Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How to Make a WordPress Blog

This article talks about redundancy on the internet. Still, according to my "research", there does seem to be a growing need for Web Design Tutorials as well as a surge in Blogging.
So what is a blog anyways? A weB LOG is a website. It is written using a server-side programming language like PHP, ASP, or PERL. A Blog is a web site created in a way that enables the user to add content in the form of pages or posts. Pages are what you look at when surfing the net, DUH. Posts are web pages too but they are more like articles and they are displayed in reverse chronological order, the most recent articles first.
One of the most powerful features of the modern-day blog, be it from WordPress, Blogger or any of the popular soft wares out there, is that they are a Content Management Systems (CMS) as well. This means that the would-be blogger needs no knowledge of HTML or CSS or any technical skills at all. If you can read and have an attention span greater than 8 minutes you're all set.
Get Started
Before you get started making your own personal blog there are a couple things you should think about first. What is your blog about and what is it called? This has happened to me and I'm sure a thousand other people as well… I get my database created; I download WordPress and begin the install process, "Yeah it's done!" Then there it is, the first thing your new blog asks you is "what is my name?" I've spent hours starring at this screen rummaging through hundreds of possible names. Which one is more descriptive, which one sounds better, which one gets searched more at Google? Of course you can always change the name later but, if you've been indexed by the search engines and you go and change the title, could get you bumped or sandboxed.

Next, you need somewhere to put it. You need a Domain Name and a Hosting Account.
The Domain Name is the word that is in-between http://www. and .com in a URL (Universal Resource Locator). You want this to be the same as, or close to, the name of your blog… good luck. You can search available domain names at a number of places including register.com, godaddy.com, and networksolutions.com.

The internet is saturated with hosting services. I'll let you figure that one out. There's always GoDaddy for a good place to start, note their pricing and supplemental offers then type in "Hosting" at Google and see what comes up. Search, compare, shop, I know you can shop. You may or may not notice that there are two types of operating systems when dealing with website hosting, Windows and UNIX (or Linux). This article is about how to build a WordPress blog so I will go ahead and recommend choosing a UNIX or Linux hosting account as opposed to a Windows account. WordPress is PHP based and though many Windows systems support PHP, the language it was created for the UNIX system. A lot of times the Windows accounts are more expensive anyways.

Third, how is your site going to be organized? Is your blog going to be a section of an existing web site or is your web site going to be the blog? If it is going to be part of an existing website then you should decide what the directory will be called. The most common would be blog, a folder named blog.

Get WordPress
Got your Domain Name? Good. Got your blog's title? Good. Got a host? Good.
Next thing you need to get is WordPress. Go to http://wordpress.org/ and click the big red "Download" button. Save the package to your desktop. Hopefully you have WinZip, if not get it here http://free-gets.com/. Unzip (Extract in WinZip terms) the whole thing onto your desktop. More times than I'd like to admit, I've clicked on one of the files after opening the .zip file, to have a look at the readme or something, I then clicked Extract, when I look in the wordpress folder THERES ONLY ONE FILE. Crap, have to do it again, this time without selecting anything.
Now take the wordpress folder and put it where it belongs. If your blog is part of an existing web site, rename it to "blog" or whatever you decided, and FTP it to your hosting server. If the blog IS your website then FTP the CONTENTS of the wordpress folder to your hosting server.
Set Up Your Database

When you signed up for your hosting account you got access to the services "control panel". This control panel, which you use your username and password to access, provides an interface to all the services offered by your host including Email. Here on your control panel, somewhere, it's different for each hosting company, is a place to create new databases as well as users to administer them. Once you find it, it really is as simple as choosing a name and a password and clicking one button. Whatever you pick, write it down though, you will need it later.
For many hosting services using your control panel username works as the database username however, some hosts may require that you set up a separate username to access databases. No biggie, just pick a good one and write it down.

You will need three things from this step; a database name, a username, and a password. You wrote them down, right?
Go to your wordpress files. And find the file named wp-config-sample.php. Rename it to wp-config.php and open it up in a text editor.

Here you will see the following
define('DB_NAME', 'putyourdbnamehere'); // The name of the databasedefine('DB_USER', 'usernamehere'); // Your MySQL usernamedefine('DB_PASSWORD', 'yourpasswordhere'); // …and passworddefine('DB_HOST', 'localhost'); // 99% chance you won't need to change this value
This is fairly self-explanatory. As a matter of fact the WordPress site covers all this and much more so I understand if no one is reading beyond the point where I mention wordpress.org. Oh well, onward…

Fill in the blanks, dbname, username, etc… The last part DB_HOST, I always change it to whatever my hosting account tells me to. It will say on your host's control panel what the address is, usually something like username.sqlhostname.com.
All filled in? Good. Upload via FTP.

Now get out your favorite browser and cruise on over to your website. Follow the directions and there you are. "What is the title of your blog?"
Set Up Your Blog

There you have it, a blog, now what. Find a nice theme, configure your sidebar widgets and add start blogging. Don't get lost in the millions of themes and plugins and widgets, spend the time writing. Three months will have gone by and you'll have gone through 50 themes and 20 widgets and plugins only to end up with the one theme and two or three plugin/widgets that really work for your site… and your blog still has "Hello World" as it's only article. Get to the actual writing, the other stuff will follow.

Hopefully you've been able to log in to your admin area and have seen all the lovely things you can do in there. First thing you may want to do is choose a Theme. In your admin area click on the Design tab. WordPress ships with two fairly boring themes that you will see here, however, there are millions of them for download on the internet. Start here http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/.
Next, on the top right of the admin pages click the Settings button. Here is where you fill out some of the important things regarding your website. Take your time here and make sure any changes you make are changes you really want. There is plenty of documentation on every item here either on the WordPress site or out there on the internet.

The plugins I start with are FeedBurner-FeedSmith, Sociable, Wordpress Automatic Upgrade, and the All in One SEO Pack. You just download them from WordPress, http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/, then FTP the unzipped files into your /wp-content/plugins/ folder.
So there you have it. Hope this finds someone who needs it. Read more: http://www.webdesign.org/web/web-design-basics/templates-&-tuning/how-to-make-a-wordpress-blog.16689.html#ixzz0Ee5lHo8K&B

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