What is WordPress and can a complete beginner use it? (Spoiler: the answer is yes!)

by May 19, 2022Getting Started, WordPress

I remember being in a similar situation as the one you’re probably in right now. I had just decided to take my business seriously (at that point in time, my “business” was being a self-published author of fantasy novels!).

To me, that meant I needed to build a “proper” website where my avid fans could connect with me, find out about my new books and read my oh-so-interesting blog about my daily life and current projects. (Riveting stuff, I promise!)

After doing my research, I settled on WordPress as my website building platform. I believe that it is a fantastic platform for small business owners to build with – but if you are an absolute beginner like I was, you probably have questions: what is WordPress and can a complete beginner use it?

Getting started with WordPress? Click here to get my free ebook, the ultimate beginner’s guide to building a WordPress website in 9 easy steps and kickstart your website building journey.

Lady facing her laptop adding a new blog post to her website. Text says: What is WordPress? Can beginners use it?

What is WordPress?

In simple terms, WordPress is a platform that you can use to easily build your website. If you think of your website as a house, WordPress would be the framework that the house (website) was built around.

Most houses start off with a wooden framework that lays out the structure of rooms, windows, roofs, etc. WordPress provides you with the framework to structure web pages, blog posts, menus and more.

WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS). This means you can create and manage ‘content’ such as pages and blog posts without needing to know any coding or programming.

Maggie's Mildly Interesting but Ultimately Irrelevant Facts:

WordPress is one of the most popular ways to build a website. In fact, as of May 2022, it currently powers 43% of ALL websites on the internet! And this figure isn’t just comprised of your average person who decided to start their own blog. Some big-name companies use WordPress for their websites: BBC America, Sony, Walt Disney, singer Katy Perry, the PlayStation blog… the list goes on!

Summary: WordPress allows you to build your website quickly and easily without needing to know any coding or programming.

WordPress is similar to a house plan

What kind of websites can you build?

As you can see from the list of big-name companies who use WordPress to power their websites, it isn’t just for personal blogs. These days, it can be used to build:

    • e-commerce websites
    • membership hubs
    • forums
    • portfolios
    • business websites
    • online courses
    • …pretty much anything you can imagine!

Unless you need something really complex that requires a full-on development team (and most small business websites don’t need that!), it will easily meet your needs.

Is WordPress easy to use?

As with most things in life, there is a learning curve, but for a beginner who needs to get a website online without knowing any code or programming, WordPress is perfect.

You can change the look of your whole website with literally the click of a button using themes. Need to add a feature to your website, such as a contact form or your Instagram feed? Just install a free plugin with one click.

If you build your website with WordPress, you won’t need to hire a web designer every time you want to make a small change or update your website content. You can do all that yourself quickly and easily.

Summary: you can easily build any type of website with WordPress.

Is WordPress free?

Although WordPress is an open-source program that is free to download and use, in order to have a fully-functional website on the internet, you will need to pay for web hosting and a domain name.

Don’t panic! These are very reasonably priced and easy to set up. Your website shouldn’t cost you more than $100 for your first year, depending on the type of web hosting and domain name you buy. In most cases, it will turn out to be much less than $100!

Maggie's Super Useful Tips:

If you need web hosting and a domain name to get started, check out Bluehost. You can get web hosting for under $40, plus they’ll give you the domain name for free for the first year!

If you use an alternative to WordPress, such as Squarespace, Wix or Shopify, you have to pay to use that website building platform. They are often much more expensive than buying your own hosting.

Summary: WordPress itself is free, but you need web hosting and a domain name to have your website on the internet.

Why should you use WordPress?

Here are 5 reasons why I believe you should use WordPress for your small business website:

    • Easy for beginners and non-techy people to get started – you don’t need to know any programming languages to use it. Plus, setting up WordPress is so easy, you can literally have a website on the internet within five minutes. (It’s not gonna have all your information on it, but it will be available for people to see!)
    • Affordable – as mentioned earlier, WordPress itself is free, but you do need to pay for web hosting and a domain name, which are inexpensive (and certainly cheaper than alternatives like Squarespace)
    • Always being updated and improved – WordPress is open-source software; this means that anybody can contribute their ideas to improve the platform. This helps make it even better by incorporating different ideas and extending its capabilities.
    • Secure – because WordPress is so popular and powers so many websites, it’s obviously a target for hackers. But as long as you keep any plugins, themes and WordPress itself updated, it is one of the most secure CMS systems. There are also free plugins that can help boost your website’s security.
    • Thousands of free themes and plugins – themes change the look and feel of your website; plugins change the functionality of your website (like adding a store or a contact form). So many of these are free to use or have a free ‘lite’ version that in most cases is more than enough for a single small business website.
5 Reasons to use WordPress

What’s the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?

Lastly, you might find some confusion around the two different “types” of WordPress out there: WordPress.org and WordPress.com.

    • WordPress.org is the self-hosted, open-source software that you can install on your own web hosting to build your website with no limitations.
    • WordPress.com is similar to alternative website builder platforms like Squarespace – you have to pay to use it. It uses WordPress.org software to run, but it comes with a lot of limitations and is expensive when compared to buying your own web hosting and installing the free WordPress.org software.

Summary: small businesses and entrepreneurs should choose WordPress.org to give them the greatest flexibility, functionality and affordability.

Want to know more about building your own website?

If you’re ready to get started, click here to download my free ebook that walks you through the exact 9 steps you need to follow to build your perfect website.

I hope I’ve been able to explain what WordPress is and how it can be used for different types of websites. I really love using it and believe that it is a powerful tool that can help small business owners get their website online without having to pay thousands for a web designer.

If you have questions, problems, or just wanna say hi – let me know in the comments!

Maggie Duncan profile pic

Maggie Duncan

Self-taught WordPress web designer
I love to help others build their own perfect website by taking away the tech overwhelm and simplifying the industry jargon. As a self-taught web designer, I believe that anyone can learn to build their own website and it doesn't have to be difficult!

Who am I?

Hi! I'm Maggie and I've been building websites for others using WordPress for over 8 years. I'm a self-taught developer and truly believe that in this day and age, anyone can build an amazing website themselves.
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