What is WordPress?



what is wordpress

WordPress powers businesses all over the world. It is one of the most popular website building platforms, and it allows you to create a website or blog from scratch or improve an existing website. There are many notable brands, celebrities and companies that use it too. This article discusses what WordPress is and how it can benefit your business. By the end of this post, you should definitely know the answer to the question, “What is WordPress?”



What is a WordPress Website?

If you ever did an internet search for “What is WordPress?” you’d likely find out more than 1 in 4 websites use the website platform to power their own website (by the way, the term ‘WordPress’ is searched for nearly 3 million times a month!). That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t really answer the question, “What is WordPress?” right?

Simply put, WordPress is a content management system (CMS) created in 2003 by WordPress experts Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. The duo designed it as a tool to make it easy for people without any coding experience to create a website or blog from scratch. It is a free, open-source software system licensed under GPLv2 (or later), meaning any user can use, modify or contribute to its codebase.

In addition, WordPress’s open-source software system has end-to-end encryption that can be used on your own web server or by a hosting company. Its functionality and ease of use have resulted in a large community of WordPress users and WordPress developers who have created and utilized themes, plugins, and other tools to quickly and easily build anything from huge online stores to a simple blog.

10 Useful WordPress Statistics

If you need further help convincing yourselves or others that WordPress is the best CMS system for your business, be sure to check out the following WordPress statistics:

  1. It is currently the most popular content management system on the web.
  2. People visit WordPress more than the social media giant Twitter, which has a whopping 156 million unique visitors a month.
  3. With a WordPress theme-builder like seedprod, even users who aren’t very technically skilled can easily create a custom WordPress theme from scratch.
  4. Over 400 million people visit a WordPress website each month.
  5. 661 WordPress sites and nearly 300 new WooCommerce stores appear on average each day.
  6. There are over 59,000 free plugins available in the WordPress plugin directory.
  7. Over 187 countries have at least one active WordPress installation.
  8. The WordPress.org website receives over two billion page views per month.
  9. The WordPress app has been downloaded over two million times.
  10. Out of 1.3 billion websites on the web, more than 455 million sites use WordPress to power their own website.

What is WordPress used for?

The question closely following “What is WordPress?” is probably “Why do I need to use a WordPress website for my business, anyway, and is WordPress good for small business websites?”



Firstly, when you install WordPress and set everything up, you’ll find that it can be used for developing anything from a small business site to an eCommerce storefront and blog. In fact, some of the most popular websites in the world are powered by WordPress, including Samsung, Forbes, The Guardian and the New York Times. Additionally, small business sites like ours also use WordPress.

Secondly, WordPress has many versatile features, and they are coming up with more unique features each day. But versatility isn’t the only thing that makes WordPress so popular; it also has a number of features that make it an ideal platform for businesses.

Here are just a few examples of what you can do with the king of content management systems:

  • Create website content such as custom pages and posts.
  • Easily integrate it with social media platforms.
  • Help your site rank higher in search engine results through SEO capabilities.
  • Track your website’s traffic and performance with analytics tools.
  • Design a website or blog from scratch.
  • Improve an existing website by adding WordPress functionality.
  • Develop membership sites, chatrooms, directories, wikis, galleries and online courses.
  • Support all media types, such as audio, video, images and information-related data.

How does WordPress Work?

Now that you know a little more about what WordPress is let’s take a look at how it works. The working process of WordPress software is a comprehensive procedure that works by combining some core files, a database, files that you add or install, and a dashboard to let you manage the whole thing. There are also many components such as themes, plugins and widgets that work together to give your website the look and functionality you desire.



WordPress core

Installing core files is the first procedure in WordPress you will do. When you install WordPress (the WordPress core), you get access to two websites: the WordPress dashboard and your website. The WordPress dashboard is where you manage your website—add posts and pages, change settings, install plugins and themes, etc.

The database

This place is where all your data and website files are stored. If you are using manual WordPress, you need to install the database. If you are using an auto-installer, it will automatically do the installation process.

Extra files

Extra files are in the forms of plugins, themes and uploads for WordPress, and they help to make your website or blog look unique by allowing you to customize aspects.

WordPress dashboard or admin screen

To create a website or blog with WordPress, you first need to install it on a web server. You can do this yourself by downloading the software and installing it on your own web server, or you can have a hosting company do it for you. Once WordPress is installed, you can log in to the WordPress dashboard and start creating content. You can add posts and pages, change settings, install plugins and themes, etc.



