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Prior to the release of WordPress in 2003, web designers relied on writing code to create websites. The process of coding was extremely complicated and required the developer to learn an entire language to create even the simplest website. The launch of WordPress removed the burden of code writing and provided a simple platform for users to create websites. Today, about 30% of all websites are powered by WordPress.

Because WordPress is an open source project, this means that it allows hundreds of volunteer developers from around the world to constantly improve the soft wear. Best of all, WordPress is completely free! There is no monthly membership or cost to start your own website once you have your domain and hosting (see article on choosing domain & hosting).

The cult following to WordPress has grown over the years and so has the resources available to start and grow a successful website. Because of it’s easy to use backend, millions of first-time online entrepreneurs are able to create massively successful websites. The increase in users has also grown the customization options as well. WordPress allows for total customization of your website by using thousands of plugins, widgets, and themes.

What is a WordPress Plugin?

Just as the saying goes for smartphone users, “there is an app for that”, a similar saying is popular in the WordPress community, “there is a plugin for that”. A plugin extends the features or adds new features to your WordPress website. This makes it easy for users of WordPress to customize their websites without having to know how to code.

The most popular plugins for WordPress are the email marketing plugins. Most users who create a website will usually want a way to capture customers emails. Installing a plugin like OptinMonster or MailChimp will let you add a space on your website for people to enter their email address.

What is a WordPress Widget?

 If you look at a majority of the websites out there you will likely notice banner ads or a side bar with an email opt-in offer – these are widget-ready areas. A WordPress widget is a block that performs a specific function. Widgets give you a higher degree of customization on your website. They provide a simple and easy way to add design and structure control to your website.

What is a WordPress Theme?

The theme of your website will determine how your website looks and navigates. Themes come in a variety of options and are developed to cater to just about every industry. You can find WordPress themes made for an eCommerce store, or a theme designed to showcase a photographers work, or even themes designed for online magazines.

Themes not only are about aesthetic, they also are built with navigational features such as menu locations and layout. Choosing and installing a new theme if simple and does not require any coding. Many third-party providers make premium themes that retail for around $30 to $60. These themes are usually optimized for mobile devices and contain extra features that the standard WordPress themes do not have.

What is WordPress and why should I use it?

There are multiple options available for building and designing websites, so why use WordPress? The answer is fairly simple and straight forward – it is free and the customization options are endless. Because of all the customization that can go into a WordPress website the task of building your website close to some of the top tier sites may seem daunting. Website building companies play off this and try to push their own website building platform – for a monthly fee of course. You can read more here on why you should not use a website builder (insert link).

Once you dive into WordPress you will realize just how easy it is. There are endless support forums where all your questions will be answered in a matter of days, sometimes in just a few hours. People love WordPress and enjoy sharing their knowledge with new users. The community that you are joining encourages growth and supports creativity. Start today on your WordPress website!

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