The Basics of WordPress: Introduction

Overview

I plan on slowly working on and releasing this guide for WordPress, and once completed, I intend on freely releasing it in PDF form for anyone to use.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a free semantic publishing system created as a fork off of b2, another PHP based blogging application. It is used more commonly as a blog publishing tool, but has been extended in various ways to perform numerous functions to power millions of websites across the world. You can find it at WordPress.org.

It all started with a simple post on a blog in 2003, the post was called “the blogging software dilemma” and the author, Matt Mullenweg, was frustrated with the current blogging tools and posted an idea: forking b2. b2 was a popular blogging script written in PHP that hadn’t seen much in the way of recent active development and while there were other tools, the biggest and best didn’t fall under a licensing system that Matt could agree with.

Matt listed a fair number of features that he would love to see in a new piece of software, comparing it to other applications that were out in the market at the time, including things like the flexibility of MovableType, the parsing of TextPattern, the hackability of b2, and the ease of setup of Blogger. Most people that have used the software would probably agree that he has more than met his original goals.

Since then he has created a company around WordPress called Automattic, where they continue to develop WordPress, as well as other PHP applications, like the hosted version of WordPress, which we will touch on in this guide, as well as Akismet, an anti-spam tool we will cover briefly in this guide.

The instructions and screen shots included in this guide are from WordPress 2.3.1, a recent release of the publishing system, but this will all be very useful for any version of WordPress, especially those using WordPress 2.x and above.

Who uses WordPress?

Millions of people, including myself. One of the many reasons so many people are using WordPress is definitely the fact that bigger organizations, and names many people recognize are jumping on board, thus leading the way.

Companies like the New York Times, have shown their support of the WordPress publishing platform by moving many blogs over to the system. The popular massively multiplayer online role playing game, Second Life has moved their Official Second Life blog over to WordPress as well showing the diversity of groups investing time and energy into using WordPress.

Also, big name people like Robert Scoble, an ex-Microsoft employee, now video podcaster, has jumped on board. If big names can use the software and thrive, then there must be something great about the software, and that is why this guide was created.

I think that WordPress is one of the easiest, fastest, and most expandable blogging systems that anyone can get currently, but with so many options it can be a little intimidating, but once you get it installed and configured, you’ll notice that for the most part, it is not any more complex to use than your favorite word publishing software on your computer.

Who am I?

My name is David Peralty, and I am a Problogger for Splashpress Media. This means my full time job is writing online as well as all the things that go with such a position, like promoting content, understanding social networking, and dealing with many WordPress installations.

I have a very high level of experience with WordPress, having bent it to my will quite a few times. I first started using WordPress long before its 1.0 release. Actually, it was the 0.72 release that first peaked my interest, and I have been a huge fan ever since.

Creating this guide is a little difficult for me though, as for some parts I will have to remember back to when I first started using the software, and other times I will come across areas in WordPress I rarely use or touch, I will be learning about those parts through doing my research for this guide. Hopefully, once you have read this guide, it will save you many mistakes and a huge amount of time.

What You Will Learn?

This guide will show you from start to finish, how to set up a WordPress blog, including dealing with multiple author permissions, permalinks, themes, and plugins. While this all might sound complex, the advanced administration system for WordPress makes all of these rather easy, once you learn the fundamentals of downloading, uploading, and activating.

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