What is WordPress and Why Should I Use It?
By Pepper O’Neal
WordPress is web design software that is not only free but also user friendly for those of you who don’t know code. Computer code can be very intimidating and, if it isn’t like a second language to you, this can make web design very out of the reach of most authors. WordPress was designed by people who do know code to be used by people who don’t. Like you and me. 🙂
As I am sure you are aware, authors need a web presence. We need a place where readers can find us, learn more about us, and connect with us, even without having contact information for us. And while a lot of you use Facebook and Twitter and other social media, not all readers do. And even if they do, you have to be logged into to those to view an author’s information or “site.” But a website is available for anyone with the URL. They don’t have to have a Facebook or Twitter account to view your website. So having one just makes sense, whether it is a blog or strictly a website. But unless you have more money than time, creating that web site can be frustrating and discouraging. I still remember the first time my publishers put their foot down and insisted that I get a website. I didn’t have a clue what I was supposed to do. It’s not a good feeling.
And even if you do have the money to hire someone to create your site, do you really want to be totally dependent on them to post every blog and fix every problem? What if something happens to them? Or if you have a falling out? Or if you suddenly lose your day job and can’t afford them? Even if you’re lucky and none of these terrible things happen, knowing how to take care of your own website in an emergency can still be a lifesaver. I have a tech guy, plus a number of techy friends, but they are not always available when I have a website emergency. And since—despite what my mother always said—I have never considered patience to be a virtue, I like having the knowledge and ability to take care of my website myself.
Why WordPress? Well, first of all, did I mention that WordPress is free? This is very important if you are a struggling author. Secondly, as I mentioned above, WordPress is user friendly. Sort of. Well, let me put it this way—as long as you do it the way WordPress wants you to do it, you’ll do just fine. Seriously though, once you know what everything does, WordPress is really pretty easy to use. And there are some tricks you can use to make it work even better for you.
And WordPress is probably the most common web design software used on the web, so there are hundreds of free themes out there, most of which you can customize, so you don’t have to worry about having your website look the same as someone else’s.
Although using WordPress is not the same as having a professional design and build a website for you, it is a lot cheaper, you can still have an attractive and professional looking website, and you don’t need to know code to use it. What more can you ask?
So why take a WordPress class? Well, while WordPress is easy to use, once you understand how it works and what everything does, if you don’t have that basic knowledge, it can be confusing and frustrating trying to figure it out. When I first tried to create a WordPress website, without that basic knowledge, I almost ended up in tears. I didn’t have a clue what I was supposed to do. My dashboard might as well have been in Greek. So, being a researcher by trade, I did what any research worth the title would do. I went to an expert, who was also a friend, and said “Show me.” He did. But, being a researcher, once I had the basics, I wanted to learn all the tricks to make it easier and less frustrating.
In addition, WordPress is a work in progress. It is constantly being changed and updated. So even if you do have a basic knowledge, if you haven’t used it in a while, everything you know is probably obsolete. But no worries. I can teach you what you need to know to make it work for you. I will also teach you some insider tricks that will make it even easier and more user friendly.
More About Pepper O’Neal
Pepper O’Neal has a doctorate in education and has taught a number of adult education classes on many different subjects. She currently works as a freelance researcher and author. When she was told by both of her publishers that she needed to have a website, she realized she needed to finally join the age of technology. She also realized she had two options. She could pay someone to design the site for her, or she could to do it herself. As she hates depending on others for things involving her career, she decided to learn how to use the free web-design software WordPress and Joomla. She took classes, hired experts for tutors, and picked the brains of her web-designer friends. After designing her own websites, she decided she liked doing it, and now she designs websites for others.