If you want to learn WordPress, read the following article to get started. I cover what WordPress is and what WordPress is used for. Plus I cover what you need to learn in order to create a WordPress website.
I also offer you some resources that will help you get started quickly with WordPress.
What Is WordPress Used For?
WordPress is open-source software and allows you to manage a website. Initially, WordPress was used as a Content Management System (CMS) and blogging platform.
A CMS is used for creating and modifying content in a digital format such as on a website or as a desktop computer platform. WordPress is one of the most well-known and popular CMS platforms. Popular open-source CMS choices include Drupal, Joomla!, and among others.
Over the years, as WordPress has evolved, WordPress has grown to be used for all types of businesses. Today, WordPress is used by individuals, businesses, government entities, organizations and more for a multitude of purposes including these top three uses of WordPress:
The word blog is a shortened version of the word “weblog”, the original reference to those sites that were personal diaries or musings of individuals. Blogs usually have a page of posts (or articles) ordered by date with the most recent dated post (or article) showing first.
Blogs have evolved to be used not only by individuals but by business and other organizations too. These entities typically use blogs for marketing or for information.
Many small businesses and entrepreneurs use WordPress as a marketing platform because of the low cost and low barrier to entry. They create pages for marketing their product and services and for other promotional information. A local business may include their address and hours of operations.
In some cases, they may use the blogging feature of WordPress for announcements or a newsletter. But, often small businesses have little time to create content on a daily or weekly basis so they don’t use the blogging feature much or at all.
Creating a website using an eCommerce website platform can cost thousands of dollars and require hundreds or thousands of man-hours.
With WordPress, you can get eCommerce functionality for free or low cost with add-ons such as WooCommerce. There are additional extensions you can purchase but these usually cost much less than traditional eCommerce website platforms cost.
Other WordPress Uses
WordPress is used for other purposes besides the top three mentioned above. They include:
- Membership Sites
- Project Management
- And more…
What are the benefits of WordPress?
The two top benefits of WordPress are ease-of-use and low cost.
WordPress has an easy to use interface. A menu with the items of functionality that you can select is displayed on the left side of the page when viewing on a desktop or laptop computer and as an expandable menu on a tablet or phone. It has a simple, built-in editor similar to an editor in word processing software that makes creating content in the form of pages and posts easy for most people.
Low cost is usually one of the top reasons new businesses and entrepreneurs choose WordPress. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get started with WordPress. I discuss below in-depth about the low cost of WordPress.
Other benefits of WordPress include:
- unlimited design and layout choices. WordPress is built to allow you to pick different themes (templates) to change how your website appears. You can have a unique looking website that looks good without having to pay a graphic designer. And you customize the theme easily to use different colors and fonts.
- adding functionality. I discussed the different ways that WordPress is used above but there are countless ways to add functionality to a WordPress site that improve security, search engine optimization, analytics, social media integration and more.
- limited technical knowledge required. You can run a WordPress website without having to be a web developer. Installation and maintenance of WordPress websites are typically handled by the company that hosts your website so you don’t have to know how to do those things.
Is It Easy To Use WordPress?
WordPress is easy to use once you learn the basics. I cover some of the topics you need to know in the WordPress Guide in a later section of this article.
How easy WordPress is to use also depends on your computer savvy. If you are a novice to using word processing software or other types of content management software, it may take you longer to learn WordPress than someone who has more experience with using computer software and the Internet.
However, this shouldn’t discourage you if you are just getting started with WordPress. In this article and others on this website, I show you how you can learn WordPress easily.
One word of caution. You will see many claims on the Internet about one-click installs of WordPress. These advertisements can be misleading because they imply that you can be up running with WordPress in one click.
However, the truth is that although WordPress can be installed relatively easily to a website (you have to do more than one-click no matter what they say) there is much more to know and learn before you have a fully functional WordPress website you will be proud of.
Why You Should Learn WordPress
If you are an individual just starting an online business or blog, you should learn WordPress so that you have complete control over the content of your website. Unless you have a team of developers and content writers, you will solely be responsible for your website. Learning the basics can take you a long way to being successful in your business and online endeavors.
Another reason why you should learn WordPress is that it can give you confidence. Often I have clients or read forum posts by people who are scared to make changes or updates to their WordPress site. They are worried they are going to break their website.
Care is needed when you make changes and updates to your WordPress website. But when you take the time to learn more about WordPress and its basic functionality you will gain the confidence you need to keep your website up-to-date and running smoothly yourself.
