In the old days, everybody wanted to own a bar. You know, serve drinks, commiserate, make people happy, solve their emotional problems, and possibly make a buck or two along the way.
Now days, everybody wants to have a web site. They believe it will be a road to easy money, and possibly actually make a statement of sorts. Well, I have news for you– it ain’t that easy. If you are serious about maintaining a web site, that is, becoming a Web Master, then you had better be prepared for a long hard journey. There’s a lot of work involved and you’d better plan on being committed. That includes some out-of-pocket money, too. Nothing is free despite what the Internet may appear to be.
You will have to put up with SPAM on an indescribable scale. You will have to put up with many people who are just plain impolite. You will have to put up with many forms of software “glitches” that may take many hours of your time to figure out. The list goes on and on and on… ad infinitum. Be prepared to devote many hours of your life on this new goal. It may consume you…
So, why do we do it? The simple answer is that it is a labor of love. Some do it because they are trying to find that gold mine, which for some lucky few, exists. Some do it because they simply want to help people and share what they believe and know. I fall into the latter group and my heart-felt sense is that DCT’s authors are of the same ilk. May God bless them, one and all.
Personal Note: It matters not whether you believe in a god, the concept is warm and fuzzy, nevertheless.
In the Beginning
HyperText Markup Language, commonly known as HTML, is a script that your browser reads when it loads a web page. HTML tells your browser how to render the page; things such as font types, size and positioning, images– what size and where to put them, and of course all those links your are so familiar with.
Here’s an example:
The above is a short excerpt from the Google home page. This seeming gibberish goes on for a long time. There was a time when web masters had to write this code by hand so a good grasp of HTML was required. Dave Hartsock tells me that is what he used to have to do with Dave’s Computer Tips back around 2009, or so. I can’t imagine the drudgery of doing that today.
Today, software has been written that takes over much of the hard work which allows us to write articles instead of code. These programs are known as Content Management Systems (CMS) and there are several from which to choose.
CMS software provides web masters an easy way to write articles, inject pertinent links, and insert images, video clips and audio tracks into their articles. It is just like typing in a word processor. Behind the scenes, the CMS converts all that into HTML which your browser can then interpret and display in all its glory on your computer monitor.
Several CMS Choices
There are several Content Management Systems (CMS) to choose from. There is Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress to name the major ones. Since I am only familiar with WordPress (WP), that is what I’ll focus on. The following precepts will apply no matter which CMS you choose.
What Is WordPress?
WordPress is a CMS that evolved over the years and has become ubiquitous due to its ease of use and massive support groups. There are over 72 million web sites powered by WP at the time of this writing. You read that right, 72,000,000+ web sites around the world are using WordPress as their foundation. That includes Dave’s Computer Tips!
One of the many things that makes it so popular, I’m sure, is its extensibility. Just like the Firefox browser, there are thousands of plug-ins available that will allow you to extend its many features to your liking. You can set up various sites to post blogs and extend it with newsletters/eMail, commercial sites to sell things, galleries to promote your pictures and/or art, ways to promote your business, and the variation and convolution is limited only by your imagination.
For those who would like to get their hands dirty, and if you are familiar with the likes of PHP and HTML, then you can dig right in and write your own code to either add functionality or change the way WordPress works. It is completely customizable.
There are many free PHP and HTML tutorial sites on the Internet. Use your favorite search engine if you would like to be inundated with a deluge of “hits”.
WordPress is the beginning; the page you see in your Internet browser is the end. Technically, this is not entirely accurate, but it’s close enough for government work.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
I was very confused in the beginning. It could rightly be said that I am still very confused, but that is another matter which may be politely deferred for later discussion. I leave that to your own discretion.
I didn’t know the difference between .com and .org where WordPress was concerned. There is a huge difference, and I’m about to expound on that. Stand back!
Both the .com and .org sites are owned by the same company. I will go into more detail in a follow-up article explaining what a hosting service is and why you should choose wisely.
WordPress.com uses the same software but focuses on hosting services. They provide free and “paid for” web hosting services. The free ones are quite limited and you will soon out-grow them if you are in the least bit serious about creating a proper web site.
WordPress.org is a software repository where you can grab the software, namely WordPress, thousands of plug-ins, and go with it. You are on your own. In all fairness, they also have a great support forum where you can ask your questions. Believe me when I say, if you are having a problem, someone in this forum has already had that same problem and it has most probably already been solved.
The Beauty Of WordPress
The wonderful part of WordPress is that so many people are using it. This means that everyone has had problems, questions and annoyances. This also means that everyone has had all these problems, questions and annoyances addressed. They have either been answered in the forums or they have been corrected in the software proper.
It is also open source. This means there are no secrets. No proprietary licenses. The code is all laid bare to everyone’s scrutiny and can be manipulated to his or her liking. Just as it should be. This also means the code can be analyzed by millions of eyes and minds to search for malware and other malicious intentions, and corrected if found.
The sheer number of WordPress users creates a community that can not be denied. If there is any question, it will ultimately be attended to.
Plans for future articles:
- WordPress Installation and Setup
- WordPress Security
- WordPress Plug-Ins
- Perhaps Some Tweaks – you know how I love those
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Anything else that comes to mind along the way
Links to articles in this series:
- WordPress – How To Have Your Own Web Site – Introduction
- WordPress – How To Have Your Own Web Site – What You’ll Need
- WordPress – How To Have Your Own Web Site – Installation
- WordPress – How To Have Your Own Web Site – Dashboard & cPanel
- WordPress – How To Have Your Own Web Site – Plug-Ins, Widgets, Themes and Headers
- WordPress – How To Have Your Own Web Site – Security
- WordPress – How To Have Your Own Web Site – SEO
- WordPress – How To Have Your Own Web Site – Tweaks for Speed – Part I
- WordPress – How To Have Your Own Web Site – Tweaks for Speed – Part II
Ultimately, this project will give me a chance to dig deeper into WordPress, learn more, and thereby give me more information and a better understanding of this complex system.
All of which I’d like to share with you,
Credits: I would like to thank Dave Hartsock for his invaluable help in writing this series.
Photo by cocoate.com
Photo by cocoate.com
Photo by Titanas
4 thoughts on “WordPress – How To Have Your Own Web Site – Introduction”
What great timing! I’m about to do this very thing. I started ‘HTML Basics’ this past week.
That’s a great beginning. A little basic PHP (Hypertext PreProcessor) would probably be a good thing to know, as well.
Enjoy the ride 🙂
Richard, you certainly know what you’re talking about. Seven years ago, not knowing a darn thing about building and maintaining a website, I decided “I want one of those” (I had just retired). WHAT A LEARNING EXPERIENCE! I randomly picked WordPress for no particular reason (just a stroke of luck). Of course, I eventually had to learn html, css and some limited php and java. That came from my burning life-time desire to learn and do new things. And I never quite tweaking things.
Then family and friends started hitting me up on “building them a website”, to which I tried to explain just what would be involved on their part. I was met with glaring and questionable stares. In the end I did have to do just that for my immediate family (wife wrote and published a book and two daughters who started their own business). But guess who maintains the sites – not them!
So I give you two-plus thumbs up for writing this. When someone else ask me about a website, I will just link them here. You said it all in a short and effective way.
I guess I’m one of the lucky ones– I never had friends or family that were interested in this sort of thing. Whew!
I’m wiping the sweat off my brow.
Thanks for the kind words,
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