WordPress is a free, open-source blogging tool. It began as a small web-app in 2003 and has become the most commonly used self-hosted blogging tool. WordPress’ claim to being the most used blogging tool becomes incredibly believable when you see how powerful this free web application is.
At this time, WordPress can handle content management for just about any site’s needs and can create blogs as well as full blown websites. Themes and skins are available or can be created as customized pieces and inserted in. Because WordPress is open source, there are literally millions of people that create their own skins for Word press sites and numerous coders that create add-ons for word press that allow it to create just about any type of web page you can imagine.
To get started, you will need to find a web hosting company that is able to run PHP version 4.3 or better and MySQL 4.0 or higher. WordPress recommends that the server runs Apache or Lightspeed server hosting software as well.
WordPress, used as blogging software only, is able to publish your work quickly to your website. If you want permanent links, you can configure it to give you permanent links based on the title of your blog post. This allows you to link back easily to previous entries if you so choose, as well as helping if you are working on trying to improve your search engine optimization through blogging.
While blogging, you can add tags which allow users to easily search your posts for topics, as well as helping feed search engines with information. You can also configure WordPress to update your social networking sites every time you post a blog.
When someone stumbles upon your WordPress blog, they can subscribe to it through a number of different services. You control which services you want people to be able to subscribe through. There are hundreds to choose from on the backend. With this much flexibility, you can focus who can subscribe based on the type of blogging you are doing. If your blog’s focus is business, pick more business oriented subscriptions; if it’s dining, there are specific subscription services for that.
There are many major sites that utilize WordPress for their entire site. Wordpress.org contains a list of some of the most prominent ones and is also where you would go to get the software. The software is actually installed on your web host’s server and you do all your work via your web browser. Some web hosting companies offer WordPress pre-installed and configured, sometimes even for free.