Posts Tagged ‘ wordpress ’

WordPress is THE hot blogging and content management solution these days, and you’ve probably thought about installing WordPress on your website, right?  If not, it’s worth checking out.  Our last post went over many of the general features and functions of WordPress, but to get to that point you’ll have to install it first.  There is more documentation on installing WordPress out there than you could possibly need, and we’d suggest you go straight to the source – in this case, and if you’re a hosting customer.

Two WordPress Install Options

When installing WordPress on your hosting, you’ve got two options that both come with pluses and minuses:

Option 1: Automatic One-Click Installation

We offer an automatic Installation of WordPress through our Appication Vault provided with all hosting plans.  Here’s a quick rundown:

Head over to your hosting control panel in the account interface.  From there, you’ve got two different links to click that’ll both get you to the application vault.

Click through to the next screen, and choose the option that says “Blogging and Content Management”.

Next up, you’re presented with a variety of great content management applications including Joomla and Drupal.  WordPress is hard to miss.

Once you click on WordPress, you’re taken into the installation process.  There are several steps to walk through, but all are fairly straightforward. On the main screen you’ll need to modify, enter the directory you want WordPress to be installed in (for instance if you wanted your blog to be located at, you’d type in /blog, or if you wanted the install to be at the root of your domain, simply type / in that field. From there, create a username and password, add the email you want to be used for administrative contact, and finish off the process.  Our system does all the work for you, and after a brief installation period of several minutes, your WordPress Installation should be set to go.

Automatic Install Benefits:

  • It’s fast, easy, and worry-free.
  • The Automatic Install provides the full feature-set of WordPress

The Downside:

  • The automatic install version of WordPress has some file editing permissions locked.  This means you can’t upgrade through the WordPress interface, but instead have to manage your installation through the hosting control panel in the same area of the application vault you use to install and uninstall WordPress.  These permissions are locked to keep the automatic installation working properly.  Without them, the application vault would not be able to properly update settings or perform upgrades.
  • Some access to files such as .htaccess or other database information is limited for the same reasons upgrading from within WordPress is blocked.  This can make things like setting custom permalinks more difficult.

Option 2: The 5 Minute Manual WordPress Installation

WordPress has a Famous 5 Minute Installation that works well with hosting.  It’s a simple process that requires that you a) Download the WordPress files, b) Create a MySQL Database in the hosting control panel, c) make minor modifictions to the WordPress configuration file to match the database settings, d) upload the WordPress files to your hosting server via FTP, and e) visit your wp-admin/install.php file in your web browser.  It’s a straightforward process as long as you follow the simple directions closely.

The process of creating a database on is fairly simple. Once again in the hosting control panel, click on databases, then click the “Add New Database” button near the top. On this page, specify a database name, username, and password. Save this information, because you’ll need it to modify the WordPress config file!

This method of installation isn’t as straightforward as the automatic installation, but it’s generally not too overwhelming for a moderately experienced computer user.

Manual Install Benefits:

  • Complete control over your WordPress installation, files, updates, and automatic updates through the WordPress user interface
  • The ability to use FTP to upload new files and modify files in your WordPress folder

The Downside:

  • It’s not as easy as the automatic installation.
  • If the installation doesn’t work correctly, it’s much more difficult to troubleshoot and determine what step was missing in the process or what setting may be only one character off.

Which Installation Option is for You?

If you’re an experienced web or WordPress user, the manual installation is probably the only way to go.  If you have past WordPress experience and are comfortable managing files via FTP, then the manual install is also the best option.

If you’re new to WordPress and blogging or are switching over to a self-hosted WordPress blog from a Blogger or blog, the automatic installation is probably your best choice.  It’ll keep life simpler for you as long as you remember that upgrades have to be done through the Application Vault control panel rather than from within WordPress.

If you’re a hosting customer, you’re ready to install WordPress right now.  If not, check out our hosting plans and set up a blog today!

If you’ve spent much time online looking to build a blog, create a personal website, or find a content management system, you’ve undoubtedly heard of WordPress. While WordPress has been around for a while, its popularity as a website and blogging platform has grown immensely in the last year thanks to new versions 2.7 and 2.8. These latest releases added a great deal of new functionality and truly developed WordPress into a state-of-the-art blogging platform and content management system.

