This guide is basically a short version of my other article How to quick setup a website on wordpress , but this is written for advanced internet users. In the other article i explained everything, database setup, ftp setup and transfer, etc. This time i will assume you know the basic stuff but you are pretty new to wordpress platform. I will list the things you have to do in order to get your website up using cms platform.

If you can’t figure how to do something refer to the longer version of the article here .

Advantages of wordpress as CMS:

  • Very quick installation and initial customization
  • Plugins available for almost everything, you don’t have to do it by yourself, just install and customize if you need
  • Thousands of free themes available to download
  • Very easy to make custom modifications and adjustments of everything, themes, plugins

Things you need to install wordpress

You will need a domain or a subdomain, a hosting account, a database created on the hosting account and ftp access to upload the files.

If you don’t have already a hosting account there are a lot of them on the web, the average price is 10$ for a shared account with enough features to host many websites on the same account. I am using Host Gator. For ftp client i use FileZilla.

Downloading and installing wordpress

Download wordpress from here. Extract the files and then upload them on your webserver. You have to upload all files from the /wordpress/ directory. If you want to install wordpress into a subdirectory, create it and upload all the files there.

The setup is done trough the web interface. Point your browser to your wordpress installation location. You will be asked to enter database details and blog name which you can change later. With the username and password provided you can login to your administration panel.

At this point the wordpress is installed, you can see the administration panel. If you go to the installation folder you will see a sample post and a sample post. The theme is the default wordpress theme, don’t worry, it can be changed very easy.

Theme setup

You can add themes in 2 ways. Either using the “Add new” link under Appearance in your administration panel to find and install new themes, either going to wordpress theme directory and search for themes. You have the option to create a custom theme by yourself but unless you are a good designer you won’t make better theme than there are already in the directory.

If you use the administration panel, press Install button under the screenshot of the theme you want. This might not work if the permissions of folders are not set right. You will be prompted to enter ftp connection details.

If you manually download the theme, you have to upload it into wp-content/themes/ directory. Every theme should have it’s own directory. For example the files from the theme will go into wp-content/themes/yourtheme/ , not wp-content/themes/ or wp-content/themes/yourtheme/yourtheme/ . You can keep as many themes as you want there and you can switch between them.

If you want to code the theme for yourself or you want to move an existing design to the new wordpress website here is a short description of what you should do.

You have the following global template files: header.php , footer.php and sidebar.php. In those you can add the elements that will be available on every page.

The other template files are:

  • index.php – wordpress will display the content of this template if the current page is blog list page
  • page.php – displayed when the user is on a normal page
  • single.php – displayed when the user is viewing a single post.
  • archive.php – displayed when the user is on blog archive page
  • 404.php – displayed when the user is on an not found page

You will notice that in the template files there are some php functions like custom while and if statements, make sure you don’t delete them as they are needed for the wordpress to work. You can delete listing functions like categories listing function <?php wp_list_categories(‘orderby=name&title_li’); ?> for example, but after any change make sure the wordpress is still working to go back and see what you’ve done wrong. In hsort time you will find out what everything does there and all should be easy.

Let’s get back to the quick installation and configuration.

General basic configuration

In the left bottom you will notice the ” Settings” menu group. You can go trough every link there to take a look at all things you can change but i will tell you only the most importants ones.

In Settings menu category, click on General, and there you set basic stuff: Blog name, blog description, date format. Make sure you disable “Anyone can register” box, you don’t need other users right now. The can still post comments to your blog without registering.

Step to “Reading” link from Settings menu category. Here you can set what page to be you home page. Before to select that you have to create a page. Go to Add new page and you can add a page called “Home”. Don’t write the text right now. Back to the settings, at “Front page displays” check the box that says “A static page” , and in the next box, select your “Home” page. Probably you don’t want a blog right now. If you don’t set any page for Blog posts page, the post will not be displayed, so no blog, just website. Later you may want to add a blog page. To do that, create a page called “Articles”, or “Blog”, or whatever you want and in the Reading section select that page as “Posts Page”.

And the last important thing. It is very important, because it sets how your URL-s to look like. But before, let me ask you something, what URL you prefer: or . Well there is a long debate about how URL’s should look, but someting is certain: you have to change them from defaul. Go to “Permalinks” and you can see how they are looking now and wordpress makes some suggestions for you. There are only some suggestions, but you can do it in whatever way you like. Select the box “Custom Structure” and i will tell you what you have to enter there for most popular URL rewrites.

  •   –  /%postname%/
  •  – /%postname%.html
  • – /%postname%.php

Creating Pages and Posts

Now you can start creating pages and posts, add images, links, everything you want using the rich text editor provided by wordpress. If you are not satisfied with the default rich text editor you can change it very easy by installing a wordpress plugin for that. In the next section i will explain how to install plugins

Installing plugins

The plugins installer is exactly like the theme one, search for your desired plugin and then click on “Install” in the right of it. To manual download, extract and upload go to wordpress plugin directory . The plugins have to be uploaded in wp-content/plugins/ .

The plugins can do changes to administration panel, to the look of the website ( adding new things ).

With every plugin installed, a configuration menu link will appear for each. They are usually appear in the Settings menu category, but some of them will appear under “Plugins”.

Must-have plugins

Akismet – blocks spam comments on your blog posts.You don’t have to download it as it comes with wordpress files. Just go to plugin menu and activate it.

Contact form – if you own a blog or a website you really need to have a contact form. Maybe someone want a collaboration with you or just want to say thank you. In wordpress you don’t have to create the html forlm, then the php to send the email. Search for Contact form plugin, install, activate, and then go to Pages, editor. In the page that you want the contact form to appear just switch from “Visual” to “HTML” in the Rich text editor ( in the right ) and then paste this: <!–contact form–> .

All in one SEO pack – This one is good for SEO, if you want to have the website for long term you must do something about SEO. Maybe you think now: “I don’t need SEO right now”. Well, maybe it is true, but you will need it sometime, and something done right now can cost you a lot of money later. Believe me, you can’t ignore the traffic from search engines.

For more plugins you can check Top 10 most popular plugins for wordpress and Improve your wordpress administration panel with right plugins.

There are more than 8000 plugins for wordpress, you don’t have to install all of them, but installing the right ones will save you big time and money.

If you want to read some reviews of other usefull plugins:

Now, you really should have a good website that you can change very easy. If you don’t understanding something from here, refer to the extended installation guide or send me a message using this contact form .