What is WordPress?
Many people who are looking to create their first blog or business website hear about WordPress at some point or another. What is WordPress? WordPress is a popular online, open source website tool for creating and managing websites. The tool is used in the creation of a number of blogs, music sites, as well as news outlets. Fortune 500 companies also use it among others. It can be used to create anything from a simple blog to a full-featured business website.
How can you use WordPress?
WordPress can be used for quite a number of things, from simple websites to complex ones. Much as many people relate it to blogging, when the numerous plugins, themes, and widgets are used it is possible to utilize this platform for a lot more than blogging.
You do not need any prior knowledge of coding, development or designing to use WordPress. This is because there are plenty of free themes available in the WordPress community which you can use to setup your blog or website. In essence, you can create a number of dynamic websites with this free and robust tool.
Initially associated with blogs, WordPress has evolved to the possible creation of more complicated websites thanks to the expansion of its functionalities. Overtime, WordPress has grown into a content management system as opposed to a blogging tool. Thanks to its rather friendly interface that is easy to use. Therefore, a lot of popular brands and companies’ websites are based on WordPress.
Since, it is open source and free to use, therefore, you do not need to sign up for any trial period account. The best thing about WordPress is that it has a huge community on the Internet. A lot of WordPress developers are working to make this platform a much better place. You can find numerous high-quality theme, plugins, and widgets. Yes, there is paid stuff as well but you are not forced to buy it until and unless you need it.
How does WordPress work?
WordPress runs online via servers unlike traditional desktop software,(although now there are ways to communicate to it through desktop software- Calypso is a project that displays that functionality). This means that you don’t have to install a thing on your computer and neither do you have to make use of any special tools. As long as you have an internet connection then you can easily access the software and any available updates.
As for portability, WordPress is completely portable which means that you can host your website anywhere you wish and also move it to wherever you want at any given time. This is refreshing especially when compared to other tools such as Weebly or Wix that can’t be moved with such ease.
The power of WordPress is the ability to utilize a database to hold the configuration options that you will need. The database will be used to store things such as pages, posts and articles. It is very easy to install and use WordPress and the entire process can be completed in as little as five minutes. Well, now the hosting providing companies offer 1 click WordPress Installation method which saves you from setting up any databases or creating admin manually.
WordPress is a tool that makes creating blogs, websites, and even web applications accessible through its free open source program. Beginners to large multinational businesses can create user-friendly websites and blogs.. Since its inception in 2003, WordPress has hosted millions of websites and currently the most used Content Management System (CMS) in the world with over 70 million users worldwide. If you are a frequent internet user, you have definitely been to a website created through the WordPress platform, and therefore, it doesn’t hurt to know a little in-depth about this phenomenal publishing platform. Let us take you through the story of WordPress and explain how WordPress differentiates itself from the similar services to build their powerful brand.
A content Management System (CMS) is a computer application that supports the creation and modification of digital content. It is often used to support multiple users working in a collaborative environment.
CMS is certainly better than traditional websites as it is a powerful tool to grow your website and business. You can benefit from its basic functionalities and features such easy-to-update editor interface and intelligent search capabilities. The core functions are often considered to be indexing, search and retrieval, format management, revision control and publishing.
To give you a better idea on why CMS is great for you, here’s a breakdown of the benefits of using a CMS:
- User-friendly – You have the freedom to update your website the way you want it. For example, you upload images, videos, add new pages, or customize without having to hire a programmer or developer. CMS has an intuitive user interface which allows you to update your website easily.
- Tools for one-to-one marketing – With a CMS, your website has the ability to tailor its content and advertising to a user’s specific characteristics using information provided by the user or gathered by the site such as the user’s page sequence pattern. For example, if an internet user researched for real estate properties, the advertising banners would direct the user to websites that sell real estate properties instead of websites that sell chocolates or other stuffs.
- CMS’ also offer the following outstanding features:
- SEO-friendly URLs
- Integrated and online help, including discussion boards
- Group-based permission systems
- Full template support and customizable templates
- Easy wizard-based install and versioning procedures
- Admin panel with multiple language support
- Content hierarchy with unlimited depth and size
- Minimal server requirements
- Integrated file managers
- Integrated audit logs
Using a CMS gives you full control and ownership of your website, including its domain name and all its contents. Even though you may lack the technical expertise such as coding or programming, you can freely update and make changes to your website.
WordPress was initially created for the sole purpose of building a user friendly and elegantly crafted personal publishing platform that was built on PHP and MySQL. It is licensed under the GPL. The main developers of the platform Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little were motivated to create this after their usual blogging software called b2/cafeclog happened to be discontinued.
