What is WordPress

WordPress is the most used CMS in the world, and for good reason. In addition to being flexible and free, it has several other advantages over the others. Understand why this is the best option to create your blog with our complete tutorial.

When it comes to creating blogs, websites and online stores, one of the most remembered and recommended tools are WordPress. 

In fact, if you have been following our blog for some time, you must also have noticed a pattern: We always recommend the platform as soon as one of our articles talks about hosting structure and content management.

And this highlight does not happen for nothing.

To give you an idea, WordPress takes up the impressive 61% share of the CMS (content management systems) market in the world.

To top it off, its main competitors are far from a nuisance. Joomla has a 5% share, Drupal has 3.3%, Magento has 1.6% and Blogger has only 1.4%.

This data was taken from W3Techs and is updated for July 2019.

This wide domain of WordPress is just one of several reasons why all professionals and students of Digital Marketing seek to master the use of this tool.

Therefore, we have prepared a complete post to talk about everything you need to know about WordPress.

Next, you’ll see:

  • What is WordPress?
  • How does it work?
  • What are its advantages?
  • How did WordPress come about?
  • What is the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?
  • How to begin?
  • Why migrate to WordPress?
  • How to choose the ideal hosting?
  • How do themes work?
  • What are the essential plugins?
  • How to optimize your site on WordPress?
  • What are the most common mistakes?

Are you ready for that deep immersion in the world’s best known and most respected CMS? So come on!

What is WordPress?

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WordPress is basically a CMS (Content Management System), which in Portuguese means Content Management System. 

In other words, it is a system used to manage websites, blogs, online stores, news portals, member areas and other types of pages.

But what does this CMS do?

As the name implies, the objective of the CMS is to manage the content in a simple and practical way. 

More specifically, its mission is to facilitate the creation and editing of content on a website without the need to use a programming language.

The idea is to make it possible for even a content producer with no coding knowledge to manage, in a simple and intuitive way, their entire portal, store or blog.

This includes creating texts, using images and videos, creating forms, not to mention the various options for customizing the layout of the site and many other functions.

The purpose of WordPress is to democratize the development of professional websites and blogs for anyone who has a company, project, portfolio or any other idea.

And with such an expressive dominance of the market, WordPress obviously could not be a success only among small and medium content producers.

On the contrary, since the platform is chosen by some of the largest sites in the world. This includes the online pages of major brands, such as the PlayStation console blog, the BBC America website and the Forbes website.

How does it work?

WordPress has two versions available to users: the WordPress.com platform and WordPress.org.

The first is a service that offers free hosting of blogs and websites using WordPress software.

The second is an open-source platform, which you can download for free from the official website and install on a server of your choice. 

To use the free platform, you will need a domain and hosting (which we will talk about later in this guide). 

We will not go into the differences of both now, as we will talk about this later. For now, it is important to clarify the existence of these two ways of using WordPress.

In addition, they share a very similar system. The tool features a website management interface. On this screen, you will see several categories, each with specific (and very useful) functions for your website or blog.

Among these functions, we can highlight:

  • Add, program and edit posts for the website or blog as if you were writing in Word, for example;
  • Insert and edit media files, such as images, videos and audios;
  • Create new pages, menus, categories and tags for the website;
  • Moderate visitor comments;
  • Monitor basic access data;
  • Edit the appearance of the website;
  • Manage permission levels for page administrators;
  • Create, add, edit and delete plugins and extensions;
  • Export and import data from the website or blog.

What are its advantages?

If you still don’t understand why WordPress is the most used content management system in the world, the time is now.

We selected no less than 7 benefits to show you, once and for all, that WordPress is the definitive system for anyone who wants to have a website that deals with dynamic content.

Even those who don’t already have a blog should use the system, because of these 7 advantages:

1. Intuitive use: you don’t need to master programming codes!

If you want to have a website hosted or managed on WordPress, you will hardly have to worry about codes or programming language.

