What is WordPress?

WordPress is a Web publishing platform, originally designed for bloggers, that is now a viable solution for many kinds of business web sites.

There are two flavors of WordPress. There is WordPress.com, which is a free solution for bloggers, but commercial use is prohibited so it’s not for small business folks. A WordPress.com blog is actually a sub-domain. So, if you had a website about dog training tips, your blog’s address would look like this:

http://dogtrainingtips.wordpress.com

On the other hand, WordPress.org is dedicated to those who choose to have a self-hosted WordPress site. The WordPress software is free, and the license to use it is available under the GNU General Public License, so you do not have to buy a license to use the software on your own web site. Its creators like to say that WordPress is “both free and priceless at the same time“. To have a self-hosted WordPress site, you do need a domain and a Web Hosting account. In this case, the web address for your dog training tips website would look like this (provided you registered a domain for dogtrainingtips.com):

http://dogtrainingtips.com (or www.dogtrainingtips.com)

Other TLDs (top-level domains), like .net, .info, .biz, etc., are also available, of course. A domain, depending on where it is registered, can cost around $10 per year, and remain under $10 per year thereafter. Watch out for cheap first-year registrations that cost a couple dollars, but renew at some exhorbitant amount. We can help with that, based on experience. Lots of experience.

A web host is needed also; this is where the actual website is hosted (lives). A web host is a provider that reserves server space for your actual web site files. After using many hosts, over many years, we can recommend a good, reliable, affordable host so you can avoid the money-sucking trial and error. It stills amazes us how people can pay an arm and a leg for ill-featured hosting.

So, the host houses the files, and when the domain is pointed to your host, your website is online. (The web host tells you how to do that, unless you register a domain through your host, in which case, they do the pointing. It’s a simple process.)

Based on some painful experience, we normally recommend registering a domain through a registrar, not through your web hosting provider, but if you only plan on having one website (marketers often have many sites), then some hosts offer one free domain registration with their hosting. There are more variables if you have multiple domains on multiple hosts, but most website owners never even approach that level of complication.

Any professional website requires a domain and hosting. Sites that offer easy web site building on one of their subdomains (something.theirsite.com) appear amateurish and hobby-ish to potential clients, and you end up with very little control over it. People are often wary of doing business with an amateur, the thinking being that the amateur might mess up the job. The potential customer may also be thinking they may not get all they can, and not get their money’s worth. Professional services should be presented in a professional manner. Remember that.

We can discuss domains and hosting during our first consultation. Don’t worry, it’s painless, and you have ultimate control. We just offer a helping hand to ease you over the newbie bumps.

About the Author

Linda Carruth is an illustrator and designer who enjoys creating new art, amateur photography, and riding her motorcycle. Her professional work can be seen at her company site, lwwallace.com. Her motorcycle, humorous, and motivational designs are available at MadDashRiot.com, LinesByDesignBoutique.com, and at MadDashRocket.com. Home decor and fine art items can be purchased at Carruth Creative Art & Gifts and on Fine Art America.

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