WordPress.org Self-Hosted Website Setup Instructions

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These instructions provide a guide to setting up a self hosted WordPress website. These instructions are abbreviated and assume some familiarity with WordPress. The process is broken into various phases.

Phase 1 – Basic Setup

  1. Domain Name. If you are moving to a new host, one option is to purchase a domain name with an alternate extension to simplify this process. For example, if  you have Organization.org then setup Organization.com on the new host and work with that site until you’re ready to go live. Then point the .org to the new site. If you are setting up a new website, then simply purchase the domain you plan to use.
  2. Import. If you previously exported a WordPress website from an old host, then import it into the new site by going to Dashboard > Tools > Import  and choose WordPress as the backup type.
    • If the importer plugin isn’t installed, you’ll be prompted to install it.
    • Once installed, activate and run the importer. Select the file and then click Upload file and import.
    • You’ll be asked to assign posts to author/users. Often a multi-user site has several authors, but as people come and go, it’s best to have posts assigned to a single general user account.
    • Select the option to download and import file attachments. If the import fails, you may want to try not selecting this and then trying again.
  3. General Settings. The first group of settings can be found under Dashboard > Settings > General.
    • Site Title. Provide a title for the website.
    • Timezone. From the Timezone drop-down options choose the city nearest you. For example, Chicago is toward the top under the grouping America.
    • Week Starts On. Set the first day of the week next to Week Starts On.
    • Save Changes. Click the save changes button.
  4. WordPress.com Account. To use the WordPress Jetpack plugin, you will need a WordPress.com account. This can be setup at WordPress.com if you don’t already have an account.
  5. WordPress.com JetPack. This plugin will need to be installed if it isn’t already. Once installed, you will need to connect to WordPress.com where indicated.
  6. Akismet. The Akismet plugin helps filter out spam comments from your site. This plugin will need to be installed if it isn’t already. To activate Akismet, you’ll need an Akismet key. To get an Akismet key you’ll need a WordPress.com account (established above). Visit the Akismet website to setup an account and obtain a key. Donate money to Akismet if you desire.
  7. Ultimate TinyMCE Plugin. WordPress does not natively support the easy editing of tables and other basic editing features. The visual editor can be enhanced by installing the Ultimate TinyMCE plug-in. Go to Dashboard > Plugins and choose Add New. Search for the Ultimate TinyMCE plug-in by Josh Lobe and install it. If you were using this plugin on a previous site, you may wish to manually recreate the settings manually. This plugin is discoverable within WordPress when you search available plugins to add.
  8. Black Studio TinyMCI Widget Plugin. “This plugin adds a WYSIWYG text widget based on the standard TinyMCE WordPress visual editor. This is intended to overcome the limitations of the default WordPress text widget, so that you can visually add rich text contents to your sidebars, with no knowledge of HTML required.” Go to Dashboard > Plugins and choose Add New. Search for the Black Studio TinyMCE Widget and install it. If you were using this plugin on a previous site, you may wish to manually recreate the settings manually. To use this, under widgets, choose Visual Editor as the widget to place in a column area. This plugin is discoverable within WordPress when you search available plugins to add.
  9. Convert Post Types Plugin. If you’re migrating a website where people had previously created a large number of pages that should have been entered as posts, you’ll want to use the Convert Post Types plugin to convert the pages to posts. This plugin is discoverable within WordPress when you search available plugins to add.
    • Note: You can also perform bulk edits in the posts view within the Dashboard. This is helpful when you need to make tag, category, author, or other changes to a group of posts. You can click a tag to view posts of that tag. There are other helpful tricks like this included in WordPress.
  10. Theme. Initially, it may be helpful to use the TwentyFourteen theme for faster simpler management of the basic site content. Later the them can be changed to something more sophisticated.
  11. Pages. Create the main pages of the site such as home, newsfeed, contact, about.
  12. Posts. Additional articles (posts) can be added over time.
  13. Menu. By default, WordPress will include all pages in the site navigation. It’s often desirable to have a smaller number of pages in the navigation and then link to other pages. This can be configured under Appearance > Menus. Some themes allow for multiple menus. Generally there would be a primary page menu, and a secondary menu that might be pages or article categories.

Phase 2 – Social Networks

This phase is optional, yet important if you want others finding out about your website. It involves creating user accounts for your website on various social networks, and then setting up the automated process for promoting the site.

  1. Twitter. You’ll want to setup a Twitter feed for your website. Once this account is setup, you can use the Sharing feature described below to setup automatic announcements. This may be different than your personal Twitter feed since the website likely has a focus different than your personal observations.
  2. Facebook Page. You’ll want to setup a new facebook page for your website. You and others can be setup as administrators for the page. Once this page is setup, you can use the Sharing feature described below to setup automatic announcements.
    • Facebook Donations. There are a variety of services like PayPal and Fundly that work well for collecting donations on a website. However, for Facebook, the Donate app seems to be the simplest way to collect donations.
  3. Google+ Page. You’ll want to setup a new Google+ page for the website. You can do this once you have a Google account, then click here.
  4. Tumblr. You’ll want to have a Tumblr account and/or page setup for the website. Other than your primary Tumblr account, you can setup a new tumblr blog page. This new blog on tumblr can be the place where website posts are announced.
  5. Sharing. The Sharing settings are found under Dashboard > General > Sharing. Once you have the JetPack plugin, it’s possible to setup automatic sharing of posts to various social networks. So, when you create a new post (article) on your website, it gets announced on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Path. You can also choose from a variety of sharing buttons that  your site visitors and readers can use to share articles with their friends. This is all configured in Sharing. When connecting to Twitter, Facebook, and other services, you’ll need to be logged into those sites first, then connect. Be sure to check the box to have the posts announced for all users of the website.
  6. YouTube. Most organizations and businesses have some video content they’d like promoted. This may include advertisements, videos from events, or presentations. It’s helpful to have video content hosted on YouTube to get additional discoverability. You can use the Google account previously mentioned (for Google+) as your account for the website video content. You may need to setup a channel dedicated to the website content.
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