Freedom Writers Building a Self Hosted WordPress Blog

Following up my last post How To Install a Self Hosted WordPress Blog, I’ve had requests to build upon that information and go through the steps to install WordPress themes and also WordPress plugins, so that’s what this post will be about here in this Freedom Writer’s blog.

Once you have your self hosted WordPress blog installed and have made your first post, you’ll probably be wanting to make it look a whole lot prettier than the standard theme allows.

No problem!

WordPress give you a great directory of user-created themes for you to browse through . For themes here’s the link for the WP library:

There’s a lot in there, so you’d better make yourself comfortable!

With these WordPress themes, once you’ve found the one you like, download the file to your computer and unzip it. Then upload (via FTP) the unzipped folder to your blog’s wp-content/themes folder.

Next, log into your WordPress user panel and click on the Presentation tab. You’ll see the new theme you just uploaded as a graphic on that page – simply click on the graphic of your new theme and that one becomes the current theme. You can check by refreshing your blog in your browser – you’ll see your blog with its nice new WordPress theme!

Your post stays intact, of course, but anything else you added like banners or adsense, you’ll have to copy and paste into your new WordPress theme’s files and you do that through the Theme Editor facility – click on the Theme Editor tab from the Presentations page within your WordPress panel.

There are actually two routes you can go through to edit your WordPress theme – by simply dragging widgets around and placing them in your sidebar (using the Widgets tab), or via HTML in the Theme Editor where you edit the actual files.

Do take care with this as once you hit the update button, you can’t go back and undo your changes.

WordPress Plug-Ins

WordPress Plugins are another story… There are a ton of them and you probably won’t need more than a handful – I’ve seen blogs with so many visual WordPress plugins loaded that they look like a carnival and take ages to load up, so you need to exercise a little restraint there! They’re as easy to add on as WordPress themes as again you simply download, unzip and upload to your blog via FTP. Here’s the link for the WordPress plugins directory:

Once you’ve uploaded them to your wp-content/plugins folder, you go back into your WordPress panel, click on the Plugins tab and from there you can activate them.

Which WordPress plugins do I need?

Well for freedom writers, that is mainly personal choice, but if you’re going to have a well SEO’d blog with a fairly minimal look, you should exercise restraint in the amount of WordPress plugins you use. Some you’ll have to scout around to find, but there is an excellent list of them over at Vic’s Blogger Unleased blog in this post: WordPress Plugin List

As you’ll see there are plenty to choose from. I’m only currently using one or two here at this freedom writers blog but will add more as time goes by.

That’s it for now – I’ll post more on this freedom writers subject when I think of more stuff!

Terry Didcott

How To Install a Self Hosted WordPress Blog

Ok, following on from the last Freedom Writer post: Freedom Writer Domains to Make Money, concerning buying expired domains, let’s look at one of the things you can do withe them once you’ve got them!

If you’ve decided to get some professional hosting with a company that allows you to host multiple domains (a very economical way of hosting all those nice expired domains!) so that you can start collecting WordPress blogs and keep them all in one place, this short primer might help you to get started setting up those blogs!

Here’s my step by step starter’s guide to setting up your first self-hosted WordPress blog.

Once you get the hosting account set up with HostGator (and I won’t talk generally about multi-domain hosting companies, I’ll be specific here as I can talk you through this from first hand experience, having a HostGator account myself), if I remember correctly the first domain you register with them becomes your primary domain. So choose your main domain for that – a short domain name here is a good idea.

All other new domains you add become subdomains of the primary domain as viewed from your cPanel and also via FTP (which is why a short name is preferable), but as far as the rest of the world see them they are top level domains in their own right.

So – whichever domains you want to use as WordPress blogs, you need to complete a few steps in cPanel.

1. Add the domain as an “Add-On Domain” (Not a “subdomain” – there are separate icons for each). Let cPanel choose the name of the folder – it will take your domain name as the folder name making it easy for you to know where everything is. Once you start getting over the 20 domain mark, you’ll be glad you did – I’ve got quite a long list to scroll down in my FTP box and they’re all in alphabetical order making life easy. Oh, by the way, you can’t have duplicate folders – I tried that and it caused me problems as I had one folder called Make Money for a domain, then I created a subdomain on another site and also called it Make Money – Ha! That’s what you get for trying to make too much money lol!!!

Ok, kidding aside, once you get the hang of the process, it gets real easy.

2. Once the domain is added, open Fantastico from within cPanel and you’ll see WordPress in the left sidebar under the Blogs subheader. Click it and you’ll be asked if you want to set up an new WordPress account – YES!

3. The next panel asks you what subdomain you want WordPress to install in – in the drop down list of domains, you’ll likely see your main domain on its own and all add-on domains as subdomains of the main domain plus each domain separately. Its confusing writing about it – you’ll see it better when you have it in front of you. Well, click on the domain you want to install wordpress in – not one of the subdomains (unless… oh boy I won’t go there as it will confuse the issue even more)

Let it install in the root directory for the domain if you want the homepage to be the blog, as it looks like:

or specify a subfolder if you want something like:

4. Enter a username, password etc and then click “Install WordPress” to let it do its thing!

Voila, you now have a basic self- hosted WordPress blog on your domain!

You’ll want to tart it up a bit, by adding a nice theme, some plug-ins etc, but you can do that later. First thing you need to do now is to log-in and write your first post!

I’ll go through the set-up of themes and plug-ins in my next post

Terry Didcott