Plus, by learning about WordPress, you will be able to talk to web developers, graphic designers, or content creators more easily when you need to use their services.
The fastest way to learn WordPress is to get hands-on experience by using WordPress tutorials or WordPress step-by-step guides. There are plenty of resources and videos out there on the Internet. I also offer several types to get you started with WordPress and on more advanced WordPress features on my website.
Let’s get started with the basics first.
Can I use WordPress for Free?
WordPress is an open-source software that is free and maintained by web developers worldwide. So you can get WordPress at no cost. But you need more than the WordPress software to have a WordPress website.
A WordPress website requires a domain (or subdomain) and hosting (a computer attached to the Internet) to store and run the WordPress software. In most cases, you will need to purchase these at a monthly or yearly cost.
However, you can get a WordPress website for free at WordPress.com. This might be the right solution for you if you don’t have money to get started with WordPress or you are using WordPress for a hobby website and don’t intend to make money from your website. You get a free WordPress website on a subdomain, free themes (templates), and community support.
However, the recommendation I give my clients and friends when they ask me about starting a WordPress website is to purchase a domain and hosting rather than use WordPress.com. Having your own domain and hosting gives you more control over what you can do on your website since WordPress.com places limits on the customizations and features you can have when you are on their free plan.
How Do I Create A New WordPress Site?
As I mentioned above you can create a new WordPress site by using WordPress.com as a free version or by purchasing a domain and hosting.
You can either purchase the domain and hosting from the same company or you can purchase the domain from one company and your hosting from another company. You may do the later if you are wanting to save money and you find the least expensive options at two different companies.
It is simpler and usually not much more expensive to purchase both your hosting and domain name from the same company when you are creating a new WordPress site.
Two of the companies I recommend for hosting and domain registrations are Bluehost and Siteground. I prefer Siteground for my client websites but I have also used GoDaddy among other companies over the years. You can read my article, How To Pick The Best WordPress Hosting, for more information.
Once you have purchased your domain and hosting, you can request that your hosting company install WordPress. Some hosting plans already include WordPress. These are usually called WordPress Managed Websites. When you purchase those plans you usually don’t have to have WordPress installed to your hosting account.
How Much Time Need To Learn WordPress?
Some people will tell you that you can learn WordPress in a day or that you can learn WordPress in a week. Don’t believe them!
I’ve been using WordPress and building WordPress websites for years and I’m still learning something every time I use WordPress!
That being said, the time it takes to build a WordPress website and learn how to use WordPress, is much shorter now then it ever has been. This is because the developers maintaining WordPress make it easier and easier to use.
If you want to learn WordPress enough to create a simple website that doesn’t have much customization that will be used only for creating blog posts, the time to learn WordPress will be less then if you are wanting to have a highly customized WordPress site with a lot of different unique functionality.
In the first case, you could get by reading a few tutorials on creating WordPress posts and pages. To get proficient at that, it shouldn’t take you more than a couple hours to a couple of days.
In the second case, it could take years of study, trial-and-error and you still wouldn’t know everything. Depending on the uniqueness of the functionality you might even have to learn more technical programming skills.
However, for the average WordPress user that wants a good looking website with standard functionality, you can learn the basics in a couple of weeks. And then you can learn the remainder as time goes by over the next few months to a year.
I usually recommend that people who are getting started with WordPress either take an in-depth course for beginners or learn the basics through online tutorials and videos. As you need to learn new things to enhance your knowledge and skill set, you can use Google to search for related tutorials.
It all depends on your learning style. Some people like to know everything (or most things to get started) up front before getting started with WordPress. They want someone to guide them through the entire process in a simple to follow method.
Others like to wing it and jump in right away knowing they can look up and learn things on the fly and that they will probably make some missteps along the way.
On this site, I have course offerings for the first type of person and individual tutorials and WordPress step-by-step guides for the second type of person.
Next Steps To Learn WordPress
This article has given you a basic understanding of what WordPress is and how to get started with getting a WordPress website. I also covered what you need to initially know to learn WordPress.
The next step is to get started! Purchase your domain and hosting, have WordPress installed, and then log in. I have a Guide to Getting Started With The WordPress Admin you can get for FREE to help you.
Want to get up and running quickly with your WordPress blog without the hassle of picking a hosting company and installing WordPress and essential features?
Website Buoy offers plans that include WordPress hosting, WordPress installation, WordPress Themes customizations, essential features, and support so that you can start blogging right away.
Check out our WordPress Design Services.