What Is WordPress?
WordPress is a free, open-source website creation platform. WordPress is a “C.M.S.” – a content management system. WordPress is written in PHP and uses a MySQL database. In non-technical language, WordPress is (arguably) the easiest and most powerful website builder in existence today. It started out as a platform for people to “blog”. Blogs allowed people to write about themselves, others or products and services. It is now a platform that can produce almost any style or function of web design.
WordPress is an excellent website platform for a variety of websites; because it builds on code that is already written. Code takes a long time to write and is the reason that custom written websites are expensive. That method takes time and effort, from concept to going live, and everything in between. WordPress is a base set of code – providing the ability to read and publish more code. A Theme provides the next level of code (it allows for functionality and design) and plugins form the final level of coding – advanced functionality.
From e-commerce to to portfolio websites, WordPress is a versatile CMS. It is designed with usability and flexibility in mind. It allows designers to concentrate on designing, rather than reinventing the wheel, every time.
WordPress is a great solution for both large and small websites.
What is a WordPress Website?
A WordPress website is a website that uses WordPress CMS as its platform. WordPress is used to power both the “back-end” and the “front-end” of the website. The back-end is the part where a user logs in to make changes or adds new content. The front-end is the part of the website is visible to anyone viewing the website. Types of website that use wordpress are limitless. To give you an idea, wordpress can be used for, have a look at the list below.
Examples of wordpress website types
- An E-commerce website – Buy or sell goods and services online – in essence, any website that collects payments.
- Business website – Business websites cover any website that is designed to market a business or even to be used internally to help internal processes.
- Membership website – A membership website allows access to content for those that are authorised to view it. The autorised “members” might have to pay to view or can be given access by the “administrator” of the website.
- Portfolio website – This type of website is used for a wide range of reasons and by a wide range of people. A good example is an artist showcasing their art in a presentable, easily searchable way.
- Forum website – A forum website is used to allow please to share thoughts, content, help, tips reviews and more.
- Event website – From marking to online booking including calendars and availablity notifications, event websites make the whole process easy.
- E-learning website – Sometimes called an “L.M.S.” (learning management system), e-learning platforms allow learning from anywhere.These websites can be used to train, test, grade and more.
Not to forget, blogging
Last but not least and needs a mention, as it what wordpress was originally designed for:
- Blog Websites – Share thoughts, concepts, knowledge photos, reviews, tutorials, recipes and so much more. The original online talking point!
It is worth noting that this is just a few examples of websites that can be built with wordpress. The limits are really down to the limit of individual creative design. Some of the biggest uses of wordpress are yet to be conceived. conceived. The starting point for all of this is absolutely fee – WordPress.org even offers free themes and plugins.
How do I start using WordPress?
To use wordpress, there are a few initial requirements to get started:
At a minimum, you will need
- Web hosting – best to get very good hosting as anything else is a false economy
- A domain name. The is the address (URL) that will be linked to your hosting e.g. www.mywonderfulnewwebsite.com
- WordPress software, installed on your hosting
- Not mandatory but definitely worth considering… an SSL cert (http vs https). This provides encryption – speak to your host.
There is another options that is good to practice on but not widely used for business… you can get a free, hosted version of WordPress available on WordPress.com, …just create an account!
What is a WordPress Theme?
A WordPress theme provides the design “foundation” of your website. A theme allows you to interact with your new wordpress website. It provides basic functionality, such as:
- A basic design of the website
- Font styles to choose from
- Color schemes to choose from
- The ability to create pages or posts
- Layouts (called templates) for your pages and posts
- Widgets: additional “building blocks” like the ability to search post
All themes are different and there are many… some free, some expensive – all with different functionality and design. Some themes include “page builders” which make it easy to create your own page or post layouts – all without the need to code.
- Themes can be added via the Appearance > Themes menu in your WordPress dashboard.
- Using the built-in search function, you can find a free theme available on the WordPress.org
- Themes can also be packaged as zip files that you upload through the Appearance > Themes menu “upload” in your WordPress dashboard.
If you need a little more information on this topic, we have previously covered a more detailed description of “what is a wordpress theme“.
What is a wordpress plugin?
A plugin is just code
Plugins are blocks of code that contain a group of functions. These functions can be used to accomplish specific tasks on your website. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language. Although written in PHP, it is specific “syntax” that is specifically developed for the purpose of integrating with WordPress. These plugins are created for a specific task and it is very likely that the task you need for your website has already been coded in a plugin. This is one of the reasons that the platform is so popular: great website functionality is achieved, in record time.
A plugin is easy to install
Plugins can be added from your administration panel or via ftp (file transfer protocol is a way to directly to your host). There are other ways that this can be done (like directly from your host) but the easiest and most widely used way is from your wordpress administration panel. From here, you can download and install either from your device or direct from the WordPress repository.
A plugin can be free
It is also worth noting that plugins from the wordpress repository are free! As a result, it is likely that they will not fully achieve what you need. This is because developers tend to offer a free plugin with a view to convincing you to purchase their premium version. Premium versions of plugins will tend to have more functionality and most importantly, they will offer support. Paid plugins usually offer a full time support staff and developers. These developers constantly work on maintaining the security, compatibility and functionality of plugins.
Paid plugin support is very beneficial and worth the (usually small) amount of money they charge for them. For example, if another plugin causes a “compatibility issue” (e.g. two plugins with the same function name), you can get expert help.
There are thousands of plugins
To give you an idea of the functionality available, you can review some of the thousands of WordPress plugins available – for free at the official WordPress plugin directory. Alternatively, the below list will give you a little idea of the most widely used plugins, the following list may be beneficial;
- WordPress SEO plugin – Yoast SEO is designed to help you add additional SEO (Search Engine Optimization) features and functionality.
- WordPress form plugin – Add robust forms to your website such as contact forms, upload files to your database and more
- WordPress e-commerce plugin – WooCommerce is a widely used building block of wordpress to aid with
In summary, wordpress is a great content management system, built with PHP code that is designed to make website building easier. It is widely available and is fully extendable with a wide arrow of themes and plugins; paid and free.
If you have any questions or are in need or professional website design services, please do not hesitate to contact us.