By now you’ve probably heard the name “WordPress” at least a hundred times, either through reading through blogs or in casual conversation. What’s the big deal with WordPress and why is everyone so “all about it”? Why are some of the biggest names in the hosting industry building servers specifically with WordPress hosting in mind?
If the facts below are to be believed, WordPress is literally taking over the globe as more regular people, like you and I are realizing how easy it makes the process of starting one’s own website.
What’s the Hype Behind WordPress?
By now, almost one third (30%) of the Internet is powered by WordPress, and as more entrepreneurs and small businesses enter the online game, that number is bound to increase.
In fact, not only are the not-so-tech-savvy people and small businesses adopting WordPress but also larger entities like 11 of the Fortune 500 companies, 44.8% of schools, celebrities and big brands like Sony, BBC, Vogue and more all use WordPress.
Of the top one million websites on the net, 49% use WordPress, while only 5% use the popular Drupal, and 3% use Joomla. This is significant, as WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla are all CMS (content management system) platforms and the most widely known. But WordPress dwarfs them in popularity by being more than 9 times more popular than Drupal and 16 times more popular than Joomla.
The biggest part of the hype behind WordPress isn’t just the fact that so many people online are using it. After all, if there are so many people using it, there must be a really good reason why that is. Often mistaken as just a blogging platform, WordPress is much more powerful than that. It can be used to run eCommerce websites, media outlets, social media platforms, and more.
Thanks to the ever-increasing number of contributors and developers who work on WordPress themes and plugins, there is almost nothing that WordPress can’t do.
But the best part about it is the fact that WordPress is so easy that you really don’t need to know anything about developing or even the web to get started.
The two biggest driving factors behind WordPress’s immense popularity and widespread adoption is the fact that it is both easy and free to use. For those who might be confused about the free part, there are actually two versions of WordPress on the net.
There are WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
The first is a web-hosting service that most beginners use to get comfortable with WordPress’s backstage and interface. On WordPress.com, you can start a blog for free, but that means your domain address will end with wordpress.com. You can pay to use a unique domain name and you can buy one directly through your WordPress.com account or you can use a third-party, like GoDaddy or NameCheap, and pay to point it to WordPress.com. But access to plugins and functionality is limited, and the more services you require, the greater the fees.
WordPress.org, on the other hand, is a free self-hosted system that you must use with your own hosting, like BlueHost or InMotion Hosting. It looks just like WordPress.com, but you can use any plugin, theme, and functionality you want, at no extra cost but that of the plugin itself (if there is one).
The best thing about it is that for every website function you might be interested in using, there is probably a free plugin. If there isn’t, most plugins are relatively cheap. They range anywhere from a few dollars to maybe $30, while some extremely specialized plugin-services might charge you a monthly fee. However, as a WordPress.org website is quite easy to monetize, most of those investments are totally worth it.
The themes and plugins are the real reason why WordPress is so easy to use and why most users eventually opt to use the self-hosted WordPress.org. A person with very little understanding of web development can simply install WordPress, choose a theme that best suits the intended site, and install the plugins that offer the desired functions.
There is no coding involved.
Even when it comes to customizing your theme’s appearance, there are website-builder plugins that literally allow users to drag and drop elements into place, while the supporting code is automatically generated. This makes it so easy and you never have to learn a line of code!
How to Get Started with WordPress
As you can see, getting started is very simple and you can actually have your own WordPress website up within a matter of minutes, no experience required. If you’re a beginner and you feel nervous about creating your own self-hosted WordPress site as your first attempt, then you might want to try WordPress.com to get a hang of it.
WordPress.com, though limited in plugins and functionality (in the lower tier plans), offers a great amount of support. Services that you would otherwise have to pay for, like Akismet, are automatically installed to your site to protect it from spam, hacking and website crashes. If you have any trouble, you can get direct help from the WordPress support staff through their ticketing system.
So, for the real newbies out there, it’s a safe way to learn the ropes and get additional assistance when needed. Plus, you don’t have to worry about getting your own hosting or buying a domain through a third party (although it’s often recommended that you buy your domain as it helps with Google ranking and branding).
All you have to do is go to WordPress.com and sign up, then follow the prompts that will guide you through setting up within minutes.
If you feel like you’re ready to go self-hosted, there are just a few things you need.
First, you will need your own unique domain name.
Second, you will need a hosting plan.
Third, you will need to go to WordPress.org and download the self-hosted CMS software from the site, which will offer you the latest version. However, the best WordPress hosting providers either install the CMS for you or have a 1-click installer to automate the process.
If your domain name is not registered through your web hosting provider, you’ll have to point it toward the servers of the hosting company.
You will have to do directly through your account panel with whomever you’ve purchased your domain from. It should be labeled as your NS (name server) settings. You’ll have to enter two NS addresses provided by your hosting service.
Oftentimes, when purchasing a hosting plan, you will get a free domain registration through the web hosting provider. If you go down that route, your domain will be automatically connected to your hosting plan.
Once your domain is pointed to your hosting, you can install WordPress on your cPanel. With most hosting services today, there are options like Softaculous, provided by your web host, that make installing WordPress very easy.
But if you want to take the longer route and do it manually, which is also still quite simple, there are numerous tutorials on the net to show you how.
Plugins, Themes & Tutorials
After the initial setup, the next steps are to find a theme that fits your website’s purpose and then install the required plugins to give your site all the functionality you want. While you can access many free themes and plugins right through the WordPress directory on your site’s backend interface, you can always find developers who sell custom themes with even greater functionality.
If you are the type to prefer doing things on your own, the web is full of thousands of tutorials on every possible way you can use WordPress. These include information about coding your own PHP plugins, which is the main coding language with which WordPress is built, driving traffic and optimizing your WordPress site, integrating Paypal, Bitcoin and other payment methods on your site, and a whole lot more. The options are literally endless.
With all this in mind, it’s quite obvious why everyone is going to WordPress these days. There’s little reason why you shouldn’t.