordPress?
WordPress is absolutely packed with features and is improving every single day. Here are some of the advantages of using WordPress:
- Easy to learn. A user can make WordPress as simple or complicated as they need. Someone who wants a simple blog can easily set up their site with a few tutorials and a couple hours of tinkering around. Most people can figure out the basics pretty easily.
- Room for growth. On the other hand, a full-time developer can dig deeper and change code, implement plugins and fully customize a site. WordPress is loaded with various features that affect the frontend design as well as backend functionality.
- Large selection of themes. WordPress offers thousands of modern themes to choose from. WordPress developers stay on top of the latest web design trends, bringing you elegant designs that fit today’s web-based world. Themes can always be changed and customized by manipulating the code. Note: adjusting code can break your site if you don’t know what you’re doing. Make sure you have a solid grasp before making significant changes.
- Endless plugins. If there is a cool feature that you want to add to your site, chances are there’s already a WordPress Plugin for it. There are plugins for blocking spam, improving SEO, Google Analytics tools and just about anything else you can imagine.
- Inexpensive. Again, this can vary greatly, but building a WordPress site is fairly reasonable. If you’re willing to invest a little time you can build your own site for just the price of your WordPress theme (usually around $100). You can actually download WordPress free of charge, you just can’t do much with it until you host your site and get your theme.
- Huge community. WordPress is the most widely used CMS in the world, largely due to the low price and high functionality. With so many users there is a well-established online community of WordPress aficionados who are willing to help out. Search for just about any WordPress topic and you’ll be given pages upon pages of support. It’s generally quite easy to find the answer to your question, as chances are someone else has asked it in the past. The WordPress.org Forum is a good place to start.
What’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
Many people think that WordPress is just a blogging platform. Well, that is how it began. Today however it is so much more.
WordPress.com is a basic version of WordPress that allows you to start a blog with minimal control. They’ll host your blog for you under a wordpress.com domain name free of charge, as well as giving you a complete theme. However, with this option you’re very limited as to what you can do with your site. If you’re looking to set up a simple blog with no intentions of huge growth, WordPress.com is what you’re looking for.
WordPress.org however is the robust platform that millions use to build and manage websites. With WordPress.org you’re given complete control of your site. This means you’ll need to point a domain name to your site, as well as purchase a web hosting package (that’s where we come in) and build the site. Don’t worry, as we mentioned before anyone can get their site up and running with some invested time and patience.
Check out this blog post to learn more about the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
Who uses WordPress?
Some of the most visited sites around the world use WordPress as a way of consistently managing and publishing content. Here are just a few popular websites that use WordPress:
- The New York Times
- LinkedIn Blog
- The New Yorker
- UK2.net Blog
- Midphase Blog
- WestHost Blog
Millions of others use WordPress every single day to build their sites and keep them updated with fresh content.
What’s the first step?
If you’re looking to set up a simple WordPress-based blog, go to WordPress.com to get started. From there you can choose a theme, set up your domain name and start blogging!
If you want to build a robust site with several features and customization options, visit WordPress.org. You can download WordPress for free from there. But before you even do that, set up your web hosting and domain name so that you can place your site somewhere. You can’t start building until you have a web host!
Note: If you’re a WestHost client, you can download WordPress directly from cPanel.
WestHost offers cheap web hosting for WordPress sites. Check out all of your web hosting solutions here!