By Susan Cruz - October 2009 eNewsletter
Did you know that you can create your own website, and be able to update it yourself using free software? Wordpress is not just a blog, it’s basically a content management system where you can manage the content and look of your website. In fact, you can create a website in Wordpress to the point where it doesn’t even look like a blog at all! Wordpress isn’t just for blogging, but even a business can create their website entirely in Wordpress!
Taking It to the Next Step – Setting Up Your Website
Wordpress is also flexible in that it allows you to use your own domain, such as www.JayBerkowitz.com. which we all know is part of creating your own brand. Setting up Wordpress can be an intimidating task for someone who is not familiar with web hosts and code, but thankfully, you only have to go through this process once.
In order to set up your website in Wordpress, you will need the following:
- A domain name
- Web hosting that enables you to create a database (Wordpress recommends using webhosts that use Apache or Litespeed, PHP version 4.3 or greater, and MySQL version 4.0 or greater)
The domain name needs to be synced to your web hosting account, so whichever web host you end up using, make sure your get the nameservers to attach the domain to in your domain registrar.
Once you’ve set your domain and hosting, you can begin actually installing Wordpress to your website. It is actually an easy task if you’re familiar with using hosting capabilities, and Wordpress.org calls is the “Easy 5 Minute Install.” If you’re not familiar with using your web host’s backend, it may be best to get familiar before you actually install Wordpress because it gets pretty technical. Wordpress has a great tutorial for installing Wordpress, going through each and every detail. - http://codex.wordpress.org/Installing_WordPress#Detailed_Instructions
Plugins Make Your Website Unique to Other Wordpress Blogs
Plug ins are a feature in Wordpress that enhances your blog the way you want to, depending on how you use Wordpress. There are even plug ins that enhance your content for the search engines, and there are many SEO plug ins to choose from.
Here are our recommended plug ins to install:
All in One SEO Pack – Optimizes your blog posts for the search engines. You are able to customize your title, description and keyword META tags.
Akismet – Checks blog post comments to see if they are SPAM or not. You will need a Wordpress API in order to activate the plugin. (Follow the Wordpress API link and create a Wordpress.com account to get the API code) NOTE: This plugin is already included in the Wordpress install.
Google XML Sitemaps – This plugin creates an XML compliant sitemap to link your sitemap to Google Webmaster tools. Every time the site is updated, the sitemap is updated to all search engines that support the XML sitemap.
WP Database Backup – This plugin creates a backup of your core database in case corruption of the database happens. It can be scheduled and sent to a specified email weekly, daily, monthly or downloaded instantly.
Google Analytics for Wordpress - The Google Analytics for WordPress plugin automatically tracks and segments all outbound links from within posts, comment author links, links within comments, blogroll links and downloads. It also allows you to track AdSense clicks, add extra search engines, track image search queries and it will even work together with Urchin.
Sociable - Automatically add links to your favorite social bookmarking sites on your posts, pages and in your RSS feed.
Easy Contact - Creates a contact form on any page using one piece of code.
FeedburnerWordpressPlugin – Allows you to apply your feedburner XML feed to your blog instead of the default.
What’s a Website on Wordpress Without a Theme?
The great thing about using Wordpress is that you can use many themes that have already been made and are free to download, or even create a fully unique customized theme. There are even Wordpress themes for creating a fully functional business website! A great Wordpress theme that you can build upon is called Thesis, and although it is not free, it’s a great foundation for customization. Just take a look at all these blogs that use the Thesis theme - http://diythemes.com/thesis/showcase/ Of course, you may want to have some familiarity in HTML and basic CSS, but the Thesis theme community has a useful forum, should you need help.
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