How to Launch Your Own Website Using WordPress

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Information about How to Launch Your Own Website Using WordPress

Published on February 19, 2014

Author: kgagne



What is WordPress? How do I use it to launch my website? Is it a good fit for my needs? Ken Gagne answers these questions in this presentation delivered to the Harvard Kennedy School of Cambridge, Mass., on Feb 19, 2014.

How to Launch Your Own Website Using Ken Gagne, Harvard University, 19-Feb-14

Frequently Answered Questions • Who are you to tell me to use WordPress? • What is WordPress? • Who uses WordPress? • Why should I use WordPress? • How do I use WordPress?

Ken Gagne MIT Medical Web Producer

What is WordPress? • • • • • • A program Specifically, a content management system (CMS) Runs on a Web server Free Open source Dynamic database vs. static files

Who uses WordPress?

What is WordPress good for? • Corporate blog • Personal blog • Portfolio • Event calendar • Media archive • E-commerce • Podcast • Build brand • Build portfolio • Engage audience • Recruitment • Centralize • Archive media • Drive sales

What’s the least you need? • Server • Domain name • HTML / CSS • MySQL / PHP / jQuery • Budget • Time

A site needs focus! • What is your goal? • To document your travels? To share your passion? To inform? To entertain? • What topics are you most interested in? • Travel? Technology? Pop culture? Politics? • What is your perspective? • Are you a movie critic? A clothing designer? A pastry chef? • Who is your target audience? • Film buffs? Fashionistas? Foodies? Source:

Details to decide • What is your domain name? • Your own? With our without “www”? • How often will you publish? • Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Randomly? • Who will be writing? • Just you? Friends? Family? Curated submissions from the public? • Will you accept comments? • Improves reader engagement; takes time to respond and filter Source: Free hosting 216 themes Default plugins Cannot modify PHP code Secure and backed up 3 GB storage Self-hosted Infinite themes Infinite plugins Customizable code Responsible for own security & backups Storage varies — often infinite Ad-free Advertisements (or ads that you profit from!) Less knowledge needed Learn by doing Source: offers premium upgrades Free Premium Free blog √ √ Domain name X √ 10GB storage X √ No ads X Custom design X √ VideoPress X √ Free $99/year √ Source:

Post Your latest update Page “About”, “Contact”, “Subscribe”, “FAQ” Exists outside Appears at the top of the blog the blog’s chronology Always found Scrolls as new content is added Invites reader responses in the same place Static; generally via comments does not invite comments Can be tagged & categorized Can have parent & children

Themes! –––––––––––––––––––––––– • Separates content from presentation • A combination of HTML, CSS, and PHP • Some include customizable options, such as color schemes, banner images, fonts • Only one theme active at a time • Download only from the official WordPress repository!

Plugins! –––––––––––––––––––––––– •A separate file (or set of files) placed in the /wp-content/plugins/ folder •Adds or changes WordPress’s inbuilt functionality •More plugins = more memory = slower load time •Download only from the official WordPress repository !

JetPack • From the creators of WordPress • 31 additional functions • Social media integration, comment subscriptions, spelling & grammar checker, site statistics

Gravity Forms • Offers improved functionality over Jetpack • PayPal integration • Not free!

All-in-One SEO Pack (Search Engine Optimization ) • Gives you control over how Google —and thus Google users— see your site • Basic installation is one-time affair • Most benefits come from use on every page & post

Blubrry PowerPress • Supports audio and video • Supports Flash & HTML5 • Free analytics (not possible with just iTunes) • Hosting costs extra

Redirection • • • Prevents 404 “File not found” Supports single redirects & regular expressions (regex) Exhaustive logs

Revision Control • Limits the number of changes tracked • Can be set universally or on a perpost basis • Improves comparison interface

Social Media Widget • Connect with your visitors by advertising your presences • Includes dozens of social media sites • Is not comprehensive • Supports custom icons

W3 Super Cache • Reduces site load time • Easy to install; difficult to configure • Can conflict with other plugins

“People will visit a Web site less often if it is slower than a close competitor by more than 250 milliseconds… That is less time than a single eye blink [400 ms].” Steve Lohr, “Impatient Web Users Flee Slow-Loading Sites”, New York Times, Feb 29, 2012

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Monday, February 24, 2014 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM Microsoft New England Research & Development Center (NERD Center) 1 Memorial Drive Cambridge, MA

Questions? Email: Twitter: @KGagne

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