There are several ways to create a website. The first method consists in coding your site “the hard way (hard-coding) i.e. from .html, .CSS, .java, .php (etc.) files that can be assembled to display what you see in the on your screen. This method has the advantage of letting you optimize your site without limit but it requires vast knowledge in programming if you do not want to limit yourself to the level of functionality and visual rendering.
The other method is to use a content management system (CMS) that will provide you with a much more intuitive and affordable work interface than file programming will. Therefore, in this article we present an overview of one of the main CMS; WordPress, which is the most used platform at the moment for anyone who wants to create and manage their site themselves.
An overview of WordPress
WordPress is the most common CMS at the moment! Although not all programmers are necessarily supportive of this platform, it has the merit of being extremely intuitive and placing web content management within everyone’s reach. WordPress has distinguished itself from its competitors (Joomla, Magento, Drupal) by the strength of its community and the innumerable amount themes available.
Indeed, WordPress relies on a system of “themes” which represent, in a sense, the skeleton of the site which you can then begin to customize as you want. When you create your website using WordPress, you start by choosing a theme that suits you; you install it on your WordPress account and then choose the different options that you want your theme offers in order to customize your site.
Pay attention however, as some theme are really adapted to WordPress and that the site is regularly updated. Indeed, certain themes (free for the most part) are not updated often, which can leave them open to important security flaws. If you choose a paid theme, make sure that its creators update it periodically to avoid security and incompatibility issues. To find WordPress themes, you can go to the official page or to specialized websites like the Theme Forest.
When to use WordPress
You can use WordPress for all types of things. Indeed, WordPress is also suitable for e-commerce sites, blogs or showcase sites. The only real disadvantage of WordPress is that it will require more resources than a hard-coded site, especially if you install many plugins (programs to add features like a contact form, a chat system, management, a newsletter, buttons to your social networks, comments system etc.). Moreover, most websites are hosted on a shared server, which will further burden the site and increase its loading time. Please note that you can set your site to use as few resources as possible when loading or even installing extensions like WordPress Total Cache and WP Super cache. So you can opt for this platform without any problems if you want to be able to easily manage your website.
How to choose your WordPress theme
If you have already started your search process, you have surely found that WordPress offers a lot of themes and that there really is something for all tastes. The first tip we can give you in choosing your WordPress theme is to make sure it used responsive web design, i.e. it is coded to fit all screen resolutions. Indeed, mobile traffic has exploded in recent years and sites that are not adapted to mobile devices are deprived of a large amount of increasingly important traffic. If you already have a website and want to know how to optimize it for mobile devices, check out our article “Optimize your site for mobile devices“.
The second criterion to be taken into account is of course the appearance and the organization of the theme. Indeed, not all themes offer the same menu organization, design and functionality. It is therefore important that you consider the organization of your site and its physical appearance before choosing your theme, especially if you are just starting out on WordPress and your knowledge of integration is limited. One important thing to know is that the themes you visualize often play on the quality of the images to give a modern and refined effect. It is therefore important that you also carefully choose your visuals so that the final rendition satisfies you. The images tend to weigh down the sites and increase the loading time of the pages but we encourage you to use visuals to give a little flair to your site. To limit the weight of your images, you can save them in .jpeg format by compression the quality of about 70% using software like The Gimp (free) or Photoshop or choosing “save to Web “when you save your file.
The third criterion to take into account is the degree of customization that your theme offers. Indeed, even if a theme can be completely modified, less experienced web managers are often satisfied with the different default options proposed by different themes and will often be disappointed if these default options do not satisfy them. Be aware, however, that it is difficult to know all the options of a theme just by previewing it. It is also sometimes the case that you find a site made using WordPress that you succeeded in identifying the theme that was used but that the theme was modified. You will not get the same rendering if you do not make the same changes.
WordPress regularly updates its platform to offer new features and fill in security gaps exploited by hackers. It is therefore very important to update your theme/website but make sure you take some precautions. The first precaution is to first make a backup of your site before updating anything; indeed, you are never guaranteed that an update won’t totally crash your site because of a compatibility problem with your theme or plugins. You can use a plugin to make backups of your site, use FTP software (like FileZila) to copy your files directly to your computer or connect to the interface of your host if they offers backup options (this is often the case).
Before updating WordPress, we advise you to first update the plugins and, if possible, one after the other so that you can immediately identify which extensions create possible compatibility problems. Indeed, if you update all your extensions at the same time, the task will be more complex…
Once your extensions are up-to-date, you can either update WordPress using your dashboard or upload the latest version to the official WordPress site itself. If you choose this second option, be careful not to copy the content folder at the risk of seeing some of your content or visuals being deleted.
I hope you were able to learn a little more about WordPress and how to use it. Know that we are specialized in this platform and that you can entrust us the creation of your website with us by contacting us via our contact page. Please note that if you entrust us with the creation of your website, we systematically include 3 hours of WordPress training to help you take master this platform and manage your site in a completely autonomous way.
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