What Is WordPress? A Beginner’s Guide
Fundamentally, if you want to build your own blog or website, WordPress is the easiest method around. In fact, a whopping 43% of all the sites available on the Internet are powered by it. Millions of users across the globe use WordPress each day to build and maintain their digital presence.
That was perhaps the simplest definition of what is WordPress. But as you already know, when you talk about something most popular in the world, there have to a lot of related aspects to know about.
That being said, if you want to know how to build a website using WordPress, first, you need to obtain a clear knowledge of what is WordPress. This is the reason we’ve created this beginner’s guide to help you navigate the process of how to make a website using WordPress with ease.
Let’s explore WordPress!
What Is WordPress? A Technical Definition
WordPress is the most sought-after open-source CMS (content management system) that you can use to build and manage a website. Basically, a content management system is designed to simplify vital aspects of a website without requiring any coding knowledge.
WordPress (we’re talking about WordPress.org here) is licensed under GPL v2, meaning anybody can use or modify it without paying anything.
With WordPress, you get an intuitive interface to add and alter content on your website. Every piece of content that appears on your WordPress site, from your pages and posts to your site URLs and user accounts, is stored and organized by its database.
As mentioned above, WordPress has garnered incredible popularity and its user base includes everyone, from large corporations to individuals. Some of the popular names using it include Microsoft, Whitehouse, and The Rolling Stones.
Top Benefits of Using WordPress
Now that you know what is WordPress, let’s take a deeper look at the key reasons behind its massive popularity.
- It’s free & open-source
Perhaps the biggest reason behind the immense popularity of WordPress is it’s completely free and open-source. You’ll never need to pay anything to use the platform. The only thing you’ll have to pay for is the web hosting solution.
- It has a massive ecosystem of plugins and themes
You don’t need to be a developer to take your WordPress site’s functionality to another level. The presence of thousands of WordPress themes and plugins has made it possible for anyone to build a professional-grade website without requiring any coding skills.
- It can be installed quickly and easily
These days, most web hosting providers offer a one-click WordPress installer that you can use to install the software easily and quickly. Even if your hosting package doesn’t come with an installer, you can do it conveniently by downloading the software from the official WordPress.org website.
Reviewing the Difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
Although when answering the question what is WordPress we often refer to WordPress.org, it also has a version, namely WordPress.com. Let’s see what each of these entails.
While WordPress.com uses WordPress.org software, it’s a paid service. This is a managed hosting platform, meaning you cannot install it on your personal host. Despite the service being easy to use, it doesn’t offer the flexibility of WordPress.org.
This is the open-source, free WordPress software that can be installed on your personal web host to build a fully personal website. As a group of volunteers is responsible for developing, maintaining, and supporting the software, you get to use it at zero cost. If you wish to retain prime control over your site, WordPress.org will most likely be your ideal option.
How to Build a Website Using WordPress
Primarily, WordPress started its journey as a tool to build a blog instead of a traditional website. However, today, it lets you build any kind of website, thanks to its huge ecosystem of themes and plugins and modifications to its core code.
Before we delve deeper into the detailed steps of how to make a website using WordPress, let’s see the types of websites that can be built using it. These include:
- Business websites
- E-commerce websites
- Membership websites
- Social networks and almost any other kind of site you can imagine
The process of how to build a website using WordPress is quite straightforward. Just follow these steps, and you’ll come up with a beautiful, professional-looking website.
Step #1: Choose Your WordPress Platform
As discussed above, the free, self-hosted WordPress.org platform is the best solution for most users. It has thousands of themes and plugins using which you can build almost any kind of website.
Just note that with WordPress.org, you need to arrange your domain name and purchase web hosting. These are also two key factors behind the free availability of the platform.
Step #2: Select Your Domain Name
It’s vital to choose a domain name that directly relates to your niche. It also needs to be something that can be easily remembered by your users. If required, do some keyword research.
Step #3: Obtain Web Hosting
To make your site available on the Internet, you’ll require web hosting. The web host you’re going to choose will store all the files of your website.
This is one of the most detailed steps in the entire process of how to make a website using WordPress because the type of hosting you choose will dictate the performance of your site.
Here’re four types of hosting solutions WordPress users commonly choose.
- SSD VPS hosting
While a cheap SSD VPS hosting package costs slightly more than a basic shared hosting package, it comes with some unparalleled benefits. These essentially include better website performance, improved site loading speed, and better durability.
You may also note that fast site loading speed is among the key ranking factors used by search engines. This means a fast-loading site may help you acquire better SERP rankings, improving your online visibility.
- Dedicated server hosting
If you have the budget and want your WordPress site to use all the resources of a server, you should go for a cheap dedicated server hosting package. Although purchasing dedicated server hosting is usually the most expensive option, you may see a dramatic improvement in your site’s performance.
