Is it about time you updated your website? Or want to be able to build your own website? If you are faced with these questions, then I am sure you have heard about the content management systems (CMS) WordPress and are wondering if it’s right for you to build your own website with. Here I will explain about WordPress, my experience with using it, how you can use it for your business and about other companies you might be surprised to learn that use WordPress too.
What is WordPress and how to use it
WordPress was first created as a blogging platform back in 2003. Since then it has grown and evolved so much and now offers fully functional responsive websites, while still allowing anyone to build their own website and to be able to update it regularly and easily.
WordPress is open source software, which means it is free to use. The whole project is developed and maintained by volunteers. There is a large WordPress community that helps and supports the project, everything from helping beginners, creating new WordPress items, to WordPress event organizers.
Since 2003, there have been many changes to WordPress, not only the Dashboard interface has changed over the years, but the possibilities are now endless with the themes and plugins that are available. Meaning WordPress is a very viable option for most website projects. WordPress now powers over 26% of the web.
WordPress.com – These are sites built on the WordPress.com platform. Offers a full website, but with limitations. We do not cover WordPress.com in this article or on our website.
WordPress.org – Self hosted websites that you need to have your own hosting and domain name for. This is what we focus on in this article and on this website… so keep reading!
My Experience with WordPress.org
I first starting working with WordPress.org back in 2012. My web design business, Spanglish Webs, was growing and I needed to produce websites faster to keep up with client demand. WordPress enabled me to start with a structure for each site, but still allowed me to edit each website individually to create bespoken website designs. As I had previously programmed and coded websites manually, when I moved over to WordPress I spent time learning how the different parts all worked together and got a full understanding of the code that makes WordPress. I am now an experienced front-end developer of WordPress websites and I am also on the official organising team for WordCamp Europe #WCEU, which is the largest WordPress annual event outside of the USA.
But I don’t code, can I still use WordPress?
YES, you don’t need to know how to code to be able to build your own WordPress website. That is the great thing about it. Anyone can do it, you will just need to learn the basics of the WordPress dashboard to be able to add content. I often compare this to when you first learn Microsoft Word or Excel, it’s easy to get your head around and use.
What do I need to start?
First of your website will need a domain name, and a web hosting package. We recommend SiteGround for this, as they specialize in WordPress websites, offer the latest in hosting technology, anti-spam and anti-hacking security for your website and great customer service.
You can start with a Start-Up hosting plan for your website.
Through the SiteGround hosting dashboard, which is a cPanel, you can run the automatic install of WordPress. Or you can watch our video tutorial of how to do install WordPress manually.
Your website design in a Theme
WordPress provides an endless amount of themes for your website. This is the front-end layout and style of your website. You can find loads of free examples in the WordPress Themes section – this is a great starting point, all of these themes have been reviewed by a member of the WordPress community. But you also might want a theme that offers certain features, or has a particular layout. We recommend you search through ThemeForest, they offer some great professional WordPress themes. Don’t forget to check out the comments and support offered for a theme before you buy it.
Adding features to your website with Plugins
To truly make your website yours, you will no doubt want to add some plugins, these are the extras that integrate into a theme to make the site user-friendly and functional. A lot of plugins can be found for free in the WordPress Pluging section.
Here are a few of our favourites: Contact Form, Speed up your website, Optimize images, Cookie Law, Security, MailChimp, SEO. More plugins can also be found on CodeCanyon (same group as ThemeForest)
Media files on your WordPress website
Once your site is all up and running you can start to add your pages and content to the site. With WordPress you can add all types on media content, from images, photos galleries, videos, audio clips, podcast audio. WordPress also supports oEmbed which allows you to easily embed content for YouTube videos, Instagram photos, Tweets, and Soundcloud audio by just pasting the URL in your post.
Just like a car needs a revision once in a while, it’s important to keep your WordPress website updated. The WordPress core installation, themes and plugins need to all be kept updated to prevent any unwanted intrusions to your website. There are some great security plugins as well that can help monitor security threats. Sucuri is a great example which we highly recommend.
Who else uses WordPress?
WordPress is a perfect match for almost all web design projects, this is why we are so involved in the open source software. If you have a web design project idea, and you don’t know what option is right for you, please feel free to contact us so we can guide you to the perfect fit for your business.
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