Wordpress

Category: Articles
Published on Wednesday, 13 April 2011 Written by Matt

It seems the cure for everything today is “Social Networking”. Companies have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or any one of a dozen other sites. They blog about everything they do. I didn’t see a need for me to do this until recently, when I discovered that I can use it for marketing and improving my company’s standing with search engines.

 

As part of my marketing efforts I recently decided to start a newsletter targeting small businesses, evaluating products that could save them money. These are sent to potential and current clients in the hopes that they would find it useful and perhaps I would gain business as a result. So not much later I started thinking about how I could start archiving these newsletters on my web site and while I was aware of WordPress, I hadn’t spent any time researching it. It’s turning out ideal for my needs.

WordPress is an open source application which can be used to create simple web sites or to manage blogging. If you are reading this article on my web site, it’s being served by
WordPress and they claim that over 25 million people are using it.

WordPress is written in PHP and uses MySQL as it’s database. This means you can install it on any operating system capable of running these two applications. I installed it on Windows 2008 R2 (x64) and IIS 7.5 though I did need to research how to run it on a 64 bit operating system. You can download the 64 bit version of MySQL but PHP is generally still available only as a 32 bit application. Instructions to do this are easily searchable on the internet.

WordPress is highly customizable and everything is downloadable and configurable from within the application. There is also a huge fan base busy building things to improve it by creating new Themes, Widgets, and Plug-ins.

Themes customize the look of the application and over 1000 free themes are available. Within the application you can search on basic theme features such as the colors used by your blog and the format of the page. A list of themes is returned matching your search and you have the option of reviewing, downloading and installing one from this menu.

Widgets add features to your sidebars. If you want to organize your posts into categories, you can add the Categories widget to the sidebar and it’s an easy way to allow
visitors to find past articles. Other widgets include a calendar, links to other websites, a login prompt, featured posts, a RSS link, and tags.

Plug-ins add additional functionality to WordPress. For instance, I wanted to be notified when someone comments on a post or creates an account. In addition I wanted this new user to receive an email with their password. It actually took two plug ins to accomplish this. I found HGK SMTP to talk to my email server, and New User Email to define the email content and determine when to send it.

Installation of WordPress is very easy and it really does take just 5 minutes assuming you have PHP and MySQL installed and running. If you need to install these applications you should probably reserve an hour. You should then be prepared to take a couple more hours customizing the application and most of this is taken with selecting a theme.

More information about WordPress can be obtained at wordpress.org.

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