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20120304su-wordpress-logo-239x237Summary. The following is a short guide and reference to using self hosted WordPress.org as a Content Management System.

Overview. WordPress is an easy to use interface that lets any person from any computer create and manage a website. Website pages are easily created, organized, and edited. Writings and articles are collectively stored for display on their own page as an aggregate and as search results. Writings can be viewed in groups by topic (filtered) or searched. Creating a website managed by WordPress is a fairly simple process, but may require a specialist to help with the initial setup.

Getting Started. There are basically three main steps to get started with WordPress.

  1. Hosting. Choose a website host, such as Network Solutions or Blue Host that supports WordPress. A list of suggested hosts can be found here.
  2. Setup. The setup process involves choosing a location (a directory) for the WordPress files on your website. This is where the templates and other files will be stored. Hopefully, your website host should have an online interface for setting up the website and creating the administrative login and password.
  3. Theme. There’s a lot to choosing the right them. For more information, read the article Selection Process for Choosing a Free WordPress Theme Template and Directory Listing of Best WordPress Themes for Self-Hosted Sites.
  4. Home Page. If you are using WordPress as a simple blog for your website, it can simply be configured to be accessed in a directory such as www.yourwebsite.com/blog. However, if you are managing your entire website using WordPress, you will probably want it to be the opening page for your website. To do so, read Configuring WordPress to Display as Root Home Page for Website Installation.

Support Documents. These are the WordPress support documents offered on our site.

Photos. One of the easiest methods for including photos in a blog or on a web page is to use Picasa. When using Picasa and viewing an individual photo, find the “Link to this Photo” option (located in the lower right area). Click on the link and then copy the text for HTML to embed in website. Paste this text into the editing window of the blog entry or web page.

Page Link Management. WordPress will automatically include pages in the navigation of the site, whereas posts are not included in site navigation. For some content of the site, it may be preferable to have information posted as a page, but not have it show up in the navigation. Garrett Murphey has developed a WordPress plug-in called the Page Link Manager.

Spam. You’ll want to control comment spam. Plug-ins such as Akismet can help. You will need a WordPress API Key (available for free) to use this plugin.

Your Home Page. The default configuration for WordPress is to have the opening page (home page) of your website display the most recent blog entries. Instead of using the default setting, it is probably preferable to have blog entries show up on a page called Writings and set your home page to a page called Home. Follow these steps:

  1. In the WordPress administrative mode, under the Write tab, create a page called Home that contains your web site’s home page (welcome screen). Create another page called Writings that will be automatically populated with the writings (posts / blog entries) you create.
  2. Still in the administrative mode, under Options > Reading, the “Front Page Displays” setting can be changed so the front page displays Home and the Posts page can be set to Writings.
  3. There will now be two links in the site navigation with the name Home. There are not actually two pages called home, one of the links is a virtual link. The virtual link cannot be removed. To eliminate the duplicate link in the site navigation, use the Page Link Manager plug-in for WordPress that was developed by Garrett Murphey. Once installed, it will be possible to request that your Home page not be visible in site navigation. Then, the virtual link to your home page will be the only link in the navigation.

Visual Editing. WordPress includes a nice visual editor for creating and editing posts and pages. However, on Apple computers it is necessary to use the Mozilla Firefox browser because the visual editor does not work with Safari. Also, the visual editor feature needs to be enabled for your user account in order for it to show up. This setting is found under the Your Profile tab within the user settings. The visual editor has a formatting toolbar with buttons for bold, italic, strike out, bullets, numbered lists, indent, paragraph alignment, creating a link, removing a link, inserting a picture, splitting a post with the more tag, spell check, help and show/hide the advanced toolbar. When using the visual editor, pressing CTRL + V will also reveal the advanced formatting toolbar that includes styles, underline, align full, font color, paste as plane text, paste from Word, erase formatting, cleanup messy code, insert custom character, undo and redo.

  • Safari Issues. As of the 2.3.3 version of WordPress, Safari has trouble going from code view to visual view. An example would be song lyrics or a poem pasted into the visual browser or the code view. When the post is published, all the lines will be together as one paragraph — as if the paragraph (end of line) markers were absent. These kinds of issues are apparently fixed with the latest version of WordPress. (Reported: 20080331mo2338)

PHP Codes. The pages of your WordPress website contain some PHP programming language syntax as well as standard HTML codes. Here is a short list of codes and what they do.

  • <?php bloginfo(‘description’); ?>Generates the description or tag line of the blog.
  • <?php bloginfo(‘name’); ?>Generates the name of the blog.
  • <?php wp_loginout(); ?>Presents the Login/out link.

These codes can generate information such as the name of the blog/website or the description that was entered in the Options > General tab of the WordPress administration screen. So, if the description of your website changes, you can change it once in the General tab and then the description will change throughout your website.

Search Results. A search of posts will produce a list of truncated articles that meet the search criteria. It may not be obvious to someone viewing the results that they can click on an article title to view the entire article. So, changing the search results page may be desirable. Also, a search performed while viewing a category of articles may produce no search results. For this reason, it may be necessary to inform site visitors to perform their search from the main writings page. The search results page can be edited under Presentation > Theme Editor. There will likely be a heading that precedes the search result output. Additional text can be placed under this heading using the following syntax:

<h2>Search results</h2><p>Click an article title to view the entire article.</p><?php while (have_posts()) : the_post(); ?>

For circumstances where no results are displayed, the modified code is:

<?php else : ?><h2>Search results</h2><p>No matches. Please try again from the <a href=”http://www.resourcesforlife.com/writings/”>main writings page</a>, or use the navigation m
enus to find what you search for.</p><?php endif; ?>

The above changes to the search results page should produce the desired results.

Permalink Structure. The Permalinks tab under Options les you define how addresses for the pages of your website will be automatically generated. The default setting will assign a number to each post and page. It is probably preferable to have page slugs determine the page address. A page slug is the short word or phrase that will be used to create the page address. An option for setting up a permalink structure would be to use /docs/item%post_id% as the Custom structure. This means that all posts will be placed in the /docs/ folder and given a name of item# (where the # will be the unique number of the post). Pages will have the name (slug) and resulting address you define when creating them. Optionally it is possible to define a category base for category searches. It seems that if the custom structure and the category base use the same directory name, searches from main posts page will not work.

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