WordPress is oftentimes thought of as a blogging platform, dig a little deeper and you’ll find that WordPress is used for countless other applications online. As a highly customizable blogging option WordPress attracts the technically-inclined looking to get under the hood of their blog. With simple installation almost anyone can run a WordPress site from their own server bringing the cost of using WordPress down to $0/month. While absolutely anyone can use WordPress – a little HTML, CSS, and PHP knowledge will go a long way and give you much greater control over the look-and-feel of your WordPress site.
The purpose of this article is not to teach you HTML, CSS, or PHP – if you already know these then you’ll have the ability to put your skills to work. If you don’t know these – do not fear, there is plenty you can do in WordPress without writing (or editing) a single line of code. Themes and Plugins are an easy way to customize WordPress and anyone with a hosting account and an Internet connection can have WordPress up and running on their servers in a matter of minutes.
So how do you install WordPress? Follow the steps below to install WordPress:
1) Setup a new DB with your hosting provider
2) Download WordPress (www.wordpress.com)
3) Unzip the folder and open the file named “wp-config-sample.php”
4) Enter the database details for *your* database into the corresponding sections in the document – these are clearly labeled so there is no confusion.
5) Rename “wp-config-sample.php” to “wp-config.php”
6) Upload the contents of the “WordPress” folder to your web server. Make sure to upload it to the folder your domain is pointing towards.
7) Now all you have to do is go to www.youdomainname.com/wp-admin/install.php and WordPress will install.
As you can see there is no programming experience required here to install WordPress. Most hosting services like GoDaddy have control panels that make it easy to create a database without writing a single line of code. Armed with a text editor (notepad is fine) and an FTP client (try something free like FileZilla) you can install WordPress on your own server easily. Once installed you can use the WordPress GUI so you’ll never have to edit another file or use an FTP client again!
Now that I’ve shown you all this you can always hire someone to do this install for you and save the headache. You certainly don’t have to setup WordPress installations to be a good Domainer and many investors opt to pay someone to do this install for them. If the seven steps above look like Greek to you then not to fear – for $10-$20 someone should be able to take care of this for you.
Once you have WordPress up and running on your server the first thing most developers start with is a Theme. Themes are one of the keys to the success of WordPress. Made up of a variety of PHP files and one master stylesheet – a Theme defines the complete look and feel of your blog or website. Notice how I say blog or website here. This is because Themes can be customized to display exactly as you would like which means you can easily create a business website, online portfolio, magazine, the list goes on. There are plenty of free Themes available online and some great Themes for sale that are well worth the price.
If you had no problem installing WordPress yourself, and you have a working knowledge of HTML, CSS, and PHP – then you can easily dig-in and edit every detail of your site. You won’t even need to use a text editor or FTP client – you can edit directly from the WordPress dashboard. This is a great way for developers to quickly design nice looking sites. Theme developers can provide a Domainer with a great shell to start with – adding content and branding is then up to the Domainer.
The great thing about having a website running on WordPress is that updates are easy to make, especially site-wide changes that might be a pain with a standard website. You can easily add new content and user-interaction is built-in which is essential to creating a website that gets repeat visitors.
What if you don’t know HTML, CSS, and PHP – are all the fun customization options out of the questions? No – there are still plenty of options for the less tech-savvy. Plugins offer a great way to add just about anything you could imagine to your site. Want a contact form? There’s a plug-in for that. Want to make sure your site is SEO optimized? There’s a plugin for that too. WordPress’s plugin architecture makes it easy for anyone to add advanced functionality to their site by simply downloading a ZIP file and then adding it through the Plugins section of the Dashboard.
Along with Plugins there are Widgets that can easily be added and modified without any coding experience. In fact – you can easily install a Theme, customize the heck out of it with plugins, and then use Widgets to add ads, recent posts, and archives to your sidebar. WordPress really can be used to design ANY website – not just blogs – and people use WordPress for these purposes all the time. WordPress allows anyone to create dynamic webpages that are easy to update and customize with the latest and greatest features available online.
When you are looking at developing domain names for monetization and traffic-building one of the key elements is content. By using WordPress to streamline your design process you can focus on creating unique content that visitors will appreciate and most importantly – will keep them coming-back. Domain development is a strong trend in 2009 and many Domainers will turn to expedite their development time. I hope this article inspires those of you who have not tinkered with WordPress yet to give it a shot. For those WordPress gurus out there I hope this inspires you to continue pushing the limits of what’s possible.
At the end of the day, web visitors are now hip to parking pages – and they don’t like them. People are looking for websites with relevant content – not just a page of links. WordPress is an incredible tool that can empower Domainers of any experience-level to create nice-looking, content-driven websites.
* This article is available freely for re-print on your website or magazine. All that I ask is that you provide a link back to my blog. *
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