From ‘I started my blog on WordPress’ to ‘I built my website on WordPress’ — WordPress has been at the centre of conversations for a long time now. Today, if you’re working in the digital space, at any capacity, you probably already know about WordPress. But, what is WordPress?
While some of us were introduced to WordPress as a blogging platform, others recognize it is a website builder — WordPress is both of those and so much more!
Technically, WordPress is an open-source, free content management system (CMS). In simpler words, WordPress is a simple, and probably the most popular platform to create your website or blog. Being open-source, anyone can use, modify or customise the WordPress software to create websites or blogs for free. You don’t need technical expertise or programming skills to use WordPress.
Today, approximately 41.5% of all websites on the internet use WordPress. Yes, that’s 1 in 4 websites!
Decoding WordPress: What, Why and How
Now that we have a fair understanding of what WordPress is, let’s break it down into smaller chunks to understand who it is for, what all it can do for you and how you can make the best use of this versatile platform.
When WordPress was still ‘new in the market’, it quickly became the most sought after tool for bloggers. For a long time, WordPress was associated with creating and building blogs but that changed very quickly.
With changes to the core code of WordPress, people soon started exploring the dynamic ecosystem that WordPress offered — plugins, themes, design options — and realized that WordPress could help one build any type of website. From e-commerce to business and portfolio websites, blogging to tutorials — WordPress is an excellent CMS that keeps flexibility and usability at the forefront.
But, before you go on and believe we’ve cracked the ‘what is WordPress’ code — there’s more!
WordPress.org Vs. WordPress.com
When people refer to ‘WordPress’ they usually mean WordPress.org, which is the self-hosted WordPress that allows you to build and own your website. Let’s understand the difference:
Also called self-hosted WordPress, WordPress.org is the open-source CMS that allows you to create and own your website entirely. You can install it on your own web host. To use the .org version you’ll need to have a domain name and web hosting plan. Most domain and web hosting companies offer a WordPress ‘quick install’ too.
This is a paid service that although powered by the WordPress.org software does not have the same room for flexibility that the self-hosted software offers. By default, your website URL will include the word ‘WordPress’, for example, mywebsite.wordpress.com. The paid upgrade includes a custom domain, added storage space and other features.
PS: If you want to create your website and have complete ownership of it, WordPress.org is the recommended solution for you.
WordPress — Features and Benefits
WordPress has gained the reputation and popularity it holds today because of its impressive features that allow users to build a dynamic website and as a CMS. Here’s a list of some of the most notable features of WordPress:
- WordPress is constantly working towards offering the best load speed for websites with speed-boosting CDN
- The platform offers a great code base for search engine optimization
- Most WordPress website themes are mobile-friendly
- It has a large selection of themes and plugins. It also has a large media file library that allows you to edit and upload images and videos
- With a focus on accessibility, the WordPress interface is very easy to use
- One needs no technical skills, coding or programming knowledge to use WordPress
- With a built-in blog adding a blog to your WordPress website is very easy
- It has custom menus that allow the user to create custom links or create navigation menus with links to your website pages
- It has a large community of users constantly evolving the tools and software, adding more and more features through its open-source platform
Getting Started With WordPress
We have answered what is WordPress, who it is for and the features it offers, it’s now time to get started!
As already mentioned WordPress.org is absolutely free. To get started, you must already have:
- Web hosting
- Domain name
- WordPress software installed on your website (your web hosting provider should be able to do this easily for you!)
That’s it! That’s all you need to get started with WordPress.
You can then dive deeper and explore plugins and themes offered by WordPress to further customize your website.
Plugins are software that allows you to expand your website functionality. These include software that caters to website backups, security, e-commerce specific functions, search engine optimization and more.
Themes are, so to say, the framework on which you can design your website. This could include the structure of how your website will look, font and colour options, layouts and templates for pages, etc.
For more information, visit the Bluehost WordPress Tutorials. If you have any questions or suggestions please feel free to drop a comment below.