How to Build a Web 2.0 and Social Media Optimized site Using WordPress

How to Build a Web 2.0 and Social Media Optimized site Using WordPress
by Deltina Hay
So, you’ve armed yourself with knowledge about Web 2.0 and social media, and now you’re really ready to tap into the power of the new, social Web? If you’ve decided to build your own Web 2.0 and social media optimized Web site to that end, here are a few steps you can follow to get started:
The most effective way to easily build an optimized site is with WordPress. Yes, WordPress is a blogging platform, but it can also be used as a content management system (CMS) to power your entire Web site.
Use these resources to get a good feel for how WordPress operates:
WordPress
Empowered by WordPress
The book, WordPress for Dummies
And, for an explanation of the basic elements of a WordPress site, check out “The Basic Anatomy of a WordPress site” post on Empowered by WordPress.
Planning your Site:
Make an ambitious list of what you would like to have on your site. Don’t hold back on an idea you may have for your site based on an assumption that it will be too difficult or too expensive to implement.
The plugins available for WordPress are at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/
This site will give you ideas on the types of things you can add to your site. You will discover that you can easily utilize plugins to accomplish seemingly difficult functions.
I find these are pretty typical functions most entrepreneurs, small businesses, authors, and publishers are looking for:
  • Image GalleriesStreaming Video
  • E-commerce
  • Widgets
  • Blogs/Podcasts/Vidcasts
  • Random Quote Generators
  • Newsletters
  • Mailing list sign-up
  • RSS feeds from other sources
  • Events listings
  • Forms for submissions
  • Social Media Newsrooms
Choosing a Theme:
Go to http://themes.wordpress.net/
Make certain you only search for themes that are “widget ready.”
You can also purchase themes from TemplateMonster.com. Again, make certain any theme you choose is “widgetized.”
Do not choose a theme before you plan your site, however. You want your theme to accommodate your content, not vice versa.
Choose at least twelve themes that you like. You will find that you will not be able to use many themes that you choose for various reasons.
Try and look only at the overall look and feel of a theme, with the idea that the colors, fonts, images, and most anything else can be customized to fit your needs.
Installing WordPress and Beyond:
Use the following documentation to help with all of these steps:
http://codex.wordpress.org/Getting_Started_with_WordPress
http://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Lessons
Installing WordPress
Choose a host. WordPress works best on a WordPress-friendly host. I use WestHost. They are affordable, reliable, and have fantastic tech support. Their personal starter plan for $6.95 a month is all you will likely need.
For a list of other WordPress-friendly hosts, go to WordPress.org.
Carefully read the installation guide on WordPress.org. WordPress is installed differently when you use it as a CMS than if you only use it to blog.
Next Steps
  • Installing your theme
  • Customizing your theme
  • Deciding which plugins you need based on your initial plan
  • Installing and setting up your plugins (Always read the readme.txt file!)
  • Setting up your sidebars
  • Building your pages
  • Posting blog entries
On Open Source Etiquette:
The developers have put a lot of time into these projects. Please show them respect by:
  • Never deleting the credits from the footer of a theme, or from a plugin
  • Making donations to the open source developers whose plugins you are using
When using the support forums:
  • Always search the forums thoroughly for an answer to your question before posting.
  • Give back if you can: check the recent posts for questions from newcomers you might be able to answer.
Here are some sites powered by WordPress to help inspire you:
AlaskanArtandPhoto.com
AccoladesPublicRelations.com
DaltonPublishing.com
EmpoweredbyWordPress.com
LesMcGehee.com
OwenEgertonNewsroom.com
JoeOConnellNewsroom.com
GaryKentFilmmaker.com
RicWilliams.com
KelleyBurrus.com
OwenEgerton.com
RobertStikmanz.com
AmyWink.com
And, if you’re looking for even more information, rest assured that help is readily available to you. WordPress and the people who contribute to it are perfect examples of the Social Web in action. On WordPress.org you will find a plethora of help, not only from their documentation, but also from the community that has sprung from this demonstrated spirit of interactivity, sharing, and collaboration.
Copyright 2008 by Deltina Hay. All rights reserved.
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