For many, the idea of building their own website seems daunting or like something they need to leave to professional developers to do.
Fortunately, there is software out there that has been designed to be easy-to-use so that almost anyone has the ability to create their own professional-looking website, with little to no coding or web design experience needed. The most popular, with 455 million websites using it, is WordPress.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a free and open-source content management system (CMS) that enables users to build and host websites with little to no-coding required. WordPress uses a template and plugin architecture system that allows each website to be easily customised to suit the needs of the business, blog, portfolio or online store.
WordPress was originally designed to be a blog-publishing system but has since evolved to support a wide range of website styles, such as forums, galleries, membership sites, online stores and learning management systems (LMS).
WordPress.com Vs WordPress.org
When you first look into creating a WordPress website, a likely question that will arise is what’s the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org and which one should you be using?
Fundamentally, the difference lies in who hosts your website. WordPress.org is a self-hosting platform, meaning you will be responsible for setting up the hosting with a third-party provider, downloading the WordPress software, purchasing and connecting your domain, and managing the server and your website security. WordPress.org is a much more hands on approach.
Whereas, WordPress.com website is hosted by WordPress. You won’t need to download the software, manage the server or buy a domain (although, if you want to connect to a specific domain this step will still apply). When deciding which is the right one for you, you should consider how involved you want to be or can be in the set-up and control of your website. WordPress.org provides you with much more control over the customisation and set-up of your website, but you will have the responsibility of maintaining it. Although WordPress.org is free to use, in order for it to be a live fully-functioning website, you will have the cost of everything else that goes along with this. You should also feel comfortable enough to download and install plugins, manage your site’s security and edit code.
A WordPress.com website handles most of the more complicated things for you. WordPress.com is available as a free version and a paid version, so you can also manage your costs further. However, the free version doesn’t allow you to upload any custom themes or plugins so you may find it more limiting for full customisation. It will also automatically come with a sub-domain that will look like www.mywebsite.wordpress.com, however, you can pay for premium upgrades and other plans that give access to more features and control, as well as the option to buy a custom domain through a third-party site.
How To Build A WordPress Website
Depending on if you are using WordPress.com or WordPress.org, the steps of setting up your website are slightly different. If you are using WordPress.com, jump to step 4.
1. Install WordPress software
2. Choose your hosting provider
3. Purchase and set up your domain name
4. Select a WordPress plan (applies to WordPress.com only)
5. Choose your theme
6. Add pages and posts to your website
7. Customise your website
8. Install desired plugins
9. Once happy with your website, it’s time to publish
10. Optimise your website to increase page speed & SEO
There are also a lot of free resources available for help, tips and inspiration. If there are certain styles of website you are looking to imitate, there are sites such as themeforest.com and envatoelements.com that allow you to purchase pre-designed themes that you can upload to WordPress and once you customise fonts, colours, images etc. you have a pre-made website with your branding