Setting up Your First WordPress Site
Many talented people have tried to start their own blog however, after they see the hassle in setting one up, this passion quickly fades. Initially setting up your web page or blog may seem like a daunting task requiring serious computer coding skills, however, there is actually a much easier way of going out about it: WordPress.
What is WordPress?
In its formal definition, WordPress is a free and open source blogging tool and content management system. To most people this definition doesn’t mean much so, to put it simply, WordPress is a tool that lets you create your very own webpage in a style of your choosing. It is an open source project which means two things: first, that there are hundreds of people all over the world maintaining it at anyone one time (as compared to a single company running it) and, more importantly, it is free to use.
WordPress is a hugely powerful program and is used almost universally, with over 60 million different blogs and site’s being created using this platform. What makes this statistic even more impressive is that 22% of the top 10 million most popular Internet sites have used it.
WordPress was first released in 2003 and was primarily aimed at bloggers, however, due the program's versatility, it can be now be used to create and manage any kind of site. WordPress offers thousands of different themes as well as offering users the option of creating their own unique ones. Furthermore, its functions aren’t limited to purely aesthetic content, as it boasts a database of over 30000 plugins, all of which affords your site greater versatility.
It is well worth noting that WordPress has been recognized for possessing the greatest brand strength of any open-source-content management systems in the world.
Something To Note
So, WordPress has officially won you over, but how do you actually get it? Before we get into the nitty gritty installation details, it is important to make a distinction between two separate WordPress programs. The first option is to download the WordPress software, which then involves finding an independent web host to host the site.
The second option is to create a site on WordPress.com, where your site will be hosted for free. The second option, which does not involve the hassle of finding a web host and the constant maintenance of the site, may seem the more appealing option, however, it does involve some sacrifices.
When you take the option of downloading the WordPress software and self-hosting, the options when it comes to the layout and functionality of your page are truly endless. In terms of allowing creativity, the world really is your oyster when your WordPress page is self-hosted. This, however, is not the case with WordPress.com as, although it hosts and maintains your site for free, it is limited in terms of design and functionality. WordPress.com does not allow users to use plugins (as they may pose security risks) and similarly does not allow the use of outside templates, which greatly reduces your design options.
The difference between these two products has been likened to the difference between renting and owning a house. Downloading the WordPress software and finding your own web host is akin to owning your own home: you can knock down walls, draw on the ceiling and basically do whatever you want, however, if something goes wrong with the house, it’s your responsibility to fix it. Starting a site on WordPress.com is the same as renting a house: you’re not allowed to make any major structural changes to the given house (template) but, if something goes wrong, then you have a landlord to fix it for you.
So which option do you use? The answer to this question depends purely on what kind of site you’ll be running. If there is some specific function that your site must have, then it might be better to download WordPress if WordPress.com doesn’t offer the desired function. One very important factor to take into consideration is that WordPress.com does not allow third party advertising networks like Google AdSense, which could put a serious dent in your blog’s earning potential whereas, if you self-host, you can advertise to your heart’s content.
It is, however, worth noting that switching your content, followers and pretty much everything else from WordPress.com to a self hosted WordPress site can be done very easily. Therefore, it might be a good idea to start your site on WordPress.com, learn the basics, and then move your site across to a self-hosted WordPress site.
How Do You Get Started?
Starting a site on WordPress.com is startlingly easy. It really is as simple as going to the website and clicking the bright orange ‘Get Started’ button, where after you will be prompted to enter your email address, chose a username and decide on a web address. It is worth noting that the web address you get with your free WordPress.com account will contain the word ‘WordPress’ in it. So, if you’re running a large business and deem this kind of address unprofessional, it might be worth switching to a self-hosted WordPress site. After you have registered your site on WordPress.com, the only thing left to do before you can start uploading content is to design your webpage! This, again, is a simple matter as WordPress.com takes you through a clear and concise step-by-step process.
Starting a site on the downloaded WordPress software is a bit more of a mission, however, the end result is ultimately worth the hassle. First of all, WordPress should always be downloaded from its official download page, this is especially important as there could be any number of viruses posing as the WordPress download file on other non-affiliated web pages.
The second step is to locate the WordPress download in your download file and upload to your chosen web host’s page. WordPress needs a database to run off, which brings us to our next point: creating a MySQL database and username. This process isn’t too complicated and a quick Google search should comfortably get you through this fairly painless task.
After the database has been set up, it’s time to begin with the actual WordPress installation process. To do this, navigate back to your web host’s page where you initially uploaded the WordPress download file, click on this uploaded file, click the ‘create a configuration’ button and, thereafter, click ‘Let’s Go’. Following this, one only needs to enter their MySQL information in the given fields and click install. Your WordPress site will then officially be good to go!
Which WordPress site you set up is entirely your own personal choice with each option having various pros and cons. Regardless of the option you chose, there is no denying that WordPress is a hugely powerful web design tool and that it will definitely improve your blogging and site management experience!