What is WordPress?

Author: Jamie Richards • Category: 

Happy New Year 2019!! We made it a through another year and we have so much to look forward to in 2019. I figured I would start off 2019 with an article on some WordPress facts. I get this question asked of me a lot. Just "What is WordPress?" So, here we go...

WordPress, Defined

WordPress is an open-source content management system that makes it easy to create and manage a world-class website. Millions of business owners, bloggers, and publishers use WordPress every day to maintain their online presence.

An "open-source content management system written in PHP" may sound complicated, but really isn’t. Think of WordPress open-source management as a piece of software that's built just to make it easy to create and edit your own websites. To get started, you log into your dashboard, and from there you can create new pages, make blog posts, update your website’s visual appearance, and more.

The main advantage of the WordPress platform is that you don’t need any coding skills to put your content online. It uses a database to store and organize all of your data, from the content in your posts and pages to your user accounts and site URLs and uses a framework that handles everything on the fly. This is what makes it such a fast, powerful tool for publishing online.

When it comes to creating a new page on your site or a blog post, there’s little difference between the WordPress content editor and your typical desktop word processor. Type your text, add images, click "publish" and WordPress generates the HTML needed for your content to appear online.

Most importantly, WordPress is free to use: there are no setup fees or annual costs outside of hosting. With thousands of available themes and plugins, it's widely considered one of the best ways for businesses to create a truly customized website.

What is a content management system?

content management system (CMS) gives users an intuitive interface for adding and modifying content on a website. All content appearing on a WordPress site, from the text to the visual elements are created and optimized with the help of its CMS. This single piece of software serves as the heart of a website, providing users with the tools to update the look of their digital content without any technical training.

CMS software gives you the power to build your own website in the same DIY spirit you run it. No more waiting on programmers to update your pages or fix a tiny error; you can publish and change the contents of your pages personally. This process saves time and money while giving you full control over your site.

Who uses WordPress?

Anyone and everyone is using WordPress. It’s the largest self-hosted content management tool in the world, and over 26% of all websites are powered by it — in fact, over half of the websites that use a CMS use WordPress! Millions of people online read content published on WordPress sites every day thanks to its popularity with publishers, online businesses and individuals. Brands such as People magazine, Mashable and even Beyonce use this powerful, intuitive CMS.

Who owns WordPress?

WordPress is a community of thousands of volunteers creating everything from the documentation to the code itself. We’re talking about one of the most up-to-date CMSs available since hundreds of people add to and improve upon its features every day. This type of collaboration online is known as an open source project which is free for everyone to use.

Is WordPress Free?

The WordPress platform is completely free to use for commercial or private use with no hidden catches. This software is available at zero cost because it’s run entirely by volunteers contributing to an open source project. Open source software is not like other tangible products since no company or individual owns WordPress. For this reason, it's entirely reliant on volunteers to maintain, support and develop it.

Considering that tens of thousands of talented individuals contribute to the software daily, WordPress is not only free to use, but all can also modify and build on it. The WordPress community exists because everyone from budding developers to designers gives up their time and energy offering their services for free to all users because they believe in the valuable service WordPress provides. The latest release, "Tipton" was only made possible through the efforts of a group of 443 contributors.

Why use WordPress?

WordPress empowers business owners, bloggers, and publishers with the full capability to build, publish and manage their content. With its straightforward interface, WordPress is perfect for users more comfortable with word processors than FTP programs and hand-coded web pages. Ease of use is just the beginning. Developers have published thousands of WordPress themes, plugins, and widgets that let you create a site that's truly yours.

WordPress has a simple user interface that makes it easy for anyone to get their new site online. Whether you're tech-savvy or a complete computer novice, you'll find a few obstacles to getting started. The WordPress platform is designed to eliminate challenges business owners and authors face with web publishing. It's not only powerful but full of options which speak to beginners and pros alike.

This software requires no advanced computer knowledge to add and edit your content, and no downloads are necessary because you handle everything in-browser. Best of all, instead of paying for webmasters, you can take care of your website in-house. You can even grant access to multiple users to manage the website or a section of the content if you’d prefer to share the work.

Create a completely custom website quickly

Branding is more important than ever, and your website should accurately reflect both yourself and your business. As luck would have it, WordPress has multiple themes and widgets to bring style and personality to your pages. Well-designed pages will catch the attention of your readers and create interest in your content.

Your content is how you communicate with visitors to your website, and you want to make sure they find your pages user-friendly. Information should be well presented and easy to navigate. Fortunately, WordPress has plenty of tools to format your website in a way that allows users to move from one page to the next with ease.

The most impactful way to present your content is by choosing an appropriate WordPress theme. WordPress themes dictate how your website looks to visitors. One of the most popular themes for businesses is Customizr. This free theme comes with a featured slider, multi-page templates and is mobile friendly.

WordPress themes for every business

Using a professionally-made WordPress Theme brings a professional and polished look to your site. A striking and consistent style is essential to convey your brand image and differentiate yourself from your competition. Adding one can be as simple as selecting a new skin for your phone and has a great impact on your site’s appeal. There are formats for every type of website, whether you’re a tech blogger running an affiliate website or a local bookstore that wants to keep your customers up to date.

In addition to your site’s theme, you can enrich your pages with plugins which enable you to do practically anything you can think of. Start an online store with the WooCommerce plugin or build a photography website using the Envira Gallery Plugin, it’s as simple as that. You can even add widgets which perform like apps on your phone adding different functions. Want to offer your visitors a quick and easy email subscription option? Opt for the OptinMonster sidebar widget.

WordPress Plugins

Plugins are exactly what they sound like - small bits of software that you plug into your WordPress installation to expand its functionality. At the time of writing, WordPress offers 51,000 ways to extend the functions or add new features to your WordPress website. These add-ons range from useful plugins protecting your site from spam to adding a forum or checking your visitor stats. They are simple to add, just select the functions you like the sound of without having to know a single line of code.

WordPress Widgets

Want an events calendar on your site? There's a widget for that! There are many types of widgets; each performs a particular function to improve the overall user experience. Choose from on-page elements, such as a navigation menu, search bar or a menu to display your most recent blog posts. The location of widgets on a page varies from theme to theme. They can fit discreetly into sidebars or widget-ready areas allocated on your web page.

WordPress security

Breaches in website security make headlines and cause a nuisance to both site owners and visitors. Cyber attacks aren't limited to larger companies, bloggers and smaller businesses are just as vulnerable. Since many small websites don't take security measures seriously, they become prime targets for hacking, malware, and phishing. Google takes website security very seriously, and compromised sites can find themselves removed from their search index.

The popularity of content management systems makes them a prime target for hackers. For this reason, WordPress is constantly updated to be as secure as possible. In addition to the core software updates, there are a number of backup solutions and security plugins that can keep your website safe. If security is a primary concern on your website, we suggest choosing a hosting company who can support you if you come across any problems.

About the Author

Jamie Richards has been developing WordPress websites for over 12 years now. He saw a need for good and solid website development for a reasonable price and WordPress answered his call. Over 35% of the websites on the Internet are designed on the WordPress platform so they must be doing something right. Besides developing WordPress websites Jamie's passions are music and technology. He has three children and one grandson and lives in the DFW metroplex.

One comment on “What is WordPress?”

  1. This is a very informative article. It's hard to believe that WordPress has only been around for 13 years. It's grown so fast and it's so big now. The community of users are incredible as well. Go WordPress!!

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