This site is rather plain as WordPress websites go. When we installed this instance of WordPress, on January 7, 2016, the default “theme” used was called “Twenty Sixteen”. The image above is a screenshot of what a sample site using the theme looks like. It is safe to say that there are thousands of themes that can be installed to change the look and feel of a WordPress site. You can look at the WordPress Theme Gallery to use for your own WordPress website. Most of the themes are free to install, but you will also find some “premium” themes that you will be asked to pay for.
To the right of this post is an area called the “widgets”. They are small bits of content that you can add to the site, such as a search bar, recent posts, categories of posts, and so on.
In the upper right corner of the site is the “menu”. Here you can add links to other pages, either that exist on the site, or at other sites.
What you don’t see directly by viewing the website are what we call “plugins”. Plugins add functionality behind the scenes of your site. There is a WordPress Plugins Gallery where you can find lots of plugins for your site. There are plugins that will allow you to automatically post to Twitter or Facebook when you write a new post, as well as plugins that add new widgets. One important plugin that we recommend is called Akismet. It helps you get control of what is known as “comment spam”. If you allow comments on your site, you will soon know what comment spam is – little bots that exist on the web to try to inject advertisements and other junk into your comments. Most of the plugins are free, but there are premium plugins available as well.
So why are there so many free themes and plugins available for WordPress? Does WordPress provide them out of the goodness of their heart? Well, there IS a lot of goodness from WordPress, but many of the themes and plugins are provided free because it is an “open source” application. That means that the code behind WordPress is open and viewable, AND changeable! Anyone who can write the proper computer code can create a theme or plugin, and it therefore can be used within a WordPress site. Most of the themes and plugins are pretty descent, but beware of old ones that haven’t been updated in a while. They need to be compatible with the version of WordPress that you’re using or they might “break” you site. WordPress is updated pretty often to add functionality, and to beef up security. Themes and plugins will get updated right along with WordPress updates. All of the updates are managed within the WordPress administration area.
That’s a little bit about how this site looks. We hope you are now motivated to get you own site and try out WordPress for yourself!