What is WordPress?
That is a great question as many people do not understand what is WordPress. If you are a beginner and just starting to do research on creating your own site, this information will help you find out that answer and (hopefully) answer a few more questions that you had.
WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS) and it was released on May 27, 2003 , by its founders, Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little.
Ok, So What Does Open-Source Content Management System Mean?
Open source means there are a lot of people working on the software. Example: making sure the code is good, that the software is easy to use by anyone and there are regular updates to improve the product. Also, there are a lot of people writing the “how-tos” to help you with the software. Another great benefit of an open source software system is that it allows you to look inside the coding of the software and change it to fit your needs.
A content management system (CMS) is a computer software application that is used to create and manage your website (or blog) content. There are many other open source platforms to do this and the other two big names are Joomla and Drupal that people use to build their sites.
You don’t have to know HTML or any type of coding to use WordPress. But with Joomla and Drupal, you need to know (or be very familiar) with coding.
But, I thought WordPress was used just to create a blog?
WordPress was originally used as a blogging platform – and still can be used to create a blog. But over the years, it has grown into very versatile software program to help you create a website also.
The non-techie explanation for what WordPress is:
WordPress is a very user-friendly web site building platform. WordPress helps you build websites, maintain them and manage your own online content without the need of a web design professional.
Three Most Popular Site Building Platforms in 2016
Image credit w3 Techs
As you can see from the image, WordPress is the leader in free open-source website building platforms.
So why is that important?
Because, almost 27 websites out of 100, are made using WordPress. Sure, it may not sound like a lot, but there are millions of websites on the internet. And as time goes by, WordPress just keeps growing in popularity because of beginners learning how to create their own website to the experts who have a thriving online presence from using this open-source platform.
How Does WordPress Work?
WordPress software is built on PHP and MySQL (a database) to help you make your website. But the great thing is you don’t have to know HTML, CSS or any other type of coding to use WordPress. You install a theme, plugins and content to the software to create your own site.
A non-techie explanation:
WordPress software is a bare mannequin (that you see in stores with clothes on them). You put on a theme, add plugins and content to “dress and accessorize” the WordPress software.
What Does WordPress Cost?
Yes, you read that correctly.
By itself, WordPress software is free to install, use and modify.
I bet your thinking there’s a catch. And your right.
The catch is:
If you want to use WordPress software to create a site and have complete control over the domain, design, themes and plugins, you need to have a self-hosted WordPress website.
A self-hosted WordPress site means you need to purchase a domain name and web hosting plan.
Sure, this is not a free route, but it’s very affordable.
If you decide to go the route of self-hosted website and use self-hosted WordPress, then WordPress.org is where you find the free themes, plugins and plenty of help from the community forum.
Once you have your own domain name and web hosting set up, you would go through the WordPress dashboard to install the theme and plugins from WordPress.org to build your own site.
If you decide you want control over your site, I recommend (and use) Bluehost as they are very inexpensive, have great customer service and are recommended by WordPress. A basic hosting plan is about $4.95/month AND they give you a free domain name with the hosting package. (You choose your domain name).
Many beginners want to create a free blog. You can use WordPress.com. When you create a free blog or website on WordPress.com, you will be very limited to what you can do with your website/blog.
- Your site will be on a sub-domain (yoursite.wordpress.com)
- Very limited themes
- No plugins allowed except what is pre-installed on the software
- You can only make money from a free blog if you have “thousands of page views a month” AND you are approved for their advertising. If approved, you split the money made with your site with WordPress.com (see WordAds)
- WordPress.com may run ads on the free blogs you create (yoursite.wordpress.com). You receive no money from those ads.
If you want full control over your website,
You Can Use My Free WordPress Tutorials
Don’t think you can’t create your own site by using the self-hosted WordPress because you don’t know where to start.
Additional Costs to Self-Hosted WordPress Sites
You can choose any one of the over 4000 free WordPress themes to create your website (or blog).
However, if you would like a theme that you have more control over the design, you can purchase a “premium” theme. Like these at StudioPress. But buying a “premium” theme is optional.
Another cost you may encounter is buying a “premium” plugin. Premium plugins are also optional.
As of the writing of this article, there are over 47,000 free WordPress plugins available.
If I can get a theme or plugin free, why should I pay for a “premium” one?
Support or updates are not required from the people who create the free themes and plugin. Because of that, if you have problems with the theme or plugin, you may have to figure out how to fix it yourself. That may be difficult if you don’t know coding or how it works behind the scenes.
Additionally, by purchasing a premium theme or plugin from the developer, you would be able to get support and updates.
I hope you have a better understanding of what is WordPress and the cost of having a WordPress website.
In a Nutshell
Want to make money from your website and don’t want to share the profit, creating a site for a small business, church or are a freelancer? Then a self-hosted website is the way to go.
But, if you don’t really want to make money from your site and just have fun with it – then WordPress.com is for you.
I would love to hear your comments, questions and feedback below about using WordPress to create a free blog or having a self-hosted site.
Create Yours, Step by Step,