It doesn’t hurt that WordPress is free, either. It is an open source publishing platform, which means that developers have full access to creating their own customizations and additions to the platform’s functionality. This results in benefits for you, the end user, because there is a great deal of customization available for your WordPress site for free or a low cost.

WordPress is a great choice if you’re looking to start a blog or if you want to create an attractive website without having much knowledge of html or other web languages. There is a wealth of information available about installing WordPress on your own domain to be found, and many companies ( included) provide an automatic installation option. With, you’ve got two options for installation. You can use our application vault to do an auto-install of WordPress (recommended for novice users) or you can do the famous 5 minute WordPress Manual Installation (the best choice for experience users).

The installation is usually fairly straightforward, even when done manually. What to do once you’ve got WordPress installed may not immediately be quite as apparent. The rest of this post will explore the best ways to make WordPress work for you as a complete content management system.

Why WordPress?

WordPress is most commonly known as a blogging platform, and that’s still its primary function for most users. However, WordPress can be used as a complete content management system – that is, a database-driven website that uses the coding language PHP to produce dynamic web pages (as opposed to static un-changing pages written using html). A great example of the ability to use WordPress for a complete website can be found being used by our friends over at Sprout. – 100% WordPress-driven

By using PHP, WordPress serves dynamic content that is created from information stored in databases. This allows things such as blog posts, pages, and sidebar elements to be pulled into a template that is specified by basic files utilized by all the pages it creates. WordPress has become a popular CMS primarily because of its straightforward, easy-to-learn user interface combined with the flexibility to customize your sites using it.

Using WordPress

The WordPress Dashboard is your control interface for editing all aspects of your blog. You access your dashboard directly through your web browser just like a website. It’s arranged with links on the left to all the important sections of content control, a quick-post box on the right, and an overview of posts, comments, and other pertinent information.

The Basic WordPress Dashboard

When editing a post or a page, it’s as simple as using a document editor similar to Microsoft Word. You can write in various styles of text, import images and media, and align everything as you please.

Writing a Post in WordPress couldn’t be easier

The basic settings for WordPress are vast and let you control every aspect of your site, but for the most part are simple to understand.

Ample settings to control all the functionality of your WordPress-driven site

Where to Start

You’ll find that your fresh installation of WordPress comes with a default theme. You can start writing and add content to your site using this theme, but you’ll quickly find yourself wanting something more interesting.

The default theme is rather… default

Luckily, customized WordPress themes abound, and many (if not most) are free! Head over to the WordPress Themes Directory or search for themes under the “Appearance” tab in your dashboard and find one you like. Installation is simple either by direct installation through your dashboard or by uploading a .zip file to your server.

There are WordPress themes for every style and layout you could possibly want

If you can’t find something that meets your needs at, there are plenty of other places to find excellent themes as well. A few of the best include Smashing Magazine,, and Natty WP.

If you find a theme you like for your blog or website and later change it, you’re completely in luck. Because WordPress is a content management system, themes are mostly interchangeable and you can change themes without having to significantly modify any content.

Once you’re familiar with WordPress, you can even jump into the Theme Editor in the WordPress interface and try your hand at editing your theme using basic PHP and CSS if you’re feeling adventurous.

Adding sidebar elements is just one of the many things you can customize with a little knowledge of PHP

You can go as far as creating an entire theme from scratch if you take the time to learn PHP and CSS. Don’t worry though, you don’t need any coding knowledge to create a WordPress site that looks great straight out of the box.

Customize and Widgetize

Just like there are numerous custom themes available for WordPress, there are also thousands of add-ons and plugins available to add functionality to your site. There are plugins for everything from weather sidebar widgets to post popularity ranking to poll functionality to post feature galleries like the one we use on the main page of this blog. Check out the WordPress Plugin Directory to get a sense for all the different plugins that exist to make WordPress even more useful.

Here are a few of the best WordPress Plugins that we’d recommend for every WordPress blog:

Akismet – Akismet comes with every WordPress installation, and once you’ve gone through the simple set-up process, it blocks the majority of spam comments your blog would otherwise receive.

All-In-One SEO Pack – Improve your site’s search engine rankings by customizing your titles, meta content, and more for your posts and pages.

Google Analyticator – Integrate your site with Google Analytics to learn more about who your visitors are.

