How to Use WordPress? Critical Guide for Beginners in 2021

on WordPress, WordPress Plugins, WordPress Themes • December 7th, 2021 • Write for Hevo

WordPress FI

WordPress started as an Open-Source Content Management System (CMS), that was written in PHP supplemented with a MariaDB or MySQL database. It was developed as a blog-publishing system but it evolved to support other types of web content like Forums, Traditional Mailing Lists, Online Stores, to name a few.

This blog talks about the different ways of using WordPress covering all the different salient aspects of it. It also gives a brief introduction to WordPress before diving into the finer details.

Table of Contents

What is a WordPress Website?

WordPress: WordPress logo
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A WP website is a website that leverages WP as its Content Management System (CMS). WordPress can power both the Frontend (the visible part of the website that is visible to the visitors) and the Backend (the interface where a user can log in to add new content or make changes) of the website. Here are a few instances of the types of websites that can be built on top of WP:

  • Business Website: A lot of businesses can benefit from an online presence through their website. If you need a website that lets the customers take a peek at what your company has to offer, WP is an excellent choice. Customers can ask you for a quote, schedule you for an appointment among other things.
  • Blog: A blog is deemed as a special kind of website that is focused on sharing reviews, photos, tutorials, thoughts, recipes, and so much more. Blogs allow you to showcase the most recently published content first.
  • eCommerce Website: With an eCommerce website, you can sell services or goods online and collect payment through an Online Payment System like PayPal, Stripe, etc. You can easily install and download a WP eCommerce plugin to extend the default functionality of WP. This allows you to maintain an online store on your website.
  • Forum Website: A Forum Website can serve as a helpful place for users to pose questions and share advice.
  • Portfolio Website: You can display your design skills, artwork, and much more with a portfolio website.
  • Event Website: If you’re thinking of hosting an event, WP can simplify the process of selling tickets and sharing your event details with those interested. 
  • Membership Website: With a Membership website, you can easily put content behind an account login or a paywall. If you wish to access posts or pages, you need to either pay for the content or log in. WP can also handle Membership Websites with extra plugins. 

Is the WordPress Platform Right for You?

WordPress: WordPress Dashboard
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Here are a few benefits of the platform to help you understand why is it such a widely used website Content Management System:

  • No Coding Experience Required: WP eliminates the requirement of knowing how to code to build a website. While WP leverages a vast multitude of coding languages, there’s no need to know any of them to leverage WP for your business use case.  
  • A Budding Community of Developers and Users: A handy benefit of having a WP website is that you can get involved in the greater WP community through your local WordCamps, WP Meetup, and so much more. The WP community has a reputation for being incredibly innovative, welcoming, and helpful.
  • Open-Source Software: WP is Open-Source Software that has been licensed under the General Public License (GPL). This means that it isn’t owned by a single entity or a company. Hundreds of users and developers contribute and collaborate to the software to make it better. The spirit of Open-Source means accountability, free usage for everyone, and constant improvements.
  • Website Security: WP ensures robust security as it continues to improve with a vigilant security team that consists of both users and core developers. A few common WP issues are usually caused due to user error, instead of the software itself.

Key Features of WordPress

Here are a few key features of WP:

  • Ease of Publishing: WP became popular because of how easy it was to publish any form of content to the Internet with it. You can pen down pages and posts, plug in different types of media, and format them easily in a matter of a few clicks. Once you have ironed out the details, you can get your content on the web with just a click with WP.
  • Publishing Tools: You can manage your content seamlessly with WP. You can glance through post revisions, create drafts, and even schedule publications. You can decide if you wish to make your content private or public. If you wish to make some content private, you can secure it with a password in a hassle-free fashion.
  • Simplicity: The WP interface allows you to get publishing very quickly, with a simplistic UI to supplement your user experience.
  • User Management: You can decide the different levels of access for your website. Every website has several people associated with it. An Editor works on content, the Administrator manages the site, Contributors and Authors write the content, and subscribers have a profile to manage. 
  • Flexibility: WP allows you to develop every type of website imaginable, ranging from a personal blog to an eCommerce website. You can improve your website with custom themes built for specific use cases and supplement it with various plugins to work on a better user interface for your users. WP also grants you the freedom to build a website from scratch and build it to completion in no time flat.
  • Optimized for SEO: WP has been optimized for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) right out of the gate. To achieve a more fine-grained SEO control, you can utilize various SEO plugins offered by WP.
  • Media Management: The ability to add media seamlessly is imperative for a CMS. With WP in place, you can simply drag-and-drop media to the uploader to add it to your website. Apart from the ability to add captions and alt text, WP houses a few image editing tools that you can play around with.
  • Easy Installation and Upgrades: WP is very easy to install and upgrade. Numerous web hosts offer One-Click WP Installers. If you prefer an FTP program, you can start with creating a database, uploading WP with FTP, and then running the installer.

WordPress Background

WP is currently one of the most widely used CMS in the market, with over 41% of the top 10 million websites leveraging it. WordPress has also found uses across other fields such as Pervasive Display Systems (PDS). 

To start working on WP, you need to install it on a Web Server, where a computer runs the software package WP.org to serve as a network host or as a part of a hosting service like WP.com. You can use a local computer for learning purposes and single-user testing.

WP ensures more human-readable permalinks by directing all requests for non-static URIs to a single PHP file. This file can parse the URI and identify the target page.

