Getting Started with WordPress. Beginner’s Guide

August 13, 2012 by: 1

WordPress is the number one choice for self-publishing bloggers, and is used daily by millions of people around the globe. It can be used to manage everything from a single blog to an entire site.  For those of you, who are thinking about using of WordPress or need help getting started with WordPress, this article will try to give you some tips about how to use WordPress to get most of it.

Getting started with WordPress

WordPress’ philosophy is to be the best system of its kind, with the latest, most cutting edge features available to everyone. It aims to be highly robust and exceptionally easy to use so that users from novice to those considering yourself as advanced can implement the features they want quickly and easily to meet their requirements. Best thing about Wordpres is that is completely open-source, which means that is not even free, but also completely unrestricted; so you can use it in any way that we want.

As well as being free, open source also means that the code that makes it up is worked on by hundreds of developers across the world in an effort to eliminate bugs, improve the core code and drive forward change and improvement.

It also means that the system is highly extensible with thousands of free plugins which add extra functionality and additional features. These plugins can be made easily by anyone so if there’s a feature that you would like added, you’re free to write the plugin for it yourself. Using WordPress fot blogging is the main purpose, but this is by no means all it’s restricted to. Many companies use blogs to bring information about their latest products, new shops, company news or any aspect of their service to the public’s attention. So, are you ready to get started with WordPress?

Installing WordPress

WordPress is designed for being easy to install and setup; let’s see just how easy it is to install to an existing site in its own subfolder. There are only two requirements that must be met in order to run WordPress – your hosting provider must have PHP and MySQL installed (and optimally it also should have the mod_rewrite Apache module installed). These features are both very common and even many free hosting plans include them.

The first thing we need to do is download the source code for WordPress, which can be found here. It’ll only take a moment to both download and upload to your site.

To prepare a site for WordPress, all that we need to do is create a new MySQL database and a new user that can access and modify it. Once this has been done we need to find the wp-configsample.php file and rename it to just wp-config.php, and edit it so that it contains the information necessary to manipulate the database. Once the file has been edited, we can then upload the unpacked WordPress directory structure to our site. The upload should take a few minutes (in fact this is the longest part of the setup process) and once finished, you simply open a browser and navigate to the setup file, which means just enter your URL address.

/** The name of the database for WordPress */
define('DB_NAME', 'database_name');

/** MySQL database username */
define('DB_USER', 'database_username');

/** MySQL database password */
define('DB_PASSWORD', 'database_password');

Just add the required information to the page and click the install button. Once setup is complete, you’re given a username and password which you’ll need to make a note of so that you can update and publish to our blog. That’s it, WordPress is installed, and the whole process took just a few minutes, and if you already maintained a separate blog somewhere else, you could automatically import a lot of information from it using tools that WordPress provides for a variety of other popular blogging systems, including RSS feeds from any other source.

Using WordPress

After installation, you can start publishing content straight away; the blog is created using a default theme and is completely usable immediately. To setup the appearance and features of the blog and to publish new content to it, you will be using the dashboard; a simple administration page that you can use to add new posts, new pages, sidebar widgets and much more. This is also where you approve or delete visitor comments. Everything is laid out in a very intuitive manner.

Now let’s see how easy it is to add a new post to the blog. You have several options for doing this; the dashboard home page shows the Quick Press tool which allows you to easily add a simple post with basic formatting and minimal publishing options. For a more advanced configuration of the post we can use the Add New Post tool in the left navigation module. This will open the Post page which allows you to add the text for the post, media in the form of images or video, tags describing the post and much more.

WordPress Post Editor

The layout and format is easy to use and you can switch between using a simple WYSIWYG text editor to a full code editor for adding raw HTML. You can also add some plugin to highlight parts of HTML code. As you can see, almost everything is possible with WordPress ;) . You can also add posts to specific categories that you define and can also review, preview or delete posts from this screen. It takes just moments to add a new post, and once added, it will appear on the front page by default.

Styling a WordPress Blog

The look, feel and design of a blog is very important in terms of its usability and how it is perceived by visitors. Basic WordPress themes, which are installed by default, are functional and neat but are also a little bland and generic, so one of the first things you’ll want to do is to personalize it. This is simple to do using one of several methods; there are many user-generated themes available for WordPress which can be downloaded from the WordPress site and then uploaded to our own site quickly and easily.

The dashboard also contains tools for editing the stylesheet used to control the blog’s appearance and it is quick and easy to modify an existing theme; for example, you can add images to the header and change the layout and appearance of the text simply by changing a couple of lines of code in the Editor. The best way to style the blog uniquely is to start with a theme that resembles the overall look which you’re trying to achieve and then modify it using the editor and supply any new images by uploading them to the correct location. For the more experienced developer, another option is to create a new theme manually.

Changing the Elements on the Page

The default page arrangement is like the default theme, functional and robust. But like with the theme there will probably be elements that you would like to remove or add. WordPress pages/sites are built by combining a variety of different template files (written in PHP) when each page is loaded as opposed to having static pages. This makes it easy to add or remove particular elements.

Wordpress themes examples

By editing the header.php file in the editor and adding some new style rules, you can add some new links to the header for example. As well as manually editing the template files, you can also extend your blog by using plugins, which like themes are easy to upload to the blog and also easy to customize. You can add new features to the page and new widgets to the sidebar in this way to further customize the appearance of your blog.

Summary

We’ve literally only scratched the surface in this introduction to WordPress, but I hope that you’ve been able to see how simple it is to setup and use WordPress to publish information of any kind, quickly and effortlessly. With intuitive text-based editors, you can quickly customize the look and feel of the blog, and a range of built-in tools also provides other essential services to make your lives easier.

Yes, it’s very easy to see why WordPress is the most popular blogging platform available.

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Add a Comment on "Getting Started with WordPress. Beginner’s Guide"

    1 Comments on "Getting Started with WordPress. Beginner’s Guide"

  1. Very nice information here. It’s very helpful as a lot of blogs nowadays are done through WordPress. Thanks for sharing :)

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