What Is WordPress? The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

WordPress is a software platform that allows people to create their own websites without much coding knowledge. There are over 1.5 billion websites in the world and 43% of these websites were built using WordPress.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a free, open-source content management system (CMS) used to build and maintain websites. It provides a simple user interface for publishing, designing, and updating websites.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

While they may sound familiar, WordPress.com and WordPress.org are both quite different.

WordPress.com is a hosting service, which uses WordPress.org as CMS. It offers a free plan with limited functions but makes more sense for hobby bloggers.

The free plan comes with a 3-gigabyte space, a subdomain name, and auto backups. It’s limited to a few themes and plugins. It doesn’t allow use of external stats like Google Analytics and creation of membership websites. In addition, you can’t monetize your website on WordPress.com. Instead, WordPress.com puts ads on your site.

On the other hand, WordPress.org is a content management system (CMS). You need to get a domain name and install WordPress.org to a paid hosting.

It’s great for hobbyists, professionals, and businesses. Hard disk space, bandwidth, backups, and security features depend on your budget.     

Besides, you can monetize however you want. Choose and modify any themes and get needed plugins. You can use Google Analytics and add a membership feature.

Who uses WordPress?

WordPress is highly popular with individuals and businesses alike, thanks to its open-source nature, SEO friendliness, and community support. From independent professionals looking to build an online presence to small and large businesses, WordPress’s flexibility makes it a great choice for all.

Types of WordPress websites

WordPress is a highly flexible content management system (CMS). It can handle many file types such as articles, images, and videos. Due to its flexible nature, WordPress is used to create different website types.

1. Blog 

A blog focuses on the sharing of opinions, photos, reviews, tutorials, and recipes. Because people love to read blogs, it augments other site types such as e-commerce, events, and e-learning.

2.  E-commerce website 

An e-commerce site is an online marketplace for goods and services, which uses electronic payment systems. While tangible commodities need physical delivery, the internet also handles digital products.

3. Business website 

A business website has static pages that contain company details such as mission, products, and services.  It’s often connected to a dynamic blog area.  Because static pages don’t show much information, regular posting of useful articles is great for driving traffic.

4. Membership website 

WordPress is great for building membership sites. A blogger can post tutorials and podcasts. Then lead satisfied users to a paid subscription, which offers in-depth content.  

On the other hand, news websites usually give 2-3 copies of articles or allow readers to read portions. Readers who want more content may subscribe for a minimal fee.

5. Portfolio website 

A portfolio website is a great place for showing masterpieces. A photographer often posts stunning images. The same is true for artists creating sculptures and craft knives, and engineers making building designs. A tutorial series makes a portfolio website even better.  

6. Forum website 

Forum website is a place where users of common interest exchange their thoughts and expertise. If you want, you can build an active community around your articles, then divert discussions to forums. Eventually, you’ll get a pool of active users who constantly create posts and answer questions on your behalf.

7. Event website 

A website that publishes event and event details. Examples are webinars, baking classes, and demos. You may start posting on your existing blog or build another for the purpose. Be an event organizer or promote events for other people. Rent a place or use your vacant space.

8. E-learning website 

E-learning sites such as Udemy and Coursera offer online courses. People are busy but still want to learn. This is your opportunity to serve their needs. With WordPress, you can post a series of e-learning videos. Do it with LMS plugin such as Learndash, Lifter LMS, and Teachable.

Benefits of WordPress     

The popularity of WordPress can be attributed to the benefits it offers over other platforms. For starters, WordPress can help beginners create nice websites without coding experience. Below are some of the other key benefits of WordPress.

1. Simplicity and ease of use

With WordPress, you only need a bit or no coding knowledge at all. Most web hosting companies have WordPress one-click install packages. After installation, you can simply select a theme and install plugins for added functions. If you face any issues along the way, you can seem help from the vast online WordPress community.

2. Secure and stable

The large community of developers keeps the CMS updated, so it’s stable and secure. They regularly check for flaws and upload bug fixes. WordPress recommends backup before updates, even though it never breaks anything through the process. Web host security measures and anti-hack plugins add more security and stability.

3. A wide network of plugins

WordPress offers a massive library of plugins you can choose from. From anti-spam filters to SEO tools and backups, you can make the most out of WordPress by installing plugins. Make sure that you select plugins with good ratings and always check plugin compatibility before you install them.

4. Wide range of themes

If you’ve got a generous host, you’ll have several premium themes for free. If none suits your needs, select from the repository, or have someone design it for you. If you enjoy tinkering with codes, adapting to the default theme is always the best.

5. Good SEO

WordPress is SEO friendly by default. It implements categories, permalinks, and image descriptions.  Explore a bit and you’ll be able to use core functions correctly. To help you more, use plugins like SEO Ultimate, All-In-One-SEO-Pack, Platinum SEO Pack, and  Yoast SEO.

6. Free of cost

WordPress is free. Reserve your cash for a domain name and a reliable web hosting. Often, your web host will install the CMS by default, or install WordPress yourself with the intuitive wizard. As promotional benefits, the installation comes with premium themes and useful plugins.

7. Rich community and support

A large community of developers and users support WordPress, which contribute to its enormous success.  They do continuous development to meet the user’s never-ending needs. Ask questions and you’ll have answers, or find what you need from a massive collection of tutorials.

8. Open-source

It means you and anyone can get the software free of charge. Peek into the code, tweak according to your needs, and distribute the useful modifications. For example, make your plugin and let others use it. Then the best part, create an enhanced plugin version for paid users.   

