WordPress powers over 36% of every website you visit – that’s 1 out of every 3 sites, pretty amazing statistics, right? But why is WordPress such a popular choice for creating a website?
First we need to understand how a website is built using WordPress (no tech-jargon, I promise).
How websites are built using WordPress
WordPress is a content management system, which basically means it’s software that enables a website owner to control the content within their website, including the design and functions of the site.
Let’s pretend your website was a car. Everyone knows what bits and pieces go together to make a car. You have the engine, the bodywork and then the features inside, such as the car radio or air-con.
Using the car as an analogy…
- WordPress would be the engine of your website – the software that powers it and turns ‘code’ into website pages;
- A WordPress theme would be the bodywork of your website – this is the design element, the colours, layouts, fonts that make the website ‘look the way it does’ and
- A WordPress plugins are what creates the features and functions of your website, such as a contact form, or a portfolio of images.
Let’s look in depth at each element of your WordPress website
WordPress software – this is the software that makes WordPress what it is. Originally designed as a simple publishing platform by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little in 2003, it has evolved into a powerful website publishing tool used by creators from bloggers to multi-national corporations such as The NY Times, Coca-Cola and Sky.
Because it’s open source, the actual WordPress software is free to download (you can download WordPress at WordPress.org). And because it’s open source, a community of developers are constantly contributing to its growth.
As a result of continual growth, a requirement of using WordPress on your website, is the need to keep it updated. You can do that yourself quickly and easily, or off course you can ask me to do it for you 🙂
A WordPress Theme – a theme is a set of design elements that are used to display your website in a certain manner. Think of a theme as a set of design templates, individual elements that when combined create a beautiful website.
WordPress themes are available as free downloads or as premium (paid for) themes. Premium themes are often more superior in design and features.
The majority of themes available on the market today are of great quality, with fast loading times and excellent support services.
A WordPress plugin – a plugin adds a certain feature to your website and work along the same lines as themes. Plugins are sets of elements (code) that once added to your website, deliver a specific feature or function – for example a contact form, image gallery or website statistics.
Plugins can be downloaded for free, or you can purchase premium plugins for more enhanced features.
Both themes and plugins must be kept up to date as and when the theme or plugin developer releases an update.
And that’s really all that goes into building a WordPress powered website. Off course, there’s more to building a website than just slapping a theme and some plugins onto your domain. But as an overview to the anatomy of a WordPress website, I hope this article has given you an insight into what goes on ‘under the bonnet’.