On 27th May 2003 Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little released WordPress. It is a free to use CMS (content management system) and is based on the web software PHP and MySQL. It’s success grew and to this date it is used by more than 60 million websites, and around 30% of the top 10 million websites in April 2018 use the WordPress platform which makes it the most popular website management system currently available.
How does it work?
Let’s start off with the basics, like with any website you need somewhere to host it. WordPress do offer a service where you can use their domain to have your website on, so for example buzzpoint.wordpress.com but the best option is to have your own domain and hosting. Most hosting platforms have an easy function to install WordPress, and once the main software is installed you are ready to log in and get going. It works as a dashboard to edit the coding of the website in an easy to use website publishing platform. You can edit and add pages in a similar way to how you would on a Word doc like inserting images and adding text. So in basic terms instead of having to go into the coding of the site directly you can log in to the WordPress platform and add the page through there.
WordPress was primarily a blogging platform and has since evolved to also be a full website publishing platform. You can still blog on WordPress via the posts page and it works exactly the same as adding a page. Just click add post and once you have typed out the content and published it shows under the blog section on your site.
WordPress has a plugins section where you can install different plugins to add in new functionality to the website. For example, you can get an SEO plugin which will help optimise your website, WooCommerce to add an online shop, booking systems like for restaurants or hotels, security plugins such as Wordfence to protect your site from attacks and malware. These are just a small example of the many plugins that are available from the vast library. They all use a star rating system and show how many active downloads there are to help you decide which one is best. It will also tell you which plugins are compatible with your version of WordPress.
Themes on WordPress are the template of how the website looks, think of it like a skin over the top of the website coding. You can get lots of different types of themes for any type of website, most of them use responsive design so they fit on all different types of devices, like mobile, tablet and desktop. They are also very customisable so you can change the colour scheme and layout of pages. Another good thing is that you can change the template that you are using without losing any of your major content like text and images. In most cases literally just change the template and it all fits together so it’s fairly simple if you want to change the brand and feel of your website. There are free templates available and you can also pay for more advanced templates from companies like Template Monster.
Overall WordPress is a really good all-round system to use for any site, whether you are just starting out or have an existing site and would like to upgrade.