Introduction To Using WordPress
The best solution for building your blog?
Use WordPress. I’m sure you’ve heard it before. And you probably didn’t know what it meant. Well, from this day forward, you’re going to be learning everything there is to know about WordPress.
The learning curve will be a bit steep, especially if you know absolutely nothing about building websites. Don’t worry though, I will do my best to make the technical stuff sound easy.
So, sit back, relax, and try to absorb all the information I will be sharing in this 10-part WordPress course.
By the end of this series of lessons, you’ll be able to build your very own WordPress website.
What Is WordPress?
WordPress is an extremely powerful software for building websites. Unlike free website builders which abound on the Internet, WordPress gives you maximum control over your website.
You get to control how you want your website to look. You can choose from thousands of themes to change your website’s appearance. You can install plugins to extend the core functionality of WordPress.
Basically, it means you can choose to do whatever you want to do with your website! That’s how powerful this software is. And best of all? It’s 100% free!
Gone are the days when you’d have to learn HTML and CSS just to build a simple website. WordPress allows you to save thousands of dollars in professional web developers’ fees.
The Two Versions Of WordPress
There are two versions of WordPress: WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
WordPress.org is the home of the free, open-source software which you must install on your web hosting server (a.k.a. self-hosted WordPress). This is the version of WordPress I will be covering in depth in this course.
WordPress.com works just like a website builder, and the learning curve is practically non-existent. You simply create a WordPress.com account, and voila, you’re ready to write and publish your first post.
You can build a free website, yes, but your domain name will be something like ‘yourname.wordpress.com’. If you want to remove wordpress.com from your domain, then you’ll have to upgrade your membership.
However, even with your upgraded WordPress.com membership, you still won’t have the level of control and freedom that a self-hosted WordPress website enjoys.
In summary, WordPress.com works great for beginners who don’t want to get involved with buying a custom domain, paying for web hosting, customizing and managing their website.
For those who want maximum control over their web properties, a self-hosted WordPress website is the way to go.
The Self-Hosted WordPress Story
In May 2003, WordPress version 1.0 was released to the world. Its founders, Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little, developed the platform based on another blogging software called “b2/cafelog”.
The first release was well received by the blogging community. But it wasn’t until a year later in 2004 when the biggest blogging software at the time, Movable Type, announced a radical change in licensing terms that resulted in mass migration of its users.
Most of Movable Type’s users ended up using WordPress, a free and open source alternative that offered features found in their mainstream and premium competitors.
With the influx of new users giving favorable feedback to WordPress, more and more developers joined the platform. And the rest, as they say, is history.
WordPress has received numerous awards to date. It has been named the ‘Best Open Source CMS,’ ‘Best Open Source Software,’ ‘Best CMS for Personal Websites,’ and many other similar awards by different organizations.
Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little built this software for free, without expecting anything in return. And the world rewarded them for their generosity.
WordPress has grown from being supported by a few developers to being continuously updated by a global community of developers.
As of this writing, WordPress powers 30% of all websites on the Internet. That translates to millions upon millions of websites running on this very powerful, free software!
Who Uses WordPress?
WordPress may have started as a blogging platform, but it’s not just bloggers who are avid fans today. People from many different industries with various website needs use WordPress.
Just because WordPress is free and open source doesn’t mean only people who can’t afford to spend money on web developers use it. Nothing can be farther from the truth. From personal websites and blogs to Fortune 500 companies to governments all around the world, WordPress can power them all.
To give you an idea of who’s using WordPress here’s a very short list:
- Microsoft News Center (https://news.microsoft.com)
- Sweden’s Official Website (https://sweden.se)
- The Walt Disney Company (https://thewaltdisneycompany.com)
- Mercedes Benz (https://www.mercedes-benz.com/en)
- The Wall Street Journal Law Blog (https://blogs.wsj.com/law)
- Sony Music (https://www.sonymusic.com)
- MTV News (https://www.mtv.com/news)
- com (http://time.com)
- University of Washington (http://www.washington.edu)
- The US Air Force Blog (http://airforcelive.dodlive.mil)
It’s obviously just a small sample, but as you can see, if you build your website on WordPress you’re in very good company!
How To Determine If A Website Is Using WordPress?
If you like how a WordPress website looks, and you want to know which theme and plugins it uses, then you can use any of these methods below to find out.
Method No. 1: Use Third Party Tools
If you want to know if a website runs on WordPress, you can type this web address on your browser: IsItWP.com.
Enter the domain name or website address and hit the Look Up button. You’ll get your answer in a few seconds. If the site is indeed using WordPress, you’ll also know what theme and plugins are currently in use.
Method No. 2: View The Source Code
On Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, go to the website you want to check out. Then right-click on any blank space.
You should be able to see an option which says ‘View Page Source.’ Click that option. It will open a new tab in your browser, and you’ll see a long line of code on your screen.
Hit CTRL+F on your keyboard and type in “wp-“. If the site is running on WordPress, your browser will then highlight “wp-content” or “wp-uploads.”
If you see an instance of any of these keywords, then the site is using WordPress.
Still need to set up your WordPress blog?
Choose the option that’s best for you – and don’t wait another day to get started!