The use of the system is quite simple. For example, when editing a text, you can put words in bold, justify a paragraph or insert an image in the content through buttons that the platform editor indicates.

Anyone who deals with web programming knows that one of the simplest forms of code that exists is HTML. But if you don’t know what it is, that’s fine, because you won’t even need to use it. 

Much of the functionality of WordPress is accessible with a few clicks and without the need for a single line of code.

2. Easy installation

Another great advantage of WordPress is that you do not waste time to start using all the features offered, as the installation is very fast.

By the way, this is one of the most praised details on the platform’s website. His famous installation that lasts between 5 and 10 minutes is one of the differentials in relation to the competitors.

WordPress values ​​the ease and speed not only in the installation but also in its updates. These can be done automatically and also very quickly, even more than the initial installation.

3. A high offer of plugins and extensions

The purpose of the plugins is to expand and improve the experience of using a website, both for administrators and visitors.

For example, there are extensions that allow you to create photo galleries, increase the security of the website and improve the speed of loading pages.

In other words, plugins and extensions serve as steroids that make your website or blog even stronger and more powerful.

But the coolest thing is the high offer of plugins. Currently, there are just over 50,000 available for installation, and the best thing is that the main ones are free!

4. Changing templates without changing the content

Another point that counts in favour of WordPress is the simplicity to change the look of a website without harming the content already published.

For example: suppose you are dissatisfied with your blog’s current template.

Even if you already have dozens of blog posts published on the site, the change can be made without any of the publications being lost.

The only thing that changes is the way these contents are presented visually to the public, a typical win-win that is another proof of the flexibility of WordPress.

5. Use on mobile devices

Thinking about the ease for its users, WordPress also provides access to the platform via mobile devices.

That way, if you have a smartphone or tablet with Android or iOS system, you can download the WordPress app to manage your website in the palm of your hand.

The cool thing is that both applications work for both sites based on WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

6. Open source system

This one also goes to the first shelf of WordPress advantages.

The fact that the source code of the system is open allows anyone to edit, improve and customize its versions, themes and plugins.

Want a clear benefit of WordPress being open-source software (also known as open-source)?

The translation of the platform into Brazilian Portuguese was a notable achievement for the WordPress developer community in Brazil.

In addition, most of the features that WordPress has come from initiatives of users of the tool.

Of course, to modify the WordPress code and personalize your site, you will need to have a good knowledge of programming or a development professional at your side.

But the fact is: with the open system and an active community, as is the case, WordPress has everything to keep evolving a lot. 

In many ways, this is even better than having a proprietary system with a dedicated support team, due to innovation and operating costs.

7. Constant updates

The amount of WordPress updates is a consequence of this active participation by the platform’s volunteer developer community.

From version 0.70 to 5.2.2 (released in June 2019), there were more than 75 updates that improved the system’s usability and made it more secure.

Important detail: WordPress updates can be done automatically on your system. Although it is simpler, we recommend that you update manually (we’ll explain why when we talk about how to optimize your site on the platform).

How did WordPress come about?

Now is the time to talk a little about the history of WordPress. We have prepared a timeline that goes from its emergence to the news of its most recent versions.

The origin of everything

WordPress starts with the interruption of a project called B2 Cafelog , which was a platform for blog development.

This project started in 2001 and was abandoned in 2003, more precisely on May 27, when WordPress (version 0.7) started.

Therefore, WordPress is a variation of the extinct B2 Cafelog. Its founders are Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little.

Version 1.0 released in 2004

Image URL: https://bloggercage.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Vers%C3%A3o-1.0-do-WordPress.jpg

Less than a year after its launch, WordPress had version 1.0.

It has developed features that are still useful today, such as simple and quick installation, moderating comments and creating friendly URLs.

Still, in 2004, the 1.2 updates were launched, which allowed the arrival and support of plugins.

The arrival of Automattic and WordPress.com

Automattic was a commercial initiative created in 2005 by Matt Mullenweg and from it, WordPress.com emerged.

