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All About WordPress - A Flag Tech Talk lecture

This lecture outlines some basic info about WordPress, asks key questions on whether it's right for you, and discusses the positive and negative aspects of this open source software.

Joseph Bodin

on 19 November 2014

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Transcript of All About WordPress - A Flag Tech Talk lecture

All About WordPress
WordPress began as a "Blogging" tool in 2003. The idea was to create an easy way for people to create a web based place to post articles and have an online conversation. It was originally meant for Blogging!

Since then, it has evolved into a full blown "Content Management System (CMS)" that allows people to create a templated website that includes pages, blog postings, and tons of plug-in features. It is now the most popular "blogging system" and "website builder" on the web.
There are two versions of WordPress.
Which is right for you?
Articles/Writings Make WordPress Searchable
Flag Tech Talk
Presented by Joe Bodin of Reliable Web Designs
is a fully "hosted" version where you log in right into their website. All of the files and content you add are on their servers. They do all of the software upgrades, file backups, and security. They provide the basic CMS platform with limited usage at no cost. There are just over 200 templates to choose from, you can't modify how it works in any way, and you can't load plug-ins. In general you are using the options they give you.
This is great for the novice user, those on a budget, non-profits, and bloggers.

is essentially "software" that they provide as a basic platform. You download it, put it on "your own server" account, and can then customize it in any way that you choose. It is completely "open source" so you can change the code, choose from thousands and thousands of templates designers have created, add thousands of plug-ins and widgets, and can really adapt it to whatever your needs. It is very versatile, a bit glitchy, and you will be responsible for running it. Thus, this is a better tool for most businesses, but may require some professional maintenance.
The setup for WordPress.com is fairly straightforward. You go onto the website and follow the sign-up process. It will guide you through a "wizard" that will create your account and then walk you through adding all of your pages and postings. It is fairly user-friendly and does not take a whole lot to get started.

Once setup, you can login at any time and add things into your site. It is fairly limited in its options and has a basic control panel that walks you through all the steps.
WordPress.com is fairly easy to use, but also limited in scope.
The setup for WordPress.org is typically more complicated, but well worth the trouble depending on your needs. There are some servers now offering an "one-click" setup process that can make this easier.
1. Create a Server Account (requires your own hosting)
2. Signup with Wordpress.org & Download the Software
3. Create a Database on your Server Account
4. Upload the WordPress Software/Files on your Server
5. Customize the WebConfig File (this is web coding)
6. Log into your new WordPress Control Panel
7. Design your own site (template, pages, plug-ins, ...)
8. Do your own Backups, Upgrades, & Security.
WordPress.org is a lot more POWERFUL!
Another question you need to ask yourself when deciding what type of site you to get should be, "Is WordPress right for me?"

WordPress is all about Templates! Granted there are tons to choose from, but things are very columnated and standardized. When someone looks at a website done in WordPress, it is fairly clear almost immediately that this platform was used. It is true that with a lot of design skills, a WordPress site can become almost anything. But, the majority of them have a similar look.

So, the real question becomes, "Do I want a Templated Website or should I have one Custom HTML Site Designed to suite my needs?"
Design Pros & Cons!
Is WordPress
right for my

If you are building a "website" to market a business or organization, then you need to ask yourself how often you will really need or want to make updates to it. A professional website should be strong to start with and then have select "interactive places" to make changes and announcements like highlight boxes or latest news sections. The whole site should not change all the time... It should be very strong and essentially timeless!

WordPress allows you (the website owner) to change practically anything at any time. That's a lot of POWER and TEMPTATION... Remember, it is designed to encourage you to write things like articles and add new ideas and sections.
If you don't like to write or don't write well, then WordPress might not be for you.

If a website is not maintained professionally, then
. It gets sloppier and less organized until it no longer really represents you well. A custom made HTML website is a fairly finished product. A WordPress site is a great medium if you are a writer, have a lot to say, and/or really do have constant change in what you do. So, you have to ask yourself which suites your needs.
WordPress websites aren't the best when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). When you make "webpages" in WordPress, you are a bit limited to how much you can really prepare it for Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc... There are things that can be done to make your SEO better, but you have to work at that a little.

On the other hand, if you like to write lots of articles, announcements, quotes, ... and really use WordPress as it was intended, then it can be incredibly searchable. The more you write, the more every word of your text gets out there... It is "News" and because it is changing and being added to constantly, it can be an amazing way to get out on the Internet.

If you like to Write/Post, then WordPress is great for the Search Engines.
If you don't, then you should consider if a straight HTML website would be better so that it is prepared "for you" to get the most SEO possible.
RSS (or Really Simple Syndication) is a process that allows you to "feed" information from one web based format into another. Most "Blogs" are done in RSS format and all WordPress sites do work this way as well.

