How to Set up WordPress 101

How to set up wordpress is easier than you think.

In just a few simple steps you can be on your way to setting up your first blog, but first a few details.

What is WordPress

WordPress is a content management system or (CMS) for short.

It is basically a user interface, similar to windows or Apples desktop. It allows you to easily and visually navigate and perform tasks without looking at any code. Create content, add images, videos and more all through your browser.

In the days before Content management systems, web developers would have to create all the content with HTML, CSS, PHP and other programming languages. It required competent knowledge in these languages, but with WordPress this isn’t the case.

However you can still edit all the coding for the more adventurous users. It is also a great way to learn how to edit code and learn all the basics or developing a website.

Where do we begin

The first thing you will need to do is get a hosting provider, there are many to choose from. I have written about two of the most common hosting providers that I work with and there will be more to come. Check out Blue Host and Hostgator for more information.

You can host your site on WordPress.com but you will be limited to what you can do. You cannot edit the code, add plugins or optimize as well as you would like too. It is free, but it is better to host on your own server for a number of reasons.

  • Ability to edit code
  • Ability to add plugins
  • You can optimize and fine tune your site
  • Ability to upload themes

For more details about wordpress.com vs wordpress.org see this post for the pros and cons.

Note: that it can take up to 24 hours or more for your server to set up.

Installing wordpress

So once you have chosen your hosting provider you will need to install wordpress. Most hosting providers and certainly the two stated above have an install option on their account manager so the files and database will all be installed for you. Simple.

Choosing a theme

WordPress comes with two themes installed, wordpress twenty ten and twenty eleven. These are basic themes and good for simple blogs. Your needs are the main factor in choosing a theme. You can search for 1000s of themes across the web. But if you want a theme that comes packed with first class SEO features, amazing support network and monthly tips from those who have repeatably made successful blogs such as Derek Halpern founder of Social Triggers, Pat Flyn founder of Smart passive Income then I would look no further than Thesis.

Thesis is comes with the following in mind:

  • End user (as in you)
  • Champion SEO built in to the theme so no need for a plugin which can be costly to performance
  • Easy to configure and customize your site through the thesis panel
  • Amazing support network, from the Thesis blog to the forums
  • Lightweight, in terms of themes, thesis is as light as a feather, nobody wants a bulky theme
  • Java on demand, why load java on every page if only certain pages need it, thesis deals with this, unless the java is needed everywhere. Google analytics for example.
  • Minimal style sheets or CSS. Meaning less http calls
  • Use of hooks to add functionality, don’t worry you can find all the information about hooks and how to use them on the Thesis blog

The list can go on, but the above are key points and a point to note, when I launched this site which uses Thesis, I had 4 pages. The site was indexed on google in less that 16 hours. This proves the effectiveness of the built in SEO as well as optimization. Bookmark How to speed up your wordpress blog for future reference. Trust me you will need it.

Thesis comes at a price, but what price would you put on success?

Optimize from the word go

This area is crucial, if you choose Thesis then you SEO is taken care of, but on the other side of the coin is optimization of the site itself. Optimizing from the word go is just as important as SEO.

If you don’t optimize your site from the start then you will simply be giving yourself a headache later as you will have to go back to fix it later as you add content. I demonstrated what the effects of excessive plugins and badly optimized images can have on a page.

Add content

Now that you have set up the basics of your site you will need some content.

Many bloggers believe that you should update your blog everyday but as Derek proved that is not the case. Read How often you should update your Blog to find out why. Put simply, you want quality over quantity.

Dont add a post for the sake of adding an extra page for google to index. If your content is good then people will come back.

Final thoughts

As an all round blogging platform wordpress excels well above all others. Its simplicity is arguably the best way to set up a website.

Together with good SEO practice and optimization from the word GO you can be on your way to build a great site for us all to enjoy.

Any questions, or need some help send me an email or just leave a message below.

Meet the Author

Matthew Horne

Matthew Horne is web developer who specializes in optimized development. He also builds custom solutions instead of reverting to plugins. Matthew Has a strong understanding of PHP, JavaScript, jQuery.

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