Publishing

When you’re ready to launch your website or blog, you simply need to publish it by clicking on the “Publish” button in the WordPress dashboard. After that, your website will be live and accessible to the world. You can also use the WordPress dashboard to track your website’s traffic and performance and see how your visitors are accessing your content.

Customization, themes and plugins

Themes control the appearance of your site; plugins add features and widgets put all the pieces together. When you install WordPress, it comes with a core set of themes and plugins that provide the basic structure for your website. You can then install additional themes and plugins from the WordPress.org plugin directory or other sources to add features like a blog, contact form, social media integration, and more.

You can also customize your site’s appearance by editing the CSS code for your theme or using child themes to make changes without affecting the original code. And if you need help with any of this, there are plenty of WordPress tutorials and support forums to help you out.

WordPress.org Vs. WordPress.com

There are two versions of WordPress: WordPress.org and WordPress.com. WordPress.org is the self-hosted version of WordPress that you install on your own web server, while WordPress.com is a hosted version where all the hosting and maintenance is taken care of for you.



Why You Should Consider WordPress for Your Business

WordPress.com allows you to set up your blog for free, but it has several disadvantages. For instance, you can only create a site under a subdomain, and you can’t remove the ads. Here are a few other ways the two stack up against one another.

Ease of Use

WordPress.org is a little more difficult to use than WordPress.com, as you need to install it on your own web server and manage all the aspects of your website yourself. With WordPress.com, everything is taken care of for you, and getting started is fairly straightforward.

WordPress themes

WordPress themes make your website look brilliant, and WordPress.org has full WordPress theme support where you can use custom commercial themes and all the other free themes. The .org version of WordPress also lets you use premium WordPress themes to customize, modify or do pretty much anything you like with your website. WordPress.com doesn’t let you customize themes and only has limited theme support where you are limited to the WordPress themes that exist in their repository.

WordPress plugins

You will likely need WordPress plugins, and the WordPress.org plugin repository is enormous and has a plugin for just about anything you can imagine. In addition, you can find all types of WordPress plugins—from social media to security plugins. Unfortunely, the WordPress.com plugin library only has about 100 free WordPress plugins, which might not be enough for your needs.



Domain name

Your domain name, or your website’s URL, is what takes your visitors to your website. With WordPress.org, you have full control over your domain name and can use any domain you want. WordPress.com limits you to the .wordpress.com subdomain unless you upgrade to a paid plan that gives you a custom domain name.

Web hosting account

The cost of hosting for your WordPress website is included in the price when you install WordPress.org on your web server. However, WordPress.org does charge a monthly fee for web hosting, which starts at an estimated $46-$100/yr. WordPress.com is free for up to 3GB of storage space, but you have to deal with their ads splashed across your pages. That might not be a big deal for a personal blog, but it might be a deal-breaker for a small business trying to establish its brand.

eCommerce

With WordPress.org, you can install any eCommerce plugin you want and create an eCommerce site, giving you a full-blown online store. On the other hand, with WordPress.com, you are limited to the basic Shopify eCommerce platform that has some restrictions on what you can sell.

Monetization

You can monetize your website with WordPress.org by adding ads, selling products or accepting donations. Meanwhile, you cannot monetize your site on WordPress.com without upgrading to a paid plan that gives you more features.



Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

This feature is essential since it helps your business site to reach the top Google rank in search results. WordPress.org comes with all the SEO features you need to optimize your website for search engines. With free WordPress.com, you don’t have much control over your website SEO since you can’t install the required plugins. Business plan users can install 3rd-party SEO plugins for about $300/yr.

Help and support from the WordPress community

WordPress.org has a support community with millions of users who are happy to help you out with any issue you might have. You can also get WordPress assistance through the help and support feature. The WordPress Help Team has helped many entrepreneurs build their business websites and do other tasks. That being said, the .com version of WordPress has much less support and is not as active in the support forums.

Free software

WordPress.com is free and has many features available if you are looking for an easy way to get started. If you want to use WordPress for your small business, the .org version is probably the best option and will cost anywhere from $46 to $100/year. Of course, it isn’t free, but you get more features and control of your WordPress websites.

Google Analytics integration

Google Analytics helps you increase your website traffic and also helps convert visitors into leads. WordPress.org offers powerful Google Analytics tracking built-in so you can see how your website is performing and where your visitors are coming from. In contrast, WordPress.com does not offer this feature.



Website security

There are different types of website security in WordPress, such as backdoors, pharma hacks, malicious redirects, denial of service and many more. WordPress.org gives you the ability to install a good security plugin and harden the security of your WordPress site with only a few clicks. WordPress.com doesn’t give you this feature.

