Q & A: So you want to know more about WordPress?

So you want to know more about WordPressA friend or colleague has been trying to talk you into opting to use WordPress over traditional website build methods. You are not totally convince and need further persuasion. Just what are the benefits? Why use WordPress? What is WordPress?

Below is a list of commonly asked questions and the kind of answers that I would give when talking anything WordPress.

Why choose WordPress?

What can be said to convince you that WordPress is the solution for you?

Isn’t WordPress just a blog? I don’t want one of those!

It started as a content management blogging tool. However, WordPress has so many features that it has become far more. You can build a standard ‘static-like’ website with a home page, about, contact us, etc. If you prefer, you can totally avoid the word ‘blog’ altogether when describing WordPress. However, there is a lot of power in ‘posting’. Adding regular, good, user orientated content to your website will increase your chances of success.

Does WordPress cost anything?

No. It is free to download and use. You can buy themes and plugins, but the majority are totally free. If you want something a little more bespoke then you may need to hire a ‘techie’. I hate paying for things and I’m a big fan of WordPress.

Does Google like WordPress websites?

Oh yes! For so many good reasons. Generally speaking, search engines love good user-orientated content. You are free to add posts any time you like. By doing so, you are potentially enriching your website. You’ll be talking with passion about your subject and submitting regular posts on relevant topics. Also, if you enable comments on your WordPress website, then the questions and suggestions of your visitors will empower your content.

Is there any limit to what I can do?

No, not really. You can build any kind of website with WordPress. However, the more complex your plans, the more technical the build becomes. Don’t let that put you off. You can develop your knowledge as you go. Start off simple and steadily progress to your goal.

Can I make money from my WordPress website?

Absolutely yes! If you are hosting your WordPress website away from WordPress.com, then you are free to make as much cash as you wish. You can add Google Adsense or alternative Pay Per Click services. You can create themes and plugins and sell them. You can also host subscription-based ‘members only’ areas. However, in order to make money, you need visitors. Always right for the visitor and not to make money. Create a buzz about your website to get people in. Back-sides on seats = greater earning power!

How popular is WordPress?

According to recent statistics (2013), 18.9% of the top 10 million websites are developed using WordPress. That amounts to approximately 60 million websites, worldwide! WordPress has become the leading content management tool for beginners and web design professionals alike.

Do I need to be a web designer to use WordPress?

No, you can start using WordPress at any level. Some understanding of basic website design will certainly help. From a technical point of view, the higher your level of understanding, the more you’ll be able to achieve. However, content is king. If you can write compelling content, then you’ll be awarded with plenty of visitors.

Setup

Not a technical kind of person? Don’t worry, read on!

Do I need to have my own domain to host a WordPress website?

No, you can run a WordPress website directly from http://wordpress.com for free. However, if you wish to make money from your venture, then you’ll need to sign up with a host and buy a domain. I have used http://www.one.com a lot in the past (I’m not an affiliate of theirs!). They’re very low-cost and host all of the necessary features needed to run a WordPress website. Another benefit of using an independent hosting services is that should your blog becomes a huge success, you’ll be able to sell it! You can’t sell wordpress.com! Get your own domain!

What are the minimum server requirements?

In order to run WordPress, your server host package will need to offer the following:

  • PHP version 5.2.4 or greater
  • MySQL version 5.0 or greater

What support is available?

There is an endless stream of written and video tutorials available on the internet. You’ll also find an unbelievable amount of forums and comment streams full of just about everything you’ll need to know. Here are just a few resources to be getting on with:

Yes, WordPress can do that!

WordPress is truly flexible.

Can my visitors email me from my WordPress website?

Yes, there are free plugins available that allow you to create forms for email inquiries. I use ‘Contact Form‘.

Can I add new pages and keep the website up to date?

Of course you can! It’s one of the most powerful features within WordPress. WordPress comes with a robust and secure CMS (Content Management System). You can login and add or change your content any time you like. You can build new pages, add images, answer user comments and tweak your site until your heart’s content.

Can I add E-commerce to my WordPress website?

Yes. But you’ll need to download a free plugin for this. There are plenty of e-commerce plugins on offer.

Is Google Analytics compatible with a WordPress website?

Yes. Again, you’ll need to download a plugin for this and there are so many on offer. I use Google Analytics for WordPress.

Can I add an image gallery?

The image gallery feature in WordPress is brilliant! So easy to use and very effective. There are also lots of great plugins to push this functionality even further, such as WP Lightbox 2 to cause your images to open within attractive hovering windows.

Can I setup multiple logins to allow different levels of access to admin?

You can set up as many user accounts as you wish. You can also control the levels of access to your websites per user account. For more information, visit my User Account Management tutorial.

If I change the look and feel (theme) of my WordPress website, will the content remain the same?

Your written content will not change as a result of a change in theme. Each theme is different. Page layout will undoubtedly be change, as will column structure and how your posts or menu systems appear on your WordPress website. Changing between themes takes just a few seconds and is as easy as a click of a mouse.

Can I add WordPress to an existing website?

Yes. If you are installing WordPress yourself, then you have say in where it goes on your server. I’g suggest trying to tailor your installation to look more like your existing website if possible. Also, ensure that you add consistency to your menu system by adding links to and from your WordPress build.

Is it mobile compatible?

There are some amazing plugins that will convert your content into a rich mobile-ready experience. I’d highly recommend the WPtouch Mobile Plugin.

Can I customize the appearance of my WordPress website?

Most themes will offer you a number of controls to change colour schemes, logos and layout. Some provide more settings than others. If you are experienced with HTML and CSS, then you will be able to tweak your chosen theme and reshape it into what ever you like.

Further reading

My collection of WordPress tutorials and articles.

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