What Is WordPress?
About This Lesson
In this lesson I’ll be giving you a brief introduction to WordPress.
I’ll show you,
- What WordPress is and what it can do
- How WordPress works – (And I’ll explain the 3 main parts of WordPress)
- The key benefits of using WordPress and why so many people use it
- Finally, I’ll talk about the fact that WordPress isn’t perfect
If you just want to learn about what WordPress is, there’s no prior requirements.
But if you want to use WordPress, you’ll need to have a domain name & have hosting setup, see this lesson.
How To Use WordPress Course
This is Step 1 – See the full course here!
Read All About It
What Is WordPress?
Put simply: WordPress is a piece of software that lets you create and run your own website, without needing to know or to learn any code.
WordPress is also the most popular web publishing software there is and has been around for 12+ years. In fact, over 60,000,000 websites use WordPress and about 25% of all websites on the web are powered by WordPress.
With WordPress you’re able to,
- Build anything from a small business website, a real estate site, a blog, a restaurant site, a membership site, an eCommerce site, etc.
- Create as many pages as you want
- Have multiple users
- Allow people to comment on your site…or not
- Using themes – You can choose how your site looks from over 10,000 designs
- Using plugins – You can add extra features/functionality to your site with over 35,000 plugins
How WordPress Works
Let me give you a quick run through of how WordPress works, which’ll give you a better understanding for what it can do and why it’s so powerful.
The Core Of WordPress
To begin with, you install the core of WordPress onto your site. (This is really easy to do and takes about 5 minutes.)
Once you’ve installed WordPress, you’ll have a core piece of software that lets you create and manage a website.
With the core of WordPress you can,
- Create webpages similar to how you create content in Microsoft Word or Google Docs. And then you can publish them onto the web
- Insert images, audio or videos, into the pages you create
- Create and manage users
- Add themes and plugins (which we’ll touch on in a moment)
- You’ll be using WordPress within your web browser, so you don’t need any special software!
- Also, the core of WordPress is completely free
But the core of WordPress is basic and this is intentional.
Because WordPress can be used to create many different types of websites, rather then make it bloated with thousands of different designs, WordPress is built so that you add in the design you want, from over 10,000 different “themes” and you can also add in lots of extra features into the core of WordPress, with over 35,000 different “plugins”.
As WordPress say on their site,
The core software is built by hundreds of community volunteers, and when you’re ready for more, there are thousands of plugins and themes available to transform your site into almost anything you can imagine.
Think of it this way, themes and plugins are similar to the iPhone and the app store.
When you first get the iPhone, you get a basic set of features, but you can use the app store to download lots of different apps, which expand what you can do with your iPhone. The core of the iPhone is made by Apple, but the apps are made by lots of individuals and companies.
With WordPress, you install the core of WordPress, then you can download themes and plugins to expand what you can do with your website. And again, these themes and plugins are made by individual developers and companies.
Currently there are over 10,000 themes and over 35,000 plugins. And just like with the app store, some of these themes and plugins are free, some are paid.
WordPress Themes – Choose How Your Site Looks
WordPress themes are what I call “pre-coded”, which means the designer of the theme has already written all the HTML, CSS, PHP, etc, so you don’t have to worry about knowing any of that.
Some themes allow you to heavily customize the layout and style of the theme (like the theme I’m using on this site), while others are a bit more rigid and don’t allow you to make any changes.
With WordPress themes you can build anything from,
- Small business websites
- Real estate sites
- Restaurant sites
- Hotel/B&B sites
- Or pretty much any type of website design you can imagine
Learn more about WordPress themes here. Including, what you can expect from themes and some of their limitations.
WordPress Plugins – Add Extra Features / Functionality To Your Site
With plugins, you’re “plugging” in extra features to WordPress.
So by default, WordPress doesn’t come with a contact form, but you can add this feature by installing a plugin.
By default, WordPress doesn’t have the ability to create a slideshow, but you can add this feature by installing a plugin.
These plugins are also “pre-coded”, so when you add these features to your site you don’t need to know, or touch any code.
