WordPress—More Than Just a Blog

WordPress is the most popular website and blog software available. Created in 2003 “by and for the community,” WordPress has continued to gain popularity and usability. It is open-source, which means it is freely available from WordPress’s own website, and it is often offered as an option with all kinds of web hosting.

WordPress is often called blogging software, and it is great for creating blogs of all kinds, but it is far more useful than this, being almost completely customizable and suitable for all kinds of websites. Many well-known, professional websites have been created and maintained using WordPress, and you can use WordPress even if your site consists entirely of static pages.

One of the great features of WordPress is that there are literally thousands of themes available online and many of them are free or available at extremely low cost, and will give your website a professional look. You can further customize the theme to suit your needs exactly, and thousands of plug-ins are available to add features to your site, monitor your visitors, enhance the search engine optimization (SEO) features of your site, and much more. Like the themes, most plug-ins are freely available, and you can change them at any time.

To create your website using WordPress, check that this is an option with your web hosting company—it almost always is. If you are creating a blog, you can use WordPress.Org to host your free WordPress blog, and this is a good way to try out WordPress and check its features before you commit to creating your website with WordPress.

The main requirements WordPress has are MySQL 4.1.2+ and PHP 4.3 +, but they recommend access to Apache or Nginx to enable you to take advantage of all possible features. Linux and Windows now both support WordPress.

When you have installed WordPress on your domain (using cPanel, or Fantastico, for example) you will need to create at least one page, and WordPress creates a generic “About” page, which you can rename to Home (or anything else you choose) and use as your website’s Home page. You can then add more pages and links, upload plug-ins, and customize the site to suit your needs.

An important distinction to understand is that WordPress allows you to create posts or pages. Posts are intended for dynamic information such as blog posts, while pages are static information (which you can still edit at any time). Using the site administration tools makes it a simple matter to decide whether you will have just pages or a mixture of pages and posts, and which page or post will be displayed as your default page.

Publishing your WordPress couldn’t be easier—simply click on the Publish button in the site administration area. You can preview it before publishing, and it is up to you to decide whether you want to publish just a Home page and then add pages and posts as you have the time, or create the entire site first and then publish it when it is complete.

Whatever your intended use for your WordPress website, WordPress is a fun and powerful tool to quickly get you live on the world wide web. If you need help there are many support tools on WordPress.org and elsewhere on the internet to help you create a top notch website or blog.