Introduction to WordPress
New to WordPress? This article should help you to get familiar with the very basics like themes, plug-ins and installation.
WordPress can be used for any type of website from blogging, photo sharing to informational or e-commerce sites.
You should not confuse WordPress.com with WordPress.org, as the former is a hosted account, for the latter you will need a self-hosted domain. In this article I will focus on WordPress.org.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is the most popular website builder at the moment. It is a very mature website management system, the first version was released in 2003.
It gained huge popularity as it does not need any programming knowledge to build a professionally looking website.
The installation could not be simpler as it is. As WordPress is incredibly popular, most hosting companies have a one-click-installation.
If for any reason you don`t have this option, do not panic. It is very easy to install it manually and it will not take you more than five minutes (really). Check out the official installation guide.
When you first log in to your WordPress admin panel – usually www.yourwebsite.com/wp-admin – you will be directed to your dashboard.
This is from where you can access all the functionalities WordPress offers, like posts, themes, or plugins. This is also the place where you can customize your site like assigning a logo or adding a description.
Themes in WordPress are setting the design of your site. There are themes available for all purposes starting from a simple blog to a webshop.
There are both free and premium themes. Usually free ones are basic and give you some simple functionalities.
Premium themes offer a wider range of possibilities, like built in templates for different site types, responsive design and full support.
Plugins extend the core functionalities of WordPress and themes or add completely new features. The options are unlimited, ranging from SEO checks, adding sharing buttons to inserting a rating option to your posts.
Plugins are immediately available after installation and most of them are very intuitive to use and require no programming skills.
Take your time
It is very tempting to get into post creation and starting up your site immediately. But usually you will notice some useful customization options in WordPress only after a few weeks of usage and you will have to do some revamping of design or structure.
To avoid double work, you should take your time and explore all the possibilities WordPress offers you.
Choosing a theme
You should always choose a theme that suits best for your purpose. Don`t be afraid to go with a premium theme, as they usually offer functionalities which will make your life much easier. I recommend to choose a theme which includes Visual Composer which has a back-end and front-end editor. It is incredibly easy to achieve the desired design of every post with this functionality.
Don’t use too many plugins
First of all, if you use a lot of plugins the speed of your site will decrease; the more plugins, the slower it gets. As the plugins are created by individuals and only focus on the intended functionality, they are not optimized to work fast and each one has to be loaded individually by the browser.
Second disadvantage is that each WordPress upgrade requires optimization of the plugins. The more you have, the more likely that at least one of them will not work properly. It even happened to me, that after an upgrade my site did not load at all and it was due to a plugin which was not updated.
Choose your plugins wisely
Everybody can release plugins, but not all of them are professionally built. A good rule of thumb is to look at how many people have downloaded the plugin and how it is rated.