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New To WordPress - Where to Start

If you are new to WordPress, here is a step-by-step plan for getting started. If you need help along the way, plenty of options for assistance are listed in this article. Welcome to the exciting world of WordPress!

Step One - Read

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WordPress is a great product. It's easy-to-use, quite powerful, and flexible. Creating a website, and maintaining a website, is a science and art that has quickly evolved. In order to fully appreciate this it is important to be well read on the subject. One major thing to keep in mind is your investment of time. Being knowledgeable will without a doubt save you much time in the long run. With that in mind, before you invest your valuable time and energy into installing WordPress, there are some documents you need to read to help you get started.

Suggested reading includes,

Step Two - Make a Plan

Based upon the information you've just read, including instructions on installing WordPress, you should have a list of the things you need and things to do. If not, make that list now. You'll want to make sure it includes the following information:

The following documents will help you understand more about how WordPress works and how to make a plan for your WordPress site:

It is important to make a plan about how you want to use WordPress on your site. Here are some questions to ask yourself.

  • Will you install WordPress in the root directory, subdirectory, or you just want to make a test site to make sure you want to use it?
  • Have you made a list of your site categories to organize your content by groups?
  • Have you made a list of Pages you may want to add to your site, such as About, Contact, or Events?
  • Have you thought about what you want in the header art of the site?
  • Have you developed a content strategy and list of topics to help start blogging?
  • Have you thought about how to integrate social media into your WordPress site and workflow?

Step Three - Install WordPress

With this information and your plan, it's time to install WordPress.

Step Four - Set Up WordPress

With your installation complete, it's time to set up WordPress so it will work the way you want it to work.

To help you understand how all the various features and screens on the WordPress Administration Panels work, check out the Administration Screens guide for a detailed walkthrough.

For help on creating your user profile information, of which some or all may appear on your WordPress Theme, see the Users > Your Profile pages for guidance.

To set the site name and other information, go to Administration > Settings > General.

After you've published a few posts, you can experiment with the full edit or quick edit features in the Administration > Posts > Posts panel.

Add your "About," "Contact," and other information Pages by going to Administration > Pages > Add New.

Want to change the look and feel of your WordPress site? Go to Administration > Appearance > Themes.

Take time to explore the WordPress Codex site, the official documentation site for WordPress. You'll find helpful information by reading WordPress Lessons, and these helpful documents:

Appearance and Themes

Changing the look of your WordPress website is easy with just a few clicks.

At this point, there may be something about your chosen Theme that is bothering you, or, you really want to get your hands dirty understanding how your WordPress Theme works. These simple guides will help you learn about customizing your WordPress Theme:

If you want to create a new WordPress Theme from scratch, or do major renovations, or even design WordPress Themes for public release, you will need to be familiar with HTML, XHMTL, and CSS. The following documents will get you started:

If you want a custom-made WordPress Theme created especially for you by expert web-designers, it is recommended you search for qualified web designers on the Internet, or look in your local community.

Adding WordPress Plugins

There are many "add-on" scripts and programs for WordPress called Plugins that add more capabilities, choices, and options to your WordPress site. WordPress Plugins do many things, including customizing the results of your site information, adding weather reports, adding spell check capability, and presenting custom lists of posts and acronyms. For more on how to work with Plugins and where to find WordPress Plugins for your site:

Advanced Use of WordPress

Now that you are familiar with the basic features and functions of how WordPress works, it might be time for you to plunge deeper into the power of WordPress. The links below will expand your familiarity with PHP, HTML, XHTML, and CSS:

Need More Help

As simple and easy as it is to use WordPress, if troubles arise, if something is confusing, if things aren't working, don't despair because help is available! Even though WordPress is free and open source, there are literally hundreds of volunteers eager to help you. Here are some helpful official resources for WordPress:

Giving Back to WordPress

Now that you're a full fledged WordPress user, consider contributing to the WordPress Codex, Support Forum, Development, and other volunteer efforts that keep WordPress going. WordPress is free and totally supported by volunteers, and your help is needed.