WordPress – How To Install In 8 Minutes

A Quick And Easy Guide To Setting Up Your First WordPress Blog

WordpressWordPress is one of the preeminent platforms for building a blog or website. Dynamic websites, those that allow users to interact and contribute without an Administrator/Web Developer having to re-write and re-upload each of the pages individually every time there’s a modification, are the future. Interactivity is one of the most popular aspects of the internet today, (think social media sites) and WordPress was designed with dynamicism and interactivity at it’s core. WordPress also has become increasingly user friendly so that you don’t have to know how to write code in order to produce something really cool. Not to mention that it’s open source so every piece of software I mention in this article is free.

Basic Prep

A website at it’s most basic level is a number of files on a computer called a server that has an internet address called a domain name. The files are the pages of your website and the domain name is how people find it. Before you start building your site, there a few things you need to do first.
Get organized – create a folder on your computer where you’ll keep all your website related files. Make one for the wordpress files themselves, but then add others specifically for images, ideas, music, videos, or any other components that are independent of the wordpress file structure.

Supporting software

Here are the tools I recommend you use to get started (the title of each program links to their download location):

  • Filezilla – Filezilla is an FTP client that substantially decreases the time involved with uploading, downloading and backing up the files for your website. There’s a separate tutorial here that you may find useful.
  • Notepad++ – Notepad++ is a simple text editor with lots of additional features that you will find useful. If you’re a windows user, Notepad (standard) is one of your programs. Notepad++ makes things easier by color coding the different tags in your html, php and other web-related files.
  • Photoshop, Picasa, Irfanview, iPhoto – Okay, Photoshop is far from being free, but Picasa,Irfanview and iPhoto (included with Macs) are and each have the ability to edit photos. There will be times when you’ll want to edit a photo to adjust the size or enhance it some way.

Lay the Groundwork

Choose a webhost and domain name:
Technically the only thing you’ll need to pay for is the domain name, which can be had for $6-$10 a year. If you choose free hosting with WordPress.com or others, you’ll save money, but there are limitations which you may not dig later on. The requirements for WordPress are the PHP scripting language environment and the ability to set up a MySQL database. The recommended hosts for WordPress are Blue Host, DreamHost, MediaTemple, GoDaddy, JustHost and Laughing Squid. Check them each out for pricing and suitability for your specific needs.
Best practice for choosing a domain name is to pick something that identifies your brand or what the site is about in some way. Ex: if you sell real estate in Costa Rica, create a name like costaricarealestate.com or real-estate-in-costa-rica.net, you get the idea.

In a Nutshell, What You’ll Do

  1. Setup an account with a web host
  2. Choose a domain name
  3. Create a MySQL Database
  4. Create a MySQL User and assign permissions
  5. Download latest WP software
  6. Modify wp-config.php file
  7. Upload WP software to root directory
  8. Install WordPress
  9. Have Fun

Using cpanel, which is a widely used UI (user interface) this video tutorial shows how to setup a MySQL Database.

Video Tutorial:

http://www.flatheadenterprises.com/streams/db-setup.flv

Using FileZilla and Notepad++ this video tutorial shows how to setup wordpress quickly and easily.

Video Tutorial:

http://www.flatheadenterprises.com/streams/wordpress-fast-and-easy.flv

Hope these were helpful.

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10 Must-Have WordPress Plugins

Keep your WordPress blog running smooth and optimized with 10 of the most useful plugins available.

Wordpress

As of WP version 2.8.4 these plugins are used for every WordPress website/blog I set up. My goal is to work as efficiently and expediently as possible. Each of these plugins help achieve that goal and will increase your productivity in a meaningful way.

1. Akismet

Akismet is included with the default install of wordpress. It catches spam comments so they don’t clog up your bandwidth, compromise your server or infect your viewers computers. All that’s required is to visit WordPress.com and register for an API Key. I use the same API Key for every WordPress application I create.

2. All in One SEO Pack

All in One is a simple Search Engine Optimization plugin that works. Headspace is also an effective plugin, and I’ve used both, but my preference is All in One primarily because I find that I personally don’t use all the bells and whistles that come with Headspace and I haven’t noticed any measurable difference between the two.

3. Bad Behavior

Bad Behavior is a gatekeeper that compliments Akismet and other spam solutions by utilizing a PHP based solution for blocking link spam and the robots that deliver it.

4. Clean Options

As WordPress progresses, updates are necessary to stay current and remain secure and functional. There are times when you will experiment with different plugins, but as time and WP versions march on, some plugins will be rendered incompatible with updated version. Most likely an alternate solution will become available, but you’ll still have deprecated plugin remnants in your database that could conflict with your current application or new plugins. Clean options finds the orphaned database entries and gives you the opportunity to remove them, thus keeping your database free of unnecessary clutter.

5. Contact Form 7

Contact forms are a necessity, not an option, for any serious blog. Contact Form 7 is a simple, yet highly customizable contact form that is easy to configure and easy to place on it’s own separate page, included in a post or in the sidebar.

6. Google Analyticator

This plugin adds the necessary JavaScript code to enable Google Analytics on your blog. Google Analytics is the most comprehensive FREE web traffic analyzer available.

7. Maintenance Mode

Whether you’re in the initial development stages or you need to perform a major overhaul of your blog, Maintenance Mode is a great way to let your visitors know that your blog is down temporarily. Maintenance mode is customizable in that it accepts html code and gives you the ability to tell your visitors when to check back.

8. My Page Order

Blogs are dynamic and living documents by design and as the pages come and go you’ll want control over the order in which they are presented in your menu bar or navigation bar. You can change the order by digging into the PHP code, but why bother when someone else has designed this great time-saving plugin for you. My Page Order adds a link in the Pages section of your WordPress back-end, all you have to do is click and drag to rearrange the order.

9. Reveal IDs for WP Admins

Referencing posts, pages or other components of your blog are made simpler by Reveal ID’s. While this plugin is designed for the more advanced user, there are a few plugins (notably: Featured Content Gallery) that require this plugin to work.

10. TinyMCE

TinyMCE is a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor that adds an enormous amount of flexibility for the writer/blogger. The ability to create and format tables, enhanced font control and multitude of useful formatting elements not available in the standard WP editor. Each of these functions can be accomplished using the html interface, but for time saving and ease of use, TinyMCE is one my favorites.

There are literally thousands of WordPress plugins to substantially increase the usability, flexibility and ease of use for the developer, blogger and visitor. This small sample represents the basics for any initial setup. Suggestions, comments or questions are welcome.

peace.

  
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