WordPress is an excellent tool that many small businesses and individuals are using to reach their target audiences. So, what exactly is WordPress and what can you do with it? WordPress is a blogging platform which allows users to either create their own WordPress theme or use one of the many free WordPress themes available. Let’s take a look.
Once you sign up for WordPress you will be able to log into what is called your dashboard. This is where all the magic happens. The first time you sign into your dashboard you might feel a little overwhelmed. Don’t fret. The dashboard is the grand central station of your blog. From here you will have access to your blog posts, the different pages of your blog, links to and from your blog, different media you are using, comments to your blog, and of course your WordPress design. WordPress design falls under the “Appearance” section on your dashboard and there is much you can do with it.
Free WordPress Themes
To begin with WordPress you need a theme. This is what people see when they look at your blog, but it’s also so much more. It determines the control you have over your blog in terms of look and feel. There are many free WordPress themes that you can choose to use. To gain access to these simply click on “Appearance” on the sidebar of your dashboard and then select “Themes”. This will take you to a section of WordPress where all the free themes are available. Each theme will have a brief description, and allow you to be able to preview it via the “Preview” button. If you find one you like you can click the “Activate” button to have the theme active on your blog. The good news about free WordPress themes is that you can switch them anytime you like. On the downside, you are not likely to find a theme with every design element you want on it and while you can add your own design elements like your company logo, in the free WordPress themes, this ability is somewhat limited.
Custom WordPress Themes
To get a custom WordPress theme you can go about it in two different ways. In the first option you can choose a free WordPress theme and tweak it to your liking. One way to tweak it is to utilize the various widgets that are available with that particular theme. To do this, select the “Widget” selection on the sidebar of your dashboard under appearance. On free WordPress themes you can also edit the stylesheet. This is the code behind the design of your chosen theme. To do this, select the “Edit” option on the sidebar of your dashboard under appearance. It is important to note that stylesheets are set up in CSS which means that in order to edit the theme you will need to possess knowledge of at least basic CSS code.
Your other option is to create your own WordPress theme. This is also done using CSS. WordPress itself gives an excellent tutorial called Theme Development (http://codex.wordpress.org/Theme_Development) that is very helpful if you want to develop your own theme. It is important to note that if you want to get a clean looking, professional, custom WordPress theme that no one else will have you are going to need to know coding and have access to a design program. If you have neither of these, a simple solution is to work with a design service that will be able to create a custom WordPress theme for you.