Everyone starts out not knowing how something works. First of all there is no such thing as a quick set up when you start using the web. No matter how many promises of it’s easy in a few minutes everything is ready and you’re “good to go.”
The five elements selected in this post are based on my personal experience from having gone through them.
All the software we use on the Web is sophisticated even if it looks easy. When you are new to WordPress the idea of the FREE blog with a free Theme sounds attractive.
Free means upgrade and comes with limited use. Free is designed to get you used to using something, and when you want to go further you are not inclined to want to start over and you upgrade for a fee.
This is fine if you are willing to try out something to see if you want to continue using it and then pay for the upgrade.
I started using WordPress in 2006. From my perspective, it’s the software made for the user. The work has already been done for you by the core developers.
As I connect online and offline, I meet people who started a free WordPress website and want an upgrade. Or they’re using a WordPress Theme the Theme isn’t quite working and an update costs more money or another Theme. You can switch platforms, but unless you’re used to migrating websites you’ll run into problems. The software isn’t compatible even though it is WordPress. When you move from one host to another there are proprietary code issues.
Who knew… now you do.
If you had the right information to begin with, you could make better choices for your website.
Step 1 Having the Right Information
The web, websites, blogs, and everything that goes with it has a learning curve. No one is completely clueless. We use the web everyday. Having a website or a blog is not a bad idea, it’s a monumental one. Yes, it takes work, but it is a labor of love, and passion led us here.
Information is out there on the Web. It depends who you talk to and what they are wanting you to buy. With WordPress for a website the only thing you would be buying is the Theme.
Where are you on your journey with your website?
- Are you completely new to WordPress?
- Are you somewhat familiar with WordPress and have a blog on WordPress.com and want to migrate it to another Theme?
- Are you looking for an upgrade on an existing WordPress website?
- Do you have a website dilemma?
The comparison of one type of software versus another comes down to personal preference and not the software. Every person approaches something in their unique way. No one can say there is only one perfect Website software to use.
WordPress is my personal preference. My journey started because I wanted to learn how to use a website but I didn’t know how to code. WordPress lets you operate the software, use a Theme, and without knowing code you can have a great looking website.
Step 2 About the Beginnings of WordPress
WordPress was first created as a blogging software. The project was a “fork” (a developer term, used to describe a new avenue to contribute to an existing project) that needed fixing. The software needing fixing was b2 Cafelog. Matt Mullenweg, a smart computer programmer participated in an online forum and asked if anyone was interested in assisting him to improve the software. This resulted in the teamwork of Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little, together they solved the blogging software dilemma. The result, the creation of the blogging software, WordPress.
WordPress has developed beyond a blogging software. Over 60 million people now use WordPress for their website.
If you’re using it for the first time, it is sort of scary to use, because you aren’t quite sure of what something does. All you have to do is test it out, and if you do something wrong you can always undo the action and start over. The core software doesn’t break down because what you did doesn’t quite work.
It’s amazing when you think about it. All the code works in the background and you’re using a Word Processor just like we use in a Word document, in Microsoft, or Google Docs, or any other word processing software.
You will read a lot of negative criticism about WordPress. I call this brand bashing. In the cutthroat world of business, the guy at the top is always the target of those who are annoyed at someone else’s hard work that put them into the top position.
The Web lets anyone say anything about something and you have no way of knowing if the information is true or not.
You now have to look carefully behind the scenes at who says what, and who makes what claim about themselves. There are so many “experts,” “number one in the nation,” “leading edge,” “thought leader,” and on it goes.
Who is the real expert? You are when you take the time to find out the facts. When you don’t know, you are vulnerable. This is what happened in my case when I first started out with WordPress. I had no idea what I was getting into. Fortunately, the company that developed the WordPress theme provided tutorials and support if I bought their package deal.
Before I bought their package though, I found out all I could about them. They’re still in business today, and I’m still with them.
We’re not unintelligent, we’re often on the receiving end of convincing sales talk.
Step 3 What is the Free Blog
WordPress.com is where you can set up a blog for free. The free platform has limitations and when you decide you want to turn your blog into a Website, you will need to upgrade to WordPress.org.
Upgrading to WordPress.org means you need your own domain name and a Hosting Company. This is called self-hosting.
Let me clear up something here. Self-hosting implies you download WordPress to your computer and work on it and have a website. This isn’t the way it works.
We use these terms all the time but take a look at this graphic to get the practical picture.
Your computer is what you use to access the web. The Web Hosting service is on a server. You are renting the space your website takes up on a server provided to you by your Hosting Company.
The information from your computer travels back and forth in HTML packages. On the Web, we have a system of links that connect your computer to all the pages on the Web. Each person is operating from their own individual computer to the World Wide Web, through an Internet Service Provider (ISP).
The WordPress software is downloaded to your computer and then uploaded from a .zip folder to the Web Host Server and then it operates on the Web, through the Host server, not on your computer. All the files within the Website are in the database on the Server provided by your hosting company.
You will be downloading the WordPress software that is packaged with a Theme, not just the core WordPress. The Theme overlays the core software. A Theme is the decorative element of the Website or Blog. There is a whole lot to using a WordPress Theme and your choice of theme matters.
Step 4 What is the Web
We have to pause and reflect on how the web came into existence. It wasn’t always there. It was invented by engineers and physicists who built a system of networked computers for private communication between institutions.
Originally the public did not have access. Until the idea of an individual being able to access information from a personal computer was presented by a team of physicists at CERN Laboratories in Switzerland. Among them was Sir Tim Berners-Lee who is credited with the invention of the abstract concept of the Word Wide Web.
The simple system of hyperlinks was the connecting factor from computer to computer and Berners-Lee developed the HTML language to enable the information to travel from your computer through your browser, through the web host server onto the network, the web.
On another front was Jacques Vallee who led the team to develop the network software on ARPANET, the ancestor of the Internet. Vallee has been called one of the “fathers” of the Internet.
The history of the web is fascinating and there are more than two people involved in the evolution of the web. I mention these two men specifically because their work brought us the Internet and the Web. They wrote informative and inspiring books about their experience, The Heart of the Internet by Jacques Vallee, and Weaving the Web by Tim Berners-Lee, with Mark Fischetti These are books in my collection, and no, I’m not an affiliate with Amazon. I believe in passing on information when I’ve read something worthwhile.
Step 5 Using WordPress
The inventor of the software, in this case WordPress, has the right to make their software available to the public under the GPL, meaning general public license. A WordPress Theme is required to be one hundred percent GPL license. The default WordPress Theme, Twenty Fifteen, is distributed under the terms of the GNU GPL. When you use a Theme, you are granted a license to use the Theme for your purposes. The person who created the Theme, the Designer, may offer it free or for a price.
The developers of WordPress core feel that WordPress should work without much configuration on the user’s end. The configuration is the code, and for those who are not code savvy, this is what makes WordPress easy to use, once you start using it. All software requires some getting used to when you use it for the first time.
A common complaint of WordPress user’s after installing WordPress is that the admin area, the dashboard, is completely overwhelming. I agree. It was when I first started using it. But after a while you remember the functions because you use them repeatedly.
When you are inside the admin dashboard you have to begin by using the icons. You will find an explanation with each command. We’re pretty much used to using software. You place your mouse over the icon and the tool function will tell you what the icon does.
WordPress gives you your own private printing press which turns into a publishing platform. A powerful tool to use to get your message out onto the Web. So now you’re not new to WordPress and your passion led you here.