As a Fashion and Lifestyle blogger, you’re faced with a cacophony of voices and choices. There’s SquareSpace. There’s Wix. There’s Blogger.
And then, if you didn’t think starting a blog was hard enough, you haven’t even met WordPress.org yet.
I’m here to help clear up some of the murky waters surrounding WordPress, and to help guide the sisters of SC along their path toward putting together totally boss blogs!
What is WordPress?
WordPress is something called a Content Media System. Its sole purpose is to do the heavy lifting of displaying information, so you don’t have to. It provides the skeleton; you provide the meat.
It’s also considered the most comprehensive, scalable, and extensible solution available. Depending on who you ask, it can also be considered the most difficult to use.
WordPress was originally developed and released in the very early 2000s as a way to help bloggers get their content on the internet, without having to worry much about coding. It’s gone from a very simple program that bloggers used, to this monstrous, multi-functional program, and it even powers some of the largest sites on the Internet, Style Collective included! Because of its blogging roots, it’s still considered by many sources to be the most ideal blogging solution, if you desire extensibility and scalability.
Like many things, WordPress is what you make of it: you can make it a really complicated beast, or a simple thing you do on a Sunday night.
What’s the difference between wordpress.org and wordpress.com?
WordPress.org provides the barebones software for free, while WordPress.com is a paid option that offers all of the basics you need to run a website, such as hosting and customer support.
How do I use it?
Like many things Internetty, WordPress requires some assembly. It also requires something to run it as a program. You could even run it on your home computer, but what happens if you turn your computer off?
Enter Hosting, Stage Left.
To run WordPress, unless you’re a total nerd like me, you’ll want to source out the services of a hosting company. The choice of a hosting company will essentially boil down to two things:
- Managed Hosting. These hosts are incredibly expensive (up to $xxx a month!) but they handle a lot of the dirty work and heavy lifting for you, and support is generally there to catch you if something breaks. If you want a WordPress site up and running in five minutes, and can afford the higher expense, this is the best choice for you.
My Recommended Managed Host: WPEngine.com
- Unmanaged Hosting. This is where a company gives you some server space, an Internet address, maybe a .com name, but not much else. These can be dirt cheap, but watch out! The explosive proliferation of hosts offering bargain basement unmanaged hosting is unreal. Competition is fierce, so many hosts are opting to sacrifice reliability and customer service in favor of lower costs. There is also a very high amount of variance between hosts. You will want to do your research carefully. Generally, though, you do get what you pay for.
Your Blog’s Theme
Let’s have a look and see what your site currently looks like. Right-click on “Blog” and open a new tab:
Yuck! Let’s add some content to it! Login as a WordPress administrator and you will see something that looks like this:
Next, highlight Posts, and click Add New:
I’ll go over what all the buttons, checkboxes, and clickety-bangs do in a later segment. For now, put some content in there, and click Publish.
Let’s have a look at your site now!
I love life, too!
But, your site doesn’t have any life in it. 🙁
Let’s give it some life! WordPress has the ability to install themes to your site. A “theme” is the skeleton of your site — it dictates what goes where, what’s sized as what, among other things. Let’s install a theme!
First, hover over “Appearance” and click on “Themes.”
You’ll be brought to the Themes selector. Note the default selection is pretty bland. Let’s add to it! Click “Add New” near the top.
These are the themes that are available to you. You can look through Featured themes (which you know are good!) or look through Popular themes. You can also search for themes.
A lot of themes come with much assembly required. You can check this by clicking “Preview” on each theme.
For the sake of demonstration, let’s go with a theme that doesn’t require much assembly. Look for “fashionbuzz.”
Yay! Looks good!
Click Install. The theme will now install. Again, this may take a minute or two!
When it’s installed, the “Install” button changes to “Activate.” Click it!
You’re now brought back to the theme selector. Let’s look at your site now!
YES! WAY BETTER!
Well, there you have it, Sisters. We’ve somewhat demystified the process of getting WordPress.org to work. By no means is this even scratching the surface, but we’re hoping this clarifies the process a bit!