Creating a website is a tricky business. In the past, you would need several years worth of training and experience in several languages to create a fully fledged website. This changed with the introduction WordPress in 2003. Read our Guide to find out why WordPress is a popular choice in making websites.
What is WordPress?
WordPress can be thought of as a website building template. It is built with the intention of allowing those with no coding knowledge to create a basic website. All the coding is already down by other programmers in the form of plug-ins and themes. All you have to do is to install these themes and plugins and customize your websites with the given options.
As you might expect, these traits have given it wide spread popularity across the globe. As of 2020, 1/3 of all the websites in the world are powered by WordPress.
If I had to list down three reasons why WordPress is so popular, they would be “Themes”, “Plugins” and “Widgets”.
A WordPress Theme is a collection of files that work together to produce a graphical interface with an underlying unifying design for a website. These files are called template files. In simpler words, Themes define the look of your website.
As you might expect, the average person cannot create a fully-functioning Theme. However there are thousands of free Themes available for you to download and install. The catch is that they have some of their best features locked behind pay-walls.
Some of the many advantages of Themes:
- The Theme allows you display content in selected areas.
- Your Theme gives you the option to pick through different layouts.
- Themes gives you the option to display images and videos in select areas of the Theme. (Background and Header images)
- Your Theme adapts itself according to the Device (Mobile, PC, Tablet) being used to access it.
- You can use additional CSS to make changes to the Theme’s design
- Some Themes give you new and powerful options like Visual Builders for you pages or new custom widgets.
A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They extend functionality and add brand new features to your WordPress website. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and HTML.
Making Websites with WordPress becomes infinitely easier with the use of Plugins. Anything you might possibly need, there is going to be a plugin for it. Some of the most important uses for plugins are shown below.
- SEO: Having a Search Engine Optimized Website is compulsory for anyone who ever wants to have any traffic on his website. Without SEO, a website will remain forever buried deep under all the other search results. There are several WordPress plugins that come with support for SEO. The most popular and useful being Yoast SEO and All-in-one SEO pack.
- Security: With the rise of cyber attacks around the globe the need for cyber security has never been higher. Luckily we have security plugins like Word Fence which provide a wide range of abilities like IP-clocking, traffic monitoring, Firewall protection and more.
- Contact Forms: Another important feature you’ll find on most sites. Contact provide a way for the average user to communicate with the admin. These can be used for a variety of purposes, such as registrations, contributions, posting comments and more.
A widget is a block that performs a specific function. A widget can be placed in one of the many areas dedicated for widgets. These “widget areas” are defined by your Theme. Widgets can be added, removed or re-arranged at will through the WordPress dashboard.
Furthermore, you can download and install more widgets to increase the functionality in your website. (WordPress comes with many default plugins). Below are some examples of such widgets.
- Gallery: Used to display a whole bunch of images together while making it look good.
- Navigation Menus: Used to make thing easier on a User and help him navigate your site better.
- Search Bars: Enables a user to do a quick search on your website to find a specific page or post.
- Custom HTML: A widget that allows you to code in custom HTML to create something entirely new. Useful for those who know HTML/CSS.
Picking a Hosting Provider
Now that we’ve gone through what WordPress is and how it works, we’ll be moving on to how to get WordPress up and running. The first thing you need to do is to find a host who allows you to use WordPress. We’ll be discussing two hosts here, GoDaddy and BlueHost.
Both of these are very well known hosting providers and are used by many across the globe. So let’s do a quick comparison between the two.
After going through many reviews and personal experiences people have had with these two hosting providers we have come to the conclusion that BlueHost is the better hosting service. Why did we make this choice?
Overall, Bluehost has better uptimes than GoDaddy. While both of them claim to have 99.9% uptimes, you’ll hear more complaints on GoDaddy’s uptimes than Bluehost’s. The total down time per year for GoDaddy hosted sites is greater than the down time BlueHost sites. Furthermore, Bluehost appears to be better when it comes to handling large traffic while maintaining good response times.
Once again, multiple comparisons show that Bluehost edges out GoDaddy, albeit by a small margin. Load times are shown to be slightly improved on Bluehost as well being able to handle more visitors at a given time. Comparisons here can vary greatly depending on the type of package bought and the size of the site.
According to a few surveys done, GoDaddy is the most popular hosting service in the world, closely followed by BlueHost. Why is GoDaddy so popular? See the next paragraph.
Pricing and deals is the one area where GoDaddy beats out BlueHost and is also the reason why it’s more popular. Let’s take a look at their base packages for WordPress hosting.
BlueHost’s package starts out 3.95$ per month, offering a free domain and 50GB of storage. GoDaddy’s package starts out at 2.75$ per month, offering a free domain and 30GB of storage.
Now, for most people 50GB of storage will not be needed, hence GoDaddy wins out here. Furthermore, we observed that there many sites out there offering GoDaddy discount coupons, so you can further drive down the cost.
BlueHost is the better hosting provider, albeit more expensive. If you’re ambitious and have the money, you would be better off with BlueHost. However, if you’re low on money and don’t mind a few inconveniences, GoDaddy is the better option for you. Remember, you can always migrate your site from one host to the other, although the process can be a little tedious.
Free Host Providers
Another possible option is using a free web host. One such host, 000webhost offers free hosting services of two websites. As you can imagine, something free always comes at a cost. Extremely low Bandwidth, low uptimes, small storage sizes and more. But you can’t really complain as it’s free. While not recommended, there some situations where a free host might come in handy. If you’re interested, wait for our article on free hosts which will go into more detail.
And that concludes our Making Websites with WordPress Guide. Let us know if you want to see something else addressed here.