If you have been browsing the internet lately, chances are you have already encountered WordPress.
WordPress is software used to make websites. It powers millions of sites on the web.
As of early 2016 around 26% of the entire web is powered by WordPress! Those sites are seen by tens of millions of people every day.
WordPress is ‘Free’ and ‘Open Source’
WordPress is an open source project. Open source software means a number of things, for WordPress it means the software is developed
by and for the community and is free for anyone to download and use for virtually any purpose. By contrast ‘commercial’ software is usually ‘closed source’ and requires the purchase of a license.
The core WordPress development community consists of hundreds of people across the globe, the community of coders who create themes and add ons for WordPress is far larger. This all means a large support base, lots of resources online and constantly improving software.
Like any website, WordPress needs to be hosted on a server. A server is basically a computer with an operating system that serves up your website to the internet. ‘Web Hosting’ is renting server space with a company who provide an interface to manage this space and also provide associated technical support.
Choosing the right web hosting company is important. Good hosting is the first step towards a reliable and speedy site. Good support means issues can be sorted promptly.
The WordPress system is installed on a server and the administration area is accessible via a login page.
WordPress is a Content Management System
A content management system (CMS) allows you to add and edit the content of your web site. This is an appealing idea and over the last few years, the use of CMS powered websites has skyrocketed. WordPress is arguably the most popular open source CMS in use today.
A WordPress site can be updated from a web browser, a smart phone or tablet app or some other desktop application depending on your operating system.
How long it takes someone new to WordPress to master this process varies greatly and is influenced by a range of factors. But many thousands of ‘non-technical’ website owners of all ages and persuasions use WordPress on a daily basis.
WordPress uses Themes and Plugins
WP uses themes which create the finished look of the website. It comes packaged with a number of themes, a new one is created by the WP developers each year. There are thousands of other themes available both free and ‘premium’. Themes can be customised, but choosing a good theme to start is critical.
Thousands of plugins are also available to add extra functionality to your WordPress website, such as contact forms, booking forms, galleries and a vast range of other things.
WordPress needs maintenance
All the WP functionality comes at a cost – the software needs to be regularly updated and maintained in order to keep it secure and functioning well.
Unless you are already proficient in internet technologies or have a lot of time to learn, it’s likely that you’ll need a WordPress geek to do this for you.
There is an industry built around fixing WordPress sites that have been hacked because they were not updated or used weak passwords. To put it another way, if your site is not maintained, it will become a target for hackers and eventually it will break.
WordPress needs to be backed up
A WordPress site needs a robust backup solution. There are a number of options for this. As with any digital data anywhere, you need to be prepared for the worst with multiple backup locations and redundancies.
In the event of data loss, the backup will provide the best and possibly the only way to get your site back online.
WordPress is great but it’s not perfect
Despite it’s soaring popularity, WordPress is not perfect! But it is getting better all the time.
Creating a system that suits everyone is impossible, but WP is continually improving and has come a long way since its humble beginnings around 2003.
Most issues arise not from the core WP software but from the vast array of plugins and themes that are created and made available at no charge by WordPress users, along with a range of other factors.
We specialise in creating great websites using WordPress, we also manage, maintain and update WordPress sites. If you’d like to know more about getting started with WordPress, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
WordPress.org – the official WordPress website. Lots of information and a good place to start learning.
Easywpguide.com – A PDF manual for getting started with WordPress. At the time of writing, kept up to date with new WordPress releases.