123 Reg logo Blog

What is WordPress and why should you use it?

By Will Stevens - February 23, 2022

WordPress is a popular content management system (CMS) that is used to create and update a website.

Many popular websites are powered by WordPress, including this blog you’re reading right now.

In this guide, we’ll look at some of the most common questions about WordPress to help you understand how it works.

The 123 Reg blog is powered by WordPress

What is WordPress and how does it work?

WordPress is a CMS used to create and update websites.

But what does that mean? What does WordPress do? What is a WordPress website?

Essentially, WordPress is like an app which, when installed on a web server, can be used to build a website and then update the content of that website. A WordPress website is one that is powered by this app.

A lot of work goes into the app side of WordPress, but that’s not something the average user ever has to worry about.

So why is WordPress good? Because it’s possible to use WordPress to create and update a website without ever having to touch a single line of code.

The basics of WordPress work on a “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) basis. That means as you’re creating and editing a WordPress website, you know what it’s going to look like.

The other great thing about WordPress is its use of templates (also known as themes) and plugins. A WordPress template dictates the overall look of your site, while plugins let you add extra features to your site without code.

There’s a huge variety of templates on offer, so you’ll be able to find one that suits your needs. Templates are also easy to customise, so you can get your site looking just the way you want it.

Plugins are used to add extra functionality to your site. If you want to add a feature to your WordPress website, the chances are you’ll be able to find a plugin for it.

What are the benefits of WordPress?

The benefits of WordPress mainly relate to its ease of use and flexibility. Here’s a comprehensive list of WordPress’s benefits.

WordPress benefit: Very user-friendly

Is WordPress easy to use? Yes! In fact, WordPress’s ease of use is one of its key benefits. It’s possible for someone who is computer literate to get their first website up and running within hours of buying a WordPress hosting package.

You don’t need coding or advanced design skills, because everything is made simple. Although you will need to have some IT skills, the ability to follow basic how-to guides and an idea of what makes a website look good.

WordPress benefit: Extremely flexible and powerful

Despite being easy to use, WordPress is also extremely flexible and powerful. The use of plugins and templates mean that advance features can be used by almost anyone.

If you’re willing to get to grips with coding, you’ll be able to create customer designs and features, truly unlocking the full power of WordPress. Many people feel this is why WordPress is better than other CMSs.

WordPress benefit: Easy to update

Not only is it easy to get a WordPress website up and running, it’s also easy to keep that website updated.

Whether it’s updating opening hours, adding a new blog post or including a phone number, WordPress makes it easy to add, change or remove information.

That means you don’t have to worry about contacting a web designer to make changes on your behalf.

WordPress benefit: Wide range of templates to choose from

WordPress’s templates are easy to use and there’s loads to choose from. Not only does that mean you can go with a design option which suits your business niche, it also means that your website won’t end up looking like loads of others.

WordPress benefit: Easy to add extra features to your site

Need a new feature on your website? The chances are there’s already a plugin that does exactly what you want. WordPress plugins mean you can add a new feature to your site with just a few clicks, rather than hiring someone to code the feature for you.

WordPress benefit: Large support community

WordPress is built on a strong community and that means there’s plenty of people to turn to if you need help.

Of course, if you go with a hosting provider like 123 Reg you’ll have access to an outstanding support team, but the WordPress community is there to help you as well.

Got a question about why something isn’t working on your site and can’t find the answer? Just head over to the WordPress forums. The chances are your problem has already been answered and if it hasn’t, someone will be willing to lend a hand.

The WordPress community is also a great place to start if you want to learn how to do more with WordPress sites.

WordPress benefit:  Can add multiple users

Got other people who work on your website? WordPress makes it easy to add multiple users. Plus, because you can select which role a user, you can give people just the level of access they need.

For example, if you want someone to write blog posts for you, you can give them the “Author” role, which means they won’t be able to make any other chances to your website.

WordPress benefit: SEO friendly

WordPress is search engine optimisation friendly. It’s default way for structuring websites makes them easy for search engines to understand.

That doesn’t mean your site will rank highly in Google just because it uses WordPress, but it does mean you’re far less likely to create a website that Google can’t include in its search engines at all.

Note: Although WordPress is SEO friendly, it’s still possible to get things wrong when creating your WordPress site. Check out this guide for more information on doing SEO WordPress the right way.

What is WordPress used for?

WordPress is a CMA that is used to design and build all kind of websites. WordPress can be used for anything from a simple blog to a complex ecommerce site.

This blog you’re reading is a WordPress blog. The Vogue website is powered by WordPress, as the website for Rolling Stone magazine.

In fact, if you look at the WordPress Showcase you’ll see it contains websites from almost every sector you can think of – from government and charities to bands and online shops.

If it goes on the web, you can build it with WordPress.

The WordPress Showcase highlight sites built using the CMS

Is WordPress good for beginners?

WordPress is one of the best ways for beginners to get a new website up and running. You don’t need to know how to code, there’s only a small amount of jargon to get to grips with and you can get a basic site up and running within hours.

All you need to do to get started is buy a WordPress hosting package, select the template you want to use for your site, add your site’s content and then set it live. That’s it! Your first ever website up and running in three simple steps.

You can then add and update content as needed and add extra features through plugins. If you want to change the way your site looks in the future, you can always pick a new template.

The other reason WordPress is great for beginners is that, if you want to, you can learn more about how WordPress works and start making the most of its flexible nature.

For example, you might want to customise a template’s code to give you a unique-looking site. You might even end up creating your own templates and plugins!

Of course, you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. It’s perfectly possible to run a successful WordPress site without knowing exactly what’s going on behind the scenes. That’s why it’s great for beginners.

Crucial security note: If you’re using WordPress, it’s important that you keep everything up to date. This includes your plugins and the version of WordPress you use. This is because hackers will try to exploit out of date plugins and WordPress installations. This guide deals with WordPress security for beginners.

Is WordPress right for me?

WordPress is right for all kinds of websites and kinds of people. It’s almost certain you’ll be able to create the website you need using WordPress.

One reason you might not want to use WordPress is if you lack the low level of technical skills you need to make it work.

In this case, you might want to opt for the 123 Reg Website Builder, which can be easier to use.

Summing up

WordPress is a great way for anyone to create a website. It does require a little bit of technical knowledge, but not much. If you’re keen to build your own site and perhaps learn some new skills as you go along, then WordPress should suit your needs perfectly.