What is WordPress and How to Get Started with It

The world of websites has evolved significantly, a transformation that was not witnessed two decades ago.

In the past, if you needed a website, you had to request one from a specialized developer in website design and development.

However, nowadays, we witness daily advancements in various information technology fields that simplify people’s lives and accomplish their tasks without the need for specialists.

One of the most important platforms that doesn’t require in-depth programming knowledge to use is WordPress.

What is WordPress Really?

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WordPress began in 2003 when Mike Little and Matt Mullenweg formed an unknown blogging tool known as B2/cafelog. Little and Mullenweg aimed to create a better blogging platform, built on the foundation of the original B2 code but with more powerful features and more consistent development.

The result was WordPress. Initially just a blogging tool, WordPress quickly grew to become a comprehensive Content Management System (CMS) capable of handling a variety of websites.

The simple explanation of WordPress is that it is a free and open-source website creation platform.

We can explain WordPress in more technical terms, saying that it is a PHP-based Content Management System (CMS) that uses a MySQL database.

WordPress is an excellent system for a variety of websites as it is a multi-purpose content management system. It can be used for blogging, e-commerce, business websites, and more, designed with ease of use and flexibility in mind, making it a great solution for both large and small websites.

A site built using WordPress

Previously, we talked about WordPress as a system, now let’s talk about it as a product, meaning what does WordPress offer to the website built using it?

A WordPress site is any site that uses WordPress as its Content Management System (CMS). WordPress supports both the backend (where the user logs in to make changes or add new content) and the frontend (the visible part of the website that your visitors see on the web).

Here are just a few examples of the types of websites you can create using WordPress:

1- Blog

A blog is a type of website dedicated to sharing ideas, images, reviews, tutorials, recipes, and much more. Blogs typically display the latest content published first.

To become a proficient writer on WordPress, we recommend reading the following article: The Basics of Writing Content on WordPress

2- E-commerce Store

An e-commerce website allows you to sell goods or services online and collect payments through online payment systems. You can download the WooCommerce plugin for e-commerce and install it to extend the default functionality of WordPress so you can have an online store on your website.

3- Business Website

Many businesses benefit from having an online presence through their website. If your business needs a website to let customers know about your company and services, WordPress is an excellent choice. Customers can contact you, request a quote, schedule an appointment, and much more.

4- Personal Website

If you have skills and need a place to showcase your work over the years, a personal website is the right choice for you. You can easily create a personal website using WordPress with many features.

5- Forums

A forum or community is a place for discussions and exchanging ideas on specific topics. A forum website can be a useful place for users to ask questions or share tips. Believe it or not, many forum websites run on WordPress.

6- E-Learning

Today, there are many plugins developed to add e-learning feature to your WordPress website. Students can take online courses, add quizzes, and track their progress in the educational curriculum.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to customizing a WordPress website. You can add WordPress themes and plugins to your website to add new design options and additional functionalities.

To learn more about WordPress plugins, you can read this article: What are WordPress Plugins and How Do I Use Them?

WordPress.com OR WordPress.org

If you’re planning to use WordPress, there are some important things to know, starting with the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

WordPress.com is the hosted version of WordPress, where you can create a WordPress.com account to build a blog or website. By default, your website’s URL will include the word “WordPress,” such as myblog.wordpress.com. Paid upgrades include a custom domain, Google Analytics integration, more storage space, the ability to add your own plugins and themes, and more. WordPress.com is owned by Automattic, a company founded by Matt Mullenweg, one of the original creators of WordPress.

WordPress.org is where you can download the WordPress software to install it on your own server or web hosting account. Since WordPress is open-source, it’s free to download and use. To use the WordPress.org version, you’ll need a domain name and web hosting, which you can purchase from another company. Most web hosts offer a quick, one-click WordPress installation to help you get started if you don’t want to install WordPress yourself.

WordPress.org is a non-profit organization affiliated with Automattic.

How to use WordPress

o start using WordPress, let’s delve into the process:

Choose Between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, Firstly, you need to decide between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
If you want everything to be free and easy, head to WordPress.com.
Create your account with simple steps to start without the hassle of hosting and domain costs.
To learn more about hosting and domain concepts, read the following topic: What Does Hosting and Domain Mean on the Web.

Once you’ve made your choice, you can proceed with setting up your WordPress account accordingly.

1- WordPress.com

The starting process doesn’t differ much. Let’s begin with the free option. Go to the website https://wordpress.com and click on the button “Start Your Website,” as shown in the following image

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Afterward, you will be redirected directly to the account creation page. Enter your details and create your account, or sign up using your Google or Apple account, as indicated by the options.

Next, you will need to choose the domain for your website (site name). Enter the name you desire, and the available options that you can use will be displayed to you, as shown in the following image

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Pay attention and read carefully. Offers for domain names that are free for a year are presented, as you can see in the previous image. If you want a completely free domain name, look for the options labeled “Free only,” which end with the domain name wordpress.com.

The next screen that will appear after selecting the domain name is the plan selection interface. Don’t worry, there is a free plan available. Look at the sentence below the title and click on “Start with a free site.”

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The next step will be to choose the type of your website. Select the option that suits you best, and you can change it later.

Each option among the three choices indicates a different type of website. If you choose “Start a blog,” you’ll be directed to a screen to set the blog’s name and description, then you’ll be prompted to write your first article.

If you choose “Build a website,” you’ll go to a page to customize your website and adjust various settings.

As for the “Sell” option, it will apply an e-commerce plugin to your site after specifying the store’s name and description and selecting the appropriate e-commerce addon for you.

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You can also start from scratch or import content from a previous website, as shown in the previous image.

Choose what suits you best; all the following steps will be easy and clear.

By clicking on “Start from scratch,” you will be directed straight to the dashboard without any preset configurations.

Through this dashboard, you can manage your website in detail and apply settings that you deem appropriate for your website type.

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You’ve reached the beginning of the journey now. This control panel will be your constant companion. Complete the steps outlined on the homepage according to the written instructions.

It’s easy; don’t hesitate to give it a try. Just keep going.

2- WordPress.org

In this case, when using WordPress.org, you probably won’t need many steps to access the control panel.

As mentioned earlier, this version of WordPress requires hosting and a domain, and most hosting companies, if not all, offer a one-click WordPress installation and setup service.

The steps may vary from one hosting provider to another, but they are usually very simple. You might choose to purchase hosting specifically managed for WordPress, where all you need to do is click on a button to create a new website and have a WordPress instance installed on your hosting.

You might also find an option to install WordPress from the control panel provided by your hosting company. In any case, the setup process will be easy, and you’ll have the freedom to customize your site at any time.

If you want to use a WordPress.org version on your personal computer directly, you can visit https://wordpress.org and download the latest version for free.

The setup process in this case is slightly different, and you can learn all the details from the article Installing and Running WordPress on a Local Server.

Get Creative

You are now ready to embark on your project, whatever it may be. This isn’t the end of WordPress but rather the beginning.

There’s a lot more to learn and master about WordPress, but this article has guided you to the starting point of your WordPress journey.

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