What WordPress is and how to install it – a series

I’ve just installed WordPress and, frankly, I found it slightly more difficult than I think it should have been. Part of it has to do with my ignorance of some parts of Internet technology, part of it has to do with a lack of clear instructions from the WordPress site. In this next series of blog entries, I will try to sort out the fuzzy details that had me stymied.

What is WordPress? Basically, WordPress is a piece of software that runs on a hosting computer somewhere on the Internet. It isn’t a software program, don’t get me wrong, it’s a set of translation instructions that take your input and formulates it into a distinct look for your presence on the Internet.

I was looking for a way to standardize my web pages. Right now I have seven domain names in my possession. Over the next while I want to develop these domains or sites into interesting places where people can read my words, see my pictures and share my decades of experience. I have had websites since 1996 and I have been using html since then but I’ve always been hampered by my inability to bring the websites that I see in my head to life on the Internet. I wanted a ‘look’, quite frankly. WordPress gives me the ability to have the look that I want, with minimal design input from me.

WordPress doesn’t run on your computer. You download it from the Internet to your computer, change one file a bit and then you upload it to your hosting account. It doesn’t matter if you have a Mac or a PC or a Linux computer.  WordPress is only on your computer for a while, then you put it up on your hosting account’s computer.

What confused me, at first, is what WordPress actually is. It’s a set of already-formatted web designs that allow you to simply fill in a space with your words, click a button and shazam! Your words are on the Internet for everyone to read. Essentially and basically it’s a blogging platform for you but it’s much more than that. You can tune it, tweak it, adjust it to be just about anything you want it to be.

Your computer desktop is different from mine, right? You’ve adjusted the pics, the icons, the way it looks so that your desktop matches your vision of how you want it to look. But, it is still a desktop, right? Mine is too. If you look at my desktop and your desktop, you will know what it is and you’ll know, probably, that it’s pretty much a Windows or an OS X desktop. It won’t look like a white room or a mountaintop. WordPress is like that. Your WordPress website will look a bit like mine but you will be able to recognize it as a website, perhaps as a WordPress website but it will be your WordPress website, depending on how many variables you adjust.

Is WordPress just for bloggers? No. It was setup to expedite blogging but, if you look around the Internet, you will see thousands of variations of WordPress. I will post some links for you to check out what other people have done to the basic, default WordPress page.

What have we learned? That WordPress isn’t software. It’s a set of instructions and translations that take your words/pictures and ideas and formulates them into a cohesive, structured web page or website. You don’t have to know beans about html. You don’t have to buy an expensive html editor. All you have to do is follow some simple instructions, get your hands a bit dirty with computer geekiness and then forget about it. Open up your browser, log in and type away to your heart’s content. WordPress takes care of the rest.