WordPress Uses: How to Setup and Build Blog and Ecommerce Websites (2024)

If you’re browsing a website on the internet, there’s a chance it’s hosted on WordPress. According to some estimates, nearly half a billion websites use WordPress. It’s a popular choice for one big reason: It’s easy to use. Learn how to set up a WordPress site, choose between self-hosted and managed versions, select a domain, customize with themes and plug-ins, and create and publish content for different types of websites.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a free, open-source content management system (CMS) that lets you create and manage your own website or WordPress blog. You can build a fully functional WordPress site from scratch, customize it with themes and plug-ins, and publish content easily without extensive technical knowledge.

As of 2024, WordPress is the most popular CMS for creating any website—from simple blogs to extensive portfolios. Whether you want to start a blog, launch a business website, or create a unique online presence, WordPress provides the tools and flexibility to help you build it.

[embedded content]

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org

WordPress has two distinct offerings: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. While both provide a platform for creating and managing websites, they differ in terms of hosting, customization options, and associated costs:

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is a hosted platform that lets you create a WordPress site without needing a web hosting account. It offers a simplified way to build and manage WordPress websites, with hosting, security, and core updates all handled for you as part of its managed WordPress hosting.

WordPress.com offers a free plan with limited features and WordPress.com branding. Paid plans start at $4 per month (billed annually) for the Starter plan, which includes a custom domain and access to premium themes. Higher-tier plans like the Creator plan at $25 per month and the Entrepreneur plan at $45 per month offer more advanced features.

WordPress.org

By contrast, WordPress.org provides the downloadable, open-source software version of WordPress that you can install on your web hosting account. With the self-hosted WordPress.org, you have complete ownership and control over your website and can freely install any plug-ins or themes.

However, you are responsible for handling hosting, security, performance, and WordPress software updates, which requires more technical knowledge compared to the managed hosting on WordPress.com. While WordPress.org is free to download and use, web hosting can cost anywhere from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars per month.

What are WordPress themes?

WordPress themes are templates that determine the appearance and layout of your WordPress website. They allow WordPress users to quickly change the look and feel of their websites, making it easy to create professional-looking business websites, blogs, portfolios, or online stores without extensive coding knowledge.

WordPress offers various options, ranging from the default theme that appears when you first install WordPress, to thousands of free and premium themes created by the WordPress community. You can customize your chosen WordPress theme to suit your needs or follow free WordPress tutorials to learn how to create themes from scratch.

What are WordPress plug-ins?

WordPress plug-ins are software add-ons that extend the functionality of WordPress sites. Plug-ins allow you to add new features to your WordPress site without writing code. There are over 59,000 free WordPress plug-ins available, covering a wide range of capabilities.

Search the WordPress Plug-in Directory from your WordPress admin dashboard. When evaluating plug-ins to install, look for ones that are popular, regularly updated, compatible with your version of WordPress, and well-rated by other users. That said, be cautious about installing too many plug-ins, which can slow down your site.

Popular types of plug-ins include:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO). Improve your site’s visibility in search engines with plug-ins like Yoast SEO or All in One SEO.

Types of websites to build with WordPress

Whether you want to start a forum or launch a site for your small business, WordPress has the tools and flexibility to meet your needs for many different types of websites, including.

  • Personal blogs: Write blog posts that showcase your personality, interests, and creative pursuits.
  • Membership websites: Build a community and generate recurring revenue by offering online courses and exclusive content accessible to paying members.
  • Small business website: Promote your business and attract new customers by highlighting your offerings and expertise.
  • Ecommerce store: Start an online business and sell products or services worldwide by creating a website with ecommerce functionality like payment gateways and ecommerce checkout.
  • Portfolio websites: Showcase your creative work, projects, and accomplishments with a portfolio that highlights your skills and expertise.
  • Event websites: Promote and manage events, conferences, or festivals with event details, schedules, speaker profiles, and ticket sales.
  • Forum websites: Create an online forum where users can ask questions, share ideas, and start conversations around a specific niche.

How to get started with WordPress

  1. Choose a hosting option
  2. Select a domain name
  3. Install WordPress
  4. Pick a theme
  5. Configure essential plug-ins
  6. Publish your content

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced user, getting started with WordPress is straightforward. Follow these simple steps to get started:

1. Choose a hosting option

When deciding on the framework for your website, you have two primary options: use the self-hosted WordPress platform from WordPress.org or opt for the hosted service at WordPress.com.

  • WordPress.org: If you choose self-hosted WordPress, you’ll download and install the open-source WordPress software on your web server, giving you full control over the back end and access to modify the code.
  • WordPress.com: With this option, you don’t have to handle much of the technical maintenance, which is ideal if you prefer focusing more on content creation and less on technicalities.

2. Select a domain name

Choose a domain name that’s memorable and reflective of your brand or content.

When choosing a hosting plan for a self-hosted WordPress site, consider factors like bandwidth, storage, security features, and whether the host has dedicated WordPress support. Ensure the host meets WordPress’s minimum requirements to run the software efficiently.

3. Install WordPress

To use WordPress on a self-hosted basis, install the open-source WordPress software on your chosen web server. Most hosting providers facilitate this with a one-click installation process, letting you quickly set up WordPress and access the WordPress dashboard to manage your website content.

Those opting for a hosted solution can sign up for an account at WordPress.com and choose the right plan. This platform manages all the technical aspects, allowing you to focus on content creation through an intuitive website builder.

4. Pick a theme

After you set up WordPress, pick a theme that suits the style and functionality of your site. Both WordPress.org and WordPress.com offer many customizable themes.

From your WordPress dashboard, choose a theme and start customizing it to match your brand identity. You can change colors, layout, and fonts using the customizer, and see changes in real time.

5. Configure essential plug-ins

From the WordPress dashboard, search for, install, and configure plug-ins. To start, consider installing plug-ins for SEO, security, and backups. Each plug-in has unique settings, so take the time to configure each according to your needs. This will ensure your site operates efficiently and securely, improving the user experience and back end operations.

6. Publish your content

Finally, create and publish your website content—whether it’s a blog post, landing page, or contact form. From the WordPress dashboard, click on Posts to add new WordPress posts or Pages to create new webpages. Use the block editor to add text, images, and other media to your content.

Once satisfied, hit Publish so the world can see your content.

What is WordPress FAQ

Can you use Shopify with WordPress?

Is WordPress good for beginners?

Yes, much like Shopify and Squarespace, WordPress is good for beginners, due to its user-friendly interface and extensive community support.

Is WordPress free to use?

Yes, WordPress is free to use, as it’s open-source software, but you may incur costs for hosting, domain registration, and premium themes or plug-ins.