Sociable – Add links to all the major social media and social bookmarking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Digg to your posts.

See Results

There are unlimited options to what you can do using WordPress. It’s a great option if you’re looking to create a website without knowledge of coding, and can get you started with a great-looking blog or website quickly. If you’ve never tried WordPress before, give it a shot. You’ll be surprised how easy and intuitive it is to use. Here are a few examples of great uses for WordPress:

Create a Social Media News blog that receives millions of monthly visitors

Start a photo blog

Build a personal portfolio site

Blog about your family

Build a business blog, like us!

The importance of having a presence online continues to increase, but how to establish and maintain that presence is changing rapidly. New social networks are popping up all over the internet, and being active on the major social networks online is an important way to make sure you can be found, whether you’re an online business, a blogger, a job hunter, or just an involved web user. However, many people are missing out on the fundamentals of having a robust presence online. Here are some important tips to consider:

Joe Smith? You’re Not Alone

Unless you’re lucky enough to have a completely unique name or organization name, you’ve got competition online whether you know it or not. If you’re a “Joe Smith” or other common name, there are many other Joe Smiths out there that also want to be found online, and they compete with you as far as search engine rankings and on social networks using the same name. There’s also a good chance that at least one of them is semi-famous. How do you make yourself stand out from the crowd? Read on.

A Domain is Still Home Base

The newest social network might be getting all the buzz and attention from media and blogs, but the best method of establishing an online presence is still owning your own domain. Buy yourself your domain name – if is available, snap it up! If the .COM isn’t available, you’ve got many other solid choices such as .NET, .ORG, or .ME.

What to do with your Domain

Owning your personal domain name is a big step towards being visible online. However, the driving force behind being found online is content. If you have a domain name but it isn’t associated with a website, you won’t get very far. Search engines and social networks alike both value new and fresh content and quality links to that content. A static website is a good start, but depending on your needs a blog can be a better choice. WordPress is the most popular blogging platform available, and you can install it on your own hosting for free! We actually offer an automatic installation of WordPress from our application vault for hosting customers – making it even easier for you to get started. WordPress is great for everyone from beginners to power-users, because it doesn’t require coding or html knowledge, and it has a great intuitive user-interface. WordPress is such a versitile platform, it even powers this blog:

With the growing number of social networks and websites that you can choose to have a presence on, it can be important to have a home-base to link back to. Think of it like the backbone of your online nervous system.

Expanding Outward to Draw Others in

With the proliferation of social networks has come the ability to be in many places at once online. The downside there is that only being in one place online is becoming increasingly ineffective. Creating a profile on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn is a great start. These are some of the biggest social networks, and they’re all great for connecting, sharing information and content and being visible online. There’s more to each of these networks than could be explained in one blog post, but they’re all very intuitive, and the best way to learn them is to dive right in and set up a profile.

If you’re already on the major social networks, consider some others that may be relevant to your interests:

  • Flickr – A social network for sharing photos
  • Dopplr – Share your travels online
  • Yelp – Food buff? Review your favorite restaurants
  • Youtube or Vimeo – Share your videos

Search is still what drives a vast majority of online traffic, so page 1 search rankings for the major search engines are key to getting noticed. If you’ve got a common name, this can be difficult. This is where having your own domain comes in. Having or similar, among other factors, will help you rank high in search engines. Those social networks can also be a great way to rank well for your name. Having ranks well organically and you just might see your Twitter account jump up the search rankings. If you’ve got a rare name, we challenge you to dominate the search rankings for your name!

If all else fails, Google has extended you a great olive branch with Google Public Profiles. You can create a basic profile in Google that will automatically show up at the bottom of page 1 search results for your name.

End Result: Own Your Brand Online

The internet has undergone a huge mentality shift since the early 2000s. In the early days of the internet, privacy was the norm. Unless you were creating an online business, many people preferred to be anonymous and hidden from the public eye. Now with the growth of the social web, being visible online can be important for a variety of reasons. Job hunting, connecting with friends, sharing media, scheduling events, participating in organizations, and creating new connections can all be aided by being present and active online. If you’re new to social networking online, take your time to learn what you’re doing rather than diving in head first, but now is most certainly the time to get your feet wet.

So what are you waiting for? Find a domain and start connecting!