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Build Your Own Website Easily With WordPress
Whether you work from home or are trying to land that elusive first project, creating a professional website is an important step. As a home for your business, your website can showcase your skills, provide details of your experience, and give customers and potential customers a convenient way to get in touch.
Furthermore, the ability to create or work with a website is a useful skill in itself. For many people who work at home, the ability to get a website up and running is an additional service that can be sold to your existing customers.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to create a website for yourself. You can do it yourself, even if you have never had any experience. Fortunately, there is a secret – WordPress. WordPress is a free system that simplifies and simplifies the web development process and, as you will discover, it can still be flexible enough for almost any website imaginable.
What does WordPress do besides Blogging?
Many people have heard of WordPress, but do not understand the full capabilities of the system. Most people think that WordPress is a blogging platform, when in fact it is much more than that.
Today, WordPress has grown into what would be called a content management system, or CMS. A CMS is a tool to store all the information required for your website and present it to your visitors in a professional and organized manner. Other content management systems include Joomla and Drupal, but the reality is that WordPress is easier to understand, easier to work with, and more easily adaptable.
Let’s see – in simple terms – how exactly WordPress works after it is installed:
- You use a convenient WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) interface to securely work with all the content on your website
- You can create new web pages in a variety of formats
- The content you create is stored in a database
- You can use the same interface to edit your content in the database
- When visitors enter your website, the information in the database is presented to them in a layout. You can change this layout at any time and your content will automatically take on the right look
Technically, WordPress is quite advanced. In the nine years since the platform was first launched, this advanced functionality has been used in all sorts of exciting ways.
Why should you use WordPress?
You may wonder why people choose WordPress as their CMS. The answer is because WordPress can make almost anything you want to do easier, faster and more convenient!
Reuters news agency uses WordPress to keep journalists up to date with the latest news as it happens. Music streaming service Spotify powers its entire website with WordPress.
WordPress makes creating, editing and organizing your content simple and, as a result, less time consuming. This gives you more time to focus on other areas of your business. WordPress also gives you the option to get a professional design to make your website look great – often for free.
The best way to see how WordPress streamlines your website setup is to try it yourself. WordPress is easy to install on your web host or, if you register on the WordPress website, you can explore its features without requiring any configuration.
Installing WordPress made easy
There are several different ways to get started with WordPress, depending on your budget, your expertise, and whether you use a web hosting service.
If you’re just trying out WordPress and don’t have your own web host, visit signup.wordpress.com and sign up for a free account. You will be guided through the entire process of creating your WordPress site, which will be stored on the WordPress servers for you. It is also possible to pay for a custom domain name (your website address) during the registration process.
Alternatively, if you already have a web hosting plan that supports PHP and MySQL, you can install your WordPress on your own server. This can be done by visiting WordPress.org and downloading the necessary files. The website also provides a handy guide to installing WordPress in 5 minutes.
Finally, see if your hosting provider offers an automatic script installer like Softaculous. If so, you will be able to login from your web hosting control panel and install WordPress in just a few clicks.
Finding a Big Theme
Once WordPress is up and running, you’ll need to log in with the details you chose during setup – usually at yourdomain.com/wp-admin. You will see the WordPress dashboard, a control panel that allows you to work with your website and a variety of different menu items on the left side. A good place to start is by selecting a theme under the Appearance menu.
Using the Install Themes tab at the top of your screen, you can explore an extensive database of layouts and designs for your website. From conventional business layouts to distinctive and unusual looks, there are currently 1,607 themes available. Once you find what you like, installation is as easy as clicking the Install Now button.
In addition to these free WordPress themes that are available from within your control panel, many websites offer a large selection of themes – some of which are free and some of which are ‘premium’ themes that require payment. If you’re just getting started with WordPress, a free theme is a good choice. Of course, paying for a premium theme guarantees high quality, good performance and ongoing support from the theme developers.
For professional WordPress themes, check out these websites:
- Get YourThemes
Once you’ve installed your theme, you’ll be able to easily customize it to suit your specific requirements. You can do this using Widgets.
Use of Widgets
Many people choose WordPress because there are so many professional looking themes available for it. However, it can be useful to change your chosen theme to make it more individual.
When a developer creates a theme, they will name specific areas of the layout that you can customize. For example, you may be able to change the menu at the top of your layout, a sidebar that runs down the side of each page, or at the bottom.
In the Appearance menu in your WordPress dashboard, select the Widgets option. On the right, you’ll see a list of different areas of your theme that you can customize. On the left, there are a number of included widgets that you can simply drag and drop into the relevant section.
Standard WordPress features include links to other websites, an automatic listing of your pages, and a calendar of when Posts have been published. You can also install other tools for free, in the form of Plugins.
Use widgets to customize your theme. Once you’re happy, it’s time to start thinking about the most important thing of all – your content.
Pages And Posts
A common stumbling block for people who are new to WordPress is the distinction between two similar content types – Pages and Posts. Whenever you want to publish something on your website, you will need to decide whether it is a Page or a Post and select the appropriate option.
Initially, WordPress only offered the ability to create Posts – a term that is short for Blog Posts. Posts are content items that are time-specific and, when created, have the current time and date attached to them. Creating a new post does two things:
- An individual web page is created with the content of your post
- Your post is added to a single page that collects each individual post together
This is perhaps most obvious as an example – let’s imagine you have a blog section on your website, at yourdomain.com/blog. When you publish a new blog post, a single page will be created – for example, this could be yourdomain.com/blog/name-my-post-em. But at the same time, your blog post will be added to the main page at yourdomain.com/blog, giving your visitors the ability to see all of your latest posts in one convenient place.
Posts are also added to your website’s RSS feed – more on this in our next article on advanced WordPress tips. Pages, on the other hand, are static items that do not have a date attached to them. They are the pages of your website that stand alone, providing general information about your business.
If you’re still unsure, ask yourself this question before creating your content – is this something that will stand alone (a Page), or something that is part of a section of the website that I will update regularly (a post)?
Explore and learn on the fly
You now understand the concepts of WordPress, including what it can do, common terminology, and why you should use WordPress to build your site. So start exploring!
The best thing about WordPress is that it is intuitive and easy to use. Everything you create can be easily deleted or edited, so the best advice is to check the menu options included in your control panel and start working with your content now.
Once you’ve made a start, be sure to read our next article on getting the most out of your WordPress installation to create a website that really stands out from the crowd.
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