WordPress Guide

Most people have probably heard of WordPress. Those who haven’t had definitely visited WordPress sites on the internet. Here is a guide to WordPress from its origins to what kind of sites run WordPress.

What Is WordPress

What Is WordPress
 
WordPress was first released in 2003 by developer Matt Mullenweg as a basic blog engine. Since 2003, it has developed as one of the most popular website creation tools available.
WordPress is 100% open source, this means that it is free to use and modify. This open source architecture led to a quick evolution of the system. Now over 78 million websites use WordPress as their web publishing tool.
Using WordPress, you can create almost any kind of website. From a simple blog to a full corporate website. You can even create your own social networking site with WordPress.
With one in four new websites using WordPress, it is a great choice for your website.

WordPress.com and WordPress.org

WordPress.com and WordPress.Org
 
If you are considering using WordPress for your website, you may have seen there are 2 options. These options are wordpress.org and wordpress.com. Both these options get supplied by WordPress but they are very different.

The difference between wordpress.org and wordpress.com

 
The major difference between wordpress.org and wordpress.com is how they get hosted. When you use wordpress.org you need to install the WordPress software on your own hosting account. With wordpress.com, you use wordpress.com for hosting. This means that using wordpress.com you do not have any extra services or costs. For this reason, wordpress.com is great for new bloggers as it is essentially free. With wordpress.org, you need to pay a hosting company to host your WordPress installation. When you use wordpress.org you need to install the WordPress software on your hosting account.

About WordPress.com

 
So why would people pay for extra services to run WordPress? The answer to this is flexibility. WordPress.com has very strict rules about what you can publish on their platform. As the service is free it is ad supported. This means that ads will display on your site for your visitors. You can turn ads off for a yearly fee. There is also a fee if you want to use your own domain name. By default, wordpress.com sites have a name like mysite.wordpress.com. You have to pay extra is you want www.mysite.com.
Wordpress.com also restricts the type of sites you can run. If you plan to run an e-commerce site or an affiliate marketing site this is not allowed. Also, most of the WordPress plugins and themes available on wordpress.org can not be used.

About WordPress.org

WordPress.org
 
Wordpress.org is a repository for the WordPress system and add-ons like themes and plugins. You can download the source code for WordPress and install it on your host. You can also search through thousands of themes and plugins for your site.
As WordPress is open source you can do almost anything with it. Installing a self-hosted WordPress site means you have none of the wordpress.com restrictions. You can run any type of site and use any of the thousands of themes and plugins that are available.
Running a self-hosted WordPress site requires a little more effort and skill. With so many sites running WordPress finding help is easy.
For people starting a simple blog, wordpress.com is an ideal starting point. If you plan to run a more complex site or wish to use your site to make money wordpress.org is the answer. If you are unsure start with a free wordpress.com site as you can migrate to a self-hosted in the future.

WordPress Themes

WordPress Themes
 
A WordPress theme (or template) is what makes your blog look like it does. The theme controls the design and functionality of your website. Different themes have different functions like shopping carts, contact forms or email signup forms.
Depending on the type of website you are planning will decide on which theme you will use. If you are running an e-commerce site your theme will need to have a shopping cart. If you are running a news site you will not need a shopping cart.
There are currently over 3,800 free themes available to download from the WordPress directory. These themes get designed by members of the community and get uploaded for anyone to use.
Themes are available for free through wordpress.org. You can also pay for premium themes from a number of theme developers. You can also design your own theme.

Free WordPress Themes

 
There are currently over 3,800 free themes available to download from the WordPress directory. These themes get designed by members of the community and get uploaded for anyone to use.
Free themes are a great place to get started and there are some amazing free themes available. For the most popular free themes, you can check out wordpress.org or search for themes in your WordPress dashboard.

Premium WordPress Themes

 
Premium WordPress themes are available from theme developers. These themes usually have many styling options and features that are not offered in free themes. The cost of premium themes usually start at $50.00 and can reach many hundreds of dollars.
Premium WordPress themes can greatly enhance the look and functionality of your site.
What to look for in a premium WordPress theme
Buying a premium theme is like buy any new product. You should decide on the features you need and research the best theme. Read customer reviews about features and support before you buy. Pay close attention to load speed, SEO optimizations and how often the theme gets updated. You do not want to buy a slow theme that is never updated.
Here are two great and trusted premium WordPress theme designers.
1. Mythemeshop. Their themes are fast and look awesome. Visit MyThemeShop
2. Themeforest. Many sites run themes from Themeforest. They have thousands of themes in many categories. Visit Themeforest
WordPress Premium Themes

WordPress Child Themes

 
A WordPress child theme is used when you make modifications to a theme. The reason you create a child theme is to save the modifications that you make. If you update a modified theme you will likely lose the modified files. To preserve any modifications, you will need to create a WordPress child theme.

WordPress Plugins

WordPress Plugins
 
Ever since the early days of WordPress plugins have been available. Starting with version 1.2 in 2004 plugins have added extra functionality to WordPress.
Currently, there are 43,906 different plugins available for WordPress. Plugins in the WordPress directory are free and coded by members of the community.
The availability of plugins to extend the functionality of WordPress is one of the major reasons it is such a popular platform.
WordPress plugins are available for almost any function you can imagine. Popular plugins help with SEO, image optimization, social media integration and security.
Free plugins are available from wordpress.org. Premium plugins are available from developers. They range in price from around $10 to hundreds of dollars.
When installing plugins you need to remember the more plugins you use on your site the slower it becomes. Keeping the number of plugins installed to less than 10 is a good rule of thumb.

WordPress Hosting

 
If you are using WordPress.com then you do not need hosting. If you plan to run a self-hosted WordPress blog, then you need web hosting.
The requirement to run WordPress is a web server (like Apache), PHP and MySQL. This means that almost any web host can run WordPress on their servers. Most hosting companies have an application installer that allows a one-click install. So if you have a current hosting account you should be able to setup WordPress quickly.
With word press becoming so popular many hosting companies now sell WordPress hosting. This is hosting that is optimized for WordPress and delivers excellent performance.
Managed WordPress hosting delivers easy setup (like wordpress.com) with the flexibility of wordpress.org. The popularity of WordPress hosting means you can get great hosting at a low cost.

WordPress Websites

 
With so many websites running on WordPress you will be visiting many WordPress sites each day.
To see what is possible with WordPress check out these sites.

News Sites Running WordPress

News Sites Running WordPress

  • The New York Times
  • New York Post
  • Forbes
  • Reuters

Entertainment Sites Running WordPress

Entertainment Sites Running WordPress

  • Katy Perry
  • Beyoncé
  • MTV Newsroom
  • BBC America

College Sites Running WordPress

Education Sites Running WordPress

  • Harvard University
  • Georgia State University
  • Wheaton College
  • University Of Melbourne

Getting started with WordPress is easy with wordpress.com or wordpress.org. With so many sites running WordPress help is easy to find help. If you have any questions regarding WordPress leave a message below. Also, check out our WordPress articles and tutorials.

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