How to Use WordPress

by Ashley Friedman; Updated March 06, 2018
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WordPress is one of many online tools that allow you to create your own blog, website or online portfolio. It is a popular hosting site for professional bloggers, small businesses, photographers and artists and online stores. WordPress offers a wide variety of attractive templates to choose from and it’s user-friendly.

What is a WordPress Site?

A WordPress site is any website built with the digital platform or Content Management System (CMS) known as WordPress. There are several website-building platforms available on the internet. CMSs like WordPress allow users to build their own websites using the templates and tools provided by the platform versus creating a website themselves with individual HTML pages. WordPress also has the advantage of being free to use, although hosting is extra, and it's especially user-friendly for beginners who have no HTML or coding experience. And it’s an excellent choice for small-business owners who want to build a website for their business without hiring a designer.

How Do You Use WordPress?

WordPress is used like any blog hosting site, but there is some setup necessary before you can begin. You need to make sure that your web hosting provider has the necessary tools to install the program. All the hosting requirements you need are listed on the WordPress.org website.

Once the WordPress installation is complete, you can build your site. Before you start, you should carefully read the administrative guides on WordPress for the information you need to build and manage your site. You will then create a user profile and choose a name for your site.

You can get helpful information about changing the appearance of your site and editing your profile or site details on the administration page in your dashboard. Once your site is looking and feeling the way you want it to, you can begin to post.

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Posts can be long narrative pieces or images, links to video, embedded video or embedded audio tracks. You can design pages for websites and a separate blog or combine it for breaking news about your business on the front page. Depending on the type of content you are planning to host on your site, you can configure your website to highlight your posts in the best way. Some WordPress templates are designed for writing, while other gallery style designs are best for displaying photos. The more research and reading you do before beginning to design your site, the easier the process will be.

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WordPress Alternatives

There are alternatives to WordPress that have a similar functionality. Tumblr is a popular blog-hosting platform that is similarly user-friendly and has the added benefit of acting as a social media tool. You can follow other Tumblr blogs and interact with other users within the Tumblr community.

Drupal is another web-building platform used by website builders and coders. It is much more difficult to use than WordPress and requires a sophisticated knowledge of coding. This can make it difficult for beginners.

Joomla is a similar platform to WordPress and helpful for people who want to sell merchandise and use their site as an online store. Joomla, like Drupal, does require a certain level of coding knowledge that can take a while to learn. This might make it a difficult choice for beginners who are just learning the basics.

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Squarespace is another platform that can be used without any sophisticated coding knowledge and it offers users a wide variety of templates, design styles and layouts.

About the Author

Ashley Friedman graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Social Sciences. She has experience writing copy for the websites of creative professionals, and regularly contributes to several blogs covering popular culture, travel, food, and social action.

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