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What is WordPress Anyway?

WordPress powers 35% of all websites in the world, so it must be doing something right. Even with all that popularity, it is hard to understand what it actually is and I’m here to answer that question.

Hello! My name is Katie Ayres, and I’m a web developer and owner of 1 Happy Place, and today we wonder What is WordPress Anyway?

When it comes to creating and maintaining a website, there are three people involved:

  • You – the owner of the website
  • a website visitor browsing your site to learn about you
  • And a web developer supporting the website, such as myself

Think of WordPress as two websites.  There is the public website for the web visitor, and there is the administration website for the owner.  Behind the scenes, the developer creates a theme  to customize the website for the owner.

One of the reasons that WordPress has done so well is that the developers who created the WordPress Core software put a lot of effort into making the Administrative website easy to work with.  

You might hear the term “Content Management System”, which is a mouthful.  But basically, it is a system that allows you as the owner to manage your content directly – hence content management.

One way to think of it is to imagine you own a corner store.  The store would have a front door for customers to walk in and then browse your products.  When you log onto WordPress, you are essentially going in through the back door, the one that leads to the back storage room and eventually behind the counter. Customers are not allowed to go into those areas of the store, but as the store owner, you can, and this is where you would manage your store.

In the web world, the equivalent of going through the backdoor is logging onto WordPress. Your customers, aka your website’s visitors, don’t ever see this view of your website. Instead of products, you have content.  In the administrative part of the website you can make changes to your content and when you publish, it goes out to the front of the store, where people can browse your website for information.

Let’s look at this in action, starting with the public view of 1happysite.com.  This is a demonstration website I built to allow my clients to look at an example WordPress website in which I wrote software that gives it the look and feel you see.

First, let’s be a website visitor.  You can see that 1happysite.com has a Blog.  This is why this website is built with WordPress. It comes with excellent software for managing a blog, already built into its framework.  Website owners can periodically publish articles on their blog.  

In this blog, there is a mix between articles and video posts. If we click on the latest blog, we see a video post that talks about a YouTube video I recently created.  

Next, let’s be you, the owner of the website.  In order to get to the Administrative side of your website, you first need to login which I have done.You can see this looks very different from the public website.  But as we get oriented, you can see the content of the website listed in different sections.  Here is the list that shows all the different pages of the website.  

If we click Posts, we can see all the posts listed.  Let’s edit a post and watch it change in the public view.  

I will open up the latest blog of a video I created last week.  Let’s add an exclamation point to the title.  When I hit update, it is now public and available to any website visitor that comes along.  If we view the post as a website visitor would see it, we will see the exclamation point on the title.  I am going to go back and remove it.

Lastly,  we can see the theme I created to make this website work. A theme is what gives a website its appearance and features.  

I hope this video has answered the question “What is WordPress anyway?”.  If you have any more questions, I’d be happy to answer them!

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