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WordPress Usage Statistics across the Web

According to the Usage Statistics of Content Management Systems, WP has grown to power well over 60 million websites, or 36% of all websites on the Internet. This includes 60% of all websites whose Content Management Systems are known. 

WordPress: WordPress Usage Statistics
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Who can use WordPress?

If you choose to build your website on top of WP, you will find yourself in the company of various news outlets, famous blogs, Fortune 500 companies, music sites. This includes illustrious names like USA Today, NBC, CBS, Airbnb, Time, Disney, TechCrunch, Spotify, and even the Pioneer Woman. You can refer to the WP Site Showcase to take a peek at the number of well-known sites using WP to propel their websites.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: What is the Difference?

Here are a few key differences between WP.org and WP.com if you are just getting started with WP:

  • You can download the WP software on WP.org to install it on your web hosting account or your server. If you wish to use the WP.org version of WP, you will require web hosting and a domain name, purchased from another company.
  • On the other hand, WP.com is known as the hosted version of WP, where you can create an account to make a website or a blog. Here, paid upgrades usually consist of a custom domain and more storage space, Google Analytics Integration, the ability to add your themes and plugins among so much more.  

How can you start using WordPress?

WP is free, therefore, you can get started today with a website in just a few simple steps. Here are a few things you need to get started with WP:

  • A Domain Name
  • Quality Web Hosting
  • The WP software needs to be installed on your website (most web hosts can take care of this for you).

If you want to use the hosted version of WP available on WP.com, you’ll simply have to create a WP.com account to get started.

What is a WordPress Plugin?

A WP plugin is defined as a bundle of additional code that can be uploaded to your website to add new functionalities, features, or integrations.

  • You can add plugins through the Plugin menu in your WP Dashboard.
  • With the help of the built-in search function, you can easily find a free plugin available on the WP.org Plugin directory.
  • You can also package plugins as .zip files that you upload through the Plugins menu uploader in your WP Dashboard.
WordPress: WordPress Plugin
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WordPress Plugin Tutorials

Here are a few helpful video tutorials on WP plugins:

  • Installing WP Plugins: You can install WP plugins on your website quite easily. You can learn all about it through this video.
  • What are WP Plugins?: WP Plugins are software components that can be uploaded to expand and extend the functionalities of your WP website. In this tutorial, you can look at the basics of WP Plugins.

Must-Have WordPress Plugins for all WordPress Sites

Here are a few WP plugins that you should have for every use case:

  • WP SEO Plugin: You can use an SEO Plugin like Yoast SEO that can help you add extra SEO functionalities and features. 
  • WP Backup Plugin: WP doesn’t have a built-in backup function, therefore, you can have a WP backup solution in place. This prevents the hassle on the off-chance that you lose any data on your website. You must have a backup plan to mitigate a security breach or a hack. BackupBuddy is a handy plugin that you can use for this purpose.
  • WP Form Plugin: With the Ninja Forms plugin (form builder), you can add robust forms to your website such as surveys, contact forms, upload files, accept donations, and more.
  • WP Security Plugin: You can use a WP plugin like iThemes Security that can work to fix common security holes and make your website more robust against attacks.

What is a WordPress Theme?

A WP theme offers the design “framework” of your website. Generally, a WP theme will provide you with the following:

  • Color Scheme
  • Site-wide Font Styles
  • Widget Locations
  • Page Layouts (or templates)
  • The Overall Design (the feel, look, and style) of your site
  • Additional Stylistic Details
  • Styles for Blog Archives and Blog Posts
WordPress: WordPress Theme
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There are a couple of themes that can operate like WP Page Builders. This allows you to create your layouts without the need to code:

  • You can add themes through the Appearance > Themes Menu in your WP dashboard.
  • You can use the Built-in Search Function to find a free theme on the website as well.
  • You can package themes as .zip files that can be uploaded through the Appearance > Themes menu uploader in your WP dashboard.  

WordPress Theme Tutorials

Here are two handy WP theme tutorials that you can turn to to help you get a better understanding of WP themes:

Free WordPress Tutorials

Here are a few free WP tutorials that you can refer to help you get started and learn WP:

Making Money With WordPress

Nowadays, various industries have sprung up on the back of WP. Today the possibilities of making money with WP can range from building websites to running an online store to WP consulting. Here are a few of them:

  • WP SEO: WP SEO services can come in handy to many businesses hoping to generate more organic search traffic and outrank their competitors. You can specialize in WP SEO by offering keyword research, website audits, content writing, and so much more. 
  • Content Writing: If you know how to use WP, you can stand out to businesses that are looking for Content Marketing Services.
  • WP Consulting: Some businesses might need counsel on how they can grow, build, design, or improve their website. WP consultants know all the finer details of WP tools, functionalities, optimization, and features.
  • WP Maintenance: Quite often, WP site owners don’t have time to maintain their websites. WP Maintenance consists of important website tasks such as backups, software updates, security, and SEO.
  • Building WP Websites for Clients: If you are a Web Designer or a Web Developer, you can specialize in WP sites. Since WP is fairly easy to use, training clients to use their websites is an additional benefit of specializing in WP.

How can you learn about WordPress?

You can refer to the WP tutorials to get a deeper understanding of the different aspects of WP.

Conclusion

This blog serves as a WP for Beginners guide that covers all the different salient aspects of leveraging WP for your business in great detail.

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