As you get to use all the server resources, you’ll also be able to install any kind of plugin depending on the resources’ limitations.
- WordPress hosting
You should buy WordPress web hosting if you want to have a solution that has been optimized to fulfill the performance and security requirements of WordPress websites. Additionally, these hosting solutions typically come with a one-click WordPress installer that makes it easier to start using WordPress.
Two types of WordPress hosting solutions are commonly offered by web hosts: shared WordPress hosting and managed WordPress hosting. Almost always, the former comes at a cheaper cost than the latter. However, managed WordPress hosting gets you better speed and improved security, among other benefits.
- WordPress reseller hosting
A WordPress reseller hosting solution lets you start your own WordPress hosting business. First, you buy WordPress hosting from a web host and then sell the service to other customers.
If you want to go with this option, you must choose a top-tier hosting provider. This is because all the technical aspects like the server, hardware, maintenance, and support will be managed by your hosting provider.
Step #4: InstallWordPress
If your chosen hosting package comes with a one-click WordPress installer, use it to get started with the platform. Or else visit the official site of WordPress.org, and download and install the software from there.
Step #5: Choose Your WordPressTheme
WordPress themes control the visual appearance of WordPress sites. These are professionally-designed templates that can be installed on your site to modify its appearance.
By default, a basic theme remains present with every WordPress site. If you don’t like it, search online, and you can find thousands of paid and free WordPress themes that can be installed on your site to get the exact appearance you want it to have.
Once you’ve found the right theme, install it. You can also customize it using either the WordPress customizer or a third-party plugin.
At this stage of how to build a website using WordPress, you don’t necessarily need to finalize all the theme settings because you’ll be able to do it later after adding some content to your site.
Step #6: AddContent to Your WordPressSite
On the contrary, posts are designed to meet your site’s blogging functionality. In terms of appearance, newer items get displayed first (reverse-chronological order).
By default, your blog posts are shown by WordPress on your site’s front page. However, it can be changed, and you can choose any static page as your home page.
You can build a separate page dedicated to your blog posts. You can also build a site without a blog section.
Start by adding a couple of pages to the site. If you don’t have sufficient content to build the pages immediately, don’t worry, as you can always update them later.
You’ll need to use the page editor available in the WordPress admin area (Pages >> Add New). Once you add some content to the pages, hit the “Publish” button to make them live on the website.
If you want to add a couple of blog posts, visit the WordPress admin area (Posts>> Add New). There you’ll see a screen similar to the one you saw when adding pages. Once you create a post, you can either store it as a draft or publish it to make it go live on the site.
Step #7: Customize Your WordPress Site
As you have some content on the site, you can customize the pieces to make them more presentable to your users. You can customize many different things on your WordPress site. From changing your home page, site’s title and tagline to creating navigation menus and setting up a comments section, you’ll be a do a lot of things.
Step #8: Install WordPressPlugins
WordPress plugins let you add customizations and features such as photo galleries, contact forms, etc., to your site. Apart from lots of plugins available on WordPress’ Plugins page, you can buy plugins from third-party developers and websites.
Whether you want to connect the site with Google Analytics to see the way visitors find and utilize it, a drag-and-drop builder to build custom layouts and designs, build an e-commerce site, or improve security measures of your site, you can do them all and more with WordPress plugins.
Step #9: Make Your Site Search Engine Optimized
Regardless of your niche, without SEO, it’ll just be impossible to improve your rankings in the search result pages, which lead to improved online visibility and, eventually, more organic traffic. So, make sure that all your pages have relevant keywords.
There are also various WordPress SEO plugins available that you can use to optimize your site for search engines.
Step #10: Back Up Your WordPress Site
Content is the most important thing in your WordPress site, so you must back up the site. With a regular backup schedule in place, you won’t need to start from scratch if anything goes wrong.
While there are plugins available for this job, you should see if your web host offers any such provision. As every good web host has a technical team, the backup process will bea correct and systematic one, letting you focus on doing your thing with the site.
Step #11: Improve Your Skills in UsingWordPress
Although WordPress is very user-friendly, it’s a robust content management system with many different things that you can master. Therefore, it’s advisable to keep on reading popular blogs and watching videos related to WordPress to improve your knowledge.
Moreover, if you get stuck somewhere when using WordPress, these resources will be of great help. And robust WordPress communities are also available that you can reach out to for any kind of WordPress-related help.
As you can understand from the above, there are diverse reasons behind the huge popularity of WordPress. Now that you have a good concept of what is WordPress and how to build a website using WordPress, what are you waiting for?
Just follow the steps of how to make a website using WordPress we discussed above, create your own site, and start exploring WordPress!