WordPress is a powerful content management system that can be used to create and maintain websites. You can use it to create a website for your business, hobby, blog, or anything else.
But, it’s not always easy to get started with WordPress. It takes time and effort to learn how to use the platform, which might discourage people from using it in the first place.
We’ve got you covered! There are plenty of plugins available for free for WordPress that will make your website more functional without any coding knowledge required. These plugins allow you to do everything from adding social media buttons or contact forms to setting up e-commerce or community-driven sites, all without touching a line of code!
What is WordPress – Background
WordPress is an open-source platform that was developed in 2003. It was originally designed to only function as a blog but as the need grew, WordPress transformed into being a full Content Management System (CMS) which includes a blog. This means that you have full access to code (if you like), themes, plugins, and all customizations.
WordPress now provides a means for non-technical site owners to have the ability to manage their own website, without having to know anything about code. With the availability of user-friendly tools like WordPress, anyone can create and maintain their own blog or website without much difficulty.
If this sounds intriguing, keep on reading to discover how this is accomplished and what you can do with WordPress.
Why WordPress and not Joomla or Drupal?
There are currently over 445 million sites that use WordPress.
There are currently 2.5 million sites that use Joomla.
There are currently 1 million sites that use Drupal.
Without deep-diving into the data, you can quickly see that WordPress has paved the way and became the leader in open-source CMS platforms many years ago. Currently, WordPress powers an estimated 39.5% of the entire Web and 62% of CMS-built websites, a 5% rise since 2020. This accounts for 14.7% of the world’s top websites.
So what does this mean?
WordPress is clearly the leader in open-source CMS platforms. By using this platform, you get access to an incredible user community and potentially hundreds of thousands of themes and plugins. WordPress regularly rolls out updates that will keep your code secure and fast.
WordPress is chosen by millions of people as their CMS due to – ease of use, flexibility, it’s powerful, it’s free, you can use your own content, highly customizable, and very stable/reliable (less regular errors than other CMS).
Choosing WordPress.com or self-hosted
The difference in service is a matter of control. How much control do you want and how much control do you need? Do you want to sacrifice control in order to have a managed service (that costs more) or do you feel comfortable with full control and paying less? The decision is up to you.
Limited Control, $25/m – WordPress.com SaaS solution
WordPress.com is a hosted version of WordPress that is less customizable but makes it easier for non-developers to get a website up and running quickly. This version of WordPress is called a Software as a Service (SaaS).
The problem we have seen with this option is that over time, as a user becomes more familiar and comfortable with WordPress, they have quickly outgrown this solution and it can be hard migrating their files from the hosted solution to the self-hosted solution which is why we recommend the self-hosted approach from the very start if a user feels comfortable doing so.
With WordPress.com hosted sites, you do not have access to things like themes or plugins (on the lower tiers) and the website is not very customizable.
For example, to be able to install plugins using the WordPress.com hosted service, you will need to buy a business account which is $25 a month.
Full Control, $5.16/m – Hip Gloss Pro self-hosted
WordPress is free to download for self-hosting and can be hosted with any host that you like. At Hip Gloss Pro, we have a 1-click application installation tool that makes WordPress super easy to set up in just a matter of minutes without having to download a zip file and figure it out how to install it on your own. You can sign up for a 30-day trial, no credit card required, here.
Popular Brands that use WordPress
– BBC America
– Sony Music
– Microsoft News
– The Walt Disney Company
– Facebook Newsroom
– The Rolling Stones (band)
– The Havard Gazette
– Usain Bolt
– Katy Perry
– Sweden’s Official Website
– The Playstation Blog
– New York Post
(Reference: https://www.isitwp.com/ December 30th, 2019)
Ways you can use WordPress
The reason why there are so many different ways to use WordPress is that it is an open-source platform which means that anyone has access to the code and therefore can make modifications to suit their needs. There are two types of people who can utilize WordPress: Developers and Non-Developers.
What is a Developer?
A developer is someone who has the skills to create new plugins, themes, etc., or customize functions on an existing plugin that requires technical knowledge. Developers are comfortable working in code and making adjustments.
What is a Non-Developer?
A non-developer is someone who would like to create their own website without learning how to code. WordPress is perfect for them. Non-Developers enjoy leaning on plugins to add functionality and customizing premade themes to meet their goals and vision.
There are a plethora of plugins that make it easier to use WordPress as a non-developer.
What is a plugin?
A plugin is an extension that adds additional functionality to WordPress.
The best way to discover how a plugin works is to actually install it and use it on your website. Spend some time browsing the plugin directory and searching for functionality you think might be of interest to your audience.
WordPress has thousands of plugins available, but I’ve gathered some of the most common and powerful plugins every beginner should know about.
Some features these plugins offer include live chat support notifications, contact forms, event calendars, newsletter sign-up forms, social media integration, image sliders, galleries, text formatting options for your posts/pages/comments/users, and much more.
Top 5 Plugins every developer should have
-WP Super Cache – This allows you to create static HTML files of your posts, which will load more quickly on the site. This is especially helpful if you have a lot of traffic!
