You must have come across the term “WordPress” while searching for website building software for non-technical people. It is a free open-source website creation platform that allows users to create a blog or a website without having to understand any programming language. Technical people would define it as a content management system (CMS) written in PHP and using MySQL database.
As open-source software, it means that WordPress is publicly available and always free. Users can download it anytime, modify it to suit their needs and also share those modifications with others.
A Content Management System (CMS) is a tool that makes it easy to manage parts of your website without needing to know anything about programming. WordPress is therefore very popular with non-technical people as it helps you create a blog or a full website without writing code.
The Popularity of WordPress
WordPress was founded by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little in 2003. They were working on this project with the aim of “democratizing publishing”. The mission was to make it possible for all people, regardless of their technical capabilities, to start blogs and websites and publish their content online.
Since then, WordPress has grown and developed to support not only the creation of blogs but also full-fledged responsive websites and mobile apps. According to the statistics by Kinsta, WordPress now powers over 43% of all the websites globally whose content management system is known. That’s quite a huge market share.
There is other no-code software for building websites such as Squarespace, Wix, Joomla and Drupal, among others.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
When searching for “WordPress”, these two websites, i.e., WordPress.com and WordPress.org, appear in the search results. They are both site-building platforms but it is important to differentiate the two. This will help you make the right choice for your website or blog depending on your personal needs and preferences.
To begin with, WordPress.com is an all-in-one build-your-website platform. It is free to get started; you do not need third-party hosting or an external domain name. To get started, go to wordpress.com, click to sign up and create an account then start building your blog or website in no time.
Further, it is free to get started here. You will be given up to 3GB of disk space and a free wordpress.com subdomain. Your website or blog address will therefore look like www.myblog.wordpress.com.
A domain name is an address you type into your browser to reach your website. For example, Google’s domain name is google.com.
If you want to have a custom domain for your website, you can sign up for a premium plan. This will cost somewhere between $ 4 and $ 45 monthly. With a free plan, you cannot monetize your site. However, a paid plan (premium WordPress.com plan) allows you to monetize your blog with ads and affiliate links.
The downside of having a free WordPress.com account is that you will have access to limited customization possibilities for your blog or website. All the website maintenance, hosting and upgrades are taken care of by WordPress.com experts. You will not have access to your site’s PHP code. This means you can hardly change and customize stuff the way you want.
Also, WordPress.com will display ads on your site if you are using the free plan. You will not have control of the type of ads to be displayed or where exactly on the site they will be showing.
No matter the amount of traffic you drive to the site under a free plan, you will not be allowed to monetize it. I would therefore not recommend it to any person wanting to build a website and make money online from that website.
However, it is ideal for launching a personal project, for sharing your ideas or for a simple blog that does not require the implementation of blog monetization strategies.
When people talk about WordPress, they are mostly referring to WordPress.org. It is a free downloadable site-building software. You can either install it on your computer’s localhost or a third-party hosting space online.
WordPress.org will power both the back-end of your website (where a user logs in to add content or make changes) and the front-end (the parts of your website that is visible to your site visitors online).
Although it is free, you will need to have your custom domain and purchase external web hosting from a third-party hosting provider. These will cost you some money, either billed monthly or annually.
I recommended you check Hostinger if you want to purchase a domain and web hosting. I migrated all my websites to them. They run on Litespeed servers; ensuring your website loads faster. Site speed is a very important metric when it comes to your site’s ranking on Google search, user retention and eCommerce.
When you install WordPress.org on your custom domain, you will have access to an unlimited number of themes and plugins to enable you to make as many customizations to your website as possible.
What is a WordPress Theme?
A WordPress theme is an additional code that provides the design framework of your website.
It controls the website’s colour scheme, the overall look and feel of the website, font styles, page layouts, styles for blog posts and blog archive displays, widget locations and other stylistic details.
What is a WordPress Plugin?
A WordPress plugin is a package of additional code that you can upload to your WordPress website and add additional features, functionality and customizations.
They can be added through the WordPress dashboard. They allow for doing things such as adding contact forms on the site, ads, lead collection forms, integration with Google Analytics for monitoring web traffic or a simple spam protection functionality.
Since WordPress.org gives you all the freedom to add any functionality and customization as you wish, it is ideal for people who want to have complete control of their websites. You can monetize your site by displaying ads using a plugin, integrating Google AdSense or embedding affiliate links in posts (without limits).
WordPress.org is therefore ideal for all types of websites including personal blogs and portfolio sites, business websites, membership websites, e-commerce websites, learning management sites, and forums, among others.
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