Today, the company has a structure that offers support and hosting to sites developed on the WordPress.com platform.

In the beginning, the idea was to expand the market that was restricted to the use of source code and start generating profit.

The development of versions 1.5 and 2.0

These two versions stand out for the amount of news they brought to the system.

In 1.5, launched in February 2005, themes and static pages were added.

This separation between design (templates) and functionality (native features of the platform) made WordPress a business opportunity for many developers and designers.

Many of them started to monetize their activities by selling personalized themes for the websites.

Version 2.0, launched in December 2005, added image uploads, review of internal administrative processes (back end) and increased system speed.

Image URL: https://bloggercage.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Vers%C3%A3o-2.0-do-WordPress.jpg

The changes from version 2.0 to 3.0

Between versions 2.0 and 3.0, 5 years and 9 updates passed that improved (and a lot!) WordPress.

Therefore, we decided to summarize these changes by citing the main ones:

  • Inclusion of the tag system;
  • Creation of plugins and themes directories;
  • Support for widgets;
  • Addition of spell checkers, automatic saving and a recycle bin for deleted files;
  • Insertion of update alerts;
  • Inclusion of themes and plugins already in the installation;
  • Modifications to the platform design.

Image URL: https://bloggercage.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Vers%C3%A3o-3.0-do-WordPress.jpg

System vulnerabilities

In the years 2007 and 2008 WordPress suffered from severe attacks on its security.

The negative highlight was version 2.1.1, which was vulnerable to the insertion of malicious code that damaged a large part of its blog base.

The problem was recognized by WordPress itself, which quickly released version 2.1.2.

In 2011, as reported by UOL, the system again had problems related to security. In that case, there was a threat in the code of three popular WordPress plugins: AddThis, WPtouch and W3 Total Cache.

Those who had access to the WordPress forum and the communities that host plugins and themes had to change their passwords.

In addition, updating these extensions was not indicated until the issues were resolved.

Since then, WordPress has stepped up bug fixes and protection for its millions of users around the world, and cases like these have become rare.

The news that led to version 4.1

Between 2011 and 2014, years when the platform went from version 3.1 to 4.1, WordPress went through a phase of maturing in the system and growth in the market.

It became the main CMS in the market and, during this period, added several new features, such as:

  • Insertion of the media administrator;
  • Inclusion of audio and video upload;
  • Customization of themes and headings;
  • Possibility to update the system automatically;
  • Adaptation of the dashboard to other screen sizes ( responsive design );
  • Platform redesign;
  • Image editing;
  • HTML5 support.

The acquisition of WooCommerce in 2015

Another milestone in the history of WordPress was the purchase of WooCommerce, which went on to become a platform plugin.

This acquisition marked WordPress’s entry into the themes and e-commerce development market, starting to bother the big players in the sector, such as Magento and Shopify.

WordPress currently

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The platform continues with its updates and modifications that make life easier for its users.

Most of the news is linked to an improvement in speed, customization, usability and security of the tool.

Some examples of changes in the system are the preview screens when inserting a new theme, text drafts and video headers.

What is the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?

WordPress.com?

We have already talked about operation, advantages and history. Now it’s time to explain the differences in each of the ways WordPress is used.

At first, it can cause some confusion to know that there are two versions of the system, but you will find out what the purpose of each is, and which makes sense for you.

WordPress.org

Just to recap, WordPress.org is the community site where you can download the software and its open-source to install on other servers.

This means that you already need to have a registered domain and a server hired to host your WordPress site.

Since the use of the code is free, you can edit and customize it in your own way. In addition, it is possible to use all plugins, themes, languages ​​and other resources without any limitations.

This limitation issue is perhaps the big difference between the two WordPress usage formats.

You will understand this better in the next topic.

WordPress . with

The WordPress.com is a hosting service site with WordPress software.

You can register for free and have a website with the domain ” meuite.wordpress.com ” or pay to have a personalized domain and some more resources.

