WordPress is the worlds most popular and free online software to help you manage your website both simply and easily. It is a content management system (CMS) and blogging platform that helps you create and manage your entire website. This article teaches you what is WordPress and how it has become so popular over the years.
What is WordPress?
The great thing about why WordPress has grown so popular over the years is because it is 100% free and open source. This means that anyone can tweak or build upon the code and your contribution can be used to make it better for everyone.
Whether that be contributing to the core framework of WordPress or contributing in other ways, the WordPress community is what makes WordPress so strong.
There are hundreds of people all over the world working on WordPress. Because it is free means you are free to use it without paying anyone a license fee.
If you are interested in the history of WordPress then you can read more about the evolution of WordPress.
Who uses WordPress?
What started as a small project to enhance the typography of everyday writing has turned into the behemoth that it is today. In the beginning it had fewer users than you can count on your fingers and toes. WordPress has steadily grown to be used on millions of sites across the world.
It is used by approximately 30% of every website online. There are tens of millions of WordPress websites in existence today.
There are thousands of famous blogs, news outlets, music artists, Fortune 500 companies and celebrities who have WordPress websites. TechCrunch and Mashable are two of the famous blogs using WordPress. The New York Times’ blogs and CNN’s on-air blogs are some of the news outlets that use WordPress, too.
Have a look at the WordPress showcase if you are curious to see some of the most notable. You may be surprised at how popular it actually is.
Is WordPress right for you?
There are so many reasons why you should use WordPress. It has grown from a blogging platform into a fully fledged content management system that can handle so many different types of websites. WordPress is completely customizable and has so many different uses for it.
WordPress has tens of thousands of free plugins which make customizing WordPress to your needs a limitation only by your imagination (and technical ability).
WordPress is free
You do not need to pay any money to download and use WordPress. WordPress is 100% free to download and use. WordPress is simply a web application that you download and put onto your website hosting.
You will need to purchase website hosting which can range from a couple of dollars a month up to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the size of your website. Website hosting is a requirement of any website no matter if you are using WordPress or not. If you are starting out then it is recommended you use shared hosting or managed WordPress hosting.
Website hosting is usually a monthly or annual fee. It is best to start small and work on growing your website. When more people visit your site, your hosting provider will help you scale your hosting so that it is better capable of serving customers faster.
You will also need a domain name so that your website can be accessed online. Some website hosting providers like Bluehost also provide domain names and may even bundle a free domain name with your website hosting purchase.
Once you have your website hosting setup then you are free to use WordPress. There are no additional costs involved with your website unless you wish to invest in premium themes or premium plugins mentioned in greater detail below.
WordPress is Search Engine Friendly
WordPress is SEO-friendly. WordPress is built to deliver your content optimized for search engines. This is critical to your site’s visibility and online success. WordPress can be extended with plugins to deliver even more SEO performance but even without additional plugins, your search visibility is in good hands.
Even Matt Cutts of Google said that WordPress is made to do SEO well. This is a video of Matt Cutts explaining why WordPress is so good around the SEO side of things. It is him speaking at WordCamp 2009.
According to Matt, WordPress takes care of a lot of SEO tasks automatically and 80-90% of the mechanical side of SEO is done for you. That is, WordPress is very crawl-able and user friendly making it great for SEO.
WordPress is easy
A new release of WordPress comes out on average every 4 months from the initial scoping meeting to launch of the version. With each release comes better usability, faster ways to edit your site, and is overall easier to use.
Because WordPress is contributed to by hundreds of people around the world, each person has their input for the better to make sure it is the best content management system around.
The fact that you do not need to touch any code makes it a huge selling point for people of limited skill abilities. There are certain layers of WordPress complexity starting at the core, moving up to managing the visual front-end of your site and on to writing content.
A good job has been made to ensure that you do not need to touch any of the core code to be able to change what your website looks like through theme customizer and plugins. They have also done a good job to ensure you do not need to touch any themes or plugins to be able to publish content onto your website.
Easy WordPress Theme System
All of the visual aspects of your website are handled by your WordPress theme. Themes are interchangeable and allow you to quickly set a different layout just by changing either the themes options or theme altogether.
WordPress comes with a select few default themes that are a good place to start. If you want to venture further than what is set for you, you can choose a WordPress theme from the theme directory. All of the themes in this directory have been audited by the WordPress theme quality team to ensure there are no errors and that they are built to strict standards.
WordPress is not the only place you can go to get good themes. ThemeForest is known to have many high quality themes that can do almost everything you could possibly need. Though you may find that some themes try and do too much which can slow your site down.
We have also built our own theme called Trisense. Our aim with this theme is to have just enough built in features to do what needs to be done and nothing more. By having a lightweight theme means that it is fast yet capable.
Whichever way you go with choosing your theme, there are plenty of options available to choose. And what you cant achieve from your theme, can be achieved from installing a WordPress plugin.
Extend WordPress with plugins
WordPress plugins are used to extend your WordPress website. WordPress plugins are installed into your website. They provide functionality that your theme does not (or should not) provide. These features that can be added to your side could include contact forms, sliders, Search optimization and eCommerce to name a few.
The best WordPress plugins have millions of installs and are regularly updated to provide both security fixes and new features.
How do I get started using WordPress?
WordPress can be downloaded for free for self hosted installations from WordPress.org. When you register your WordPress hosting, you will be able to install WordPress through your servers management pages.
Read our WordPress install guide for step by step instructions on how to install WordPress for your instance.
How do I make money using WordPress
After you setup your website, you will often want to produce a return on investment for the work you will be putting in. Making money on your website is your next step.
There are so many ways to make money using WordPress. How you make money depends on your interests and the amount of effort you want to put in to get a result.
Some of the most popular ways to make money on your WordPress website includes:
- Selling your local based services. You can setup a WordPress website to list all of your services that you sell to customers online. This could include online payment systems or it could just be a way to collect leads to make the sale offline.
- Selling your products online. There are a number of powerful eCommerce plugins available for WordPress. The two most popular are WooCommerce for a fully fledged shopping cart and Easy Digital Downloads for virtual products. Make sure you read our in depth WooCommerce guide for beginners.
- Affiliate marketing. This is where you sell someone else’s product and when you produce that sale, you get a share of the money made. This is a way to make money if you are already blogging about a certain topic. Adding in the tracking links to the products you are already talking about is easy money for you. If your website does not have a huge following then you may not make much money from affiliate marketing in the beginning.
- Display Advertising. If you have a site that gets a lot of traffic, having advertisements placed in certain areas of your website will produce revenue if your website visitor clicks on the ad. Advertisements are not always a recommended way to go as they can be obtrusive and may not produce a positive image on your website if there are too many ads everywhere.
Those are the top 4 ways people make money from their websites.
At WP Absolute we do a mix of affiliate marketing for the companies and products that we use and trust ourselves and we also sell our WordPress products too.
What to do next
You should now have a good understanding of what is WordPress and why you should use it. WordPress has grown into a powerful content management system used and loved by millions of people around the world.
There is no better time to begin setting up your WordPress website online. The sooner you begin, the sooner your website will be able to grow and evolve.
Here are some articles to get you started:
If you already have a WordPress website then you can learn how to get more out of it and how to further enhance your site.
Here are some articles to push your site further: