WordPress

Overview

WordPress is well known as a blogging system, but it’s actually a lot more than just a blogging tool. WordPress is an open source publishing platform that has all the functionality you need to create and maintain an active, dynamic small to medium size website. Some of the key features include:

  • The ability to have multiple users with various roles, from an administrator who can control everything to a contributor who needs to have their content reviewed before it’s made public on the site.
  • The ability to easily add various types of content including images, flash files, audio and video.
  • The ability to “skin” a site with a large number of pre-existing themes
  • The ability to add in a wide array of plugins and widgets to add additional functionality to your website in a few clicks.
  • The ability to change the code (if you wish) to make WordPress do exactly what you want it to.

For a full list of the features you can visit: http://wordpress.org/about/features/

Setting up your wordpress site (on an NUweb server) at Northeastern.

  1. The first step is to request a wordpress account and then wait for the email confirming your account has been set up.
    • If you already have an account on the NUWeb server you can request a WordPress add on to your existing account.
    • otherwise you can request a new account and choose WordPress as part of the install.
  2. After you’ve received your account information via email, you’ll need to access the URL provided in the email to complete the initial “set up” by:
    1. Giving your blog a title and providing your email address. Don’t worry you can change both later if necessary.
    2. After you press the “Install WordPress” button, you’ll see the screen below. This is your CURRENT ADMIN password. You can change it but you’re encouraged to write it down, or copy and paste it into a new text file to keep it safe BEFORE you click the “Log In” botton. It can be retrieved, since the email address you used in the last step is associated with the admin account.
    3. When you click the gray “Log in” button you’ll immediately be taken to a login page (which you will use everytime you wish to login to your word press site) and be asked to login as the administrator. You may wish to bookmark this page so you can easily return here at a later time, since some themes don’t include a link to log in.

      1. Username: admin
      2. Password: whatever was presented to you in the previous step (and if you copied it you *can* paste it into the password field.Note: that this is also where you can retrieve the password if you lost it using the “Lost your password?” link.
    4. When you enter your info, and click the blue “Log In” button you will be taken to your WordPress “Dashboard” – which is the control panel you’ll use to configure, populate, and manage your WordPress site. Since this is the first time you’ve logged in, you will see, at the top of the Dashboard, a pink box with the link “Yes, Take me to my profile page” which is there to allow you to change your password. It’s recommended that you do this now.
    5. Now you’re ready to configure your site as you see fit! WordPress.org has a great getting started guide here: http://codex.wordpress.org/First_Steps_With_WordPress

Highlights

If you’re not up for reading all that text here are a few highlights you should be sure to look at:

  • Set some “must-have” settings
    • You should be sure to set the title, description, and an email address at the very least. You can read more about all the general settings as well.
  • http://codex.wordpress.org/Akismet
    • You should be sure to configure the Akismet plugin that comes with every wordpress install. It does require that you sign up for a free wordpress.com account (which admittedly seems odd) but that’s just so an API key will be generated for you to put in to the akismet plugin to allow it to block spam in comments, etc. So while you do have to create the wordpress.com account, you don’t need to use it for anything. You might also ask… why not just use that wordpress.com account instead of the one on the nuweb server? The simplest answer is that you can’t customize and configure the wordpress.com sites like you can customize and configure the wordpress sites on nuweb servers. If you’d like more info than that, you’re welcome to ask us in person.
  • Add a Spot to upload media
    • You should create a new folder inside the wp-content folder, just to be safe… and because it functions better that way!
  • Making your homepage static (instead of blog-like)
    • Some sites might wish to leave the blog posts as their front page, but if you’d rather have static content that you can update and change as you wish, you can do that in the Reading settings section, as this article discusses.
  • Adding a New Theme
    • There are plenty to choose from! Unless you have a really good reason, we recommend that you stick with something simple, even if those pesky flashy ones try to draw you in. We have developed some Northeastern branded themes that can be used. You can contact webgroup@neu.edu to inquire about them.
  • Using Widgets
    • Widgets are used mostly to add different content to sidebars and subsections. There is a large variety and most are quite flexible.