Confessions of a rookie webmaster

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Mark | Poker News

Granted this article series has nothing to do with poker, but since this is my blog I have freedom to post whatever I want:-) I have been experiencing a lot of WordPress associated problems lately and this made me think that other people might be sharing some of my problems. In addition I figured that newly born WordPress webmasters could benefit from some of the skills and problem solvers I have learned along the way. I am by no means a WordPress expert; my goal with this article series is to give you an idea of the possibilities within WordPress, how to solve simple WordPress problems and where to go to get information on tougher problems.

How to get started with WordPress:

If you like me have no clue about programming and running websites in general you will probably benefit from paying someone else to set up your WordPress blog. In this case all you need to do is come up with a good name for your blog and check that the url is not already occupied (if it is and you really want the url, it is sometimes possible to purchase it from the owner). Once this is done you can post your WordPress project on Guru which is the world’s largest online service market place. If you have a bit of patience and don’t accept the first bid on your project, you should be able to find someone who will set up your blog at a reasonable price. Once your blog has been set up with hosting, passwords etc. and is finally online you can start writing posts and customizing the appearance and functionality of your blog.

Customizing your WordPress blog:

Customizing your WordPress blog is very much like building a house and the best thing is that all the building materials are free to use. A WordPress house is made up of basically 3 components:

  • WordPress Themes – the construction plan; determines the overall look of your blog
  • WordPress Plugins – the bricks and fixtures; add functionality to your blog
  • WordPress Widgets – the communication lines; let you strutt your stuff and interact with others 

The first thing you need to learn in order to customize your new WordPress blog is how to access your Wordpress files on the host server. This can be done in two ways. Usually your hosting company will have a control panel interface with a file manager function where you can access your files. However when transferring large files to the server this can be a rather slow solution. Another way to access your WordPress files is to use a file transfer protocol or in short a FTP (figuring out how this worked has been one of the biggest revelations during my short time as a Webmaster:-)). Simply click on the “This Computer” icon on your desktop and overwrite “Documents” in the address field with the following code:

In my case it looks something like this:

Simply type in the code and press enter and your WordPress folders will appear below. You install plugins by first downloading them to your desktop, unzipping them and then copying them to the wp-content/plugins folder that you have gained access to through the FTP protocol. Themes are installed in the same manner by first downloading them to your desktop and then copying them to the wp-content/themes folder.

Now what’s left to do is to log in to your online WordPress control panel and activate the plugins and themes that you have just installed….more about this and the essential plugins you will definitely want to install in my next article.

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