Why choose WordPress?

WordPress is an extremely versatile platform to write and publish a website or blog.  You can focus on one site or manage multiple sites at the same time.

The Setup and Installation

There are 2 main versions of WordPress, “.com” and “.org”.  The .com version is a simple and (to begin with) free way to create a beautiful and functional website for your needs.  The free version will have a web address (URL) which always ends with wordpress.com – e.g. “yoursite.wordpress.com”, until you decide to upgrade.  The .org version requires you to install and manage the background architecture yourself, or via a paid host; and you must manage security and programming problems yourself.

The advantages to using the .com version are that you can upgrade the site to get your own unique web address, and WordPress themselves will take care of all the necessary security and provide support if you have questions and issues.  However, in order to install plugins (additional bits of software that make your site do more things) you need to pay to upgrade to their highest business package.  The cost does include advanced help and support if and when things go wrong.

The advantages to using the .org version are that you can immediately download and install plugins and edit the code to change how the templates/themes work.  If you are a developer, and can write code, then you can also design your own themes and plugins.  It is completely free to download and install WordPress.org, BUT you subsequently will need to buy space on the internet via a Hosting company to make it visible to others around the world.

In both cases once your site is up and running the Dashboard and way to write pages and posts are very similar.  You have a secure section of the website that can be accessed from anywhere using a username and password.  For larger companies, you may have to use a computer which is connected to a corporate network either directly (being physically in a location) or via VPN (Virtual Private Network) in order to access the Dashboard, when additional security is set up.

WordPress dashboard
The basic WordPress Dashboard. All active features are on the left menu.

Site Design and Adding Functionality

To begin with you choose a Theme from the many options available.  Many are free, some you have to buy.  The Themes provide you with the basic layout of your website, and you can customise colours, backgrounds, menus, etc.

Pages within WordPress are your standard website information pages and forms the primary structure for your website.  Posts are used for blogs, news articles, press releases, opinion pieces, or other information – which may be specific to a date and time, and therefore display the information about when they were published so that the readers understand whether the information is recent or older.  Posts can also be sorted, filtered, and categorised so that the same information can appear in several places on your website without having to duplicate work.

You use the Media Library to upload images and other files that you either want to display on site or offer for download.  You should keep in mind that you don’t need HUGE images for your typical website (unless you are promoting the fact that you are a professional photographer!).  You should look at where you want the image to be used, and resize and edit images separately before saving them to your Media Library.  Depending on the version of WordPress used, there may be limits to your Media Library storage, so using smaller file sizes will ensure you will not run out of space.

Plugins allow you to add features and functionality to your site to make it more visually engaging, or to allow the user to interact with your site, book an appointment, or purchase products and services.  Each plugin will need to be tested out to ensure that everything works correctly once installed and put online.

Writing Content

You should draft up a plan of how you want your website to be structured before you commit to writing lots of wording.  Organise what information you want to show on each page, and then begin to write.

I shall cover content writing in more detail in a later post.  Including the Gutenberg Blocks editor.

WordPress is my favourite

I have tried a few other platforms in the past to write websites, and WordPress is by far my favourite.  When they introduced the Gutenberg Blocks editor, it needed some getting used to!  But once you get the hang of it you will be producing beautiful websites in no time.

My website here is using the .com version.  I chose that version in this instance because I could draft it all up in a live environment, and then simply buy the final website name, confident that it would have no bugs and issues.  I also “play” with the .org version because you can install it locally on a computer (so it is not actually a live website) and use it for training or for experimentation.

The WordPress Dashboard is well designed and easy to use.  Settings are in sensible places!  And I can even edit my site using my phone if I am out of the office.

I can design and set up a website for your small business or help to manage an existing site and suggest improvements to structure and content.

Published by Julia Barnard MBA

Technical Writer, Web Content Author, Digital Marketing Strategist, MBA, LCA Practitioner, Scientist

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