As promised in part 1 of this series, we will now go into the basic steps to follow in building your WordPress web site. If you've never heard of WordPress, and you're wondering what the heck it is, learn all about it at WordPress.org/ Roll Up Your Sleeves And Let's Get Started … You need to master a few basics and understand A little of the WordPress "lingo". So, here we go. With WordPress, you can produce and manage several types of content very quickly and very easily. Built right in and ready to go is the ability to create and edit Posts, Pages, and Links.
Posts are your basic blog content and are used for standard blog entries. You can create new posts, anytime you want and as often as you want, for your site visitors to read. Posts are typically arranged in chronological order and you can allow viewer comments or not, just as you please.
Pages are basically just posts that are not time-driven, they are more permanent content, not open to comments, and they do not show up in your "recent posts" list. Pages are added as a link in your menu, if you choose to, and serve as the basic meat of your site.
Links are just what the name implies … they are links to whatever outside web sites you wish to make available to your site visitors. This is where you put links to sites you are an affiliate of, sites that are recommended resources for your visitors, and anything else you feel would be of interest to your site visitors.
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions …
Before you start, you need to spend a few minutes and make some big decisions on what type of web site you want and need. If you do not spend the time now, you may not end up with the web site you want, and then you will have to start all over.
The largest thing to figure out is what you actually need your website to do. Will it be just a simple blog, it will be a news site, it will be an e-commerce site to sell products, it will be a place to post mp3's produced by your rock band … What exactly do you need it to be and how do you want it to look?
Once you decide what you want it to be, you need to decide what type of content you will have on it. What kind of content will you need to create and manage?
Do you need posts? Maybe, maybe not. If you're not creating a blog, you may or may not need to use the post feature in WordPress at all. Or maybe it's not a blog you're creating, but you want a section to give site visitors your latest news about your products or services. You can use posts to do that. Since posts typically show in order by date created, visitors would see the latest posts first.
What about pages? Do you need pages at all? If so, how many pages will you need? Since pages normally show up as menu items, will your pages have a hierarchy type drop down menu, or will each post be a top level menu item?
What about your homepage, how do you want it to look, what do you want to feature on the homepage? You may want just some basic text about your web site, what you do and what you offer, or maybe you want to feature your latest news or latest post.
These are a few of the questions you need to answer. Basically you're trying to figure out what you want and what you need from your website. Once you have that figured out, it's easier to find a theme that offers exactly what you want and need.
Next Step …
Pick a theme that suits your needs and also looks like you want it to. There are free themes and there are professionally designed themes that you purchase, usually for a very reasonable price. If you are building a business web site, you will probably want to invest in one of the professionally designed themes.
Now that you know what you want and need in the way of a web site, you need to be sure and pick a theme that can meet those wants and needs. Keep in mind that WordPress makes it very easy to switch themes, so if you find more than one theme that you like, you can install all of them, and switch back and forth until you decide exactly which one is the perfect fit for your web Site.
Here are some things to consider when searching for that "just right" theme:
What type of menu system does it feature? Can it display the number of pages you plan on having? Can it handle the hierarchy your site menu will require? If you plan on having a fair amount of hierarchy (categories and sub-categories), a drop down menu might be a must.
How is the theme laid out? Most themes are laid out in "sections" or "boxes" and with various sidesbars, such as sidebar left, or sidebar right, or both. Most have a large center box or section, or maybe some few smaller ones side-by-side, so make sure the theme's homepage is laid out like you want.
Very important, is the theme widget ready? If so, you can add and delete sidebar items, and possibly others, with ease. You can do it without widgets, but it's much harder.
As mentioned in Part 1, there are hundreds of free themes available, and you can check them out at WordPress.org/extend/themes/.
Premium themes are available at reasonable prices from several sources.
Once you've chosen your theme, you're ready to install WordPress.
There are two ways to install WordPress, the easy way and the hard way.
The hard way is to download the WordPress files directly from WordPress.org and then do a manual install. Do not worry though, even the hard way is not really that hard. Just go to codex.WordPress.org/Installing_WordPress to view the very through instructions provided by WordPress.org. Follow the instruction and you should not have any problems.
The easy way is to install WordPress from the cpanel in your hosting account. Most hosting accounts have cpanel and a feature called Fantastico which make the install extremely easy.