Geek Speak: WordPress House

Categories: Geek Speak

(This a nutshell metaphor so you can understand your WordPress website and what's involved in creating it.  Yes, there's more to it.  But this will give you basic level WordPress enlightenment.)

 We’ll start at the very beginning (a very good place to start).  Your website has its own name: the domain name.  It’s the address where people can find you online.  You will need to purchase this domain name from a registrar company.  You’ll usually pay an annual, semi-annual, etc. fee to your registrar company to keep your domain name.

Next, you need a hosting company.  If the domain name is like the address of your online house, the hosting company gives you the actual online lot for your online house.  You will pay either monthly or annually for hosting services at a specific level to meet your website needs on the hosting company’s servers.  Some companies are registrars AND hosting companies, so you can both buy your domain and set up your hosting through them.

Once your hosting is set up, you are ready for WordPress.  WordPress is an open-source (which means it's free!) Content Management System to hold all of the data that makes up your website.  It’s like your actual online house, and you’ll have a key to this online house in the form of a username and password.

Because it’s fun to decorate a house, the next thing you need is a theme, which is like an interior design scheme.  Your chosen theme is going to set many of the parameters of how your online house appears.  There are both free themes and paid themes, which allow more customization.  Designers, like us, often have paid for special licenses to be able use paid themes on your behalf at no additional charge to you.  You're welcome. 🙂

After you’ve chosen the vibe of your website with a theme, it’s time to look at your website pages.  These are the rooms of your online house.  Pages organize content on a website according to specific purposes and subjects, just like a kitchen is for cooking and a bedroom is for sleeping in a real house.  Your pages will be organized according to a layout we’ll come up with, like a blueprint for where everything in the room is going to look the best and function well.

All of your lovely content is the furniture and paintings and knick-knacks that go into your online page rooms.  You’ll have text content, visual content (such as pictures, graphics, and videos), and possibly even audio content. 

A real house requires specific machines to do special work, like washing machines, refrigerators, or dishwashers, and plugins are the appliances of the WordPress world.  They’re applications that you can use on your site for a particular need that isn't already being serviced by your theme or hosting service.  These could include things forms, calendars, the ability to send email from your site, backup creation, etc.

And speaking of backups, it’s time to talk about ways to keep your online home safe.  Backups are your insurance if something goes wrong because they are stored copies of your site that can be used to get things up and running again.  And for additional online home protection, it’s important to have a security system.  That’s why it's important to also use security plugins/services to protect your site from the likes of hackers and spammers.  Boo to those guys!  Some of these security plugins/services are free or provided to you by your hosting company with the cost of your hosting (this varies from company to company).  But depending on the needs of your specific site, there are also paid plugins/services with greater abilities.  

Phew!  And now you know about the site that Jenny and Jeff built.  The end.

P.S. This post is the first in what will be an ongoing Geek Speak series.  So stay tuned...same bat-time, same bat-channel...