WordPress is a content management system (CMS)
To start we’ll have to talk about what a content management system is and why you want one. A website is generally a place where you publish information or content for all the world to see. Even a small amount of content can be difficult to change and keep updated when working with a traditional HTML hard coded website. A Content Management System like WordPress acts as a layer between you and the code, allowing you to make changes to the site in an easy and convenient way. The final code of your website is generated by WordPress as it is requested by visitors.
How does it work?
Like other content management systems, WordPress acts as a layer between you and the code. WordPress allows you to make changes to the content of your website without ever changing the code, which means you can edit from a laptop, PC or phone without any technical knowledge. WordPress is modular and has thousands of themes and plugins you can easily add to your website. WordPress comes with some base functionality like blog posts, media management, and basic web pages; but if you want more advanced features you’ll have to install plugins. Plugins add features like contact boxes, forums, and more to your website; there are thousands you can add right from the WordPress dashboard.
There are two main components to a WordPress installation: the database and the WordPress Core files. If you are not hosting your own WordPress, it’s not too important to know how it works. Once you sign up with your hosting provider you’ll be able to log right into the admin panel.
The database holds all the information about your website like your posts, page content, theme options, and active plugins. The database can be hosted on the same server as the WordPress files, or on a different server.
The WordPress Core files include the admin panel and some basic themes to get started. The admin panel is where you can create and edit posts, pages, and make changes to the themes and plugins. Editing pages and posts should be familiar to anyone who has uses microsoft word or a similar word processor. The WordPress Core is accessed in the same way as a normal website which is what makes WordPress so easy to set up and use.
What does it look like?
The WordPress dashboard may be a little stark and minimalist but that doesn’t mean your website will be. You can make just about any website with wordpress!
The wordpress text editor is a common element used for editing blog posts, pages, and any custom text used by themes. The features and buttons should be familiar to anyone who has used a word processor like Microsoft Office. The official name is the “wysiwyg editor” which is short for “What You See Is What You Get”
There are thousands of themes available and WordPress makes them very easy to install. You can search, preview, and install right from inside the wordpress dashboard. A theme is a package of styles, page templates, and demo content that can help you get your site up and running quickly. A professional wordpress developer will also use what’s known as a framework theme, a theme that allows a developer full control over the fonts, colors, and menu style of the website; and usually make their own page templates.
Some themes allow you to customize the look and feel of your WordPress site right from the front page using the customizer sidebar. The themes that include this feature are designed to get you up and running as quickly as possible. The basic themes that come with wordpress all use the customizer feature.
The Media Library
The media library is an easy way to upload and view all your images. Simply drag and drop into the media library window to upload. You can also upload documents into the library and link to them in your web pages and posts.
Sounds great how do I get it?
If you want to start your own WordPress website you have two main choices: host your own, or sign up for hosted wordpress. There are many WordPress hosting companies out there to choose from but you can expect to pay from $10 to $20 per month, maybe a little less on an annual plan. Companies that offer dirt cheap hosting are generally some combination of unreliable, slow performing, and unresponsive. You can save yourself a lot of trouble by paying a few dollars more per month with a reputable hosting provider. A professional WordPress developer can help you set up your own hosting or work with a hosting provider on your behalf.
Bluehost offers high performance managed WordPress hosting, great for small businesses that expect to grow. Being managed means you don’t have to worry about your site ever going offline for technical reasons, they take care of all the IT. Bluehost also comes with free CDN (Content Delivery Network) which speeds up the loading of images and documents.
Dreamhost offers two options: an affordable option that’s great for businesses just starting out, and a high performance option that can scale with your business. The high performance option is fully managed so you don’t have to worry about it crashing or going offline for other technical reasons.
Questions about WordPress?
We’re always happy to answer your questions and help you find the best WordPress solution for your business. Contact us!