There was a time when everybody back in the day seemed to be intrigued when it came to blogging and more so being a full-fledged blogger. Questions such as ‘is blogging freelancing?’ or ‘does blogging mean work from home/ hybrid working throughout?’ long before work from home became the new cool. The era of blogging and being a blogger was way before social media influencers became a thing. WordPress became the knight in shining armour in these circumstances, enabling hundreds of thousands of people to become bloggers- All you needed to do was set up an account and voila, you’re on your way to creating posts.
Later, as eCommerce began sweeping through marketplaces, WordPress, once again, came to the rescue as it was so much more than a mere blog- you could use the umpteen number of plugins and themes available to set up your own e-store. The pandemic showed us how to use digitalisation to its fullest potential and hence a lot of SMEs made the big move from being physical to online. Guess what helped this smooth transition? WordPress.
How has WordPress helped us then?
It has revolutionised the way online platforms work these days. Be it an amateur or a true professional, if you want to get started online, WordPress is your go-to.
Before we delve any further into this article, here’s a disclaimer- There exist two versions of WordPress: WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
What is WordPress.com?
In simple words, whenever you purchase a domain, you cannot make it go live sans a host. WordPress.Com understands this and hence this version of it is hosted by WordPress itself, where you don’t have to pay anything, rendering it ‘free’ (Upto 3GB space- I’d reckon that’s more than enough for a portfolio/ personal website. You can always upgrade it to a notch above if you run out of space) Essentially free, there exist certain paid features that would ask you to upgrade your plan from free to premium if you’d like to use them.
However, a small thorn to note here is the fact of seeing ads throughout- WordPress has to make money and because this version is free, it places random ads on your blog/ site to generate impressions in the hopes that someone might actually click on them.
Your blog/ site would read as: X.wordpress.com, which isn’t too bad if this is going to be your scrapbook. (If you update to one of its advanced plans, you can get rid of ‘WordPress’ in your domain)
What is WordPress.Org?
A paid version of our beloved friend up there. You’ve to pay for hosting, yes, but in return, you can earn by running your own ads. A WordPress.Org site is yours so it’s up to what you run on the site and how to optimise it to generate some money.
As you’re making a purchase off WordPress, your domain would be X.com (instead of having WordPress in the URL)
Now, that’s not all why WordPress has evolved to be our favourite. Besides blogging and eCommerce, a lot of websites have been built on WordPress (that do not necessarily ‘sell’ their products online- like a consultation agency). Also, WordPress has enabled a lot of e-learning and e-courses to be delivered to us, truly conceptualizing the notion of ‘the world is a global village and the internet has brought it closer.’ It’s great for freelancers as you can use it as a portfolio to showcase your work.
Gone are the days when you’d feel embarrassed to ask a friend to help you with fixing some technical issues on your site. You don’t really need to be a developer as you can embed any plugin that is widely available from the plethora available by simply copy-pasting it. What’s more, you don’t really need to be a learned specialist and get ‘clients’ to pay you- you can mint’em euros by installing these lucrative plugins that mostly work on the modern strategies of paid-per-click, SEO, analytics and easy downloads.
You can also use it as a membership site where your potential members or subscribers fill out a form and get converted as your loyal members.
You can also create your own social network as WordPress allows you to use plugins such as Buddypress that shows accounts of similar interests, or you can simply follow co-sites and activate notifications so that you’re notified once they post an article. It’s a great forum-building platform, too.
If you want to avoid plugins altogether, WordPress has got you covered as it lets you post under specific tags and categories and displays it on the page accordingly.
I can understand being an amateur and starting off with WordPress might seem like a Herculean task no matter what the internet says. Here’s a list of basic concepts to familiarise yourself with at first:
Content Management Systems (CMS): This is the most common terminology you’d come across related to WordPress, be it when defining for WordPress is or on a job advert. WordPress is a CMS that helps users create and manage content in hassle-free ways. Technically, it is built on PHP and MySQL, but we’ll save the details for later. It’s your personal or your organisation’s space where you can create, collaborate, share, download and basically chalk any ideas related to producing content.
Category: As mentioned above, you can choose to avoid plugins if they sound foreign to you. Categories are your saviours here which help you identify according to themes, topics or site structure.
Tags: Best buds with categories. They help you delve deeper into topics and identify. Great for SEO.
Post: You can create a new post/ upload an image/ video. You don’t have to make it live aka publish it immediately. It can be saved as a draft that would let you revise it.
Pages: To cite an example, if I run an all-inclusive health & well-being blog, ‘fresh fruits to eat in 2021’ would be a post falling under the ‘Well-being’ page. (Just an example to make it clear)
Snippet: Often used as an excerpt, it provides an introduction to your detailed content. It is advised to include those words as ‘keywords’ that have been used in the title of your post for enhanced SEO.
Meta description: Akin to the snippet, it is what summarises the post information. A good meta-description is what lets the search engines discover and rank your site higher.
Alternative (Alt) Text: In case the image doesn’t load up on your site, this alt text provides information to the users as to what should have been there in place of the text.
These vital tips will help you kick-off on this journey of building your brand identity. Keep an eye out for similar upcoming posts.