In this model, you do not need hosting or a registered domain to start. However, there are a number of limitations that limit usage, such as:

Inability to use custom themes (only those made available by WordPress);

Minimal customization in the way the links are presented;

Inability to monetize the blog or website (or only if you hire the two most expensive plans);

Display of WordPress ads;

WordPress brand and slogan at the bottom of the site;

Inability to edit the source code;

Limitation on storage space in free and cheaper plans.

What is the best model?

It depends on your goal.

More robust projects, e-commerce and larger sites will need WordPress.org.

Due to the possibility of personalization and free use of the source code, .org stands out as an interesting alternative.

It requires other investments to be made, such as hosting and domain registration.

Still, this model is well worth it if you want to get the most out of the software and have the least limitations.

However, if you intend to run a more personal project and not much focused on monetization, WordPress.com may be the best choice for CMS.

This version is indicated for the public that wants a basic website or blog, but with some resources.

Everything will depend on the goals and realities of each person or company that wants to have your website hosted or managed by WordPress.

How to begin?

As there are two versions of WordPress, there are two ways to get started. We explain each one in detail in a full post to get started on WordPress.

How to install WordPress.org?

There are two ways to get started on WordPress.org: installing automatically via server or manually.

Before we talk about them, there are some settings that WordPress requires as minimum requirements :

UNIX / Linux based server (Microsoft servers may limit the use of the platform);

PHP version 7 or higher;

MySQL version 5.6 or higher (can also be MariaDB version 10.0 or higher);

Memory for PHP of at least 64 MB (Only for WordPress software, without additional plugins).

That said, let’s go to the necessary steps for the installation.

The automatic way does not need any explanation, as each hosting service has its own.

In general, just fill in the data requested by the hosting services. The rest is up to them.

See how installations take place on Hostgator, Uol Host, Locaweb and KingHost.

Manual installation

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To get started, visit WordPress.org and download the platform data package. The file is almost 12MB.

Soon after, go to your web server (Hostgator, KingHost or others) and create a database for WordPress. The user of this database must have all access and modification permissions.

Then, just copy and rename the wp-config-sample.php file to wp-config.php.

Open the wp-config.php file in a text editor (such as Notepad ++ or TextEdit ) and fill in your database data.

The text will appear similar to the image below:

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You must replace the ‘ DBName’ with the name of the Database, such as ‘WordPress’. Thus, the line would be:

define (‘DB_NAME’, ‘WordPress’)

The value ‘ userMySQL’ can be modified by ‘ yourname_wordpress’ .

Already ‘ password’ must be changed to ‘ my_super_secure_secret ”(always using the underline instead of spaces).

Finally, the value ‘ localhost’ must be exchanged for the host of your MySQL server. This is data that is hardly changed.

However, to make sure you don’t fill it out wrong, ask your server’s technical support for the right value of ‘ DB_HOST ‘.

All of this work will serve to generate your login and secret authentication password.

Did you think it’s over? No! There are the last two steps:

  1. Take the WordPress files to the desired location on your server;
  2. Run WordPress through your installation script. To do this, go to http://seusite.com/wp-admin/install.php or http://seusite.com/blog/wp-admin/install.php if you installed the platform only on a blog apart from the site.

For those who are not used to these actions, installing WordPress can seem complicated. The automatic path, in this way, maybe a more viable option.

How to have your website or blog on WordPress.com?WordPress. with?

The process for getting started on WordPress.com is much simpler.WordPress. com is much simpler.

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First, go to the WordPress.com website and click on ” Get started now “.WordPress . com and click on “

Afterwards, a screen will appear with three layout options. Choose one and proceed to the next step.

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Then, choose a temporary theme for your website or blog. If you prefer, you can skip this step. Proceed to the next step.

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Now, it’s time to give your website a name. As an example, we use the address “ (free version). If you prefer a domain without wordpress.com, you must pay for it.blogcomumnomelegal . wordpress . with ” wordpress . com ”, you must pay for it.

