How to Use Wordpress for Your Website - Made Easy

Wordpress, it's a wonderful thing! Of course I had heard of it before, but until I started using it I had no idea what a simple, yet powerful tool it is in the hands of website owners and potential website owners.

From Wikipedia: WordPress is an open source blog publishing application powered by PHP and MySQL which can also be used for content management. It has many features including a workflow, a plugin architecture and a templating system.

More than that, it's a free and easy way for people with no programming experience at all to have full control over the look, feel and content of their own websites.

If you don't already have one, the first step is to get a domain name and a hosting account.

How to Install Wordpress

Once you have a domain name and hosting account setup, the next step is to install Wordpress at your hosting account. Many webhosts offer Wordpress as an additional application from within your main hosting account, which makes installation very easy. I recommend Westhost, I have been with them for a decade and they offer great packages and excellent customer service and technical support.

From the hosting control panel, you need to look for where you can install applications and look for Wordpress, and click the link to install. In some cases additional software will need to be loaded to your hosting account in order for Wordpress to function properly. In my case it was the latest versions of PHP and MySQL.

The installation itself is very easy and when you're done you should get a link to your newly created blog as well as to the administration panel.

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Wordpress Default Theme
Wordpress Default Theme

How to Setup Wordpress

After clicking the Admin Link you will be brought to your site's Dashboard. It will look something like the photo at the right.

Once you have the software installed, there are a number of easy customizations that will make it a powerful and useful tool for creating and maintaining your website. Some of the things you can do are:

  • Install a new Wordpress Theme (to customize the colors, style, look and feel of the site)
  • Install Wordpress Plugins for easy creation of SEO tags, Photo Galleries and more (to make your site as search engine and visitor-friendly as possible)
  • Create Static Pages and a Custom Menu (so all your info doesn't "scroll off" the site as you add new content)

Some things you will also want to know how to do:

This Hub will conclude with how to install and activate a new Wordpress Theme for your site, subsequent Hubs will cover the other topics listed above (and more...)

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Search and Install Wordpress Themes
Search and Install Wordpress Themes

How to Install a Wordpress Theme

One of the greatest things about Wordpress is the ability to quickly change the look and feel of your site. On the left hand lower sidebar of the Dashboard, you will see a link that says Appearance. This is where to go to change the look of your site.

After clicking Appearance, choose Theme. This will bring you to a page where you can either Manage Themes (by switching between themes you have already installed) or Install Themes. In this case we want to go to Install Themes.

The Install Themes page gives you the ability to search through thousands of Wordpress themes using filters like color or the layout of the site. Since I am still a beginner, I wanted to choose something that was popular, flexible and fairly simple to understand, so I went with the Weaver Template.

Once the template is installed, you need to Activate it for it to become the new "look and feel" of your site.

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Once the new theme has been activated you will see options to administer the theme by changing the header image, the colors of the pages, choosing a sub-theme (with a pre-set color scheme) and more.

Take some time to play here... try out different header images, or color schemes, click on the link in the far upper left-hand corner of your dashboard to see how the changes look on your new site. This is one of the greatest features of using a content management system, the ability to quickly, easily and painlessly change the entire look of your website. To make changes like this on an HTML site can be difficult and time consuming.

Please stay tuned for more Wordpress articles!

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