New To WordPress – Where to Start
If you are a developer or seeking to deploy WordPress yourself and are new to WordPress; here is a step-by-step plan for getting started.
Remember, if you need help along the way, plenty of options for assistance are listed in this article. Welcome to the exciting world of WordPress!
Step One – Read
Before you invest your valuable time and energy into installing WordPress, there are some documents you need to read. WordPress is a great product; it’s easy-to-use, it’s quite powerful, but it isn’t necessarily the right software for everyone. Just like building a house, you have to use the right tool for the right job.
- About Weblogs – What is Blogging all about?
- What is WordPress?
- WordPress Features
- Before You Install WordPress
Step Two – Make a Plan
Based upon the information you’ve just read, including instructions on installing WordPress, you should have a list of the things you need, and the things you need to do. If not, make that list now–you’ll want to make sure it includes the following information:
- Website Host Requirements Checked and Verified
- Versions of PHP and MySQL Checked and Verified
- Web Host Compatibility with New Versions of WordPress
- Your Website Username and Password
- Text Editor Software
- An FTP Client Software
- Your Web Browser of Choice
The following documents will help you understand more about how WordPress works and how to make a plan for your WordPress site:
It is important to make a plan about how you want to use WordPress on your site. Here are some questions to ask yourself. Make a list of the answers so you can add to your plan.
- Will you install WordPress in the root directory, subdirectory, or you just want to make a test site to make sure you want to use it?
- Have you made a list of your site Categories? Understand that WordPress can only order Categories alphabetically by name or by ID (order entered through the Manage > Categories screen), so if the display order of your Categories is important to you, start making your list of Categories.
- Have you made a list of Pages you may want to add to your site, such as About, Contact, or Events?
Step Three – Install WordPress
With this information and your plan, it’s time to install WordPress.
- Before You Install WordPress
- Installing WordPress
- Hosting WordPress
- Editing the wp-config.php file
- Frequently Asked Questions About Installing WordPress
- Using FTP Clients and Software
- Changing File Permissions
- Upgrading WordPress
- Common Installation Problems
- Trouble: I Can’t Login
Step Four – Set Up WordPress
With your installation complete, it’s time to set up WordPress so it will work the way you want it to work. As you change various settings, it is recommended you view how those changes impact your site by frequently clicking the View Site link at the top of the Administration Screen. Though you may choose to do these steps in any order, your site will cause you fewer problems if you proceed in the following order:
- Administration > Users > Your Profile – detail the information about you
- Administration > Users > Add New – add users and authors who will be using your site, if applicable
- Administration > Settings > General – set your site name and other site information
- Administration > Settings > Writing – set the options of your Write Post screen
- Administration > Settings > Reading – set how many posts to show on the front page and in categories and your feed requirements
- Administration > Settings > Discussion – turn on or off comments and set how to handle them
- Administration > Posts > Categories – add a few categories so have a list to pick from when you write your first post
- Administration > Posts > Posts – after you have written a few posts, this is where you will manage them by editing or deleting
- Administration > Appearance > Themes – maybe change the look of your site?
- Administration > Page > Pages – add a Page or two like “About Us” or “Contact Me”
- Administration > Posts > Add New – start adding content to your site
- Writing Posts – step-by-step instructions on writing posts
- Introduction to Dealing with Comment Spam
- Moderating Comments
- Administration > Links > Links SubPanel – Managing your links
- WordPress in Languages Other than English
Presentation and Themes
Changing the look of your WordPress website is possible with just a few clicks. Here is a list of resources and information about changing the look of your site with WordPress Themes:
- Using WordPress Themes
- The WordPress Theme repository – Find a theme to fit your site’s personality
- Blog Design and Layout
- Using Pages
At this point, there may be something about your chosen Theme that is bothering you, or, you really want to get your hands dirty understanding how your WordPress Theme works. These simple guides will help you learn about customizing your WordPress Theme:
- Lessons: Designing Your WordPress Site
- CSS Overview, Tips, Techniques, and Resources
- Stepping Into Templates
- Lessons: Template Files
- Stepping Into Template Tags
- Lessons: Working With Template Tags
- WordPress Template Tags
- Understanding the WordPress Loop
- The WordPress Loop in Action
- Editing Files in WordPress
- Frequently Requested Design Help
- Frequently Asked Questions about Site Layout and Design
If you want to create a new WordPress Theme from scratch, or do major renovations, or even design WordPress Themes for public release, you will need to be familiar with HTML, XHMTL, and CSS. The following documents will get you started:
- Developing Your Own WordPress Theme
- Validating a Website
- Lessons: Website Development
- CSS Fixing Browser Bugs
- CSS Troubleshooting
If you want a custom-made WordPress Theme created especially for you by expert web-designers, it is recommended you search for qualified web-designers on the Internet, or look in your local community.
There are many “add-on” scripts and programs for WordPress called Plugins that add more capabilities, choices, and options to your WordPress site. WordPress Plugins do many things, including; customizing the results of your site information, adding weather reports, adding spell check capability, and presenting custom lists of posts and acronyms. For more on how to work with Plugins and where to find WordPress Plugins for your site:
- Administration > Plugins > Plugins – Managing your plugins
- The WordPress Plugin repository – Find plugins to increase your site’s functionality
Advanced Use of WordPress
Now that you are familiar with the basic features and functions of how WordPress works, it might be time for you to plunge deeper into the power of WordPress. The links below will expand your familiarity with PHP, HTML, XHTML, and CSS:
- Lessons: WordPress Feature and Functions
- Lessons: WordPress Tech Techniques
- Using Permalinks
- Photoblogs and Galleries
- WordPress Advanced Techniques
- Advanced Techniques for Plugins and Customization
- WordPress Server and Database Information
- Developer Documentation
Need More Help
As simple and easy as it is to use WordPress, if troubles arise, if something is confusing, if things aren’t working, don’t despair because help is available! Even though WordPress is free and open source, there are literally hundreds of volunteers eager to help you. Here are some helpful resources for WordPress:
- Getting More Help
- Using the Support Forums
- WordPress Forum
- IRC Freenode WordPress Support on channel #wordpress
- WordPress IRC Live Help
Now that you’re a full fledged WordPress user, consider contributing to the WordPress Codex, Support Forum, Development, and other volunteer efforts that keep WordPress going. WordPress is free and totally supported by volunteers, and your help is needed.