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WordPress 101: What WordPress Is (The Very Basics) – #1

Perhaps you already have a website up and running and are looking for a better way to manage all your website content… or perhaps you are currently in the thinking, planning, and “working on getting an online business up and running” stage.

You may have different words floating around in your head like, “Joomla,” “WordPress,” “Blogger,” “Typepad” – but aren’t quite sure what they mean, or where to even start.

In this Wordpress Series I’m going to give you all sorts of tips and information regarding WordPress. Best plugins, how-to’s, and much, much more!

What WordPress Is

WordPress is a content management system (called a CMS) for a website. It really started out as a blogging platform, and indeed… WordPress can be just a blog. But it certainly is not limited to blogs. You can build a whole website on a WordPress CMS.

Here are a few really quick examples (of course, there are MILLIONS more on the web – and of course THIS website is on WordPress!):

Go Fast Video Traffic Formula

Robert Jones Beauty Academy (the Members Section)

Spine Nutrition

WordPress makes it extremely easy to build website pages, blog posts, contact forms, landing pages, even online shopping carts – you name it! WordPress is a user-friendly platform with all kinds of resources and easy-to-use plugins (free and paid). It may take a little bit of learning at first, but once learned, it is very powerful!

WordPress.com versus WordPress.org

When I first started using WordPress I was told there were two different WordPress platforms. This definitely confused me at first. One is at WordPress.com and the other is at WordPress.org. So, what’s the difference?

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is similar to Blogger (if you are familiar at all with that). You can sign up for a free, hosted blog (again, you can make this a full website – not just a blog) at WordPress.com. You do not have to pay for any  hosting and/or any other fees. You can have a full blog/website up and running in 5 minutes!

There are several downfalls to the free WordPress model. First, you are limited in design and your domain (your website URL) will have .wordpress.com after it because your site is simply a part of the WordPress MultiSite Network. For example, if I had created this website on the WordPress.com network, the URL would be: www.gofastweb.wordpress.com versus www.gofastweb.com. Also – any color changes in your theme, shopping carts, or a domain name WITHOUT .wordpress.com after it are all upgrades for additional fees.

Next, if you want your site to have some kind of functionality that doesn’t come with your WordPress.com site, you cannot add any plugins and you certainly aren’t allowed to just code it yourself, which means you are immediately limited.

AND the biggest downfall – you are really at the mercy of WordPress.com. They have complete control over your blog and, should they decided to delete you as a user, they have the authority to do so. Yep – your website could be gone overnight.

I do not recommend that you build a business at WordPress.com – I highly suggest you go to WordPress.org. So… what is at WordPress.org that is different than WordPress.com?

WordPress.org

WordPress.org is a wealth of resources for those who pay for their own domains and hosting and choose to use WordPress as their CMS. It is merely where you go to download the latest WordPress version AND you can find some really spiffy free and premium themes for your site as well as thousands of plugins (little pieces of code that you simply upload – aka “plugin” – to your site) to get your site running exactly the way you would like it to.

So, to be clear, here’s how it works:

  1. You register a domain name at somewhere like GoDaddy.com
  2. You buy hosting (again, from GoDaddy. Hostgator, or wherever you choose)
  3. You install WordPress

Easy as 1-2-3! You’ll have your website up and running, and the fun of customizing and adding content can begin!

In the next WordPress Learning Series post, I’ll show you how to install WordPress 🙂