Getting started with WordPress
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When I started my YouTube channel, I asked my e-mail subscribers what videos they wanted me to make.
I’m scared to change my website from Weebly to WordPress. I’ve heard that a DIY website like Weebly is already “hosted” but I don’t understand what that means.
So in this post, I’m going to explain everything you need to know about WordPress, whether you’re starting your site from scratch or are planning to move from another site-building tool.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a free and open-source content management system. This means it’s free software to manage the content of your site, so your pages and blog posts.
Being open-source means any developer can contribute to it, so it’s not dependent on just one company to keep it going.
So, if WordPress is free, why do you pay for your website? First of all, you need hosting.
What is hosting?
The files that make up your website need a physical location to be stored, like your files on your hard drive. Web hosting companies provide the space you need, and they connect your files to your domain name so that when someone visits your domain name, they get to see your site.
If you come from another site-building tool, like Squarespace, Weebly or Wix, you’ve paid one fee for the tool and that’s it. Their hosting is included.
WordPress actually does have a similar option to the other platforms at WordPress.com, where you pay one fee and that’s it. But, like the other platforms, it limits you in what you can do.
Which is where WordPress.org comes in. This is the version that allows you full control over what themes and plugins you use, which I’ll explain in just a bit what those are, but for now, you just need to know for the full flexibility of WordPress, you need to use the WordPress.org version.
With WordPress.org, you need to get your own hosting.
What is shared hosting?
You might be attracted to cheap hosting, but please make sure to use a quality hosting company.
Hosting companies assign just a small part of their server to your site. It’s more than enough for sites just starting out, and keeps costs low.
This is shared hosting, where your site shares the physical space with other sites. This is not a bad thing, but some hosts put so many sites on one physical location, it can affect how fast your site loads.
For great hosting, I recommend SiteGround and WP Engine.
What is a domain name?
If you’re moving from another site building tool, you already have a domain name. But if you’re starting from scratch, you’re going to need to get one. A domain name is the website address, such as anouskarood.com. A lot of hosting companies offer a free domain with their hosting packages and a quick and easy install of WordPress.
Once you have the hosting, domain name, and WordPress set up, you’ll want to customize your site with a theme.
What is a theme?
Themes customize the look of your WordPress site. It might be attractive to get a theme with lots of options for you to customize, but I actually recommend using a simple theme, one that loads quickly and doesn’t overwhelm you. You can then customize your site using a page builder plugin.
What is a plugin?
Plugins add functionality to your site. I’ve already mentioned page builder plugins, which help you easily create and edit beautiful pages.
But plugins can do a lot of different things. A few examples are Yoast, which helps you improve the SEO for your site; And Social Warfare, which adds social sharing buttons to your blog posts; There are plugins for contact forms, and creating a custom 404 page, and really, anything you can think of, there’s probably a plugin for that.
Importing content from another system
If you come from another site-building tool, you already have a site with content that you’ll want to move over. WordPress has an importer tool that allows you to move over your content pretty quickly.
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