As a freelance web developer who specialises in WordPress there are certain questions that I get asked over and over again. Here are the eight questions that I am most commonly asked.
1. WHAT IS WORDPRESS?
WordPress was originally a blogging platform when it was first released back in 2003 but since then it has developed into a fully fledged content management system (CMS), particularly since the release of custom post types in Version 3.0. WordPress is open source software and a usual WordPress installation will consist of:
- WordPress core files
- MySQL database
Since 2003 WordPress has grown in popularity and now accounts for over 25% of all websites.
2. WHERE CAN A WORDPRESS WEBSITE BE HOSTED?
WordPress can be hosted on wordpress.com, you can even use your own domain name, or you can use your usual hosting company. I often develop sites on my Mac initially using MAMP to provide all the server functionality for me so that I can develop sites more quickly. MAMP turns your Mac into a virtual server running My Apache, MySql and PHP.
WordPress can run on either a Linux or Windows server as long as PHP and MySQL are both installed.
3. HOW DOES WORDPRESS WORK?
WordPress is a CMS that gives you full control over your websites content. It follows industry best practice by separating your content from the look and feel of your website. Within a WordPress installation are three main folders:
- wp-admin – This folder contains the files that the WordPress admin area needs
- wp-includes – This folder contains the files that provide the core functionality of WordPress
- wp-content – This is the folder that contains your website’s themes, any plugins that your site uses and your media folder
You create content in the admin area of the site. This is stored in the database. When the content is requested by a website user the core files will retrieve your information and then your site’s theme will display the content in the way that you want.
When you create content with WordPress you are creating a post and different types of post have different post types. The two that most people are familiar with is the post and page types.
4. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A POST AND A PAGE IN WORDPRESS?
Posts are used in your WordPress site’s blogroll. They are your blog articles. They can be categorised so that you can group articles together and also have tags attached to them which again can help a user to find similar articles. A post can contain an excerpt, a small piece of text that can be displayed on the blogroll to give a reader an indication of what the article is about. Posts all use the same template from your website’s theme to display their content.
Pages are really stand alone content for things like an “About Us” page and do not appear on the blogroll page and do not have excerpts. Pages do not have categories but they can have subpages. This allows similar content to still be grouped together. For example, a website with an “About Us” page might have “Our Mission Statement”, “Our Values, and “CSR” as subpages. Each page can either use the default page template of the theme or another template can be created. Technically it would be possible to create a different template for every page so that each page has its own look and feel
5. WHAT IS A WORDPRESS THEME?
The files create templates for different scenarios such as a blogroll template, single post template or page template.
A WordPress site can have many themes installed but only one can be active at any time. Each theme has its own folder. You can see a list of the themes that you have installed on your WordPress site by logging in to the admin area of the site and then choosing Appearance > Themes from the main menu on the side of the page.
There are many themes that are available for download on the web. Some are free and others you will need to pay for. If you want a totally bespoke design for your website then you would be best contacting a freelance web developer to discuss your requirements.
6. WHAT IS A WORDPRESS CHILD THEME?
A WordPress child theme is an extension of an existing theme, that provides some sort of extra customisation that was not available in the original theme. The child theme concept is useful when you have downloaded an existing theme that you like but that requires customisation. If you amend the original theme files although your site will function the way you want it to the next time you update the theme you will lose all your customisations. This is where a child theme comes in.
A child theme is linked to its parent theme and includes only files that you want to amend. When you update the parent theme the files of the parent theme are updated but none of the ones in your child theme are changed so you don’t lose any of the extra customisation that your website needs.
7. WHAT IS A WORDPRESS PLUGIN?
Out of the box WordPress has a lot of functionality but there may well be extra features that you would like your website to have such as an image slider or an ecommerce facility. A plugin is a stand alone piece of software that achieves those extra pieces of functionality that you desire for your website.
Some plugins are free, some are paid for. Often you will find that a plugin has a free version and paid version that contains extra features. There are hundreds of thousands of plugins available that will handle pretty much every task that you can think of.
You can also look at having a bespoke plugin built that provides you with the exact functionality that you require. If this is what you are looking for then feel free to contact me to discuss your requirements.
8. HOW MUCH DOES WORDPRESS COST?
WordPress itself is open source software and is free to download. You can even host your website for free on wordpress.com. Your website will probably need a theme and some plugins, some of these are free and some will have you to pay for. Basically whether you have a budget large or small then it is possible to have a WordPress site.
If you have any further questions about WordPress then feel free to contact me using the form below or call +44 7787 422145.