Getting started with WordPress
So you have decided that WordPress is worth a try and you are in a hurry to get your church online. In this second session we want to create our new WordPress driven site for our little church somewhere in England – St Saviour’s will do as a name for our church (borrowed from the recent BBC sitcom).
At this point you have a couple of options. You can create a site within seconds on wordpress.com or you can download the wordpress software and install it on your own domain. I will show you both options in this session, but if you have never used WordPress before then I recommend that you at least have a play with WordPress on wordpress.com first. The great thing is that you can always move your site later, and at the end of this session I’ll show you how.
Option A : Create Your Site on WordPress.com
Head over to wordpress.com and sign-up if you do not already have an account (it is free!). You can actually create several sites with one account, but your first site will have the domain name something like “yourusername.wordpress.com” so it is best to pick a user name that resembles your church name. In our case we created a new user and site with the name stsavioursinthepark.
Once you complete the basic details you need to activate your account by following the link in the e-mail sent to you. Then you can login and get you first glimpse of the WordPress dashboard. It may look a bit scary at first, but you can actually ignore most of the stuff that wordpress.com gives you here. Only you, and anybody else you give permission to, can see this part of your site. This is where you manage your site and create content.
The menu down the left hand side is the most important thing to explore, but for now just click the name of your site, in the top left corner, to be taken to your brand new live website (as everybody else will see it).
To get back to the dashboard use the link under My Blog at the top of your browser window. Just for fun try creating a new Post by selecting Posts-Add New from the menu in the Dashboard. Hit Publish and then review your site again. You should see your new post on the front page.
If you use wordpress.com, the url for your blog will be http://yourchosenname.wordpress.com/. This is OK, but it is really easy to get your own domain name and point it at your wordpress.com blog. Depending on the company you used to register your domain name you should be able to configure your domain to point at your wordpress.com account. This is usually called Web Forwarding.
That’s it for now. You might want to move on to other sessions in this series to explore more or carry on below as we look at installing the WordPress software on your own domain.
Option B : Install WordPress on your hosted domain
Of course there are some limitations to using WordPress.com. You can’t install additional plugins and themes and so in time you may want to install WordPress on your own hosting account. It isn’t actually all that hard either. It can take just 5 minutes as the famous 5-min install tutorial claims, but if you haven’t done it before you may be learning some new concepts and terminology – it could take longer. I can install it for you if it helps, for a small charge (free if you are a member of the Theme Loom) – just get in touch.
Getting a domain and hosting
Most hosting companies will charge you an annual or yearly fee for hosting your domain, which if you don’t already own one, they will register for you. You just need to make sure it will run WordPress – it must have PHP 5 and MySql. Any decent hosting company will know all about WordPress and may have it ready installed (see below).
Once you have a hosting account you will can follow the 5-min install tutorial or better still…
One Click Install?
Many hosting companies now have an auto-install feature which means you don’t even have to do the install to run your own WordPress installation. Grab a hosting account at BlueHost or Site5 both of which have an auto install WordPress option on their hosting packages. To install, you usually have to select the Fantastico icon in your control panel, or similar.
Option A -> Option B : Move your site from WordPress.com to your hosted domain
So you created your site on WordPress.com, but because you want to use a better theme like the ones at the ThemeLoom, you want to move your content to your hosted domain.
So go to your WordPress.com dashboard and select Tools-Export. Make sure you have selected all content and click the export button. Save the file generated onto your computer.
Then go to the dashboard on your self-hosted WordPress site and go to Tools-Import.
Select the WordPress Import option. You will then be prompted to install the importer plugin.
Click install, then activate and run.
Select the file you saved and click import. Then choose which username your posts will be asigned to and make sure you click import attachments if your want your images included. Click submit and let WordPress finish importing all your content before leaving the page.
So there you have it – now you just need to explore some of the features using the rest of the sessions in this series.