5 Essential Facts about Using WordPress

If you are tempted or being persuaded to consider using WordPress, if it is being suggested as a mighty useful tool for your blog and/or website, please read this first.

Every client of ours is now referred to this post before we accept their order, because while there are many, many things that WordPress is and can do, you really must understand the downsides too.

1. There is some maintenance involved. You will need to update WordPress and any plugins (all those cool and useful extras) you use, possibly your theme too (the design). This is not a difficult or onerous task, but it is essential and you must tend to it to keep your website/blog running smoothly and should take a few minutes every couple of weeks, with perhaps a little longer for full WordPress updates. You can join the Blogmistress reminder mailing list (see the sign-up box to the right) to be hand-held through major updates and to be reminded to update your plugins. If you don’t keep things updated, you are more at risk of security problems.

2. WordPress is a wonderful tool and you could be forgiven for thinking you can do anything you could possibly desire. Sometimes you may not be able to do exactly what you want to do.  It is true that there are many things you can do with WordPress, however when you want all-singing and all-dancing, it may not be possible to get the full result you want – you may need to compromise a little. The more you want to be able to do, the more you need to know (or you need to pay someone to do it).

For straightforward, simple WordPress websites and blogs you will be more than capable of working with it all, and as you become more experienced and confident, the more you might want to explore and consider. Often there are several ways to achieve what you want – someone needs to work through the options to find the best fit for you. Sometimes plugins don’t work together and it takes time to work out which will work best for you. Just something to be aware of if you want lots of functionality on your website and/or blog.

3. You need good hosting. We’ve posted on our favoured hosts before and remain happy with their service. Your hosting account needs to have PHP 5.2.4 or greater, MySQL 5.0 or greater, and the mod_rewrite Apache module. If your eyes have glazed over, get in touch and we’ll guide you, or read this post to know exactly what to send to your hosting providers.

4. There will be spam. As soon as you make your WordPress site live, spam bots and the like will find you. Install Antispam Bee plugin to handle this and you’ll not be bothered. If you do nothing, you will end up with hundreds of spam messages within weeks. Of course you don’t have to approve them, but it is a task we can all do without – let the plugin take care of it for you.

5. You need extra security. There are some basic security actions that we set up for clients and recommend to all WordPress users. This will offer protection from hackers, etc – you don’t want that – it’s time consuming and disheartening to recover from (which you can if you have backups of course!).  Take a look at the following posts on recommended actions to protect you:

Now there are of course plenty more things to know about and be aware of, but these are the basics, I think. The immediate things you need to keep in mind if you’re considering using WordPress.

If you are already using WordPress, what have you found to be essential to know?

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Your thoughts...

  1. says

    Great post, especially for beginners! I love wordpress and am able to use it to accomplish pretty much whatever I need for my own blogging sites. I recommend WP for big, complicated jobs too–but clients should be aware that they will probably have to pay for custom development.

    • Babs says

      Thanks, Mary
      I agree – there’s not too much that WordPress cannot do, though the more we expect and put in place, the more looking after may be required. I just wanted to raise that awareness – we too readily forget that it’s just the base platform and plugins that are free – for more we get what we pay for, or it just may not be possible.

  2. says

    That’s very useful Babs – I know I have my own personal blogging guru in the shape of the lovely Sarah A, but she’s very busy and I don’t like to pester her when I want to make a small change or update to my site. This article of yours will help me to learn more about WP and not be quite such a technodork…thank you!

  3. says

    Great post Babs, important points to consider for everyone when thinking about using WordPress. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

  4. says

    While I agree WP is very flexible and versatile, I do wonder how many people spend a lot of time fiddling with it rather than just blogging?

  5. says

    Hi Babs,
    Great website by the way.
    I’m just starting in blogging and am slowly finding my feet. I looked at various CMS’s and came to the conclusion WordPress is right for me.
    This article is informative, easy to read and entertaining all in one.
    By the way I’ve bookmarked this site and I’ll be back regularly for more great tips.

  6. says

    Hi Babs,
    Great website by the way. This article is brilliant for people thinking about doing a blog. I’m in that position and I’ve bookmarked your site and will be back regularly.

  7. says

    A great post, thanks for sharing.
    I changed my websites over to Word Press about 18 months ago and have been really pleased in doing so.
    Like you say, it really only takes a little update maintenance.

  8. says

    Very helpful-a good starting point for me. I have a blog on my website but need to have more control over it and to make it pay for itself.

    Does anyone have experience of using WordPress with BT Connect for business as a host. I have seen so much negative feedback I wonder if I might be better to bite the bullet and change hosts for the WordPress stuff?

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