There has been much discussion on forums lately about WordPress. I vote for WordPress as definitely the best site building software for other frugal do it yourself control freaks, like me! I tutor, coach and teach this software platform to self employed business people, homepreneurs, solopreneurs, mini- and micro-business owners, job seekers and anyone who wants to publish up a site in less than a few hours of their time.
All you need to publish a WordPress Web site or blog is a little knowledge or my coaching, plus a domain name and Web host.
There is little, if any, code writing to do, although a familiarity with basic html is beneficial. Adding content is as easy as using a word processing program. The newer WordPress versions have a simple to use photo manipulation feature. Videos can also easily be added to enhance your presentation. WordPress is primed and ready for Search Engine Optimization.
This platform is ideal for a smaller five to ten page (even 12 page) site, and offers unlimited sub-pages. The platform was primarily designed for blogging. However, it can easily be configured as a traditional Web site. You can set up with no sidebars, with right and left sidebars, as well as divided sidebars. When used as a traditional site, a blog can also be used to easily add new, relevant content to the site and attract search engines.
WordPress’ origins are in Open Source software under the GPL. As such, it is distributed freely. However, when considering a business blog, there are several alternatives to consider and questions to ask and answer.
WordPress.com is a hosting service and provides a stand alone site where you can register with an email address and password and then publish freely. However, a WordPress.com site cannot be commercialized, you may have ads on your site and they can ‘kick you off’ at any time.
WordPress.org, on the other hand, can be monetized. It offers the same platform for on-site hosting (on your own Web site) and can be used either as an add on blog to your regular site, a stand alone blog, or a combination site with a blog. There are some security functions you must learn and you are responsible for updates. You can also opt for a managed site that does these function for you, of course at a higher fee.
If you opt for the former, you might migrate to the later if you are building a traditional business site because it is one of the easiest ways to add content. And, if you want to control your own Web site and not pay a developer’s cost and fees to make slight changes, there is no better solution. You might have to settle for normal “stock” graphics that don’t offer much pizzazz. That is unless you opt for a theme where you can customize the header. Then you will need some basic graphic arts skills to make one. Most current themes have this option.
Installing WordPress and Theme Selection
Does your Web host offer cPanel with Fantastico, Simple Scripts, their successors, or others? Then installation of a blog is a breeze with WordPress.org! All you need is to log into cPanel, i.e. click on an installer or the WordPress logo itself. A window (an example is shown below) opens and then click on new installation.
If starting from scratch, you will set up in the root folder and over write all duplicate named content folders. The only preparation I recommend you prepare ahead of time is an administrator (your) name, pass code and an email address where an email will be sent with details.
A rather vanilla theme has been included over the last several years that needs plugins and widgets to customize. However, there are many themes out in Web land, both free, subscription based as well as based on a one time fee. Always use Free themes available only through WordPress.org found through your internal WordPress theme search. Some Free themes found through a Google search have been known to carry malicious code within. The Web is loaded with snake oil salespeople. Caveat emptor! Let the buyer beware.
My favorite WordPress theme for small business Web sites and blogs is SmallBiz for many reasons. Click to inspect by following the link (affiliate) on the right sidebar or read more about the SmallBiz theme.
What do you want the site to look like? A blog? A traditional Web site with no sidebars? Or a traditional Web site with a blog? All are available, with or without different sidebar arrangements, color schemes, pre-included graphics, etc.
With a free theme you need to install a number of plugins (add-ons, mostly free but some developers request “donations” – which by the way is illegal per the I.R.S. unless they are a non for profit organization) and you may need some code writing or altering experience. Technical support is not generally available with free themes, sometimes forums are. (Remember, you always get what you pay for.) So, you may have to resort to WordPress on line forums and FAQ’s. There are also tons of tutorials and videos if you are in a learn at a snail’s pace mode (as I did).
However, if you are a fast tract, then consider a fee based theme or subscriptions. You will pay a small fee (generally under $120.00) for most themes. For the fee you should get a perpetual license, lifetime upgrades of developer enhancements as well as technical support. Subscriptions offer multiple themes and may have to be renewed annually.
You can, of course, opt for my assistance. Read more at WordPress Publishing help.
Continued with Free vs Fee Themes…
Last Update: August 15, 2014