Chris Castiglione Co-founder of Adjunct Prof at Columbia University Business School.

What is WordPress?

2 min read

What is WordPress?

WordPress is an easy way to make websites, blogs, or an e-commerce store.  With WordPress, you can launch and manage a website without the hassle of having to touch any underlying computer code. The technical name for what we call WordPress is a content management system (or CMS) because it’s a essentially a system for managing your images, text, and website data.  

What makes WordPress different than SquareSpace?

SquareSpace, Wix, and Weebly are all competitors to WordPress. They all do essentially the same thing: help you build websites and manage your content. But there are some important things that make WordPress different.

WordPress has been around longer than any of its competitors. It was started in 2003 by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little and has a long history. That’s one of the reasons why WordPress powers more than 33% of the internet. It has also evolved over the years, which has helped it stay the most popular CMS solution (and by a wide margin).  

In addition, WordPress is completely open source — meaning that anyone can download, contribute to, or modify the code. If you’re not familiar with the concept of open source it’s worth learning about because it’s a big deal and part of what makes WordPress unique. Read more about WordPress vs. Squarespace.

What are examples of  WordPress websites?

wordpress online course project

Cats Who Code is an example of a basic WordPress site. As you can see, it’s a blog with “posts,” images, text, and a sidebar. This particular site is a demo project that I launched for my One Month WordPress course. In the course you learn how to build this site from scratch using just HTML, CSS and PHP.

Once you have the basics down, you can use WordPress to build any website that you can imagine! The CNN, TED, and Time Magazine websites are all built on WordPress.

Disney's Website is Build with WordPress
Disney’s Site is Build with WordPress

If you’d like to see more examples of successful WordPress applications, I compiled a list of the best WordPress website examples that you can use for inspiration. vs.

Okay, so now that it’s settled that WordPress is pretty cool there’s one big decision that you have to make before you get started. There are two types of WordPress.

This gets a little bit complicated, so stay with me. .

The two options are and is for non-developers. It’s where you go to launch a cat blog or a portfolio site. It takes no code and you’re up and running in minutes. The downside is that the amount of customization that you can do is limited. is the “pro” version of WordPress. With you have the ability to fully customize your theme, build a WordPress e-commerce store, run ads, add submission forms, and build nearly anything your mind can dream up. If you’re going to get started with you’ll need to hire a developer, or learn some basic coding. The key programming languages for learning WordPress development are: HTML, CSS and PHP.

Ready to get started? In this video I show you how to edit the PHP, HTML and CSS code that runs your website.

Need Help Learning WordPress?

WordPress Step-by-Step is a free guide for building your first theme. Just click on the titles to begin each lesson.

How to Install — a free WordPress installation tutorial.

Learn WordPress by One Month is the best online WordPress course. In this course you’ll build a custom theme from scratch, and launch it live for the world to see. You’ll learn how to edit the PHP, HTML and CSS of any WordPress Site.

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Chris Castiglione Co-founder of Adjunct Prof at Columbia University Business School.

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