What Is WordPress?
WordPress is the most popular platform for building a website. Over one third of every website was built using WordPress. You can create everything from a hobby site to a full featured ecommerce store. It’s great for beginners who want to create a website without writing code or completely customizable for those who know to write HTML, CSS and PHP.
Why Is WordPress So Popular?
WordPress is extremely popular because of its ease of use and the number of plugins that have been developed for the platform. Plugins are applications that you can install to extend the functionality of WordPress.
If you need to add Google Maps to your website, you just download and install a plugin. There’s no need to hand code the map using the Google Maps API. Google Maps is just one example. There are over 55,000 plugins you can install, most of which come with a free version.
While Facebook and Amazon weren’t built on WordPress, you might be surprised to know that many large companies like Sony Music, Microsoft News and the Chicago Sun Times use WordPress to build their websites.
WordPress Is a Content Management System (CMS)
A CMS operates a little different than website builders like WIX. Website builders use the same set of features for every web page on the site. A CMS like WordPress gives you a little more flexibility in the way you can create web pages.
With WordPress, it classifies web pages as content types. The three standard content types it creates are Pages, Posts and Media. Each content type is a web page but when you create the page there are different features that can be assigned to the content type.
For instance, Posts have a publish date and are displayed by the date they were published. Pages do not have an official publish date and are meant for timeless content. This is one feature that makes the Post content type different than the Page content type.
With WordPress, you can create custom content types and assign page templates to them. This means, when you create a page with a certain content type, the features of the content type can be positioned on the page with custom page layouts.
There Are There Two Versions of WordPress
WordPress.org is free open source software that is completely customizable. You have full access to the source code so you can write your own programs or hire a developer to create one for you.
The WordPress.org software is free, but you have to find a place to host your website. There are tons of third-party web hosting companies like A2 Hosting that will install WordPress for you when you create an account with them. Some hosting plans can be as cheap as $3 a month.
With WordPress.com you don’t have to find web hosting. WordPress.com is considered software as a service. You sign up for a monthly plan and WordPress.com provides you with a WordPress website and web hosting.
One major difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com is the monthly cost. If you want to install third party plugins and themes on WordPress.com you’ll have to upgrade to a higher priced business plan. Something that you can do with WordPress.org for no additional cost.
There are quite a few differences between wordpress.com and wordpress.org. To learn more take a look at WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.
Should I Use WordPress to Build My Website?
In most cases, it’s a good idea to build your website on WordPress. If you’re trying to build a personal, blog or small business website the answer is probably yes. If you’re trying to build an ecommerce website, I’d consider looking at Shopify first.
WordPress is pretty easy to use. You find web hosting, install WordPress, and you can start building your website. But there is a small learning curve. You’ll have to choose a theme and figure out what plugins you want to install. If you want a drag and drop editor, you’ll want to install a plugin called Elemetor.
If you want the simplest solution to building a website, you might want to consider a website builder like WIX. WIX has a full drag and drop editor, provides web hosting and is the easiest solution for creating websites. It also comes with other feature like a free logo builder (with a yearly plan) and free images, illustrations and icons.
None the less, WordPress is worth trying before using WIX. Its more flexible as your site grows and is more search engine friendly. Check out this article for step by step instructions on How to Make a WordPress Website.