When I finished my Certified Internet Web Masters Degree, I still knew nothing about practically setting up an actual website. My course showed me how to set files and manage them and code, all the boring stuff you don't want to know but I still didn't know how to go about getting a live site up and running.
Then I did an online Pro Web Design Course with Ben Hunt and was so excited about actually going through the steps of getting a site online
But as I went through it I felt a little deflated. Because the steps involved installing WordPress so I thought it was cheating. I thought, as a web designer I should be doing it all by hand, from scratch. How wrong was I?
Firstly, there is no way a web designer can take on all the jobs of a design / development team single handedly, as if one person can do as a team of ten or more can do in a company. Then take it on from scratch which could financially cost £1000's for software, development, graphics, tools and only charge a few hundred. And that's before we've even got started. So without re inventing the wheel, WordPress can effectively be used to make a website
So I quickly realized that Ben Hunts 15 years experience of designing for big companies and his proven success rate was to be trusted. I jumped straight in and haven't looked back.
Today I'd like to share my thoughts and knowledge about why I think you should be using WordPress for your business and also for personal use.
What Exactly Is WordPress?
Ok let's not get too technical, basically it is a web software that you can install to easily manage your website. All your files, images, posts, pages etc. Anyone can use wordpress and you don't need to learn coding or programing to create content for your site and update it.
WordPress.org or wordpress.com?
WordPress.com is free to set up and use so it's great for personal blogs. You will have a url such as www.yoursite.wordpress.com. Here is an example of a site I set up years ago called Birmingham Bunnies when I had my rabbits. I haven't used it for years but it is still running for free ( although the Rabbits are gone ). I think I've even forgotten the login details.
WordPress.org is much more flexable and professional. It is so widely used that most hosting companies offer a one click auto install of WordPress so setting up and installing your site couldn't be easier. You simplay buy your domain name, purchase your hosting, log into your hosting control panel, look for their one click install button and withing minutes you can see your site with the default wordpress theme online.
Auto Install With Site5Here is a screenshot of my hosting control Panel.
I host all my websites on site5 and they offer the one click auto install service. As you can see by the screenshot here you simply click, fill in a few details such as your url / blog name etc and install.
Click to enlarge
WordPress's Theme Twenty ThirteenWithin seconds it's online.I clicked install, went to the url and it's there using a default WordPress theme that you can now change and customize till your heart's content.
Click to enlarge.
Why WordPress? WordPress V's The Rest
- It's one of the most popular blogging tool / cms systems available on the internet. Arguably the most popular. Because of this there is a vast amount of tools and resources available such as themes and plugins. This makes your life a lot easier when building and gives you great choice when looking for things to add to and better your website. At present ( 2014 ) there are 29,724 plugins and 609,130,676 themes available to use and growing in number as we speak.
- WordPress and it's themes and plugins are available as open source code which means you can change and distribute without having to pay license fees. A big plus.
- Easy to Install
- Can be used by tech professionals and those with basic computer skills. You do not need to know coding to use wordpress.There are themes for those who have no technical knowledge and themes for professional designers
- WordPress is free to setup and run weather on .com or .org. If you are running wordpress from .org all you need to pay for is your hosting and domain. Perhaps a premium template if you choose but not compulsory
- WYSIWYG editor, short for what you see is what you get. A bit like the ones you get on eBay to add your listings. It means you can add content to your posts or pages via an editor that requires no coding. You can choose to add via a text editor or a html editor
- A wide range of resourses for ecommerce. If you want to sell you can simple download a plugin like woocommerce. It's free and provides you with product pages, easily add,manage and showcase your products and take payments with paypal, credit cards and other forms.
Some WordPress Website Examples
In my examples you can see I have applied things like...
- Shops - Health Means Wealth & Sakeenah Education
- Auctions - uMc Wales
- Donation Centres
- Live Broadcasting - Islam In Cardiff
- Events Pages - Islam In Cardiff
- Online forms and contact us pages
So What Can WordPress Do For Me?
- Make it easy for you to install and set up your site
- Easily choose and change designs with free or premium themes
- Dramatically save you money
- Give you full control over your site, allowing you to maintain and update it yourself
- Give you access to premium features and plugins without the expense
- Give you the ability to sell online and take payments
- Whatever your need, you will be able to incorporate it into your site using wordpress
So How Do I get Started?
- Get A Domain Name ( or free from wordpress.com )
- Get Hosting For A Year ( or free from wordpress.com )
- Install WordPress on your hosting
- Choose a suitable Theme
- Install your theme on your WordPress site
- Edit your theme accordingly
- Get A Logo
- Add Pages & Posts
- Market & Advertise
- Do Some seo work
- Regularly Update and blog