by MARIO LOPRIORE
March 13, 2017
A bit of background first: WordPress is a powerful and easily customizable content management system (CMS) that’s utilized by millions of bloggers and websites of varying scales on the web.
If a blogger isn’t skilled in the coding arts, doing just about any customization may be out of their reach. A “dynamic” CMS site built with WordPress is an assembly of post and pages (text, images, videos and links) that the end-user’s browser compiles on the fly. Accessing the Dashboard and creating a post or page can be about as easy as busting out and styling a Word document.
What it boils down to is this: A blogger can concentrate on their work while WordPress is running in the background making their ideas come alive on the web.
Just an opinion here, but other unnamed CMS platforms generally have a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) kind of result. I don’t recommend going with a plug and play template CMS or their contract hosting.
There are a few hoops to jump through at first, but the reward is almost immediate. Let’s go through the first few steps and then get blogging.
- Find hosting and buy a domain name. A WordPress site, like everything else on the web, lives on a server as a bunch of files. These are pages, posts, images, databases of emails and on and on. You need to find a web host to store this data for you and there are scores of options here. I use and HIGHLY recommend Green Geeks. https://www.greengeeks.com/ Their 24/7 customer service (phone or chat) is amazing. A basic hosting account with unlimited storage and unlimited domain names (URLs) costs less than $4 per month! This should go without saying: Do your research before buying a hosting contract. Your web host should have user-friendly options for finding a URL. Green Geeks’ system for finding a URL is a snap. A unique URL for your blog will be about $14 per year. At this point you’re looking at less than $1.25 per week to run your own blog with killer support. WordPress.com is a fantastic option too – their online community has amazing enthusiasm and a serious depth of knowledge.
2. Install WordPress at your host server. Green Geeks will practically do this for you if you don’t have the technical know-how. It will take less than an hour if you want to give it a shot yourself. “Softaculous” is an application found on the cPanel (a server-side “control” panel) which will help you through the installation process step-by-step. My main advice here is to record your login, password, database name and back it all up. Make a copy on paper too. If you get locked out of your account, it’ll be a real *expletive-deleted* mess to get access to it again.
3. Access the Dashboard. Login to your site following the prompts and you’ll end up here. Posts, Media, Pages and Comments are self-explanatory and straightforward. The Appearance panel is where you’ll make your blog your own. This is where Themes are installed – more on that in a second. Widgets and Menus are arranged and most importantly, Customize is accessed here. The Customizer can change the color scheme, fonts, header and footer options, and all the other little editable details depending on your theme. Not every theme’s Customizer is the same. If you do have coding skills, the Editor is under Appearance too – you can customize your CSS (stylesheet) here, but be aware that if you change or update your theme, those changes will be lost.
4. Pick a Theme. Here’s where it gets fun! At wordpress.org you’ll find the primary search options for Themes under: Featured, Popular and Latest. There are over 4500 available free themes! If you want to dial up the exact thing you’re looking for right away, there are three basic options under the Features Filter: Layout, Features and Subject. In the screencap above there are 96 returned results for Grid Layout and Photography alone. Part of the beauty of WordPress is most themes are responsive, meaning they’ll adapt to whichever device your end-user is accessing your page through (iPhone, tablet, etc.).
5. Blog away!!! Create and discuss whatever you’re interested in… repairing lawnmowers, community service, homebrewing, recycling, LEGO minifigs, dog grooming, sewing, running marathons, gardening, or even BLOGGING… *insert Nike™ mantra here*! Millions of sites on the web use WordPress and you can too. Find your passion and post about it. You can become an influential member of your social group by just posting what matters most to you.
WordPress.org. (n.d.). Retrieved March 09, 2017, from https://wordpress.org/about/