A blog doesn’t need to look like a stream of consciousness. Blogging is a fantastic way to get your ideas out into the world, to share your knowledge and I find it helps me organise my thoughts and my goals.
I’m a huge fan of WordPress, this site and many of the others I have built are WordPress sites. It’s a system that lets me do the design and then the client has control over the content. It’s quite easy to make a WordPress site into a shop or a gallery, it doesn’t have to be a plain blog and it’s really easy to make it automatically post to Facebook and Twitter accounts.
There are two types of WordPress blogs – the free one you can get from WordPress.com which has many limitations (see the FAQ for more details) or a self hosted blog using the free WordPress.org system. The second gives you mountains of flexibility and does not need to cost a lot of money at all. It is the self hosted version of WordPress I am discussing here:
What you need to have a Self Hosted WordPress Blog:
A domain name – the .co.uk or .com bit.
Generally though these are not fixed rules:
- co.uk is for UK businesses
- com is for American businesses
- org is for not for profit companies
- net used to be for internet companies
- biz and info are ones that hardly any one uses.
If you have a fantastic idea for a website name you can check it (and buy it) at 123-reg.co.uk There is a box you can enter your idea into and it will show you what options are available, you can do this as many times as you like and buy one if you like it. Budget around £8 for 2 years for a .co.uk extention, more for the others. Prices are on the 123reg site.
Hosting – or space for it to live on the internet
This need not be expensive. I favour Ihelm Enterprises because they are a small hardworking family business and their montly prices start from £3 with no hidden extras and that includes email addresses. You can also have your website hosted by 123-reg and they have packages from £2.99 a month.
WordPress is essentially a huge database, lots of files that talk to each other. That has to be uploaded to the internet and the internet needs to know where to find it. Someone will need to log into the place where you bought the domain name and change the nameservers to point to where the site is hosted. The site hosts will give you this information and if I’m employed to make someone a website I do that as part of the job. WordPress update frequently and when you have it installed it’s simple to keep it up to date by clicking a button, WordPress do the rest.
Now comes the fun bit. If you think of the first installation of the blog as a blank sheet of paper, it’s now time to stick some things onto the paper to make it look terriffic. I use a basic template which I customise. It can have columns (sidebars) to the left and/or right around a central area. Everything is adjustable so you can have a wide left hand side and a narrow right hand side if you want, or the other way round, or just a sidebar on the left, or none….. the possibilities are totally endless. You will need a header image (which I can do from existing graphics or from scratch) and you will need a colour theme.
Plugins are little programmes that you add into the WordPress database that do different things. They change constantly, are usually free and are very versatile. I’m using a shopping cart plugin along side a SEO plugin on www.ragbaby.co.uk plus ones to disable comments.
The plugins I find most useful:
I haven’t linked to these as they change frequently so it’s a matter of finding one that works with your site at the time.
- A Search Engine Optimisation plugin (that helps people find you on the internet)
- A Paypal shopping cart
- Disabling comments
- Etsy or Folksy shop listings
Widgets are little programmes that show up in the sidebars, I use widgets for a shopping cart, for Folksy and Etsy listings, for Galleries, for menus……
When you log into WordPress you will use your website address followed by wp/admin. You will have a login and a password. When you get into the workings of your site you will see lots of options on the left hand side. What you really need to worry about is posts and pages. Pages are for static information, things that don’t change; your contact details, your CV etc. Posts are for news items and can be put into categories.
The easiest way I have found to structure a website is to write down everything you want to include on it and try and group it into sections. These become your categories. The lovely thing about WordPress is that changes are easy so if you decide to totally alter the way your site is structured that is not too difficult. There are loads of Youtube videos that show you step by step how to use WordPress.
Please visit the Prices page for info about costs.
Check out my WordPress FAQ
If you want to talk more about how Naked Website can help you with a WordPress blog please contact me.