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What WordPress Can Do for You
In This Chapter
Seeing how WordPress can benefit you
Participating in the WordPress community
Understanding the different versions of WordPress
n a world in which technology advances faster than a speeding locomo-
tive, WordPress is blogging made easy -- and free! How else can you get
Iyour message out to a potential audience of millions worldwide and spend
exactly nothing? There may be no such thing as a free lunch in this world,
but you can bet your bottom dollar that there are free blogs to be had.
WordPress serves them all up in one nifty package.
The software's free price tag, its ease of use, and the speed at which you can
get your blog up and running are great reasons to use WordPress to power
your personal or business blog. An even greater reason is the incredibly sup-
portive and passionate WordPress community. In this chapter, I introduce
you to the WordPress software so that you can begin to discover how effec-
tive it is as a tool for creating your blog or Web site.
Discovering the Benefits of WordPress
I work with first-time bloggers all the time -- folks who are new to the idea of
publishing on the Internet. One of the questions I'm most frequently asked is
"How can I run a blog? I don't even know how to code or create Web sites."
Enter WordPress. You no longer need to worry about knowing the code,
because the WordPress blogging software does the code part for you. When
you log in to your blog, you have to do only two simple things to publish
your thoughts and ideas:
1. Write your post.
2. Click a button to publish your post.
12 Part I: Introducing WordPress
WordPress offers the following competitive advantages as the most popular
blogging tool on the market:
Diversity: Three versions of WordPress are available to suit nearly every
type of blogger: a hosted turnkey solution, a version to install on the
Web server of your choice, and a multiuser version that lets you offer
blogs across a group or organization. I go into detail about each of these
versions later in this chapter, in the "Choosing a WordPress Platform"
Ease of use: WordPress setup is quick, and the software is easy to use.
Extensibility: WordPress is extremely extensible, meaning that you can
easily obtain plugins and tools that let you customize it to suit your
Community of users: WordPress has a large and loyal members-helping-
members community via public support forums, mailing lists, and blogs
geared to the use of WordPress.
The following sections fill in a few details about these features and point you
to places in the book where you can find out more about them.
Easy to set up and use
WordPress is one of the only blog platforms that can brag about a five-minute
installation -- and stand behind it! Signing up for the hosted version of
WordPress takes approximately the same amount of time.
Mind you, five minutes is an approximate installation time. It doesn't include
the time required to obtain domain registration and Web hosting services or
to set up the options in the Administration panel.
When you complete the installation, however, the world of WordPress awaits
you. The Administration panel is intuitive, well organized, and easy on the
eyes. Everything is clear and logical, making it easy for even a first-time user
to see where to go to manage settings and options.
The WordPress software surely has enough meat on it to keep the most
experienced developer busy and happy. At the same time, however, it's intui-
tive and friendly enough to make a novice user giddy about how easy getting
started is. Each time you use WordPress, you can find out something exciting
Chapter 1: What WordPress Can Do for You 13
Extend WordPress's capabilities
I've found that the most exciting and fun part of running a WordPress blog is
exploring the flexibility of the software. Hundreds of plugins and themes are
available to let you create a blog that functions the way you need it to.
If you think of your blog as a vacuum cleaner, plugins are the attachments.
The attachments don't function alone. When you add them to your vacuum
cleaner, however, you add to the functionality of your vacuum, possibly
improving its performance.
All WordPress blogs are pretty much the same at their core, so by using
plugins, you can truly individualize your blog by providing additional fea-
tures and tools to benefit yourself and your readers. When you come upon
a WordPress blog that has some really different and cool functions, 98 per-
cent of the time, you can include that function in your own blog by using
a WordPress plugin. If you don't know what plugin that blog is using, feel
free to drop the blog owner an e-mail or leave a comment. WordPress blog
owners usually are eager to share the great tools they discover.
Most plugins are available at no charge. You can find out more about
WordPress plugins and where to get them in Chapter 10. Chapter 17 lists my
choice of ten popular WordPress plugins available for download.
In addition to using plugins, you can embellish your WordPress blog with
templates and themes. WordPress comes prepackaged with two themes
to get you started. Figure 1-1 shows the famous Kubrick theme, created by
Michael Heilemann from http://binarybonsai.com, which is displayed
by default after you install and set up your blog.
The theme's default form is blue and white, but a handy application built into
the preferences lets you change the color of the top header.
This theme includes all the basic elements that you need when starting a new
WordPress blog. You can extend your WordPress blog in a hundred ways with
the use of plugins and themes that have been released by members of the
WordPress community, but the Kubrick theme is a nice place to start.
Take part in the community
Allow me to introduce you to the fiercely loyal folks who make up the user
base, better known as the vast WordPress community. This band of merry
ladies and gentlemen comes from all around the globe, from California to
Cairo, Florida to Florence, and all points in between and beyond.
How to make your WordPress blog popular and successful? WordPress Blogging Tips To Make Your Blog A Success Write About What You Know. This may seem obvious, but write about what you love and what you are knowledgeable about. ... Make Your Articles Interesting. If you write about what you know it will make this tip much easier – you have to keep it interesting. Your Blog Should Be Easy To Read. ... Encourage Reader Engagement. ... Wrapping Up. ...
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