With plugins you can add things like,
- Contact forms
- Image galleries
- Pricing tables
- Email sign up forms
- Membership areas
- Shopping carts and order forms
- Add social media buttons
Like I said earlier, there are over 35,000 plugins, so the list of what you can add to your site is endless…
Learn more about WordPress plugins here. Including, what you can expect from plugins and some of their limitations.
Key Benefits Of Using WordPress
There are many reasons why you should use WordPress to create your website, but let me tell you about the main reasons.
1) User Friendly: – First of all, by using WordPress you don’t need to know any HTML, CSS, or any other code.
WordPress is built so that when you create pages on your site, it’s similar to how you create content in Microsoft Word.
You simply add your text and then use a visual editor to make some of it bold, italic, underlined, etc. And you can easily add lists, links, or pictures, using the visual editor.
You’re also using “pre coded” themes to choose the design of your site and “pre coded” plugins to add features like contact forms, slideshows, shopping carts, etc.
2) Software You Can Trust: – WordPress has been around for 12+ years. Over 60,000,000 website use WordPress and about 25% of all websites on the web use WordPress.
So it’s tried and tested!
3) Highly Flexible: – Using WordPress themes and plugins you can have many different designs for your site, or add special features or functionality to your site.
As WordPress say, you can “transform your site into almost anything you can imagine.”
You can change your sites theme, when you want, or you can add extra features and functionality to your site, when you want.
With WordPress, you don’t have to wait on someone else and you have full ownership of everything you create.
Unlike other “website builders”, with WordPress you’re not locked into a platform. So in the future if you need to improve or expand on what you’ve already created, you can!
5) Tutorials / Support: – Also, because WordPress is so popular, there are literally thousands of tutorials you can learn from.
This site’s a great example of that. If you’re a beginner and you want to learn how to use WordPress, I have a complete course for that!
WordPress also has it’s own support forum, which you can see here.
And, because WordPress is the biggest web punishing software out there, there are plenty of WordPress experts/developers you can hire, so if you run into any major problems or you just don’t have the time to build your own site, they can help.
Quick Fact: WordPress Is Open Source
WordPress is open source, which means that anyone is free to use and adapt the software for their own site. So anyone can build on it and create their own design or create their own features.
In fact, there’s a community of WordPress developers all working to improve WordPress and expand what it can do. This is why there are so many themes and plugins, as these developers share what they create with the rest of the world.
What’s more, because anyone can create a theme or a plugin, new ones are being created all the time.
Finally – WordPress Isn’t Perfect
I don’t want to give the impression that WordPress is so easy and perfect, that within an hour you could have a site like Facebook or Amazon!
Creating a website with WordPress will take time.
You will run into problems along the way. I still do, and it can be frustrating.
If you’ve never used WordPress before, you will need to learn how to use it. (Although it won’t take you more than an hour or two to learn the basics – in fact, I’ve put together a whole course which will teach you the basics for free, which you can see here.)
Some WordPress themes and plugins are great, some are rubbish!
Some themes and plugins are really easy to use, some are more complicated.
Some themes and plugins are free, others cost, and it’s usually the better themes and plugins that you have to pay for. (As a reference, the theme I’m using on this site costs me $89 per year and I’m only using free Plugins. Most themes and plugins range from free, up to $297. Although most are around $49 – $99.)
Even though there are over 35,000 plugins, you might not find a plugin that gives you 100% of the features you need. (So you may have to make some compromises, or you’ll need to hire a developer to build those features for you.)
Some themes allow you to heavily customize the layout and style of the theme, while others are more rigid and don’t allow you to make any changes.
Also, I would say that when it comes to the layout and design of your site, if you need a highly custom design, which has to meet very specific requirements, that you can’t compromise on, then creating a website with WordPress and using a premade/pre-coded theme, isn’t the way to go.
You should look at hiring a designer or developer. (In fact, you can hire a WordPress developer to create a theme to your specific needs and then still use WordPress to manage your site.)
But the reason why so many people already use WordPress, the reason why I used it to create this site and why I use it in my case studies, is because it’s user friendly, flexible and you can expand on what you create.
In my opinion, the best way to build your own website is to use WordPress. (If you’re unsure, check out my case studies, where I show you exactly how I build websites for small businesses, using WordPress!)
If you’re not sure about WordPress, check out my case studies to see the types of sites I’ve built using WordPress and exactly how I did it!