Who are you?
I’m Nate Cooper. I wrote Build Your Own Website: A Comic Guide to HTML, CSS and WordPress. I also have been using WordPress professionally since 2005 and teaching WordPress classes at General Assembly, Fashion Institute of Technology, The School of Visual Arts, and many other places. At heart I’m a huge WordPress fan.
What is WordPress?
WordPress started as a blogging platform but has grown into a more full fledged CMS and is now the backbone of the web powering something like 25% of all websites. Everything from magazine to news sites to ecommerce sites.
Why use WordPress as opposed to SquareSpace or Wix or alternatives?
WordPress is an industry standard system and is open source, meaning anyone can build upon the platform without any licensing or gate keepers getting in the way. SquareSpace and Wix are great platforms for building basic websites and in some cases are even easier to use than WordPress. However, they are controlled by individual companies who maintain their source code. This means that while you are able to customize a lot, there are ultimately somethings you’ll be unable to do on those platforms if you are looking to do more advanced customizing. Several thousands of people may never have those needs, but for those who hit the wall of limitations of those platforms, WordPress becomes an interesting alternative.
Do I need to learn how to code to use WordPress?
The WordPress dashboard is designed in a way to allow users to navigate to and update their content without needing to know how to code. However, because WordPress is open-source, if you code or work with developers, you’ll be able to bend WordPress to do just about anything.
What is the best theme to use for WordPress?
That’s a great question! There is no one theme that will work for every WordPress users. Some things to consider: Is the theme designed for a specific purpose? E.g. is the website for an event or for an ecommerce site? Then look for themes that are build for this purpose. Do you want to be able to customize the look of your site without needing to hire a developer or learning how to code? Look at themes like Divi that have complex layout options. With new themes coming out every week, there’s always something new to check out.
The WordPress dashboard is designed in a way to allow users to navigate to and update their content without needing to know how to code.
What is the best plugin for WordPress?
Similar to the theme question above, it kind of depends on what you want to do. There are plugins that help you connect social media to your site. There’s plugins for analytics and marketing. There are plugins for ecommerce such as woocommerce. The WordPress plugin directory is a great resource for searching for plugins that will fit your needs.