If you want to skip the intro and straight away go to the step click here
Do you know the original purpose of WordPress?
In the year 2003, WordPress was developed primarily as a blogging tool based on another blogging tool called b2/cafelog. Since the developers of b2/cafelog discontinued it, Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little decided to build a new platform based on b2/cafelog.
Well, you may say thank you for the History lesson! Get to the point! 😀
So, the critical question. Who uses a blogging tool?
The answer is, a blogger. A blogger uses a blogging tool.
Do you think bloggers are tech-savvy?
Well, no doubt, some of them are. However, the most are not.
These are the artists, writers, marketers, finance experts, stock experts, graphics designers, life coaches, consultants. Well, anyone can be a blogger.
Why a tool specifically designed for the bloggers be confusing one for the bloggers?
Is Microsoft Word or Apple Pages, challenging to use for the writers?
The same way WordPress is designed in such a way that non-tech savvy people can use it.
WordPress is for you and not only for coders.
Of course, we cannot compare WordPress of 2003 with the WordPress of 2018. The current version which 4.9.8 (as of today), is far different from what it used to be.
That said, the core didn’t change. By core, I don’t mean the code used to develop WordPress. What I mean is the basic functionalities didn’t change. New features are added, but old remain. You can still add the posts, images, links etc.
So, the point I want to make here is, even if you are not a coder or a tech-savvy fellow, still you can use WordPress to develop your website.
With the advent of themes and plugins, the development has further eased up.
I agree WordPress is for non-techy people too. But where should I start learning it?
The first step would be to install the WordPress.
WordPress is built using PHP as a programming language, MySQL as a database and usually, it runs on the Apache server. So you need all of them on your computer to install WordPress.
However, you don’t have to worry about them. There is a piece of software called XAMPP. It is available for all Windows, Linux and Mac. What XAMPP does is it installs PHP, MySQL and Apaches server.
You have to create a database yourself, download the latest version of WordPress from wordpress.org
Then go through all the installation process. Although the process is quick and straightforward, you still have to go through it, which kind of turns off people.
So, I am not going XAMPP way. Instead, I am going to show you the most straightforward way to install WordPress on your desktop or a laptop.
So, here is the first step towards learning to develop your website based on WordPress without coding.
Bitnami provides us with a WordPress installation that can be used to install WordPress on Windows, Mac and Linux. It sets up everything, right from PHP, MySQL and Apache. Then it automatically creates the database and wires it with the WordPress.
That means all we have to do is download the file from Bitnami and then just run the file and go through the setup.
You can go through the video below, where I have shown the installation process in details.
The setup will take hardly 10 minutes to complete. The best thing about setting up WordPress on your local machine is that it is just very easy to learn. Because if you start learning on a Web Hosting, first of all, you have to shell out some money and then you have to understand how the server works.
Because even though the hosting providers manage the servers on our behalf, still the errors creep up. And we have to fix them to get our site working. Then what happens is your focus shifts from learning WordPress to learning how cPanel or Plesk works. (These are the server control panels.)
Setting up WordPress on our local machine helps us in focussing on learning WordPress.
So don’t go for the web hosting just now. Let’s learn WordPress first. Develop the website on the local machine. You can any time transfer it to the hosting anytime.
Now that we have installed WordPress on our computer, we will require it open it again in case we restart or shut the computer. One option is you can bookmark the link or remember the URL. But that is not an option if you are developing more than one website.
That’s why Bitnami WordPress provides us with a management utility that can be used to open our site. Now, when I say Bitnami WordPress, I do not mean any other kind of WordPress. Just because we installed it using the Bitnami installer, I am calling it Bitnami WordPress.
Check out the following video to understand how you can open your WordPress site using the management utility.
In case you are using Windows and need to install WordPress on Windows then go through the following video. The installation process is not that different, but just in case you face any difficulty, this video will provide you with a guideline.
Sorry guys! No audio is available for installation on Windows video 🙁
Just in case you are wondering how we can install WordPress on Linux hosting using cPanel
Well installing WordPress on hosting is as easy as installing it on the desktop or a laptop. Just in case you are wondering how to do it, check out the following video.
Let’s create a few pages first
Next thing we need to do is create some pages. Duh!
WordPress provides us with the simplest way to add the pages to our website. Just go through the following video, and you will understand it yourself, how easy it is.
Next step is to change the look of the website and set a homepage
Themes are an integral part of a WordPress website. Some themes are paid, some are free and some are free but you need to pay to get additional features (Freemium).