What this means is that you can set things up that every time you write or publish a new article on your website, it can automatically "feed" that article into places like FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and almost any other website. People can also "subscribe" to read your "feed" on a regular basis... It is a great way to take your writings and postings, and get them out into a much larger world!
RSS is a big PRO for using WordPress
One of the best things about WordPress.org is the huge array of "plug-ins" that are available. Since it is "open source" software, designers and programmers all over the world are constantly adding to the options available. When a programmer can't find what he/she needs, they design it, and then they can make it available to everyone else as well. So, the plug-in market is ever-expanding. This makes it extremely easy to add things like:
Interactive Calendars
Social Media Features
Picture Slideshows
The options are endless! A major PRO for WordPress!
Accounts Login/User Levels
Live Chat Features
Mapping & Directions
Form Handlers
Picture Galleries
Feedback Surveys
Embed Videos/YouTube
If you have chosen to have a WordPress.org website, then you need to be aware of the work involved with future upgrades, the need for file backups, and security issues. When you have thousands of hands designing software with only some testing being done, things can easily go wrong. Sometimes even clicking on things in your Control Panel in the wrong order, can dump everything. So, be prepared for Upgrade bugs, Backup everything, and Secure your site!

Since the software is "constantly changing" and you are responsible to make sure your site stays up-to-date, you have to do upgrades periodically. Remember that this is "open source" software, so you have to be extremely careful when doing upgrades to your site. You may upgrade WordPress and then find that all of your plug-ins don't work. Upgrading WordPress is not for the faint of heart...

Since your site is "constantly changing" you need to plan for doing regular backups. WordPress.org is two parts: 1) Web Files and 2) The Database. Both need to be backed up BEFORE YOU DO ANY UPGRADES. This should be scheduled to be done on a planned schedule AND anytime you are doing major changes to your site.

: Since this is on your own hosting, you are responsible for security issues. These sites are susceptible to "bot" attacks and malware. Taking appropriate security measures is a must. Using security plug-ins and taking steps at the beginning can save your site.
WordPress.org can be Glitchy!
WordPress has two main types of information you can add to your site:
Pages and Postings
These are pretty much what they sound like - they are webpages that primarily should have solid information about who you are and what you do. So, for example, you could have an "About Us" page or a "Contact Info" page.

This is where WordPress really excels...! You can create multiple Blog streams by categories where you can post lots and lots of writings. So, for example, you could create a "Category" called "Latest News" and then under it create "Sub-Categories" like "Our Events" and "Articles" and ... It is unlimited and is setup in a way that you can continually add and add to it.
A Great Way for Creating Categories for your Writings!
of Websites on
the Internet use WordPress!
Key Question:
Multiple Users/Authors
Have everyone add content!
Another benefit of using WordPress is being able to assign more than one user or login to be able to edit your website. People can have different levels of access: Administrator, Editor, Author, and Contributor.

This means that if you have other people who need to get in to post or change your pages like Employees, Writers, or even Organization Members, you can assign them access to get in with certain privileges!

So, for example, a business or organization can allow Authoring or Contributor access to a site. This will allow the whole staff to add events, post educational articles, etc... You could make a central person (the boss) in charge of approving the postings, and then they will go "live" on the site.
Our Sponsors
3 Layers of Updates
WordPress Platform:
The software is regularly being updated by WordPress to meet security and design flaws. Like any other "software" this needs to be updated all the time. This is a MUST to do!
Design Themes:
In most cases, you chose a design theme that an outside source created. They too must keep up with updating their software to meet the changes of the WordPress Platform. This happens a lot less often, but is also a MUST to keep up-to-date.
The biggest risk is involved with Plug-ins. These are fancy features designed by developers from all over the world. You MUST update your plug-ins all the time. Typically, after the WordPress Platform is updated, practically all of your plug-ins need an update.
Keep your site up-to-date!
WordPress comes with some very "basic" design themes. They add a new one every year. They are "okay" if you want to have a simple site, but typically they don't have the design options needed to make a site look the way you want.

Choosing a "Design Theme" is probably one of the hardest parts. There are lots of Free Themes, but most also don't give you good options or are really stepping stones to encourage you to buy the "Pro Version" of that same design with more options. Finding a good "paid" design theme from a reputable company is the way to go!
The visual look and functionality!
Elegant Themes
Keep your BACKED UP!
Backup Buddy
Adding a
Tip: Don't use "admin" for your User Name!
All-in-One SEO
SEO by Yoast
Full Security Plug-in
Full Security - Focuses on Bots
Protects Your Forms
Simple Login Lockdown
Protect the Login Screen
WP e-Commerce
WP Simple PayPal
TW Recent Post Widget
Social Media Feather
Page Excerpt Widget
Social Media Tabs
Jet Pack
W3 Total Cache/Performance
Simple Share Buttons
WP Music Player
Photo EasyRotator
It is literally endless!
What is your favorite plug-in?
Or, add them in your WP Admin.
Your Pages Content and the Editor
WordPress.com is fairly easy to use!
Adding Postings and Blogging Categories
Media Gallery - Uploading Pictures and Files
Appearance: Design Themes, Widgets, and Nav Menus
Comments... Comments... Comments...
Adding Users with Different Access
An Overview of Settings
A Special Thanks to our Sponsors!
Full transcript