Computer Arts

Get started with WordPress 3.0

WordPress is a powerful, flexible CMS – and it’s ideal for creating a unique, attention-grabbing digital portfolio

First steps

For a portfolio site, you really need your own domain name, a web host and some web space to install the WordPress software. Going your own way gives you the power and freedom to create the site you want, but it means it’ll be more easily found by search engines and will look more professional to potential clients.

Next steps

Once you’ve sorted your web host and domain name, it’s time to get your site up and running. Download the latest version of WordPress and follow the installation instructions carefully. This will put the barebones infrastructure of your WordPress site up on the web space you’re renting. If you’ve followed the instructions correctly, you should now be able to see your shiny, new, but empty website on the domain name you have chosen. This is where it gets interesting.

Studio Output has customised its WordPress website with a mosaic of roll-overs showing its portfolio of work

Let the fun begin

One of the great things about WordPress is that there are thousands of free and paid-for website templates and plugins you can use to customise the look-andfeel of your site. For portfolio themes, try sites like Wptuts+ or www.wordpress.org/extend/themes, while for plugins www.wordpress.org/extend/plugins is a good place to start. Make sure the themes or plugins you choose are compatible with the version of WordPress you are using to minimise problems. If you know what you’re doing you could even create your custom WordPress theme for your site – or tweak the code of an existing theme – by using the WordPress built-in XHTML / CSS editor. But with all this freedom and power comes responsibility: if you break your site, it’s down to you to fix it – so make sure you have a backup before you play around. It’s also a good idea to set up a test WordPress install (using a subdomain, for example) before making any changes to your main site live.

Get posting

Once you’re happy with the basic structure, look and feel of your site, it’s time to start feeding it with your content. Since everything is hosted remotely, you can easily access and update your site anywhere you are – either by logging into its content management system (CMS) using a web browser, via dedicated apps for devices like the iPad and iPhone. You can even post content via email if you wish. The WordPress CMS is largely straightforward and easy to use – and there are forums you can turn to for help and advice if you get really stuck.
 

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