Self-hosted WordPress website – the beginning

Self-hosted WordPress website – the beginning

 

Summary of article:

  1. Think of a domain name (I know this is difficult for some of us)
  2. Obtain a host and register your domain name (details below)
  3. Your host will set up your new website!
  4. Make your website home your own (more on that later)

Get Started:

Of course the first step is figuring out your domain name. This step took me three months. I don’t think it will take you that long, but it is a decision that should take some thought. Once you have chosen a domain name, and believe it is unique, then you are ready to register the domain name and obtain a “host”.

Here’s just a short video to help with a bit of insight into starting a self-hosted WordPress website.

In the video I show how to navigate to WordPress.org to get started. There you can read a bit about WordPress and its various features. But if you are in a hurry, just click on “hosting” in the menu and you will get a run-down on that.

“But I thought WordPress was free…”

It is important to note that if you are only blogging and that is what you plan to do exclusively (no products to sell), you may best be served by going to wordpress.com and starting a free blog there. There are a lot of design features and you can even have your own domain name for a bit of cash.

A blog on wordpress.com is free (see above). A self-hosted website (launching from wordpress.org) uses paid hosting on a shared or private server. The installation of WordPress content management software on your site is free. In addition to your WordPress install, you will use a “theme” (free or purchased) to style your website.

If you are convinced that you need a self-hosted WordPress website, you will note that on the “hosting” page at wordpress.org, they admit that almost any host can handle a WordPress install, and they provide a list of requirements.

How do I find a “host”?

If you are going to go “indie” here and find your own host, look for hosts that advertise that they are WordPress friendly. Many will have WordPress “one-click” installation. There are many good hosts out there!

On the “hosting” page at WordPress.org they have three recommended hosts, — Bluehost, Dreamhost, and Laughing Squid.

Blue host and Dreamhost offer domain registration as part of the sign-up process. (If, however, you already have a registered domain — no problem).

Laughing Squid recommends that you get your domain registered with hover.com because they do not offer domain registration as part of their sign-up process.

Hopefully these notes will clear up any confusion, but feel free to leave comments below.

Click on the image below to see the video

self-hosted WordPress website

Self-hosted WordPress website

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Installing Salient WordPress Theme

This is actually not hard – and can be done from the WordPress Dashboard. Apparently lots of us stumble on this point, because it is listed as a FAQ on the support site. If you just fly by the seat of your pants on this and try to upload the themeforest zip – you will get an error “no style sheet” – and think: “…oh, oh. I’ll have to go through the back-door (ftp)”.

Not true :) Listen up!

Download your new Salient Theme (after purchase) and save it somewhere you will remember on your hard drive (or equivalent).

Un-zip the downloaded zip file remembering the location you have chosen.

Within that first downloaded zip file, you will find all the Dummy Data you need, — and — another Salient zip file!

Couldn’t be easier. Go to your WordPress Dashboard and click on Appearance >> Themes >> Add New (at the top of the Themes page).

Upload the zip that was within the original ThemeForest zip file (salient.zip) and you will see Salient appear as an installed theme.

If you took the time to cruise the Salient Demo, you will know what type of Dummy Data will prove helpful. Dummy Data is merely properly set up “place-holders” that are especially useful if you are setting up this Theme for a new blog. Dummy Data may help you understand how the Theme works and/or how to achieve the look you wanted from the Demo.

If you liked the Ascend version of Salient, you will need to install the Ascend Child Theme.

Well that’s enough for today. Be sure to check out the Salient tutorials for set up, and the helpful PDF instructions (salient-user-guide) included in the original downloaded zip-file.

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Installing a WordPress Premium Theme

Recently, a client wanted a theme update. She had purchased Salient theme which she found in Theme Forest. Try not to get overwhelmed!

From Theme Forest, click on WordPress tab to see what can be installed on your WordPress.org self-hosted site. (Only 5,013 choices at the time of this writing.)

Now do you feel like a kid in a candy shop?

I dare you to look along the left sidebar and choose among the “categories” or “tags” that suit your purpose. Think about what you are and do some exploring. Creative? Minimalist? Homey? Non-profit? Choose!

Oh my! Get a cup of coffee and start exploring. When you reach the spot that “feels like me” (or you in this case) — note what theme and other details you can.

Navigate to that theme’s website and look at all the permutations of that theme. You probably want this to fit you for at least two to three years, so choose wisely.

If you have an e-commerce site, don’t forget to be sure that fits easily into your theme, or you will be in for a lot of custom coding. (Expensive.)

If you already have a store on another site (like Shopify or 1 Shopping Cart) check their site to see if they will integrate with your website.

All themes on the market today should be “responsive” – meaning they “know” on which size screen they are displaying, and adjust on the fly. I would say, this is a must.

Other than that, you find what floats your boat – sliders, landing page, menus, social media – and get excited about the new look you are going to achieve.

We were pleased to find that this new theme (Salient) had documentation and videos to instruct about set up. All their demos gave us new ideas, and it was simple to create a whole new look.

Well, that’s enough for now. Go start poking about and find yourself a beaut WordPress Premium Theme!

 

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Fast Fix for Photos

fish photo resized

Photo Fixes (resize)

Got a new camera.

Took a few photos.

Sent one to the relatives….

Then checked my “sent” folder to admire my work and… WHAT?! — that photo is four times bigger than my monitor!

That’s when one realizes that no one is going to easily see that photo, and that Uncle Cedric is going to chastise me (once again) for hosing up his email stream.

Sometimes the same thing happens to a blog post. You thought you had a beautifully focused photo that was perfect, — but it loads sooo slooowly.  This problem may be driving traffic away from your beautiful blog.  Short attention span.

There is an easy fix. You can go out on the web and use a program that will optimize images for you, — or you can use the Windows Paint program on your computer.

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