June 08, 2015

10 frequently asked questions by WordPress beginners

WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS); it's free and widely used.  It's the most popular blogging system and was used by more than 23.3% of the top 10 million websites (January 2015).  We have a lot of clients using WordPress for their businesses.  Here are some questions we're asked by those new to the world of WordPress.

1. Why should I choose WordPress?

WordPress is a content management system, which allows publishing, editing and modifying content, organizing, and deleting content in the dashboard.  With often little to no HTML/CSS knowledge, you and your team can easily manage a WordPress website.  It's great for organizations that need to continually update their site without regularly contacting and hiring a developer. The great thing about WordPress is that there are thousands of themes and plugins to choose from, so your website can be highly customizable.  With proper setup, it's search-engine-friendly, easy-to-manage, and it can be used for anything from a company website to a small-scale application.

2. WordPress.com? WordPress.org? What’s the difference?

wordpress.org

WordPress.com is a web hosted platform which is free to use, and easy to get started.  However, your website will have an address with "wordpress.com" at the end.  Also, WordPress.com restricts you from using advanced themes, and it has limited amount of customization options.  While this has very low barrier to entry, it's often very limiting and doesn't give you full ownership over your content. WordPress.org is the official community of WordPress.  Here you can discuss any WordPress problems, download free WordPress software, get support from the forum… etc.

3. Why can't I see "Plugins" in my Dashboard?

It's probably because you’re using WordPress.com platform, instead of WordPress.org.  Alternatively, it may be because you're using a WordPress multi-site.  If you're using a multi-site you should contact your site administrator or get in touch with a developer to help you enable the plugins you'd like to use.

4. What if I switch my WordPress Theme?  Will I lose all my content?

No, you will not lose any of your content.  In WordPress, the content is stored in a database, which is a separated place from your themes and front-end files.  The main issue you're going to run into when switching themes is plugins and shortcodes used by the theme.  Since there isn't a universal standard for shortcodes, the same shortcode might go by 2 different names in different themes.  This means you may have to modify your content to fit the new themes formats.

5.  Is WordPress search-engine-friendly?

Search engine optimizationYes, but it requires some work.  WordPress is not very SEO friendly out of the box.  First of all, you'll need to change the permalinks setting.  You'll also need to download some plugins to optimize meta tags and title tags (something themes don't do and occasionally do wrong).  Finally, the HTML output is really dependent on the theme.  With a poorly coded theme, your rankings may suffer.

6. How do I use Google Analytics with my WordPress blog?

There are actually a couple of ways to do it, but for beginners, the easiest way is install a Google Analytics plugin.  Don't forget to activate it after it's installed, and just follow the steps to set it up.

7. Do I need to hire a professional to build a WordPress blog or website?

We recommend that you do and here's why.  If you haven't setup a WordPress site before, this will probably take you a long time.  But more importantly, you don't want to set it up incorrectly.  Setup wrong, you risk poor SEO and possibly not being seen by Google at all.  It would be a shame to waste your time and effort on something that won't be seen. Even worse, your site could be setup with security risks.  We've had many clients come to us after being hacked.  Loopholes left in the site and lack of WordPress "hardening" leaves your site a ticking time bomb waiting to be hacked. Hiring a developer mitigates this risk, so at least initially we recommend getting a good developer to work on your site.  It's worth the cost to make sure your site is setup properly and prevent losing all your data.  After initial setup, it is very possible to maintain and add to your site without the help of a developer.

8. Is WordPress Secure?

Yes, the WordPress Core is a very secure system.  Plugins and themes, however, aren't always.  We generally see 2 or 3 popular plugins a year that turn into WordPress security risks.  It's important to keep these up-to-date or remove them if necessary. Making regular backups or at least setting up a program that does will provide extra protection.  With a backup you can relax knowing that even if your site is hacked, you won't lose all your hard work.

9. How can I improve my WordPress site’s load time?

There are a few things you can do about it: optimize Images, caching and minifying, or changing Servers. To learn more, please read this post on how to improve page speed time.

10. Is there any limit to the number of pages or plugins I can have per website?

No, you can have as many as you want to.  However, too many plugins or even just a few poorly coded plugins can slow down the speed of your website.  You should always delete or inactivate plugins you are not using.

 

In this article, we tried to address some of the most frequently asked questions by WordPress beginners.  You can also read another article  here and learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of WordPress.  We hope it helped you to understand WordPress a little bit better!