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Go to the next step.

Choose one of the 4 plans offered by WordPress. Analyze the features and benefits of each. Here, we will continue with the free plan.

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Finally, just fill in your email address and password to complete the registration and use your newest WordPress site or blog.

Why migrate to WordPress?

But what if you use another content management system? You may still not be entirely sure whether it is worth switching to WordPress in this case.

Of course, there are other quality systems on the market, both free and paid. But hardly any of them will be superior to WordPress. 

And there are at least 3 reasons why we recommend that you migrate your site to the platform. See them below.

1. Advanced security

The first reason to migrate to the WordPress platform is its high level of security. Constant updates, specific plugins to protect your information and the precise and active action of the community guarantee this.

It is no wonder that WordPress is the choice of major players from various sectors in the international market. None of them would trust their sensitive data to a fragile and vulnerable platform.

2. Complete control

Everything you may need from a website, both in terms of layout (front-end) and structure and support (back-end) is included in WordPress. 

The platform is really complete and has many robust solutions for all types of digital operations.

All this on a platform that works on any device, with agility and precision. If you’re looking for complete control, WordPress is for you.

3. Usability and interface

Many tools have powerful solutions but sin a lot when it comes to offering a good user experience. Fortunately, WordPress is not affected by this type of problem.

The platform becomes more user-friendly with each update. In the most recent updates, for example, control via content blocks was introduced.

This makes it even easier to manage content internally and to create more beautiful and functional pages.

How to choose the ideal hosting?

As we have already highlighted here, to use WordPress.org you need your own hosting and domain. 

This means that even with all the advantages highlighted here, if your server is not of quality, the entire potential of the tool can be wasted.

So the question arises: how to choose the ideal hosting? 

First, it must be said that there is no universal answer to this question. The ideal hosting for your website is not necessarily the same as the Forbes blog needs.

So, think about some essential factors and see how to fit your choice into them:

  • current need: what do you need today, in terms of traffic, subdomains, email addresses, etc.? Look for lodging that offers these items;
  • cost-benefit: calculating the cost-benefit is fundamental. If a hosting costs much cheaper but lives with the server down, it is better to go for another more reliable option;
  • Ease of scale: How much do you think about growing your site in the future? If that happens, is the server able to support this growth? This is another essential factor when choosing.

Always seek to combine these 3 principles when making your choice. Thus, you will always have a solution that gives you what you need today, with good cost-benefit, and that will not let you down in the future, as your site grows.

How do themes work?

There is a multitude of WordPress themes to choose from. It just depends on the type of website you want (a portal, blog, portfolio, e-commerce and so on) and the type of customization you want.

Many free themes offer great customization options, not to mention the thousands of complete themes that you can buy with great value for money.

Installing any theme is as simple as clicking on a few buttons. If you want a template that is already in the galley, just search for the name, download and activate.

If you have purchased a template and the file is on your computer, just load the compressed folder (in .zip format), click on “install” and then activate.

After that, it’s time to start adjusting the theme’s layout and configuration just the way you need it. If you’re unsure of where to start, we’ve made a list of 145 best WordPress themes to help.

What are the essential plugins?

We have already explained that plugins are extensions that add new features and improve the experience of using the platform.

But among more than 50 thousand options, for the most diverse tastes and needs, it is to be expected that some are more important than others, right?

Therefore, it is important to highlight some of the essential plugins for WordPress, some of which are international and other national. 

Just a reminder: this list contains just a few of the plugins that are worth knowing and using. But don’t limit yourself to them, keep looking for new options that will suit your goals.

Here are some of the extensions that are widely used by both developers and content producers on WordPress.

Yoast SEO

As the name suggests, Yoast was designed to help content producers optimize their pages and texts for search engines, that is, to make their sites more attractive in the eyes of Google.

It allows you to edit titles, meta descriptions and keywords, generate sitemaps and check what articles need to suit search engines (eg include alt text tags in images, write more words, etc.).

