The primary requirement for anyone to be an online entrepreneur is a website! Now that can be a scary word. If you’re a non-techy person, the sound of it can really set you back, isn’t it? “How on earth am I going to make one of those complicated things?” would be the obvious question. Trust me, even as an academic in the IT sector, the fear was the same for me too. But, WordPress changed it!
A decade ago, you would have needed an IT expert to develop a website for you, not anymore! The trick is Content Management Systems (CMSs). They allow you to build YOUR OWN website from scratch with a minimal or NO IT knowledge. Hard to believe, yes, but it is true!
CMSs allows you to create a website using simple commands in natural language. It often involves drag & drop operations to do even the very complex things. CMSs does the more complicated stuff for you like coding, file management, data management etc, while you worry about the appearance and content aspects.
WordPress (WP) is, in fact, the most commonly used CMS out there with a staggering 74.6 million websites worldwide depending on WP. I have four websites (including this one) running on my own domains (websites with unique URLs) that are built on the WP platform. So far, I have nothing to complain about!
Some basic facts about WP:
- Name: WordPress
- Owners: WordPress Foundation
- Website URL: www.wordpress.org
- Initial release: May 27, 2003
- License: GNU GPLv2+
My 5 Reasons to love WordPress?
WP offers you with a multitude of themes to cater for your audience. Let it be a site to promote health products or an information portal for high-school leavers, WP can cater for your requirements often than not.
It also allows you to play around with the options. For example, if you like to have the site logo visible or not, or if you want to have a footer menu active, and so on you can do so.
This is a freedom that I did not have in Blogger (which is the Google’s free website platform primarily designed to support bloggers). I have been using blogger for more than eight years, and only started using WP this year. I can rate WP very high in the scale of flexibility.
2. Open source
One of the best benefits I have enjoyed with WP is its allowance to edit the source-code. Websites use programming language like PHP to manage the back-end operations. WP allows you to edit these codes. This especially useful if you plan to monetise your website. Many businesses require you to edit the content of the website, primarily as a way of assuring your ownership of the website and secondarily to provide you customised content.
The editing options are somewhat limited in the free version, but more advanced plans allow you to freely edit the code.
A word of caution: ALWAYS back-up your websites before changing the code of your website. If something goes wrong, you may lose everything on your website. If you are unsure about editing, it is better ask someone!
WP gives you access to practically millions of plugins, that allows you to accomplish some complex tasks without worrying about editing the source-code.
For example, you can use a plugin and easily include Facebook or Google share buttons under your posts without editing the source-code. There will be ‘some’ plugin for almost everything you need to do with your website.
A word of caution: Using too many plugins may slow your website down. Nowadays, the loading speed plays a vital role in attracting a readership for your web content, as people look for instant access to information. The ideal number of plugins per website is 5. If you have more than that, make sure that they are necessary.
Having a strong social network is a must for a successful entrepreneur. It helps to build your reputation and provides you with a ‘valid’ identity. Unlike Blogger, WP gives you better options to make your website social network friendly.
WP provides thousands of social plugins which you can leverage to get the best out of the social networks.
As an academic specialising in user experience (UX) design, I can vouch for the user-friendliness of the WP dashboard. You don’t really need a manual to find your way around. But, I would highly recommend you follow some tutorials or a short-course to speed-up your learning process.
Who is WordPress for?
Practically for anyone who is willing to make a sociable website.
WordPress has 4 pricing options.
1. Starter (FREE)
This is best suited if you want to learn the art of making a website. The monetizing options with this plan is quite limited because you will not get a unique domain name. Your website URL will look something like “enteprenuer.wordpress.com” But still you will be able to place some ads that can lead to revenue.
2. Personal ($4 per month, billed yearly)
The key advantage here is that you are going to get a unique domain name. So, essentially you can omit the “WordPress” part from your website URL to look something like “enteprenuer.com”. This gives you more opportunities to monetize your website and earn money.
3. Premium ($8 per month, billed yearly)
This is the best option if you are looking to launch a content-rich website with many features aiming to own online business. This option provides you with unlimited access to WP premium themes with much flexibility to edit the design as you wish. This is the same option I am on right now. In fact, WP premium is included in the Wealthy Affiliate premium membership which I am a part of. Wealthy Affiliate is a website integration platform that supports you to launch your own business.
4. Business ($25 per month, billed yearly)
This plan is catered towards supporting full-scale businesses. This account supports Google Analytics support, unlimited storage, and the ability to remove WordPress.com branding.
As a beginner, it would be wise to start with the starter plan and build a website to learn the basics. Then you can think of upgrading to either Personal or Premium plans. One thing I can tell you though is, premium is worth it!
The Final Verdict
Nothing is perfect though. WordPress is no exception!
For me, the key one would be the complexity at times. But, this becomes a huge issue ONLY if you are somewhat unfamiliar with the interface. It is nothing that a proper learning resource cannot solve!
|Flexibility:||(4.9 / 5)|
|Tools:||(4.6 / 5)|
|User Experience:||(4.8 / 5)|
|Support:||(4.6 / 5)|
|Social Integration:||(4.9 / 5)|
|OVERALL:||(4.8 / 5)|