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Word Press – What to know before you begin

wordpressWord Press (WP) is a publishing platform that anyone can use and is most often associated with blogging. WP is based on PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) and a ‘relational database management system’ called MySQL (My Structured Query Language). Since WP is an open source project – people from around the world are continually working on and improving it. Best part, we get to use it for free.

Setting up a blog can be fun as well as profitable and here are a few things to think about before you start.

  1. If you are blogging for fun with no thought of creating a business now or in the future around your blog, you can get a free WP blog at www.wordpress.com.
  2. If you want more flexibility, consider getting a blog at  www.wordpress.org  However, before you sign up and put a lot of effort into your blog project, read all the guidelines and terms associated with the wordpress.org site.
  3. If you want to go commercial with your blog or use it for an existing business, you may find that your best option is to have your own blog hosted by a stand alone hosting provider like Host Gator. Host Gator offers WP through a download on the cPanel (Fantastico). When you have a WP blog as a stand alone either with a domain name (.com) or within an existing site (subdomain or folder), it is your ‘business’ to run as you desire.

Once you have decided the direction you want to go, you will want to choose a theme . . . and there are hundreds of themes available. A theme is the ‘layout’ of your blog, its presentation . . . what people will see when they visit your page.   Themes come in many styles, colors and layouts.  There are hundreds of people creating themes and offering them for download . . . some free, some paid.

When looking for a theme you should take into account:

  • What is the purpose of your blog (business or fun)?
  • How recently has the theme been updated?
  • Is it compatible with the most current WP update?
  • How responsive is the theme’s creator to questions? Do they have a help forum?
  • Can the theme be customized, i.e. can you change the colors, fonts, replace graphics?
  • How many sidebars will you need?
  • How many sidebars does the theme offer?
  • Is it widget ready?
  • Is it plug-in compatible?

Answering all these questions before you begin will make for an easier blogging experience.

Managing a blog is very easy and with a little basic knowledge of HTML and graphics you can customize just about any theme to your liking. To manage your blog you will log-in to a ‘dashboard’ where you will have access to:

  • Posts (Add new, edit, categories, tags)
  • Media
  • Links (Add new, new, edit)
  • Pages (Add new, edit)
  • Comments
  • Appearance (Theme, widgets, editor, add new theme, current theme options)
  • Plug-ins (Installed, add new, editor, Akismet configuration)
  • Users
  • Tools
  • Settings (General settings for how your blog is used by you and readers)

While this is a very simplistic overview of a WP blog, we’ll cover some of the above topics such as Akismet and Permalinks in more depth later. Making yourself familiar with every aspect of WP will make your blog interesting and help keep it running smoothly.


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