After doing my beginners guide to Facebook live, I had planned on doing a series of posts around WordPress. However, I’ve decided to bring them all together as one “Beginners guide to WordPress”.
What is WordPress?
In techie speak, it’s an online, open-source, website creation tool, created in PHP (source). For the rest of us, it’s a really cool website builder that has been created by a community of volunteers from across the world (open-source means no one person or company owns it), to make it easy and accessible to create websites without needing to know how to code them.
27% of all websites are built using WordPress (source).
WordPress.com v WordPress.org
There are two flavours of WordPress:
WordPress.com is the free version of WordPress, where WordPress hosts your website for free. It’s indicated by a blue W icon. With WordPress.com, your website name will be yourname.wordpress.com, unless you opt to buy your own domain name. In which case, WordPress will buy it on your behalf.
The downside to WordPress.com is that you can only access the themes and plugins accessible to that version of WordPress. You don’t have the option to upload a new theme or plugin.
WordPress.org allows you to actually download the software yourself. It’s indicated by a black W icon. The difference is that it relies on you purchasing your own domain name and hosting. (Most hosting companies have a WordPress package where they have it installed on their websites instead.)
The main advantage of WordPress.org is the flexibility to upload premium themes, plugins and widgets, that take your website to a whole different level. For example, the plugins that I use to run e-learning courses from my website is only available via the self-hosted WordPress version.
How do I set up a WordPress website?
If you want to start a free WordPress.com blog or website, go to their start page and follow the steps given.
If you want to start a paid WordPress.org blog or website, then you will need to first purchase your own domain name and hosting. Once set up, you will be able to access your Dashboard, which is the different sections of WordPress: posts, pages, media (to store images etc), appearance, settings, plugins and tools.
As you add more plugins, so you see more sections in your Dashboard.
If you would like help setting up your website or blog via WordPress, use this link to book your free 30 minute call with me. I can Skype with you and walk you through the process.
Once you have your initial website set up, you’ll need to choose a theme, the plugins you want and any widgets.
What is a WordPress theme?
Imagine that WordPress is like the architecture of a building. It’s the walls, doors and windows. The theme sets how these are arranged, a bit like having an interior designer come in a decide the colour of the walls, where the doors are located, what type of windows you have.
A theme sets out the layout of the key sections of your website:
- the top area or header
- the middle area or body,
- the bottom area or footer
- the side areas or side bars.
For example, some headers allow for an image above the main navigation area, others allow you to have a top navigation menu and a main navigation menu. You can choose the colour of each area, the fonts you use, the font sizes and so on.
Anything to do with the appearance of your website is set up in the theme of the website. It ensures that the choices you made apply consistently across your website.
When you choose your theme, make sure that it is one that you can live with for a while.
What are WordPress plugins?
Going back to our house analogy. A plugin is a programme that adds functionality to your website. Like a cooker or fridge in a house, it plugs into the main structure of the website. Examples of plugins include the Yoast SEO plugin and Contact 7, which allows you to display forms (like the contact form) on your website.
I’ll be writing a post on which plugins you need to install immediately.
What are WordPress widgets?
Like plugins, widgets are programmes that add functionality to your website. The difference is that widgets are always used to display content, usually in a sidebar area. For example, when you see Facebook and Twitter posts displayed on the right hand side of a blog, this is done by a widget.
Now some plugins are widgets, where their function is to display content.
What are Pages and Posts?
In your dashboard you’ll see two options: Pages and Posts.
Pages are actual webpages. Most websites have 5 basic pages:
- About me/us
- Work with me/us
- Contact me/us
Posts are your blog posts. What happens is that in the background (in Settings/Reading), you tell WordPress which page you will publish posts on. That page is left blank, but in the background, any posts that are published are displayed there, with the most recent showing first.
I hope that you found this beginners guide to WordPress useful, and that you understand some of the terminology a bit better.
If I can help you set up your WordPress website, then please let me know. You can book a free 30 minute call with me, with no obligation to work with me after, by using this link.
If you would like me to set up your website, or to give your current website a complete make-over, then I’d love to work with you. Let’s talk and see how I can help you grow your business.
Take care for now.