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WordPress is far and away the most popular content management systems on the web today. According to W3Techs, almost 35 percent of websites use WordPress. So it’s no surprise that if you’re looking to create a website, you’re going to likely end up using WordPress.

That being said, it can be a bit complicated. Yes, the initial set up and basic running of the CMS is pretty easy. After all, there’s a reason it has that high of a usage rate. But like anything, if it’s going to be effective for your business, there’s a learning curve that you’re going to have to master.

You’re going to have to know how to update the core, plugins and themes (or have someone do it for you). You’ll need to know how to manage your content. And you’ll also need to figure out what plugin works best for which situation.

So let’s talk about WordPress and how you can use it better. This page is filled with links to blog posts, videos, resources (both internal and external) and people to follow so that you can learn it better and ultimately have a website that works for you.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is the top content management system on the web today. And it could be argued that it’s what shaped blogging (and maybe even websites) into what they are today. It’s also an open source project, meaning that the code is free to use and anyone can contribute to the project, whether it’s through code, documentation or other aspects of the community.

And most major web hosts have one-click installs for it, meaning it’s pretty quick and easy to create a WP website and start blogging right away.

Getting Started with a WP Website

WordPress is pretty easy to use once you get the hang of it. The problem, however, can sometimes be getting used to everything it does and offers when you’re first starting to use it. So, here are some helpful tutorials to help get you started with it.

What is the Gutenberg editor?

If you’ve heard about WordPress since the end of 2018, then the chances are pretty good that you’ve heard about Gutenberg, or the new block editor experience in WP core. Essentially everything is a block, from paragraphs to headings to images to the ever-growing number of third-party blocks. In theory, you can create a really cool page layout without touching any code.

It continues to be a bit of a lightning rod topic among users, but it seems those who have never used WP before adapt quicker to the new editor than those of us still familiar with the old one.

Gutenberg continues to be developed with the goal of being able to edit your site completely with blocks sometime in the future.

What are Themes?

Themes are vital for any WP website, but they can be a bit confusing for the newcomer. One of the best examples I’ve heard is comparing WordPress to a car. The main functionality is the engine, transmission, wheels and other necessary components to get the car to move. Themes are the exterior facing items that make the car look so good. It’s the style of the dashboard, the leather seats, the paint job, etc.

So themes for a WP website is the design and presentation of your website. It’s the colors, layout and the like that the user sees when they get to your website. So picking the right theme (or creating your own) can play a big difference in people just bouncing away from your site or sticking around.

What are Plugins?

Keeping with the car analogy from themes, plugins in WordPress are the added functionality in your car. This is your powered windows, the radio, remoteless start, etc. Essentially, plugins extend the power of WP core and allow you to do so much more than blog. There are a ton of ecommerce plugins that can turn your website into a store. There are plugins to help your site’s SEO. And there are plugins to show your social media feeds. The list is practically endless.

The Community

One of the best parts I’ve found about WordPress is the community around it. Because it’s open source, there are many, many people who actively work on it and many more people who work around it. That includes people who build products with WP, including themes and plugins, run agencies building WP websites or just use it for personal or business use.

And the community is active online and in person. There are local WP conferences, called WordCamps, all over the world, and there are smaller, more frequent meetups. Plus, there are so many Slack groups, Facebook groups and other online communities where you can meet people who use WP and can help you out.

WP Hosting

WordPress is a great tool, but your website will only be as good as the foundation it’s built on. In this case, it’s web hosting. The good news is that there are a lot of options for your web hosting with WP these days. And all of the top hosts have one-click installs, which makes a younger me so jealous.

But getting the right hosting for your website type is crucial. Get the right one, and you’ll never worry about downtime. Get the wrong one, and it’s going to become a headache. Here’s a list of web hosts that I recommend to anyone looking for a WP website.

Caring for your WP Website

Websites in general need a lot of care and maintenance for them to work for you. And it’s doubly important if your website uses WP. You’ll need to run updates to WP itself, plugins and themes on a weekly basis at the minimum. This not only helps you get the latest features, but can protect your website from outside threats as security holes are patched up. It’s a time consuming process, but giving your WP website the care it needs will keep it protected and helping you and/or your business.