I almost posted a photo of me wanting to pull my hair out with this post. That wouldn’t be very glam of me now would it? But as promised, I’m going to delve into the pros and cons of WordPress that I’ve experienced so far. I’m by no means an expert (quite the opposite), but it wasn’t easy to find information this basic, so I thought I should share. Let me preface this post by saying that I’m very happy that I chose WordPress.
After reading a slew of blogs about blogging it was pretty clear that WordPress is the best platform to use across the board. I’m sure there are plenty of people who prefer other platforms, but my research suggests that WordPress is the way to go without a doubt. I’m not here to try to sell you on WordPress, but if you do a quick search on Google you can see for yourself.
I read of other bloggers regretting choosing different platforms and almost all of them ended up with WordPress in the end. Instead of following in their steps of regret I chose to start with WordPress right off the bat. “It’s easy to use,” they all said. Well, obviously I didn’t take the “right” classes in school because I was ready to pull my hair out for a solid week straight after the install.
I learned about Bluehost web hosting through several other travel blogs, and decided to give them a try. To be completely honest I’m still not 100% sure of what you need web hosting for, but “fake it til you make it,” right? If you can explain to me in web-hosting-for-dummies terms I would be elated. That being said, Bluehost was a great choice for me.
The first thing to understand is that WordPress.com and WordPress.org are not one in the same. I don’t know the difference, but know that they are different and that it matters. Make sure you are signing up for the one that you actually want. I signed up for Bluehost, which made it crazy easy for me to set up WordPress. You don’t need to know which is which if you use Bluehost, just know that it will work! It basically sets itself up. I promise I will elaborate on this in the future when and if I ever understand it. Just know that you’re not alone if you’re in the dark like me!
Next you’ll need to choose a theme from under the Appearance tab on the left. This is the part that took me FOR.EV.ER. I installed at least 6 themes and spent days Googling to try to figure out where I’d gone wrong. My theme looked nothing like the template. You see how I used the word template? I didn’t know that the picture they show you CAN be made with said theme. I thought that’s what it was supposed to look like straight away.
I’m telling you, I should have gotten WordPress for dummies. Several days of Google searches later I discovered widgets and plugins. I had a hard time understanding what they are and their purpose. I was starting to regret my decision to use WordPress at this stage because every blog I could find on the subject was talking about CSS and HTML – coding. I don’t do coding.
Turns out that widgets are how you can make your theme look like the template. After I did a search along the lines of “how to make x theme look like the template,” I was able to find the necessary code on a WordPress support site and then copy and paste it into the widget box. It worked!
The next thing to understand is how a plugin works. From what I understand a plugin is what makes it possible for people like me (and you if you’ve read this far) to make websites. It essentially writes the code for you. For example, I didn’t want every page I created to show as a menu item at the top of my page. I searched for a menu plugin, which enabled me to remove things, add things, drag and drop things, and create drop-down menus. This is also how you can add social media buttons, spam protection, email subscription boxes (like you’ll see to the right of this), etc.- all without needing to know a lick of coding.
At one point I almost gave up and hired someone to do all of this for me. I’m sure I’d have a better looking website if I did, but I felt overwhelmingly proud of myself when I got this thing functioning. I’m sure some day I will need a more intricate website, but for now my work is just fine. I’m happy that I can take all of you along with me on this wild ride. It will definitely be a learning and growing experience!
Have any tips for a newbie? Or have any (very) basic questions? I’d love to hear from you!
Happy blogging dolls!