I first heard about WordPress when I was trying to build a portfolio for my graphic design work back in 2008. At the time I tried a few different options like coding a basic website from scratch, Squarespace, and a couple of other platforms that were popular at the time.
I was driving myself crazy jumping from one platform to the next. I’d get started with one, begin plugging in all my content and then hit a roadblock. There seemed to be so many restrictions to what I could do, for things that I felt should have been simple.
Then I tried WordPress and I was hooked.
I fell in love with the flexibility of WordPress. It felt like anything was possible and I went down the rabbit hole of learning all I could about it through online courses and seminars.
Back then WordPress was definitely seemed trickier to use than it is now and I still did a fair amount of coding to get my websites to look how I wanted.
Today there are many ways to build a non-complicated WordPress website that will do everything you want it to do, and you won’t need to go anywhere near the code (unless you want to of course).
So What is WordPress?
WordPress is a website content management system that allows you to easily update and manage your website pages, blog posts, media and content.
There are two versions of WordPress, the hosted .com version and the self-hosted .org version. This sometimes leads to confusion online, especially when you are first considering whether WordPress is right for you.
The courses and resources on this website focus on the WordPress.org version of WordPress.
WordPress (.org version) is an open-source website platform which means it is free to use, however you will need to purchase your own plot of land on the internet (known as website hosting) and your own domain name (eg. www.mywebsite.com) in order to use it and install it yourself. Many website hosting providers offer easy one-click ways to do this.
Hosting providers you may have heard of include VentraIP, Siteground, BlueHost, GoDaddy.
WordPress is a fully flexible option meaning you can do just about anything with it. Set up a blog, an online store, a service based website or a portfolio.
Plugins allow you to add special functionality to your WordPress website. By only installing the things that you really need, you are able to keep your website loading time fast. Many plugins are free to use. Some are premium and have a one off cost or subscription.
Plugins add functionality to your website, such as:
- drag and drop page builders
- booking systems
- marketing tools
- social media integrations
- SEO tools
- spam filters
- + more.
Many of the most popular WordPress plugins are free to use, such as:
- Yoast SEO Plugin – Free to use
- Woocommerce E-Commerce Plugin – Free to use
- Wordfence Security Plugin – Free to use
- WP Forms Plugin (contact forms etc) – Free to use
Who is WordPress for?
- Great for individuals, bloggers, solopreneurs who want to have full control of their website.
- Perfect if you are wanting a website that lasts and can grow with your business or creative goals. EG. You can start with a simple site and easily expand when you are ready to do more.
- WordPress requires some maintaining (monthly is good) to keep up to date with security updates, so is best suited to people who plan on using their website on a regular basis, refreshing content or writing blog posts etc.
- You don’t have to be a tech head to have a WordPress website. You can install plugins that make the process very simple, such as drag-and-drop page builders, website forms and marketing solutions which makes WordPress just as easy to use as some of the DIY options.
- If you have the resources you can hire a web designer to set WordPress up for you and help you manage the website and content.
Limitations to WordPress?
- Not easy to use for beginners without doing some training or hiring a developer (although I believe all platforms require some training to get started).
- Lack of support when things go wrong. If you’ve build the website yourself you’ll need to figure out how to fix problems that come up by searching online or asking a web designer to help. Many problems are simple to fix and can be resolved with a simple Google search, but some beginners might find this annoying.
- If you really need a very simple website that is easy to manage and that you are not planning on updating the content much then a hosted solution like Wix, Weebly or Squarespace might be a better option for you.
Want to learn more?
Still not sure if WordPress is right for you? Check out my post Which website platform is right for me?
Or shoot me your questions in the comments below…