Codex.WordPress.org presents the history of WordPress in detail with the following:
|2001||Michel Valdrighi launched the b2 cafelog|
|2003||Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little fork b2 and create WordPress.|
|2004||Plugins are introduced with Version 1.2 (Mingus).|
|2005||Theme system and static pages are introduced with Version 1.5 (Strayhorn), followed by persistent caching, a new user role system, and a new backend UI in Version 2.0 (Duke).|
|2007||A new UI, autosave, spell check and other new features were introduced in Version 2.1 (Ella). Widgets, better Atom feed support, and speed optimizations came out in Version 2.2 (Getz). And tagging, update notifications, pretty URLs and a new taxonomy system were introduced in Version 2.3 (Dexter).|
|2008||Version 2.5 (Brecker) was released with a new administration UI design by Happy Cog, and introduced the dashboard widget system and the shortcode API. Version 2.6 (Tyner) built on 2.5 and introduced post revisions and Press This. A usability study was done on 2.5 over the summer, leading to the development of the Crazyhorse prototype, and the eventual release of Version 2.7 (Coltrane), which redesigned the administration UI to improve usability and make the admin tool more customizable. Version 2.7 also introduced automatic upgrading, built-in plugin installation, sticky posts, comment threading/paging/replies and a new API, bulk management, and inline documentation.|
|2009||Version 2.8 (Baker) introduced a built-in theme installer and an improved widget UI and API. Version 2.9 (Carmen) introduced image editing, a Trash/Undo feature, bulk plugin updating, and oEmbed support.|
|2010||Version 3.0 (Thelonious) was a major release, it introduced custom post types, made custom taxonomies simpler, added custom menu management, added new API’s for custom headers and custom backgrounds, introduced a new default theme called “Twenty Ten” and allowed the management of multiple sites (called MultiSite).|
|2011||Version 3.1 (Gershwin) introduced post format and the admin bar. Version 3.2 (Reinhardt) made WordPress faster and lighter, this version upgraded minimum requirements to PHP 5.2.4 and MySQL 5.0.15, and introduced a new default theme called “Twenty Eleven”. Version 3.3 (Sonny) made WordPress more friendly for beginners with welcome messages and feature pointers.|
|2012||Version 3.4 (Green) introduced the theme customizer and theme previewer. Version 3.5 (Elvin) introduced the new media manager and the new default theme called “Twenty Twelve”.|
|2013||Version 3.6 (Peterson) introduced a new default theme called “Twenty Thirteen”, built-in Audio and Video support, dynamic and scalable Revisions, improved Autosave and Post Locking. Version 3.7 (Basie) introduced automatic updates for maintenance and security updates, stronger password meter, improved search results and better global support for localized versions. Version 3.8 (Parker) introduced new admin design and new default theme called “Twenty Fourteen”.|
|2014||Version 3.9 (Smith) improved the media experience and introduced live widget and header previews. Version 4.0 (Benny) introduced a grid view for the media library and for installing plugins, and visual previews for embedded content. Version 4.1 (Dinah)introduced a refreshed Distraction Free Writing mode, language installation from the Settings screen, and a beautiful new default theme, “Twenty Fifteen”.|
|2015||Version 4.2 (Powell) added emoji support, add extended character support and switched database encoding from utf8 to utf8mb4. Version 4.3 (Billie) added built-in site icons support and introduced formatting shortcuts in the visual editor. Version 4.4 (Clifford) added responsive images, embeddable posts, and a new default theme, “Twenty Sixteen.”|
|2016||Version 4.5 (Coleman) added inline links, added formatting shortcuts and responsive previews in Customizer.|
From 2005-2008, WordPress introduced many revolutionary features to the platform such as widgets, spell check, succinct URLs and overall faster performance which resulted in rapid growth of usage which was one of the very first golden ears of the internet. After 2008, WordPress focused more on developing its backend to ensure a safer and smoother experience for the users. There were many usability tests to perfect the backend that came with mixed reviews as well. However, the platform was widely used by experienced developers. In the next few years, the goal of WordPress was to reach out a larger community of beginners and new internet users to easily use and create their own space within the internet.
2010 was a highlight for the brand with its major launch of WordPress 3.0 (Thelonius) which developed the platform to be a truly multi-purpose CMS. With the purpose of keeping WordPress as a free and open source tool, Matt Mullenweg started WordPress foundation to ensure a long term sustenance of the brand. WordPress keeps developing and growing as a brand name and also a platform, providing an extremely user-friendly space for all the internet users from the beginners to experts.
Although WordPress is probably the most popular CMS freely available on the internet at the moment, there are many other competitors which offer similar products to this. However, over many years, WordPress has managed to stand out from the rest through its unique features which made the user experience easy and smooth. Let us see the ways in which WordPress differentiates itself from the rest in the market.
Plugins are a clever way of expanding the functionalities of your website in a way that suites your requirements. These can be customized to be unique to your website, and the possibilities that you have with plugins are limitless. Plugins are often lightweight and do not disrupt the usual functions of the website. It usually expands its functionality in a useful way. This increases the flexibility with the coding if the website, without making the website too heavy or slow. There are many resources that you can get plugins from, including WordPress which offer both free plugins and with a fee according to their complexity and value.
