In the previous post in my How to market yourself series, I described how to set up a website on a host’s server. Here I will tell you how to set up a WordPress blog on that server. Read my introduction to this self-marketing series here.
This article is about how to set up WordPress manually. If you don’t wish to do this or consider yourself “untechnical” please use the WordPress one-click install that most hosts have.
OK, so this information exists elsewhere on the internet, so why am I writing this post? Because WordPress is the best way I know to market yourself on the internet so this post is hugely important for this reason.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a robust and feature-full web publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards and usability. WordPress, as it says on it’s homepage, is both free and priceless at the same time.
This is about a WordPress.org blog. What’s the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com? WordPress.org is where you can download WordPress to use on your own hosting service and have your own specific website address (this is what I’m recommending). WordPress.com hosts WordPress blogs and therefore puts WordPress.com in your website address and gives you generally less control over your website, for example, the number and kind of adverts and affiliate links are restricted.
WordPress is the best Content Management System for simple “shop window on the world” websites for small and medium sized companies, in my opinion.
What’s good about WordPress?
It’s free. It’s easy to use. There is excellent support documentation and forums because, literally, millions use it. It’s database driven so you can transport it to another CMS if you really want to. Anyone can edit the site (with a username and password) from anywhere in the world. There are many different themes designed that you can dress it up in.
You can add loads of functionality to your website very easily, for example, search, sitemap, RSS feeds, comment forms, contact forms, galleries, etc. Believe me, I could go on.
So here’s the nitty-gritty.
How to install WordPress on your host server
Of course, there is great information on how to install WordPress on the WordPress site. But here’s what you do.
First download and un-zip the current version of WordPress.
Then, create a database and a MySQL user who has all privileges for accessing and modifying it. For those with cPanel go to MySQL Databases and do this. Write down the database name and the MySQL username and password. Finally add the user to the database.
Go to your version of WordPress you had just downloaded and in the folder named “wordpress” look for a file named “wp-config-sample.php”. Open it in your favourite text editor (eg. TextEdit for Mac; NotePad for PC), making sure you are editing in plain text, and look for these three lines at the top.
define(’DB_NAME’, ‘wordpress’); // The name of the database
define(’DB_USER’, ‘username’); // Your MySQL username
define(’DB_PASSWORD’, ‘password’); // …and password
Fill in the words you chose for your database name, username and password where it says
'password' in lowercase, keeping the inverted commas. Look back at your MySQL Databases page and make sure you have the database name and username exactly as it is there (there maybe prefixes added). Once you are happy with this Save As… “wp-config.php” back in the WordPress directory on your computer.
Now you have to decide whether you want WordPress to power your entire site or just a blog within the site. If you want your whole site to be a WordPress site then upload the contents of the “wordpress” folder but not the folder on the root directory of your host server. The root directory is sometimes called “public_html” or “html_docs”. If, however, you already have a site but just want to add WordPress as a blog then upload the whole “wordpress” folder to the root directory. You may want to re-name the directory “blog” so that the URL of the blog is forward slash blog after your website address.
Lastly, once the uploading is complete, simply go to http://www.mydomain.com/wp-admin/install.php if your whole website is WordPress, or http://www.mydomain.com/subdirectory/wp-admin/install.php if you put WordPress inside a sub-directory. (Replace “mydomain.com” with your own domain name and “subdirectory” with the name of the sub-directory you created, “blog” in our example).
Once at this page follow the prompts. You will be ask for your email address and website title, you can change these later. You will also be asked if you want to appear in search engines. I would check that option unless you want to view your website in isolation!
You will soon be emailed a password to access administration panels – keep a copy of this safe.
And now the fun really begins!
That was the famous 5 minute installation which took me at least half an hour the first time I did it and even now takes at least 10 minutes! Setting up WordPress on your host server is a task that prepares you for the process of owning and maintaining and constantly updated professional-looking website!