Welcome to our WordPress series!
We’ve put this together to help you wrap your head around the most popular method of managing a website. From the basics of understanding what WordPress is and whether you should use it, to some canny tips for picking out potential WordPress web agencies, we’ve got you covered on a whole host of helpful info. We’ll keep updating this series with new posts, so don’t forget to come back and check for more.
Before we go any further, I’ll explain the basic building blocks that make up a WordPress website.
This is the main software that rarely changes between any WordPress website. It’s all the core files that allow your website to run in the first place. Without downloading anything extra, you already have everything you need to run a basic, no-frills website and blog.
A WordPress theme is a collection of files that control how your WordPress website looks. Font sizes, colour scheme, flow of content… It’s the skin or visual framework of your website. The WordPress core comes with a handful of built-in themes, but there’s an enormous amount of WordPress themes available to download and use. Developers can also make their own themes from scratch.
So now you know the WordPress core allows you to run a basic website with blog functionality. There’s already a lot there to play with. But often you’ll need a little – or a lot – extra.
Perhaps you want a form so visitors can contact you, or a live Twitter feed, or something more complex like a shopfront that allows visitors to buy products. All this functionality can be added through the use of a plugin.
Basically put, a plugin is a chunk of new functionality that gives your website different abilities. There are thousands of WordPress plugins out there that you can literally, well, plug in to your website. Developers can also make them from scratch, to do pretty much anything you can think of.
THE WORDPRESS FRONT END
This is the part of the website that all your visitors see. All the text, images and content that you add are compiled and displayed on the front end by WordPress.
THE WORDPRESS BACK END (THE ADMIN SECTION)
This is where you manage your WordPress website. Adding text, images, making new blog posts, customising your WordPress theme – all safely hidden behind a username and password, to ensure visitors can’t access it.
THE ALL-IMPORTANT WEB SERVER
Once you’ve made a website, someone’s got to host it. Without a hosting provider, your WordPress website is just a bunch of files on a computer. Hosting providers store your website on a web server for you, so visitors can reach it.
There are a lot of web hosting options out there, but if an agency or designer is creating the website for you, they’ll often pick one out. You can also find all-in-one solutions where companies offer to set up, host and manage the website for you in one go. We’ll have some information about picking a host up soon.
WordPress.com or WordPress.org?
A quick but important note: WordPress.org is the home of the WordPress software that you can download for free. Designers and agencies use this resource to set up WordPress websites for clients every day. With a little know-how, you can also use it to set up your own website.
WordPress.com is a website that offers to set up and host a WordPress website for you. This is a paid service.
By the way – we’re not affiliated with WordPress in any way. It’s just often the best fit for building our clients’ websites. If you’d like to talk to us about building your website, get in touch.
OK, now you know some important basics. Read the next post to find out why WordPress is so popular.