WordPress 101: Getting Started

WordPress is one of the most used blogging software out there. Why? Because it’s easy to use. Even a website novice like me can install and set up a blog, or even a website, using WordPress. At first glance, WordPress may seem a little too complicated and a little daunting, but it is actually a lot easier than you may think. Here is your introduction to WordPress, and all you need to know to get started.

.Org Vs .Com

First things first, there is a WordPress.org and a WordPress.com. Both platforms are similar in setup and posting, but there are some distinct differences. WordPress.org: This choice will give you complete control over your blog or website. You can add ads, and totally customize it to your preferences. But this choice does not come free. You will need to find a host for your website like Bluehost or Hostgator which will charge you a monthly or annual fee. Also, since WordPress.org is completely in your control, you will need to do your own backing up every now and then. WordPress.com: Hosting for the .com extension is free. It’s probably the quickest and easiest way to get started with a website.

However, since it is free, there are some restrictions. Your website address will have the wordpress.com extension it, such as www.yourblog.wordpress.com as opposed to www.yourblog.com , which you can get with WordPress.org. You are not allowed to place any ads on your website for your own gain. If you wanted to place Google or Amazon ads on your site to make some money, this is not the route for you. In addition, there may be some plug-ins you will not be able to install. For business purposes, WordPress.org is the way to go. It looks more professional, sponsored ads can be distracting. Also, you can completely customize it by picking any theme that suits your business. For the rest of this post, I’m going to mainly talk about the .org side of WordPress.

Themes

A benefit of using WordPress is being to do whatever you want with the theme. There are many themes out there, some free, some not. You will be provided with a generic cookie cutter theme that comes with everyone’s website, so you may opt to change yours to keep your website or blog unique. For free themes, you can look though the WordPress Themes Directory. If you are willing to pay for a theme so that you will have even more options to customize, Thesis and Genesis are very popular since they are easy to work with.

You may also want to look through the many these on Woo Themes or Theme Forest.
To upload a new theme, you will need to download it to your computer as a zip file and unzip it. You will need to upload it to your website’s themes folder and then access your uploaded themes in your dashboard. Stay tuned for next week’s blog post, where we will discuss plugins, widgets and all that fun stuff that allows you to completely personalize your blog.

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