WordPress site customization

WordPress.org lets you do a ton of customization with your website—from changing the CSS to creating child themes. WordPress.com does not offer any type of customization aside from basic theme changes.

Mobile-Friendly features

Both WordPress.org and WordPress.com are mobile-friendly, meaning they can be used on a PC, tablet or mobile phone. However, WordPress.org has more features that make it easier for your website to look good on mobiles devices and screen sizes.

Speed

WordPress.org is faster than WordPress.com because you are in control of all the aspects of your website and can optimize it for speed.



So…which version of WordPress should you choose? If you want more control over your WordPress website and don’t mind managing the technical aspects yourself, then WordPress.org is the better option. If you’re looking for an easy way to get started with a blog or don’t need all the features that WordPress.org offers, then WordPress.com is a good choice. Also importantly, if you’re looking for a business-grade WordPress site, it’s probably going to be best to go with WordPress.org rather than WordPress.com.

How to Start Using WordPress

Installing WordPress for your blog or any business is an easy task. Compared to other website builders, the installation of WordPress is user-friendly and can be done faster.

The following illustrates the steps for installing WordPress:

  • Step 1: Download and open the WordPress software
  • Step 2: Establish a WordPress database on your web application and a MySQL user with full access and modification capabilities.
  • Step 3: Locate and change wp-config-sample.php to wp-config.php, then modify the document to include your database information.
  • Step 4: Upload the WordPress files to your web server’s preferred location
  • Step 5: Access the URL in a web browser to run the WordPress installation script. This should have been the location in which the WordPress files were published. If you are using WordPress.com, you can install almost any WordPress plugin and launch a custom domain for your business site.
  • Step 6: At this step, you can use WordPress. Here, you begin hosting your site, and if you are the WordPress editor, you can start publishing things like WordPress posts and WordPress pages.
  • Step 7: WordPress currently comes with three themes. The current default theme is named Twenty Twenty-One, and that’s the first theme you see after logging into your website platform. You can change this to any other theme by going to Appearance > Themes or downloading a new one from the WordPress.org Theme Directory

WordPress Tips

The following tips and ideas can help you create a WordPress website:



  • Always make sure to decrease your image size to speed up your website.
  • Don’t forget to insert title tags and ALT texts.
  • There will be some posts that you don’t want ads to appear between them. Therefore, you’ll need to hide ads for individual posts.
  • Always edit your permalinks.
  • Add a footer widget to your blog site or business site.
  • Don’t forget to use an SEO plugin.

Is WordPress Good for Beginners?

Yes, it’s surprisingly easy to use for such a powerful website builder. And although there is a little bit of work to installing and publishing your WordPress website, it is about as simple as using Microsoft Word once you get everything going.  In brief, whether you are a beginner or an expert, it’s user-friendly right from the start to use WordPress.

What are the Disadvantages of WordPress?

One of the major disadvantages of WordPress is that more plugins are required for additional features. Also, WordPress websites can go down for no apparent reason and in a way that is difficult to troubleshoot. If you don’t manage your website correctly, it can also tend to be slow and full of spam. Finally, the codebase is not as intuitive as it could be, so some developers find it difficult to work with WordPress compared to other frameworks. And if these issues are a deal-breaker, you can look at the best WordPress alternatives to get your site underway.

What Type of Website is WordPress Good For?

The following are the types of websites where WordPress is good to use:

  • A blog
  • Ecommerce websites
  • Business website
  • Portfolio website
  • Online community
  • Multilingual websites

Frequently asked questions:

Is WordPress a web server?

Yes, and it’s a web server that handles the majority of high-traffic sites and runs the show. That’s why it’s the webserver of choice for many high-end hosting providers and leading WordPress companies.

Can I install WordPress on my personal computer?

Yes, you can install WordPress on a PC.

What language is WordPress written in?

WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS) software written in the PHP language associated with a MySQL or MariaDB database.

Are multilingual sites allowed in WordPress?

Yes, multilingual sites are allowed in WordPress. For example, the popular blogging tool is multilingual, meaning it can be used in different languages. It is also available in 196 languages.

Image: Depositphotos


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Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Assistant Editor for Small Business Trends and the Head of Content Partnerships. A journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional and online media, Joshua got his start in the rough and tumble newspaper business of Pennsylvania's coal region. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a beat reporter covering daily news. He eventually founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press, covering his hometown. Joshua supervises the day-to-day operations of Small Business Trends' busy editorial department including the editorial calendar and outgoing assignments.

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