-Gravity Forms – If you’re looking for an easy way for readers to subscribe to your blog, this is the plugin that will do it. You can set up one or more custom forms for your readers and pick the place where you would like them to be displayed.
-WP Optimize – If you’re running a busy site, this plugin is a must! It will automatically clean up and remove data that isn’t being used by your blog. This can help significantly reduce your database size and improve performance on busy sites.
-BuddyPress – If you’re looking to start a community on your site, BuddyPress is the plugin that will help you do it. You can give users their own profiles and let them follow each other just like they would with any social media platform.
-WordFence Security – This plugin takes care of all security issues for your site. It will block attacks, let you know when updates are available for your plugins and theme, and show you live traffic stats on your website to protect it even further!
Top plugins to use as a non-developer
Yoast SEO – “SEO Plugin”
This plugin is an all-in-one SEO solution that allows you to write better content so your website can be easily found in search engines when customers are looking for specific keywords.
Google Analytics for WordPress – “Stats”
This plugin allows you to monitor visits, popular posts, and pages, referrals, most searched terms and more so you know what types of content is drawing traffic to your website.
Contact Form 7 – “Contact Forms”
This plugin adds a customizable contact form where users can get in touch with you. There are several add-on plugins for CF7 that allow you to do things like add CAPTCHA or accept Stripe payments.
Facebook for WordPress – “Social Media”
Facebook is the world’s most popular social networking site and this plugin gives you easy access to add your Facebook page, like buttons and more right on your website.
Contact Form DB – “Contact Forms Database”
This plugin allows you to use your website’s database to store contact form submissions. There are built-in tools for importing/exporting forms and using the data (CSV). This plugin works great with Contact Form 7 (CF7).
SumoMe – “Social Sharing”
This plugin is great for getting shares on your website posts by showing social share buttons on your site. You can choose where to place the buttons and what types of sites they will show up on (i.e. only on blog posts, not pages).
MailChimp for WordPress – “Newsletter”
This is a plugin that allows you to create an email newsletter with Mailchimp’s popular system. There are options to include Mailchimp forms, lists, and style your email based on their templates.
WordPress has thousands of plugins available to suit any specific needs you may have so I’d encourage you to do some research on what will work best for your website.
What Can You Do With a Self-Hosted WordPress?
WordPress is a great tool for those who don’t have the time or resources to hire a web designer but can click a few buttons to install or configure a plugin.
With self-hosted WordPress, you can easily:
– Create and manage your own blog
– Sell digital or physical products online
– Create a community website or online forum
– Build your own social network (if you like)
– Accept online payments from your clients or schedule appointments
– Host learning opportunities (build out a full LMS for online courses)
– Make a website for your band that features your music and video’s
– and much much more.
The possibilities with WordPress are virtually endless as there is always room to do more. The sky’s the limit!
What Do I Need?
To get started, you will need:
– A domain name and hosting – At Hip Gloss Pro, you will receive a free domain if you sign up for a hosting package. We recommend our Basic package which is only $5.16/m paid annually for your WordPress websites.
All of our packages come with unlimited space, unlimited traffic, 99.9% uptime, and top-notch support (we respond within 30 minutes while our competition can take up to 72 hours to respond in accordance with their SLA).
The difference in our package is a matter of how many websites you want to host on the account. Our Basic package allows you to host one website.
– A computer – Of course! You can log in to WordPress using a phone or tablet but it will be easier using a computer.
– WordPress – If you are self-hosting, you will need a copy of WordPress to install on your host. If using Hip Gloss Pro, you can install WordPress with just a couple of clicks using our free Application Installer.
– Choose a theme – some are free, some are not. We recommend DIVI by Elegant Themes which provides you with an easy-to-use Drag and Drop editor. A great theme for beginners and a ton of fun to use! We can provide you with a free copy (if you sign up for our hosting and become a client) or you can purchase a copy from Elegant Themes.
– Customize your website with the settings inside WordPress. This can be done via a web browser using simple menus and drop-down boxes. No coding is required!
WordPress is a great tool for those who don’t have the time or resources to hire a web designer but can click a few buttons to install or configure plugins. If you are a self-starter with a creative vision, you will have a lot of fun using and learning WordPress.
With self-hosted WordPress, the possibilities are endless. Creating a website does not have to be an arduous task that requires hours of coding or expensive software.
A WordPress-powered website can provide opportunities for you to share your photos, publish your resume, build your own personal portfolio, write about your latest experiences on the web, create a community of like-minded individuals, and much more.
You can take blogging to the next level by creating your own self-hosted website and use WordPress as a platform for your blog. You can host multiple blogs on one website and monetize it through Adsense or any other advertisements that you place on your site.
To get started, take advantage of our unlimited hosting package with free domain for just $5.16/m by signing up here. You will be able to install WordPress using our Application installer once you are logged into your account.
If you have any issues, just contact our live chat or submit a Support Ticket. If you would like to take us up on our offer of a free copy of the DIVI theme, please contact us through our Contact Page and we will be happy to help you get set up today!