WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS). That just means it is a piece of software that can help you manage and organize your content into an impressive and coherent website.
Initially, WordPress was created as a blogging tool, but over the years it has become so much more than that. Today, many WordPress driven sites look nothing like blogs (unless that’s what the user wants). This is down to the flexibility of this amazing tool.
WordPress powers simple blogs, corporate websites and everything in between. Companies like Sony, the Wall Street Journal, Samsung, New York Times, Wired, CNN, Forbes, Reuters and many others, all use WordPress as part of their online presence.
WordPress is open source, meaning that all of its code is free to use and customize. This is one of the powers of WordPress since programmers the world over have created their own additions to this powerful publishing platform from website templates to plugins that extend the functionality of this amazing site building tool.
Some of the Features That Make WordPress Great
• Template system for site design means that changing the look and feel of your site is as simple as installing a new theme – literally just a few clicks of the mouse. There are a plethora of free and quality WordPress themes available.
• Plugins are pieces of code that you can download into your WordPress site to add new features and functions. There are thousands of plugins available and many are totally free.
• Once your site is set up, you can concentrate on adding great content to your site. You simply type into a text editor within the WordPress Dashboard, hit publish, and WordPress takes care of the rest.
• WordPress also has a feature called Widgets that allows the user to drag and drop “features” and place them in, for example, the sidebar. You may have a widget that allows you to display a poll to your visitors – for example. You can place that poll in the sidebar of your site by dragging the poll widget to the appropriate place. Widgets are typically used in the sidebars, but some templates allow widgets to be placed in the site footer, as well as in carefully designated areas of the homepage. We will look at widgets in much more detail later on in this book.
• WordPress can help you with the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) of your site so that it has the potential to rank higher in search engines like Google and Bing.
• WordPress can create just about any type of site, for example, a hobby blog, a business site, or an e-commerce store.
WordPress.com allows anyone to sign up to build a free “WordPress” website that WordPress.com will host on their servers (computers).
For example, let’s suppose you wanted to create a website on “educational toys for kids”.
You could set up a website called educationaltoysforkids.wordpress.com
Your website address (URL) would be:
WordPress.org is a site where you can download your own copy of WordPress for free. You can then upload that copy of WordPress to any web server you like and start building a site that YOU own. You will also be able to choose whatever domain name you like, so you could call your site educationaltoysforkids.com.
Doesn’t that look more professional than the options on WordPress.com ?
Think of the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org as being similar to renting or owning a house. When you rent a house, there are limits to what you can do to it. You can be thrown out at any time. When you own the building outright, you can do whatever you want with it and no one can tell you how to design, decorate, or renovate your home.
The only disadvantages of using WordPress.org are the costs involved. These costs are minimal though, so let’s look at them.