There is a massive collection of themes available, and you will be spoilt for the choice. You can find some outstanding paid themes on Theme Forest. Free and freemium themes can be found inside WordPress admin and they can be installed right from there.
With just a couple of clicks, you will be able to install and activate a theme. And if you don’t like the theme that you have installed, no problem, you can install a new one and activate it.
And oh, you can set up any page that you created as a homepage. If you fall out of love with your current website, no worries, create a new one. Set it as a homepage and then trash the old one.
Create a menu. Visitors should be able to navigate you know
Another task that is made very easy by the good developers at WordPress. I mean all you have to do is add the pages that you want in your menu and order them as per your wish. If you want to have a submenu that’s easy too.
Creating a menu is just a two-minute task. Play the video and install a theme then create a menu and set a homepage. Easy-peasy.
Over to the crucial part – Actually designing pages
Installing WordPress must have been a breeze for you. But you must be wondering how do I design the pages. Because the WordPress page editor seems quite simple. I can only see a big text box. How am I supposed to add the hero section, the services, the products, or the testimonials?
Well, it is quite natural that you have this question.
That’s why God (or the universe, your choice) gave us developers who created some awesome page builders.
The built-in WordPress page editor is quite a simpleton. And yes WordPress is coming with its own page builder, Gutenberg.
However, Gutenberg is still in the development stage, and to be honest, I am not that impressed with the first looks.
The other page builders, right from Divi, Beaver Builder, Elementor, Visual Composer, Thrive Architect and quite remarkable. Once you use them, you will feel like, Wow, is web development that easy?
So page builders. But, which one to use?
By the way, if you do not want to read the comparison and straight away go to the installation of page builder then click here.
Fair question! I have used Divi, Visual Composer, Thrive Architect and Elementor a lot. I have used Beaver for a couple of client projects.
So let me give the pros and cons of these page builders.
Divi is developed by Elegant Themes. Divi builder used to be a part of the theme named Divi. But now, the builder is available as a standalone product.
Divi is a paid page builder. However, you can take a test drive it before making a purchase decision.
Like other page builders, Divi has a drag and drop interface, where you can drag and drop various elements like header image, testimonials, rows etc on the page. You can move them around to get the look you desire.
My personal opinion about Divi is, it is not that difficult to use. But a complete newcomer may find it bit difficult to find where the different options are. Another issue I have with Divi is the websites built using Divi, look kind of same.
The plugin provides us with a great user interface but it is a heavy plugin.
And you may need to hack into CSS to change the looks. And that for me is a deal-breaker because if I am anyway going to use page builder, I want it to do almost all the work for me.
Divi is available at USD 89 per year or if you pay USD 249 you will get lifetime access. In both the payment plans, you get many themes developed by Elegant Themes and a few plugins too. And you can instal it on as many sites as you want to. So, it’s not a bad deal.
As far as Divi builder goes, I used to like it a lot but I have fallen out of love with it.
Beaver Builder is a theme agnostic page builder. What that means is you can use this plugin with any website. And quite honestly it is a full-fledged plugin with great features.
Although I have used it only for two projects, I found working with Beaver Builder a breeze. Only thing is whenever you add some element on the page, the page reloads. And that is annoying to a certain level.
Beaver Builder is available in two versions, one is free and other one is paid. The free version is quite limited though.
The paid version of Beaver is quite pricey starting with USD 99. With the base plan, you can install this plugin on only one site. And that’s what makes Beaver Builder bit costly.
I have used Visual Composer for a hell lot of projects. Most of the themes that are available on Theme Forest comes with Visual Composer. And that is how I have used it. I have never purchased Visual Composer as a standalone product. I have always used it because it came with the theme.
I have kind of a love-hate relationship with Visual Composer. The number of widgets available is mind-blowing. You will never feel like this is not available or that is not available.
I am not fond of the user interface at all. There is a certain learning curve which I don’t like to have with page builders. As I said, I want page builders very easy to use.
Slow websites kill your search engine optimisation efforts. And it’s just a bad experience for the users.
Visual Composer is not that costly. It starts at USD 59 for one website and the top plan is available at USD 349 which allows you to install it on an unlimited number of sites.
Just in case you need more information on Visual Composer and Beaver Builder, here is a great resource, you can read.
I like the Thrive Architect. I love it very much. I have used it on so many websites. It is effortless to use, and you can create pages in no time.
The user interface is beginner friendly. And there are plenty of readymade widgets available that are easy enough to configure. The learning curve with Thrive Architect is not a steep one. Also, I found that the plugin does not slow down the website that much.