As it’s often told in the WordPress community, despite whatever the feature you want to add to your website, there’s always a plugin for that! You can download and install plugins to your website in a few easy steps. You can remove them just as easily. There are many third companies that come up with extremely creative plugins which are sometimes unique to certain industries, allowing even the start-ups and small businesses to be on par with the big companies in the marketing when it comes to the quality of their websites.
Themes are another popular feature of WordPress, which has been one of the reasons it is widely popular among the blogging community. WordPress Themes allow you to beautifully customize your website by offering different styles and patterns of the overall graphical interface of the website. They are basically a pre-developed set of files that work together to deliver the desired result. WordPress offer their default themes and many free options. There are a lot of 3rd party developers who work on beautiful user interfaces to WordPress website at fairly affordable prices.
A theme is like the “skin” of your website. You can change its colors, add patterns and change up the overall presentation of your website to the viewers. WordPress has made it extremely easy for anyone to use WordPress themes, and you do not need to have any programming experience to install and maintain a theme as well. If you are creative and have developing skills, you can create your own WordPress themes from scratch for your own website or even commercially develop them for others as well.
When speaking of WordPress, you cannot forget the extremely substantial user community that contributes to WordPress. As a free and open sources product, many have contributed to this platform to constantly be updated and developed in many innovative ways. As of 2017, there are over 70 million websites active and running through which have been created through WordPress. Over half of these websites are self-hosted in Free WordPress platform, which means that the easy and accessibility of WordPress has truly contributed the very existence of such a large number of websites.
WordPress keeps working on the user friendliness of the platform ensuring that there is enough space for the programming experts to create and experiment. For this reason, WordPress has managed to attract and retain internet users of both ends of the spectrum.
Inclusivity of many language and forms have been another reason for WordPress to attract such a large user community. Currently, “WordPress allows working in 40 constantly updated and improved platform to include everyone with the access to the internet who are not well versed in English.”
According to statistics, 6 different WordPress sites add new content to the internet every passing second, making this platform one of the largest resources contributing to the ever evolving internet network. With its free and open source nature, there are new WordPress plugins being introduced to the world daily- reportedly one new plugin is added every passing hour. To add a fun fact, WordPress.com which is one of the most visited websites in the world only employs less than 250 people to manage all the proceedings from all over the world.
Now for the big names! WordPress has a long standing reputation for being one of the most stable and easy to use Content Management Systems. While it’s freely available nature make it extremely useful for beginners and small businesses, there are many big brands and companies who have opted to use WordPress for their high traffic website due to the quality, flexibility, and reliability of the platform.
Being one of the most leading news in the USA, CNN uses their website to give a real-time update of the news from all around the world. This is visited by millions of viewers from all around the world, and new content is added every hour. They used it as a news website and also as a blog with many opinion pieces published daily. Their high presence in social media channels ensures a steady flow of traffic to the website.
Forbes is one of the most visited website on the internet. They are credible and extremely reliable source of business news and current events mostly focusing on finance related information. Forbes is also popular worldwide, with a plenty of users visiting it from all across the world every day.
The blog run by Sony PlayStation is created through WordPress which is a platform for all the PlayStation players across the world to share their information and experiences.
Looking at the public figures, Kate Perry is one of the most famous pop artists in the world. She uses her WordPress based website to share her personal stories, music, videos and more to her fans who follow her from every corner of the world.
StyleWatch is one of the most popular fashion blogs on the internet, done by the editors of the People Magazine. There are daily updates to celebrity fashion news, tips, and feature articles which are ready by millions of people.
Mashable started as a tech related online magazine which grew a large following over a small time due to the quality and reliability of their content. Now they have expanded to covering entertainment, current events and many other buzz-worthy areas catering to their millions of following across social media channels.
Using the flexibility of storage and user friendliness of the WordPress platform, Mp3.com hosts over a million music tracks, artist details, and news which is updated daily. This is also graced by high volumes of traffic from all over the world.
This unique brand uses a WordPress based website to power up over a thousand local store blogs. They have many hot deals getting updated daily which attracts a substantial traffic.
The top most used website with over 500 million members is also using WordPress.
LinkedIn is a business- and employment-oriented social networking service that operates via websites and mobile apps.
This list will not be complete without the mention of this legendary rock and roll brand. They have the details of their complete discography and many videos beautifully stores in this WordPress based website to be accessible to their millions of fans.
During its 11 years of existence, WordPress has truly conquered the internet in many great ways and forms, allowing anyone with an internet connection to have their own space in this world wide network. WordPress is not hesitant to accept and correct their flaws. They are constantly developing and upgrading their platform to give the ultimate customer experience to their users. They keep increasing the usability, security and accessibility for all in the cyber space.
With many plugins, widgets, themes, additions, and improvements being made to WordPress platform daily, and many new businesses are choosing to have WordPress based websites this amazing CMS is here to stay.
What is WordPress? A great platform that has evolved above just blogging to be able to become a tool democratize web publishing. You can get WordPress Tutoring Here, or learn even more at WordPress.Org
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