We made a post explaining how to use Yoast in the best way, and you can check it out here.

W3 Total Cache

The speed of loading a page is of great importance, both for users and for search engines. And that’s what this extension is for: increasing the speed with which your site loads.

For this, the plugin compresses the CSS and Javascript files, uses the browser’s cache, decreases the access to the database, among other more technical aspects.

Google Analyticator

If you use Google Analytics for your website (and if you don’t, you should start right now), this plugin is for you. After all, the name says everything about the function of this plugin, doesn’t it?

His role is to bring the most relevant analytics and metrics from Analytics to your dashboard. Thus, you will be able to evaluate data such as the number of visits, the average length of stay on each page and bounce rate.

Flare

The purpose of this extension is to make the website or blog easier to advertise on social networks. How?

Flare allows you to place social media sharing buttons at the beginning, middle or end of your articles. 

As a result, the incentive is much greater for visitors who like your content and can increase their chances of receiving new visits.

Bonus: In addition to these options, it’s worth taking a look at Akismet (Spam prevention), Contact Form 7 (contact form management) and MailChimp for WordPress (creating email lists).

How to optimize your site on WordPress?

WordPress is a very complete platform and deserves all the attention. If you use only the basic resources in the right way, you already have an excellent management solution for your content.

But if you learn some basic tricks and optimize your website with CMS, you are in a good position to have a real results machine. 

See some precautions that are always worth taking to leave your site at maximum potential.

1. Make sure your theme fits well with mobile

Currently, the vast majority of templates available on WordPress are responsive, that is, they adjust to different screen sizes.

Still, not all of them offer a good browsing experience to users.

Therefore, it is important to test the usability of these themes on smartphones before confirming their use.

Check the font size, the menu layout, the way widgets and plugins appear, among other important details.

2. Keep versions always up to date

Updates are important not only to bring new functionality but also to fix bugs and strengthen system security.

In fact, it is not just the WordPress software that needs to be updated. Your plugins and themes also need to be used in their latest versions.

Outdated versions are often easier targets for hackers and possible malicious attacks. Therefore, any such breach needs to be avoided.

3. Check if the plugins are compatible with the new system updates

It is true that most of the most popular extensions are tested in the new versions of the WordPress software, but it is always good to check that, in fact, there are no problems with the plugins when they are used in updates.

After all, these extensions have their own updates. If they do not line up with the latest versions of the platform, your website may malfunction.

Therefore, it is always recommended to update the system manually.

What are the most common mistakes?

Although the WordPress system is powerful and well organized, it is not immune to problems. Here are some of the main mistakes you may face, and what each one means.

Internal server error (error 500)

There are several possible causes for this error. What you can try to solve it includes:

  • check if the .htaccess file is corrupted;
  • add the line of code: (‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ’64M’) to the wp-config.php file;
  • disable plugins to see if the problem is with any of them.

Database connection error

This problem happens when you enter wrong input data, such as username and password, or when there is a database crash on the server.

If the latter is the case, the solution is to contact server support and wait for updates on the status of the problem.

Error 502 (Bad Gateway)

The 502 error occurs when the page takes too long to load the request made by the visitor when trying to access your site in the browser.

One cause may be congested traffic because it has more accesses than the site currently supports. Another possibility is that a plugin is causing the failure.

As all of these errors are technical, it is worth asking a professional to deal with them. If this is not possible, consult the WordPress documentation to learn how to act in each situation.

Conclusion

WordPress started as a blog creation and management platform, but, over time, it has become a development system for the most diverse types of websites.

From simple to more robust projects, WordPress stood out for several factors. Among them, its intuitive use for people who do not understand codes, high offer of plugins and themes, customization of the source code and active community.

Today, it is no wonder that it is the main reference in the CMS market. The chances of you managing the content of a WordPress-based website are enormous.

So immerse yourself in its features and put our tips into practice to get the best out of this platform.

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