9. Responsive

WordPress is responsive. Themes fit nicely on many devices such as iPhone, Android phones, desktop, and laptops. The customizer has a live preview for you to see what your page looks like before launch. Making changes is easy. If you want a new theme, you can do it without hassle.     

10. Flexible and adaptable

It’s flexible indeed and easily adapts to your needs. Start a simple hobby blog. Then put affiliate links later. Sell products and up it a notch with WooCommerce.  Encourage readers’ participation by opening the comment section. Then put up a forum section for in-depth discussions. Is your site getting dull? Choose a new theme for a fresh look.

Other popular website builders

There are many alternative to WordPress. Some CMSes focus on e-commerce while others are multi-purpose site builders. Some are free while you need to pay for others.  Paid website builders usually do the bulk work for you.  

  1. Shopify
  2. Joomla
  3. Wix
  4. Drupal
  5. Squarespace
  6. Magento
  7. Weebly
  8. Opencart
  9. PrestaShop
  10. Blogger

Shopify

Shopify focuses on e-commerce, which applies to both online and offline stores. You may sell online or sell locally with the Shopify POS. Shopify is a monthly subscription service. It allows you to use your domain. For setup, it has features for beginners to advanced users.

Joomla

Joomla is an open-source content management system. It’s supported by a global community of developers and volunteers, which made the platform user-friendly, SEO friendly, extendable, and responsive. With Joomla, you can build powerful applications. It has a lot of extensions to support your projects. E-commerce and online reservations are few examples.

Wix

Wix allows you to create professional websites with a drag-and-drop editor. Wix’s intelligent ADI can also do the design on your behalf. However, you can’t change the design template once set. Wix supports online portfolios, online selling, and small business websites. Use Wix for free. Get a paid subscription to take advantage of features such as a custom domain name, more storage, larger bandwidth, and removal of Wix brand ads.

Drupal

Drupal has great core features like easy content authoring, reliable performance, and excellent security. When it comes to flexibility and power, Drupal has more to offer than WordPress but has a steep learning curve. Drupal is open-source, similar to WordPress and Joomla.  Has modules instead of plugins.

Squarespace

Squarespace has good documentation and customer support. Although harder to use than others, it’s good for smaller sites, online stores, and blogs. Offers hosting and website creation with a selection of stunning templates. Built and modification are easy with the drag-and-drop feature. Squarespace has no free plan though.

Blogger

Blogger.com is great for learners and hobby bloggers. It’s free with the option to use your domain name. You can monetize it with AdSense Ads. However, the platform lacks power and flexibility. You have to consider other CMS as your blog grows. Besides, Blogger is notorious for deleting suspicious accounts.

Magento

Magento is an open-source platform for eCommerce. Has a tweakable design, functionalities, and a flexible shopping cart system. Also offers robust marketing, SEO, and easy to manage catalog. However, it’s not beginner-friendly. If you’re convenient with code writing, then it poses no problem.

OpenCart

OpenCart is free, stable, secure, cost-effective, and community maintained. It’s great for small to medium e-commerce sites. It has a backup and restore feature, plus several extensions for added functionalities.  You can use any template and select from 20+ payment gateways with multiple currency support.

PrestaShop

A free e-commerce platform for small to large businesses. It has excellent features and a collection of useful modules. Also, features for SEO, especially the rich snippets in SERP. Like other open-source CMS, it needs a paid hosting. Setup takes time, but product management is simple.

Weebly

Weebly commits easy website creation and outstanding support. Usage is forever free but with Weebly ads and branding. You must upgrade to Pro Plan to use it for e-commerce. Higher plans have more tools to help your business get more successful. Business Plus Plan is great for larger businesses.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Still have questions about WordPress? Below are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about WordPress.

1. What is a WordPress theme?


A WordPress theme is a software toolkit that allows you to define a website’s layout and appearance. You can use a WordPress theme to design the look and appearance of your website.


2. What is a WordPress plugin?


A WordPress plugin is an installable app that provides additional functionalities for your WordPress site. WordPress plugins are mostly free. Anti-spam and SEO are popular plugins.


3. What is WordPress used for?


WordPress is used to build, manage, and maintain websites. It is used by website owners to publish posts, make design changes, and make enhancements.


4. Why is WordPress so popular?


WordPress is popular due to its simplicity and ease-of-use. Any person without any coding knowledge can start a website using WordPress.

5. Is WordPress easy to learn?


Yes. WordPress is easy to learn and can be used by anyone without any coding knowledge or technical understanding. That is why it is so popular today.


6. Is WordPress safe against hackers?


WordPress is generally safe if you follow the best practices. I suggest using a strong password, installing a security plugin, and getting DDOS protection. However, no website is totally safe. So, make sure you always keep a backup of your website.


7. How can I set up a blog using WordPress?


To set up a WordPress blog, you need to buy a domain name and choose a reliable web hosting. The wizard will guide you through the process. If the host offers a free domain name, then setup will be a lot easier.


8. Do I have to pay for WordPress?


No, you don’t have to pay for WordPress CMS. However, you need to buy a domain name and pay for a web hosting service. In addition, most premium plugins and themes require fees for extra benefits.


9. Should I learn how to code to use WordPress?


Using WordPress doesn’t require any coding skills. You can set up your site by simply clicking a few buttons. And you can publish content with the intuitive text editor.


10. Can I make money through WordPress?


Yes, you can make money through WordPress. You can do it by selling ad space, promoting products, offering services, and providing premium memberships.

Conclusion

WordPress is the CMS of choice for people who want to create and manage websites without any coding knowledge. It is a simple, powerful, and flexible CMS that helps beginners start websites with ease. All you need to do is install WordPress and a few useful plugins.

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