1) What is a plugin?

WordPress plugins are little computer programmes that make your site better – there are millions of them, mostly free and they can do anything from block comments on your site, let people buy things, change the look of your site, add galleries, make it easier to print pages from your site, make it easier to share, stop spam comments…… the list is really endless.

2) What is a widget?

A widget is like a plugin but it can be placed in your site, usually in the sidebar. You might have a widget that rotates adverts or shows your shopping cart.

3) What is a theme?

A theme is the design of your site. WordPress has millions that can be downloaded and it’s really easy to change them. Look for ones that are widget ready though!

4) What is WordPress.com?

WordPress.com is a free hosting platform (like Blogger). WordPress say:

  • It’s free and super easy to set up
  • All of the technical maintenance work is taken care of — Setup, upgrades, spam, backups, security, etc.
  • Your blog is on hundreds of servers, so it’ll always remain available, even under high traffic
  • Your content is backed up automatically
  • You’ll get extra traffic from being a part of the WordPress.com community
  • You can find like-minded bloggers using search and the reader
  • Your dashboard is secure (SSL) making it even safer to log in on shared networks

The negative side to all this freeness is that you can’t add any plugins or change the code and you are limited to the themes that wordpress offer. And you can run out of space if you have a lot of pictures.

WordPress do have a VIP programme which allows you more flexibility but it costs thousands.

It is useful to have a WordPress.com login anyway to activate some important plugins which will need this.

5) What is WordPress.org?

WordPress.org is a website that you download (for free from http://wordpress.org)  then install it by uploading it to a site you own and pay rent (hosting) for. This does require a little bit of knowledge as you have to change a bit of code but after you have done that (or asked me to do it for you which will take me an hour) it is very straightforward.

WordPress say:

WordPress.org (self-hosted) Benefits

  • Ability to upload custom themes
  • Ability to upload plugins
  • Complete control to change code if you’re technically minded

WordPress give these cons which I have solutions for:

WordPress.org (self-hosted) Cons

  • You need a good web host  — This generally costs $7-12 a month, or thousands of dollars per month for a high traffic site

Ihelm Enterprises are a fantastic family firm and basic hosting from them costs £3 a month which is enough for most blogs I have set up.

  • Requires more technical knowledge to set up and run

Aha, but you have me here! All I require is payment.

  • You’re responsible for stopping spam

That is easy to do with a plugin and I would set that up as part of the installation.

  • You’re responsible for creating and maintaining backups of your site

There is a plugin for this.

  • You’re responsible for updating the WordPress software when new versions are released

This requires you to click a button once in a while. WordPress tell you when software needs updating.

  • If you get a huge spike in traffic, your site will probably go down unless you have a robust hosting setup

This is true of any website anywhere.

6) Can I try the free version first?

Yes. What I would suggest is setting up a free WordPress blog at WordPress.com to see how it works. It’s free and easy, you can play around, you can’t break anything and it is possible to export your posts into a self hosted site if you want to at a later date. When you outgrow it I’d love it if you contact me to help you with a new bigger better brighter site.