Beginner’s guide to WordPress

wordpressAccording to Wikipedia, WordPress was used by more than 26.4% of the top 10 million websites by April 2016. That’s more than a quarter of the world’s websites, including this one.

You can use it to run a blog or even a whole website, whether or not that website includes a blog.

In WordPress jargon, ‘posts’ go on your blog (one long page with the most recent post at the top), and ‘pages’ are static.

There are thousands of options so you can make your site look and behave exactly as you want. But it’s a target for hackers. If you don’t want to unexpectedly find your site selling Viagra or promoting the Bristol Gerbil Society, it’s wise to do regular updates that add the latest security patches.

There are two flavours of WordPress. Both are free. Yes, free! Confusingly, both have the same name.

In both cases, you can pay WordPress $13pa to ‘map’ your domain name across. Otherwise, your URL (web address) will be yourname.wordpress.com, which doesn’t look as professional as you deserve.

Here’s a quick and dirty overview of the two types of WordPress:

WordPress.com

This is the cheap and cheerful option.

  • There are a limited number of templates to choose from (called themes)
  • It’s hosted by WordPress
  • WordPress do all the backups and updates
  • You can’t get at the code
  • You can upgrade to customise your site (paid)
  • You can add widgets – little bits of extra functionality
  • It’s easy to set up your own WordPress.com blog without any training
  • You can upgrade to .org whenever you’re ready

WordPress.org

This is the all-singing, all-dancing option.

  • There are an almost unlimited number of themes to choose from – some are free, some are paid
  • You have to buy your own web hosting
  • Your (or your web designer/developer) download the software – it’s free
  • You have to do your own backups and updates
  • You (or your web designer/developer) can access the code and tweak it if you want to
  • You can add widgets
  • You can add plugins so your site performs exactly as you’d like – some are free, some are paid (and some clash with each other)
    • Common plugins include: Related posts, Social media sharing, and SEO
  • It’s a bit more techie. However, if you have any questions, WordPress help, Google or YouTube will have the answer
  • If you allow comments on your blog, add Akismet to filter spam. It costs $5pm (about £4.10 at the moment) and is worth every cent (or penny)

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