WordPress is an open source content management system (aka CMS) that helps bloggers and webmasters edit content on a regular basis without the need of code.
Now, in this section I want to explain a bit to you the wordPress ecosystem. I’ve already mentioned themes and plugins, but let’s go a bit in-depth.
- The WordPress themes marketplaces
WordPress themes are tools that define the look and layout of a website. You can find them on WordPress.org or Envato.
They usually have a pre-designed homepage, blog, and a sample page.
Most of them are free, but with basic features. Many of them won’t allow you to alter colors or fonts, for example, unless you upgrade. But, as I said, you’ll end up paying around $30-70/year, I do feel it’s worth it, considering the benefits, and the fact that you also get unlimited access to support.
WordPress theme developers have designed themes that match various niches. For example an online newspaper or an ecommerce site have different needs, and you’ll find themes catered to both.
Now, the moment you download a WordPress theme in your account, you can change the existing images and content with your own ones. The process is easy and intuitive. I’ll show you how this is done in a couple of minutes.
There’s another concept I want to tell you about: WordPress templates.
Many themes out there come packed with WordPress templates. Now, the theme is the one that defines the overall website layout, while templates can change the layout of a specific page: the homepage, the blog post, etc. A template can have a narrow-width version of it or a full-width version of it. So, templates aren’t installed from the marketplace, but they come together with a theme.
- WordPress Plugins
The WordPress plugins function like apps, if you like. They extend the basic functionalities of WordPress and even add new ones. For example, here are some categories of plugins:
- Site speed and performance
- Lead generation & email marketing
- Conversion rate optimization
In my opinion, a plugin that is a must for any WordPress user is the drag & drop website builder. What does such a plugin do? Well, it lets you build your site by drag and drop. Plain and simple, right? It really is. Such a page builder will somehow upgrade your chosen theme. They use a grid system that allows you to place different types of content blocks such as, carousels, paragraphs, galleries, and many more.
The Colibri WordPress website builder
Many themes already come packed with such page builders, like Colibri. Others are compatible with other page builders. For example the Neve theme is compatible with the Elementor page builder.
Also, Kubio is a WordPress page builder that was developed on top of the most recent WordPress developments, or the Gutenberg experience.
In the next chapter you’ll find out how to install both themes and plugins.
- WordPress for ecommerce: meet WooCommerce
Online stores need a slightly different approach than a regular website. They are incorporating new features such as:
- Shopping carts
The plugin that helps you set up a WordPress online store from A to Z is WooCommerce. If you need some feature upgrades or extra features, the so-called WooCommerce extensions can come to the rescue. Maybe you want to add a new section on your product page to show related products, or a wishlist feature, these can be handled via extensions.
- WordPress developers
Thousands of web designers and developers are behind the WordPress themes and products. They are either developing their own products, or working inside agencies that develop these products. Some of them are even contributing to the development of certain official WordPress projects, like Gutenberg (the new WordPress Editor).
- WordPress support and maintenance service companies
With such a large community of WordPress developers, theme and plugin providers, it was only natural for companies that offer support, maintenance or event consulting to WordPress website owners. One of the most popular is WPBuffs.
- WordPress learning & WordPress community
There are lots of WordPress news sites, but also WordPress courses, podcasts and conferences that play an important role in keeping the whole community of WordPress users updated. From WPTavern, the official WordPress news site, WPBeginner, to lots of Youtube channels, there are a lot of reliable WP sources.