What is a WordPress theme and how can I create my website with it ?
If you recently discovered WordPress, here's a quick introduction before getting into the themes topic.
What is WordPress ?
WordPress is a very popular free Content Management Software ( also called CMS ) that you can use to create a website. It is currently used by more than 25% of the websites on the web ( source ) and powers sites as various as the New York times, small business sites, blogs, e-commerce stores or institutional sites.
How can I create my website with a WordPress theme ?
- On WordPress.org, you can download a software script called WordPress as a .zip file.
- Then you'll need to install it on a web server to start using it. To do this you need a web host who meets the minimum requirements. You don't need technical knowledge to do this. Most of the hosting company will pre-install WordPress for you when you subscribe for a plan. For example, with Blue Host, you'll get WordPress and the Customizr theme pre-installed. ( see here )
- Once installed on your web host, all you need to do is pick a WordPress theme ( also called template), like Customizr Pro, and start designing your website.
WordPress is really easy to use. You'll be quickly able to build pages like the one below.
How much does it cost ?
WordPress itself is open source and free. You don't have to pay anything to use it and it is licensed under the GPLv2.
However, you will need to purchase a web domain name, and, unless you're having your own server, to subscribe to a hosting plan which will cost you a few dollars or euros per month for a basic plan, which is usually enough to start hosting a website. Here's a list of recommended webhost.
When you install WordPress, you'll be able to choose a free theme in the theme panel. After testing them, most of the WordPress users purchase a premium theme which generally offers a better design and more customization features than the free ones.
Do I need to be a developer to use WordPress ?
No. WordPress won't require any particular technical skills to let you create your website. It is simple to use, but of course it will take you a few hours to become 100% familiar with the interface and various possibilities offered by the software.
Where to find the right information ?
When starting with WordPress, it can be difficult to find the right information on how to do simple things like adding a thumbnail to a post or creating a menu. And it can become even more complicated when you discover the millions (yes millions) of pages about WordPress : blogs, tutorials, videos, plugins, themes...! That's why it's important to keep the fundamentals in mind, and to get the information from the right source.
After many years working with this CMS, I've come to the obvious conclusion that the best starting point with WordPress is to read the documentation provided on... WordPress.org ! :)
I strongly recommend to start reading the official documentation and guides listed below.
The WordPress.org beginner documentation you must read
The following resources are a selection of the most important WordPress lessons you will need to read. They are all published and updated on WordPress.org, your most reliable source of informations about WordPress.