Guest Author - Stephanie L. Watson
Many people believe that Wordpress is just a blogging platform. That is true if you're talking about Wordpress.com, but if you're talking about Wordpress.org then you're wrong. Wordpress is an open source platform that enables designers and average people to create full, dynamic, and beautiful websites.
Wordpress makes the design aspects of creating a Website easy. You honestly do not need to know HTML, CSS, PHP, or any of the other alphabet in web development to design a functional Wordpress website. Do a Google search and you will find many businesses large and small using Wordpress to create their websites. Additionally, many universities are using Wordpress because it is so simple to allow staff to use once the platform is loaded on the server.
Wordpress can be used to create a typical static website, although I do not know why you would want to, or it can be used to create a full eCommerce website that can handle multiple orders through an integrated shopping cart. You can even easily create and run a beautiful and functional membership only website.
It's true, you can still use it for blogging, and in truth you should have a blog on your website anyway, and by using Wordpress to create your entire website it makes it super easy to create your blog right on your site as a seamless incorporated part of your overall design. If you want to use Wordpress here are some terms you need to become familiar with.
Dashboard -- This is the "back office" of your website and where you will go to change the theme, add or delete plugins, and move around widgets of your website as well as control all aspects of the way your website looks. You're going to do this "live" and "in the cloud".
Theme -- This is the overall design of your website. You can download free themes and you can also download premium themes that cost money. Additionally, if you are proficient in CSS you can create your own beautiful themes easily. There are also software programs that enable you to create themes without knowing any code at all.
Plugins -- These are essentially programs that add functionality to your website. These programs can be as simple as a spam blocker to as complex as a dynamic shopping cart or bulletin board system. There are plugins that you can buy and many that you can obtain free that are very useful and even necessary t keep your website healthy.
Widgets -- Widgets are areas that are enabled on your website that can contain various plugins or design elements such as a side bar, a sign up form for your newsletter, advertisements, and more. Most themes come "widget ready" so that you do not have to add any code to make these work.
Cloud computing -- Cloud computing is a term that has become popular of late that represents the space where your server, the actual physical place that all the code resides for your website, lives. It's not actually in a cloud but that is the term that has become popular to describe this space. It essentially means that the code does not reside on your computer, but on another server, elsewhere.
Hosting Service -- This is where you purchase the server space to put the code that makes up your website. Don't worry it's not as hard as it sounds. If you are going to use Wordpress it is essential that you purchase hosting that has Cpanel access and easier if they also have Fantastico available which allows you to install Wordpress on the server with a couple of clicks and no real knowledge.
These are the basic terms that you'll hear when first learning how to use Wordpress to design and create your first Wordpress website. Be on the lookout for more. You can also watch free tutorials on the Wordpress.org website if you are in a hurry to learn more.