WordPress is one of the most powerful content management systems in the world, powering over 26% of all websites. Most people will know WordPress as a vehicle on which you can blog but it is also a platform upon which full websites can be built. It is a great starting point for people who want their own website as it works from templates that allow you to drag and drop your content into it. It is also a very attractive entry point into blogging as the platform is free to use at its most basic level.

What is WordPress?

At its very essence, WordPress is free. It uses open source software that anyone can add to and build upon. Developers across the world are sharing their additions to the platform to make it one of the most powerful in the world and because no one person or company owns it, much of this is available for free. However, open source software does not mean that building a website on WordPress is free.

What are the costs?

Many site owners do not understand the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. These are two very different environments even though they sound very much similar and the content management system appears to be the same. WordPress.com is the destination of choice if you want to build your own personal blog. At the point of entry, this is free and you can easily find a free theme to build upon, drag and drop your content into it and publish it all for free. If you want to do anything more than that then you’ll need to unlock the full power of WordPress and that is where the costs need to be factored in.

If, for example, you want to build an e-commerce site, then you will need a WordPress.org site. Again, at the point of downloading the WordPress.org software, this is free but you will then need a domain, hosting and to build your website. You can plug in a theme, which again can be found for free, but for a really great site, you will probably be better off with a theme that someone has built for your specific industry or purpose and these are usually chargeable. Once your site is built, you will then need an e-commerce plug-in to be able to sell products online and accept payments.

Being able to build all of these into a website that looks great and works in a consistent way for your audience takes time and experience. This is why WordPress developers make a good living from building websites, developing apps for WordPress and building themes. Once built, your website will not have any monthly subscription costs that you might find with other platforms, so your costs at the outset tend to represent the bulk of the outlay.

Ultimately, what is WordPress without an ever-growing user community? If you feel that it is the right platform for your website and that you could join over a quarter of all site owners out there who use the platform, just ensure that you have assessed all of the costs involved and any experience or paid assistance you will need to build your site.

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