WordPress, whether you DIY or not

I go way back with WordPress. I’ve been using it for over 10 years. And I still love it. I think it just gets better. Earlier, I shared the top ten reasons why I like WordPress, so in this post, I’ll talk about how WordPress can be a great option for a DIY website.

Hosting

When it comes to setting up WordPress, a lot of web hosting services offer a one-click type of installation. This is just one reason WordPress is a great option for a website. With a domain and Linux web hosting, often you just need to login to your account and go to your hosting dashboard, or cPanel dashboard, to go through a simple installation process.

Themes

In a previous post, I mentioned that WordPress themes create the look and feel of the website. Because of the many themes available, you can really create a website that works great for you. The themes can be free or paid. But, not all themes are created equal. When I look at themes I focus on the following.

This is important because most of the websites I create are for others. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that if a site is too difficult to update, it won’t get updated. Check to see if the theme’s creators offer tutorials on how to use it or if there are online demos available.

A couple of things to look at here is when was the last time it was updated, how often is it updated, and is it compatible with the latest version of WordPress. If it’s not compatible with the latest version or not updated frequently, it may have security holes which could put your website at risk.

What are people saying about it? You can get a lot of information on the theme by checking out the overall rating in addition to looking at what folks say in the reviews.

Recently, I was looking for a theme where I could use WordPress to create a directory. I had purchased one directory theme that looked great in the demo, but when I went to use it, the pages did not have the flexibility to create different layouts. This actually forced me to look for another theme that gave me the ability to put my pages together in ways that would work for me.

Some themes work well and are actually built to accommodate add ons, or plugins, to expand what you can do with the site. For example, there are themes out there that are built to work with plugins for online shops, event management, job listings, and more.

Plugins

Plugins are add ons that expand the capabilities of a website. This is another reason why a WordPress site can work for you. The plugins can be pretty powerful and amazing. For example, the WordPress plugin Woocommerce can transform a standard site into a fully functional online store where you can add and manage an inventory of products to sell. There are security plugins that work hard to keep hackers out. In fact, there are over 45,000 different plugins to choose from.

Whether you DIY your website or hire someone to help you, there are a few things that you should know about plugins.

It’s not that the plugin has to win a popularity contest, but if it’s widely used, it’ll be supported and updated. When searching for a plugin, check to see how many people use it.

Check out the plugin’s reviews to see what people like, or don’t like about it. Make sure that it’s easy to use and can do what you need it to do.

Has it been tested with the latest version of WordPress? Again, like with themes, if it’s not current, it could put your website at risk.

How much does it cost to upgrade? Many plugins can be free to download and install. Having said that, the free versions can have limitations. Believe me, a lot of programming hours go into many of these plugins and so they are often well worth the price of paid versions. Just be aware of what you’re getting into because some plugins’ paid versions can have monthly subscriptions that you may not have budgeted for.

Themes
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Take a look at the theme’s version, date last updated and number of installations to make sure it’s current and widely used.

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Check out the ratings and read some of the reviews. If there are a lot of 1-star reviews, find out why.

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View the support page or forums to make sure questions are being answered and addressed regularly.

Plugins
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Check out the ratings and read some reviews.

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Take a look at the plugin’s tested version and number of installations to make sure it’s current and widely used.