What is WordPress and how does it work?

Tech-Warrior__What-is-WordPress-&-how-does-it-work

WordPress is an online website builder. That’s it. Thank you for coming to my Talk!

In all seriousness, WordPress is a free, online tool which thousands (maybe millions) of people and organisations use to build websites. In more technical terms, WordPress is a free, online Content Management System (CMS) which uses additional applications, known as plugins, and a small amount of coding which can be used to design websites, blogs, e-commerce stores, online galleries and much more.

What is WordPress? Only the largest

WordPress — an overview

If you’re not clued-up on how websites work, or how they’re built and you would like to know more about WordPress, read on and let’s jump down the rabbit hole together.

Originally designed as a tool for blogging, WordPress later became a CMS and the fully fledged website building tool we know and see today. Of all the websites currently on the internet, nearly 40% of them are built, designed and maintained through WordPress. To put that figure into something more tangible, let’s look at it this way:

  • As of 2021 there are currently 1.3 billion websites across the internet
  • So on average WordPress powers 455 million websites
  • Give or take a few percent that’s nearly one third of all websites currently on the internet

In our previous articles we’ve looked at what a WordPress website is, the differences between a website and a blog. Clients have asked us questions over the years and we’ve done our best to answer them in a way that isn’t jargon filled. If that’s something which interests you, head over to our Learning Hub to find out more and become a website whizz!

There’s no shortage of remarkable ideas, what’s missing is the will to execute them.
—Seth Godin

Web development

WordPress moves with the times

Track your success

Closing thoughts

Web development

WordPress’ popularity is driven by how simple, easy and intuitive it is to use, especially for someone with minimal technical know-how and no background with any form of coding. As an example, say you’re a small enterprise selling funky socks or facemasks, you may not have the capital to set up an online store, so as a workaround, you ask customers to phone or email you for their orders. As your business begins to grow and you begin getting a more steady cash flow, you can set up a website upgrade fund.

With the newest upgrades implemented to your website, you can now add more, and potentially, varying products to your online marketplace, ultimately setting up a full blown online store, otherwise known as an e-commerce website. E-commerce is the formal term for an online store; choosing the best e-commerce plugin is not a science and is, in our opinion, a matter of both budget and available support from the plugin’s developers and people with the technical aptitude. Tech Warrior’s suggestion would be WooCommerce, the defacto WordPress add-on for an online shop. WooCommerce offers a large amount of personalisation; you can up and downscale the size of your online store; if your business plans on selling in various regions there are built in features to make your life easier like currency exchanges and VAT rates for different countries.

Whichever route you choose, you’ll now be able to add something called a payment gateway, which allows your customers to pay for their chosen products online and not through an invoice you, or an employee, has to write up; reducing the amount of admin you potentially need to do - saving you and your customers hassle and headaches.

WordPress also allows website owners the opportunity to track the metrics and statistics of people visiting their website. This means business owners, food bloggers or ‘lifehackers’ can see how many people visit their website on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly, basis. Which posts people engage with more frequently and help them identify who their target market should be. Coupled with the aforementioned, WordPress websites tend to rank higher up in Google search results - this is partly due to the core file of the WordPress system being constantly updated and offering integration for something called ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ or SEO.

Search Engine Optimisation improves the overall experience of people visiting a website - an SEO specialist in essence makes your website more attractive to large search engines such as Google, Yahoo! And Bing. Ultimately, driving more traffic to-and-through a website; you can read all the nitty gritty about what is Search Engine Optimization at our Learning Hub.

On average about 60% of all website traffic comes from a mobile device, meaning people are accessing data, making purchases or browsing the internet using a tablet or smartphone. Considering how small the screen sizes are compared to a computer’s monitor, that’s a huge feat, but WordPress does it effortlessly and it also makes your website more attractive to Google - this is because Google and other search engines favour websites that have mobile responsiveness.

When you decide to build your website with WordPress, you’ll have to decide which option is best for you. There are two choices and I’ll breakdown the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

WordPress.com

  • This is the hosted version of WordPress, meaning the WordPress organisation hosts and mages the background stuff of your website
  • Your domain won’t be personalised and will looks something similar to this: techwarrior.wordpress.com. While that may not bother you, it doesn’t exactly present professionalism to customers and your competitors
  • There can be limited customizability unless you pay a monthly fee, as with most subscription based services, the more you pay, the more “goodies” you have access to

WordPress.org

  • Is the open-source, free piece of software you can download and upload to a web server. When something is open-source, it means individuals can unpack the core files and building blocks of a program learn how it operates and in the case of WordPress, design their own plugins which people around the world can make use of
  • To use this version of WordPress you will need to have a domain name registered and a web hosting profile / account
  • Is the non-profit component of WordPress.com - both are owned by a holding company, Automattic the founding company of WordPress

In all honesty, I am a WordPress fan boy. My father has used WordPress since 2004, it’s one of the only website builders I’ve delved into on a deep level. I’ve had opportunities to use SquareSpace, Joomla, Wix and Drupal, but based on the ‘law of attrition’ numbers always win. For me, logic prevailed and I asked myself, “If one third of all websites on the internet use WordPress, why would I try something else?” If organisations like Spotify, Sony, Disney and CNBC use WordPress, I believe I should too.

The support from the community and the sheer amount of information available for aspiring web developers and people with nominal web experience is second to none. There are no constraints other than your proficiency and level of understanding; which is what makes the open-endedness of the program one of the best, if not the best CMS in the world.

Ultimately, the choice is yours, but I have a feeling if you’ve read this far, you’re going to become part of the WordPress ecosystem and family in due course. After all, here at Tech Warrior we have been building websites for more than 25 years and we use WordPress, so shouldn’t you!

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