Setting Up My WordPress.org Website

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Photo Credit: ThemeForest

I’ve just set-up the WordPress.org website for my online magazine and I’m ecstatic. While of course there’s no content uploaded yet, it’s one thing to dream about something and quite another to actually see it start to come to fruition! At the moment, I prefer to keep details of the project quiet, but I will certainly divulge more later.

For now, though, I wanted to discuss the technical aspects of actually setting up the site. There are a couple of things I noticed that, for a beginner, might be confusing at first. That worried me a bit. I believe the hardest part in anything is simply starting. Setting up your website, it’s easy to give up at the first hurdle and experience overwhelming existential angst (“why isn’t my theme uploading on WordPress.com!? What am I doing with my life!? Who am I!? Why am I!? Where’s the chocolate!? ARGH!”).

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Photo Credit: IStock/VasjaKoman via The Memo

After you’ve finally worked up the nerve to start your own project, whatever it may be, that would certainly be a shame.

That’s why I wanted to write this post. I really think after you have something set up that you can just see, everything else becomes so much easier. So here are a couple of notes I made on the very first few steps that I believe could turn into obstacles along the way:

1. WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

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These are two different websites founded by the same guy, but just with different names. Yes, I agree, they could have probably alleviated a lot of headaches by differentiating the two more clearly, but what are you going to do? It’s important for you to understand this before you purchase any themes or even a host. This knowledge will help you determine: 1) where to buy your theme and 2) if you even need a host.

Right now, I am writing on the free WordPress.com site that WordPress hosts because I am cheap like that. On WordPress.org, however, you’re self-hosted which gives you a lot more control over your website. For example, you can install Google Analytics, which is one of the many reasons businesses use it.

Now, if you’re just blogging for friends and family, it might be easier to use WordPress.com. You’ll get everything you need without the price tag, unless you purchase one of WordPress.com’s themes or a domain — even that, it might work out cheaper. (What does it mean to buy a domain and why would I want to do that? Good question! Buying a domain basically means getting rid of the “wordpress” in your URL. So instead of sheenavasani.wordpress.com, this blog would be sheenavasani.com if Sheena wasn't so stingy.)

2. Research And Find A Host First, Then Install WordPress.Org

If you choose to use WordPress.org, you cannot use it unless you buy a plan through a host like Bluehost or GoDaddy, and then install the WordPress.org software. On Bluehost, this is as easy as literally clicking “Install WordPress”, although it can be a little more tricky with other hosts. You may need to download directly from the WordPress.org website and follow their instructions.

There are a ton of posts out there comparing hosts. (Whoop, I rhymed!) Here are just a few:

  1. PC Magazine
  2. Who Is Hosting This?
  3. Website Setup

3. Choosing A Theme:

On both WordPress websites, you can choose free or premium themes. Here’s the thing though: if you’ve bought a theme from a third-party, you cannot install it on your WordPress.com website. You will only be allowed to upload that theme after you’ve downloaded the WordPress.org software.

What this means is that, after you buy a theme, all you need to do is click on “Themes” (I know, I know, if I had a penny every time I wrote the word “theme”…) in your WordPress.org administrative website. At the very top, you will read something like “Upload” which is where you will  upload your theme’s files. Make sure you install the right ones! On ThemeForest, a very reputable third-party, that means to upload “Installable WordPress file only”.

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Like with hosts, there are a lot of great pieces out there about themes. I bought the “Voice Theme” from ThemeForest, which I love. I learned about it while reading an article over at ColorLib.com.

So there you go! I’m sure there are a lot more things I could write, and if I think of them, I’ll be sure to update this post. In the meantime, good luck with your endeavors!

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