What is WordPress?
WordPress is an online, open source website creation tool written in PHP. But in non-geek speak, it’s probably the easiest and most powerful blogging and website content management system (or CMS) in existence today.
First Steps With WordPress
Begin by logging into the “administration area” or the back end of your website. Visit your site’s login page by placing “wp-admin” after your domain name (e.g. http://example.com/wp-admin). You can also place “login” after your domain as of WordPress 3.4. Some themes provide a “login” link or form on the front end as well. Now log into WordPress using your username and password.
Start at the Top
After logging in you are on the main Administration Screen called the Dashboard. This is the brain behind your website, the place where you can let your creativity explode, writing brilliant prose and designing the best and most lovely website possible. This is where the organization of your site begins – and this is just the start.
At the top of the screen is the area called the “toolbar.” Click on the link that is your site name. This will take you to a view of your new WordPress site. Like it? Don’t like it? Doesn’t matter, just look at it. This is where you are going to be spending a lot of time!
If you want to create a good and solid website, you need a good and solid plan. I know it’s hard to do, and I know you want to keep playing with your new website, but it’s time to take a break away from your computer and turn to pen and paper.
On a piece of paper, describe your site. Take five to twenty minutes to come up with a purpose for your site, or better yet, call it your Mission Statement.
Answer the following questions:
1. What am I going to do with this?
2. Who is going to read this?
3. What kinds of information will I be posting?
4. Why am I doing this?
5. Who am I doing this for?
6. How often am I going to be posting and adding information?
What Information Do You Want to Share
As you think about what information the user will need to know, you have to consider what information you are willing to share with them. That information may include how to contact you, what the purpose of the site is, who you are, and what your expertise is.
A WordPress feature called Pages makes the process of presenting this information easier. Pages, similar to posts, are most commonly used to present unchanging information such as About Us, Contact Us, Sign Up for Our Mailing List, and otherstatic information. Before creating your individual Pages, you need to think about what information you would like the Page to hold. Write down the possible Page titles and describe the information you want to share on each Page.
Setting Up Your Site
Before you get to the graphic look of your site, let’s do a little more administration to your site to set it up. Consider making your first plugin installation the Enhanced Admin Bar with Codex Search. It allows you to search both the WordPress Codex andWordPress Support Forum from your WordPress Administration Screens. Click on one of the search results and the page will open in a new window or tab so you can have the article or discussion open while working on WordPress. This will make your transition to WordPress a much gentler one with information right at your fingertips. You can also work from this page by clicking on a link with a Right Click and opening the documents in a new window or tab, so you can read along as you work on your site.
You may also want to install plugins such as Jetpack by WordPress.com to supercharge your website, and don’t forget to activate the Akismet WordPress Plugin that is available with all WordPress sites to help protect it from comment spam.
But now, let’s start with making those categories you wrote down before.
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