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Can I “Do” WordPress on My Own?

As a small business owner, you may have asked yourself, “Can I do WordPress on my own?” The answer is both “Yes” and “No.” With little or no technical knowledge, you can create a free site on WordPress.com. For additional fees, they will add on some premium features such as your own custom domain name (rather than the generic blogname.wordpress.com), extra storage, custom designs, remove their advertisements or premium themes. A better solution, is to have WordPress software installed on your own hosted server, such as HostGator, www.1and1.com, www.GoDaddy.com or get web hosting with unlimited storage for only $4.95 per month from Register.com! Most web hosting companies offer quick installation of WordPress through their control panels; some may even install it for you.

WordPress sites are composed of pages and posts. Pages are static content like Terms of Use, About Us, or Contact Information. To say that posts are not static content could be a little misleading. Once you create a post it stays as part of your web site until you delete it. The difference lies in how posts are displayed. The default setting for posts is to display the most recent first. For example, when you look at the home page of this site, you will see a post that I called “Welcome” that I have made “sticky.” No matter how many new articles I may post to Intergalactic Web Designers, “Welcome” will always display first before all other posts. The first post below “Welcome,” however, changes each time I publish a new article. As new articles are published, older articles are pushed further down the page until they no longer show on the home page. They don’t disappear, however, because you can still get to them through the “Previous Posts” link at the bottom of the page or through the Archives section on the sidebar.

The way a WordPress site looks is controlled by its theme. A theme is a set of files that determine the layout of posts and pages as well whether there are columns for the content or sidebars. The theme also contains one or more style sheets that determine the fonts and font styles used for paragraph text, headings and links. Much more can be determined by the style sheet than just these basic items. You have the option to use the default theme that comes with WordPress and customize it to your needs using the built-in editor or you can install a theme. You have literally thousands of themes from which to pick one. Many free themes are available on WordPress.org but there are also premium themes you can purchase. If none of these meets your needs, you can design your own with a tool like Artisteer or have one custom designed for you by a web designer.

In addition to pages, posts and themes, WordPress also provides add-ins called plugins that you can use to extend the basic functionality of WordPress to almost anything you can conceive. There are plugins to help manage spam and ones to help you improve your ranking in search engines. You can also find social plugins to help connect the readers of your site with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and dozens of other sites. There are plugins for forums, classifieds, polls, surveys, and much, much more.

So, can you “do” WordPress on your own? In many cases, the answer is “yes!” If, however, you want assistance in getting you started or you want some customizations, please contact us and we will be pleased to lend a hand.

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