Start with WordPress – “Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!…”
That’s the ubiquitous first sentence found on every installation of WordPress and rather fitting as this is in fact the very first post for this blog. To the people at WordPress… No, I won’t delete it. You were kind enough to put it there in the first place, for me and my 28,000 fellow bloggers who started-up their WordPress blogs today, so I’ll edit it and there it shall stay – for posterity.
This is a rather strange situation for me because even though I’ve been working with WordPress since 2005, just two years from its original launch, this is only the third time I’ve been on the ‘client-side’ of the coin as a blog owner.
My very first blog, not much more than an experiment with this strange new system, was an easy learning curve. I don’t even remember which version it was and although pretty basic back then it showed a lot of promise.
Now here we are, freely using the fourth generation of what could easily be considered the best piece of online publishing software on the planet, and very likely the most effective publishing system in history – and it’s still developing.
In just a few years, WordPress has propelled budding writers (many of whom would never have found a voice) to global status. It has had a major hand in creating the 21st century’s coolest industry “Blogging” and as we speak it is rewriting the “traditional web design” rulebook.
So here we are with a brand new site, where do we go from here?
Let’s start with big picture benefits of WordPress itself (this is the stand-alone version you download from WordPress.org and host yourself, as opposed to the WordPress.com version which is more restrictive). I’ll tackle the .org v .com question another time, stick with me for now… we’re using the self-hosted version which is more flexible.
If you’re new to WordPress check out these features.
Here are the main benefits:
WordPress is “open source”, which means it is free for everyone. You simply download it from WordPress.org install it on your host’s server and you’re in business.
It has thousands of dedicated developers around the world constantly tweaking and perfecting the code for the benefit of all users. It’s like having an army of uber-geeks continuously improving your website for free. And make no mistake, these folks really, really know their stuff!
It’s easy to use. All you need are basic computer skills. If you can email, input text and communicate through your Twitter or Facebook accounts, then you know enough to use WordPress.
WordPress is basically a framework which plugs in to free-standing designs (themes) and scripts (plug-ins). With very little practise you can change the look, feel and functionality of your site whenever you want.
It leaves all other web software in the dust as far as search engine optimisation is concerned. The code is set up to work how the search engines like it. You can easily optimise posts so they turn up in major search results very quickly.
If you’re thinking about setting up your own personal blog or business website, my advice is to consider making a start with WordPress. And come back here regularly because I’ve a whole series of tips, tricks and techniques articles planned. Hop onboard and we can take the journey together.