WordPress 101

WordPress 101

When most people hear WordPress they tend to associate it with blogging as WordPress started as open source blogging software.  Some may think of WordPress.com which is a free blogging community and site similar to Blogger or Tumblr. The WordPress that powers 22% of internet websites which include blogs, informational sites and ecommerce sites resides on Wordpress.org. Over 60 million people use WordPress including sites like eBay and the New York Times.

Why is WordPress so popular?  It is easy to set up, most web hosts offer a pre-installed or one click option.  It is powerful, highly customizable with a huge community, many themes and plugins.

Wordpress makes it easy to publish content, create users and administrators for your site and have visitors comment on your content.  It also has many themes or designs that you can switch between.  Themes come in many layouts, colors and with various features.  Some are free while some are paid, but usually have support to help you customize and modify the theme.

Another reason WordPress is so popular is due to it’s plugins.  Plugins are features and functionalities you can install into your website without coding.  There are plugins to make your site mobile friendly, display your social media feeds, help with SEO or Spam and much more.

Some concerns with WordPress are security, compatibility and ease of use.  Because of the popularity of this CMS (Content Management System) it is a frequent target of hackers and spammers.  It is important to keep the software up to date to avoid these issues, which can be time consuming. Other issues that can arise is the compatibility of different themes and plugins which may not necessarily work well together.  Although WordPress does not require coding skills, many themes require the code to be edited to make specific changes and since there are many developers involved the themes can be inconsistent in their navigation, features and ways to modify them, which can lead to frustration.

Even with the negatives out there, there are many reasons to choose WordPress including all of the support and documentation.  When there are so many people using the software there is a lot of information online that can help you set up and use the program.  One place to ask information are the Wordpress.org forums where there is plenty of helpful information to help beginners get started.  There are also many events around wordpress such as WordCamps.