Creating a new website is a daunting task. You want to build something your customers will love, but you don’t want the setup to take several months or be so technical that you need a developer for every single copy update. 

In your research, you’ve probably come across WordPress as a possible solution. But there’s one issue — you have no clue what WordPress is or how it can help your business. 

No worries, this beginner’s guide will teach you everything you need to know.

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What is WordPress?

WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS). It’s a popular tool for individuals without any coding experience who want to build websites and blogs. The software doesn’t cost anything. Anyone can install, use, and modify it for free. 

example of a WordPress dashboard

Why is WordPress So Popular?

WordPress is the beloved platform for many bloggers and businesses. In fact, more than 34% of all websites online use WordPress. Here are a few reasons why people use WordPress:

1. WordPress Is Open-Source

WordPress is an open-source platform. This means anyone can modify the source code and redistribute the software. It’s designed for people to contribute their ideas to improve the platform. There’s an open-source community that helps make WordPress even better.

2. WordPress Is Easy to Use

WordPress doesn’t require a computer engineering degree. It’s actually built for non-technical people. The user interface is intuitive and friendly. To add a new design to your website, you can simply download a theme. If you need to add a new function, like a contact form, you just install a plugin. Web development tasks that used to take hours to complete can be done in a matter of minutes.

3. WordPress Is SEO-Friendly

It’s not enough to just build a WordPress website. You want people to find and visit your website through search engine optimization. With SEO plugins, like Yoast SEO, you can boost your rankings with internal linking suggestions and meta description templates.

4. WordPress Supports All Media Types

WordPress doesn’t limit any major media types. So, you can use any combination of text, images, and videos on your website. In this competitive market for consumers’ attention, it’s good to know that the platform gives you creative freedom.

5. WordPress Is Secure

Security is a major concern for businesses. With the number of data breaches happening every year, you want peace of mind that your data (and your customers’ data) will be protected. WordPress is one of the safest and secure CMS platforms. The platform offers several features to safeguard your website, like logging out idle users and adding two-factor authentication. 

6. WordPress is Free to Use

WordPress is completely free. It won’t cost you anything to use the software. However, you will need to pay a third-party hosting provider to make your website available online.

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History of WordPress

In 2003, WordPress was created by Matt Mullenweg, a college student at the time. It started as a relaunch of a previous project called b2/cafelog, originally built by Michel Valdrighi. Matt saw an opportunity to improve the functionality of a website without modifying its core source code. And WordPress was born.

The Importance of WordPress 1.0

Matt developed a new branch of b2 on SourceForge by forking the original concept. With the help of his friends, he created another version and got the name WordPress.

Several iterations later, WordPress 1.0 was released to the public in 2004. It was codenamed “Davis” because Matt admired jazz artists, like Miles Davis. Similar to the platform today, this version included multiple categories to group your website content and comment moderation.

The Rise of WordPress

WordPress gained traction after a competitor changed its pricing structure. Users started looking for alternative solutions, like WordPress. After quitting his job, Matt started his own company Automattic. He raised $1.10 million in Series A funding from multiple investors, including True Ventures, Radar Partners, and Polaris Ventures.

The WordPress of Today

WordPress is now a growing community of developers, designers, and bloggers. In 2017, WordPress redesigned its user experience with a new editor called Gutenberg. The latest version, WordPress 5.0 (Bebo), includes a new and improved showcase theme. Major industries are finally seeing the value of the platform. 

What is a WordPress Website?

A WordPress website can be anything you want. Below are a few examples.

Media company Variety uses WordPress to showcase their top stories in entertainment. The website’s grid-like design draws its visitors to the most important information, like trending news and exclusive content.

WordPress website example from Variety

Source: Variety

The most magical place on Earth also uses WordPress. Disney has a website dedicated to highlighting recent happenings at the company. Visitors get a crisp design coupled with bold images.

WordPress website example from Disney

Source: Walt Disney

And let’s not forget the world’s fastest man. Usain Bolt uses WordPress to update fans about his latest world records, upcoming press runs, and updates from his foundation.  

WordPress website example from Usain Bolt

Source: Usain Bolt

Resources to Build Your WordPress Website

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when building your website. There are so many options when it comes to hosting providers, page builders, and plugins. So, we narrowed down the list to get you started.

  • WP Engine provides managed WordPress hosting for your website. Built for agencies, enterprises, and small businesses, this company offers a secure and reliable service.
    • WPMU Dev is an all-in-one WordPress platform. You get everything from hosting to security protection to marketing tools to help you run a successful website.
  • WooCommerce helps you build an online business easier. This e-commerce platform includes unrestricted customization and built-in blogging to help your business grow.
  • Elementor boasts more than 3 million websites using its WordPress page builder. With no technical skills, you can design stunning web pages from pre-made templates.
  • GravityForms lets you create advanced forms with its visual editor. Convert more visitors with its conditional logic feature that configures your forms to show or hide fields based on the visitors’ selections.
  • WP Beginner is a free WordPress resource for beginners. Their blog offers advice and tips on how to improve your website. 
  • The Events Calendar family of WordPress tools gives users free and paid options for calendars, RSVP and ticketing, and comprehensive events management.

Don’t be intimidated by the website creation process. While many website tools exist, WordPress offers you the flexibility to create an amazing online presence for your business. 

Want to know more about building a WordPress website? Check out this ultimate guide to WordPress

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Originally published Sep 11, 2019 3:05:49 PM, updated March 30 2020


WordPress Website