Now I do not use much of Thrive Architect to build all web pages. I only use it for developing the landing pages. Thrive Architect provides us with good-looking high converting landing pages. Thrive Architect is also a theme agnostic plugin. Thrive also provides us with quite a few themes that are compatible with the Architect.
However, they need to be purchased separately and I do not find them modern.
Thrive Architect is available from USD 69 for one website. If you do not renew after one year, you will not get the updates. The site will not stop working.
But I have one problem with Thrive. The widgets are kind of old looking. A little bit of effort is required to give the widgets a modern look. Thrive does not provide a free version of the plugin.
This is my favourite plugin for more than a couple of reasons. First of all with the free plugin you can develop a full-fledged website without any issue.
If your requirements are basic then, Elementor’s free version will more than suffice. But let me assure you, the Pro plugin will blow your mind. There are so many features in the Pro plugin that you will feel like why you feared web development.
The user interface is quite simple to use just like Thrive and learning curve is quite ok for a beginner.
What I like the most about Elementor is that you can build your theme with it. You do not have to purchase a theme at all. You can create your own header, footer and other sections and use them on all the pages. Also, the number of widgets available are more than enough.
With Elementor you can use predefined templates that are provided with the plugin. Also, there are a number of templates designed by other developers that you can import on your website.
Elementor’s pricing starts from USD 49 with the highest plan available at USD 199. The base plan can be used for one website and the top plan can be used for unlimited websites. And that as a web developer makes me very happy.
I am quite biased towards Elementor because it reduces my web development time to hours instead of days. And I will suggest you go with Elementor.
You can thank me later 🙂
Let me actually show you how to create a page using Elementor.
Elementor comes in two flavours. One is paid which is the Pro version and the other version is a free one.
The pro version comes with a lot of widgets and the best feature is we don’t need a theme anymore. With Elementor you can design a theme yourself and that too without touching a single line of code.
In the first video, I will show you how you can create the page using the free version of Elementor and in the next video, I will show you how to design a page and as well as a theme using the Pro version of the Elementor plugin.
Design a page using the free version of the plugin
Create a theme (custom header and footer) and then design the page
Let’s add blog posts and assign a blog page.
WordPress provides us with a very simple interface to add posts or articles or basically any textual content. Now, we will create a few blog posts then assign them a category then assign a featured image to them.
Once we create the blog page, we need to assign a page where these posts will appear.
In the following video, I will show you how to create the posts and assign a page to them.
I will also show you how you can create a custom page for a blog using Elementor Pro.
As you can see, we spent less than half an hour to install WordPress on our desktop/laptop, then proceeded to install the theme and then we installed the Elementor plugin to design the page. It is easy to use WordPress and design the pages.
As I had said earlier, WordPress is designed in such a way that it can be used by non-tech people. Agreed there are some terminologies that you need to understand but it ends there. And with the development of page builders, WordPress has become easier than what it is already.
And there are hosting providers who provide Managed WordPress hostings where you do not even require to manage the server. The hosting provider will take care of everything right from updating plugins, themes, WordPress core to taking the backup of the website.
WordPress is a highly technical product at its core but anyone can use it. Just like an iPhone or an Android phone. Where technology is a high-tech one. But they are designed for people like us. Same applies to WordPress.
But WordPress doesn’t stop at being just a website.
WordPress is a blogging tool. WordPress is used to develop a website. But can you believe we can use WordPress to develop an e-commerce store?
Yes, with the help of the plugin, we can develop a full-fledged e-commerce store with payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, 2Checkout and many other payment gateways.
Again not to mention, you do not need to touch code to set up e-commerce. Just a few settings, adding products and done. As easy as it can get.
Nothing beats WordPress when it comes to ease of implementing SEO
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is a vital part of a website. We might as well refrain from developing a website if we are not willing to invest some time in SEO.
With the help of the Yoast SEO plugin, we can easily add meta tags to our pages and posts. Don’t believe? Let me show you how to do so in the following video.
Don’t worry about the tech. WordPress is for you. Do not fear it.
I hope with the help of this article you will be able to start developing your website with confidence. If you are stuck anywhere, shoot me an email at email@example.com
I will answer your queries. I can’t stand not replying to an email 😉 So I will respond to you. Don’t worry.
If you want to know how you can move your website developed on the desktop/laptop to the hosting server, then also shoot me an email, I will send you the link to the video, where I will show you how exactly you can move your website.
And again, like WordPress, this is also going to be an easy process.
So best of luck 🙂