Blogging for Beginners Vol. 2: Plugin Basics, Theme Choice
In the first part of our small series "Blogging for Beginners", you've picked your web host and decided on a domain. In this second part, we'll help you install the most important plugins, as well as find a theme, so you can start blogging soon. Plugins and a suitable theme are very important parts of any WordPress blog. They determine what your blog looks like and how it acts. Design is an important topic, as a horrible design can scare off potential readers.
Choosing the Right ThemeA theme is what determines the appearance of your blog. Via programmed functions, a theme is also able to decide which options you have when it comes to customization - whether you get to choose colors or can determine basic layouts. Conventional themes can display content in one to three columns. This means that you have a main content area, and up to two sidebars, into which supporting content is placed - the latest comments, or the newest articles, for example. [caption id="attachment_77164" align="alignnone" width="660"] The "Hueman" Theme in a Three-Column View. It is also possible to display it with two columns.[/caption] You'll get most themes in a two-column layout. This layout has established itself. On the left, you'll find the main content, and the sidebar is on the right. A good theme lets you customize a lot of different things. The color of links and the content area, whether you are able to use a background image, how many columns the layout has, and whether you can use a custom logo or not. The shown theme can do all of that and a lot more. You can get it for free on WordPress.org. By now, WordPress.org offers about 4,000 free themes to choose from. Search for them within your admin area and install them with one click. Example: a Two-Column Theme [caption id="attachment_77169" align="alignnone" width="660"] The Example of a Two-Column Theme. Content on the Left, Sidebar on the Right.[/caption] Theme: A Refined Version of the Graphy Theme from WordPress.org
Searching for, and Installing Themes[caption id="attachment_77165" align="alignnone" width="660"] Under Install => Themes => Design, You'll Find all Free Themes.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_77166" align="alignnone" width="660"] This Display Lets You Filter the Themes for Characteristics.[/caption]
Highly Recommended: A Professional BackupActually, this should've been number one. However, you won't get a really good backup for free. I'll address it nonetheless. When blogging, a backup of your blog is the most important thing of them all. Created daily and automatically, and also equipped with a one-click recovery function. So many things could happen. Your blog could get hacked. It's also possible that a plugin or theme update destroys your website. Then, there's no other option aside from restoring the latest backup. When this can be done with one click, every cent is well-spent. Of course, there are free backup plugins as well, but when it comes to restoring the website, you need to manually import the database via phpMyAdmin. This takes a while and requires expertise knowledge. That's why I've been using a paid solution for years now.
The VaultPress Backup ServiceYou can get the required plugin for free on WordPress, but the backup function requires paying for the service. The service is an offer from Automattic, the company behind WordPress.
- Costs: starting at 5 USD a month
- Requirements: WordPress.com account and a credit card (prepaid is accepted as well)
- Website: VaultPress.com