People have been asking what I did to set up the Black Fives Blog, and how I got it to look so fabulous so quickly without any programmers. Trust me, I’m not a tech guru.
People have been asking what I did to set up the Black Fives Blog, and how I got it to look so fabulous so quickly without any programmers.
Trust me, I’m not a tech guru. This is a blog about African American basketball history. But here is my summary of that information, set up like a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page so that it’s easier to read.
What’s a blog?
Never mind all the details, just do it. (See “You’re A Fool If You Don’t Have A Blog By Tomorrow Night!”)
Which blog software does the Black Fives Blog use?
I’m using WordPress as my blog software. Forget all the other ones.
You can have WordPress host your blog, or you can host it yourself. I host my blog on my own domain and ISP (see below). I didn’t want WordPress to host my blog, and I recommend against it because you can’t add additional cool features later, the number of themes (the look and feel of your blog) is very limited, and WordPress will own everything you create.
I’m hosting WordPress on my own ISP (see below) under my own domain name (i.e., blackfivesblog.com).
How do I install WordPress?
Instructions for downloading and installing WordPress when you host it yourself are here.
What’s an ISP?
An ISP is an internet service provider. That’s where your blog (website) lives.
Which ISP do you use to host Black Fives Blog?
I am using a company called BlueHost, which is the ISP recommended by WordPress.
I looked around. BlueHost offers more support (24/7) and features than just about anyone else, and they offer more help while you’re installing WordPress than anyone else (you probably won’t need help except at the very end when you will want to ask one or two questions because it seemed too easy).
Also, instead of paying for all these different features on a menu, you pay just one single low fee and get everything.
BlueHost also has a bunch of shopping carts and other e-commerce features you can use as you grow or once you begin selling things. I am not using BlueHost’s e-commerce yet but I may do so in the future.
If you don’t have a domain yet (i.e., a URL), go to BlueHost and get one. They provide domain privacy for free if you also host your domain there, and the domain price is inexpensive.
If you already have a domain and website, you may want to consider creating a new domain for your blog and then linking the two together.
The most important reason to use BlueHost is that it comes with an FTP feature (file transfer protocol) that allows you to upload all those plug-ins (see below) and images you are going to be using with your blog.
Basically, this service makes it so anyone can do this.
What if I’m already on a different ISP?
I recommend switching to BlueHost if you can. Especially if you haven’t done much on your current domain yet. All you have to do is go to BlueHost and request something called a DNS transfer. It takes about a day or two to complete that step.
Which theme is the Black Fives Blog using?
I’m using the Mandiga theme. This is a great theme that is “widget-ready” (see widgets, below). I chose the one in orange, but there are several other color schemes available. I am using three columns instead of two because that gives me more space to put menus and links.
Mandiga is free (but you can elect to make a donation, as I did). You can download the Mandiga theme here.
I looked around. You can search WordPress as well as the entire web for other great themes. But trust me, this is the best theme out there in terms of the attractiveness, the options, and the flexibility to create your own custom look and functionality.
What is “FTP” and how do I upload my own banner, images, and stuff like that?
“FTP” stands for File Transfer Protocol and the only thing you need to know about it is that this is a tool you must use to upload your files (like images) to your blog.
The easiest, most popular, and most effective FTP tool is called FileZilla. It’s also free!
What are plug-ins?
Plug-ins are little features you can get that don’t come with WordPress but that are so cool you are going to want them anyway. Think of them as like third-party accessories when you buy a car.
Which plug-ins does the Black Fives Blog use?
These are some of the plug-ins I’m using:
- Democracy Poll
- Ajax Comment Preview
- Chicklet Creator
- Audio Player
- Flash Video Player
- YouTube Widget
There are many more plug-ins out there. You can get a list of additional plug-ins by clicking on the link at the bottom of the plug-ins page, or you can find them by searching the web.
What are widgets?
Widgets are little features that you can move around from inside the “Presentation” menu once you install WordPress.
What are RSS feeds?
RSS feeds are what other people click when they are looking at your blog and want to be updated automatically the next time you add something or make a change.
This is just the beginning. Get a book or two on blogging. Here’s one I use. Figuring it out is half the fun.
Best wishes for an effortless installation. And happy blogging!