When: November 4th, 7pm to 9pm
Where: The WP Ninjas Offices
What: Setting up a WordPress site – We’ll discuss installation, Settings, Content Preparation, Selecting a Theme, and recommended plugins to get you started.
We want to thank everyone who came out to the November WordPress Meetup. Below are some notes about what we discussed and appropriate links for further learning.
Meetup news & announcements
Kevin shared about Matt Mullenweg’s recent State of the Word where the mission to “democratize publishing” was reaffirmed. This will be done by focusing on mobile and internationalization of WordPress itself only with it’s home, WordPress.org.
He also shared about this very website as a new home for a lot of additional content for this meetup and how we were on the search for a new location in the Chattanooga area. This is important since most of the members, except for us organizers, are either in or on the other side of Chattanooga. We want this group to be as accessible as possible so moving officially to Chattanooga is the natural course of action. We are in talks with the Chattanooga Public Library and have other ideas if that doesn’t work out.
Presentation: Setting up your WordPress website for the first time
James spent some time walking through the process of setting up your own WordPress website. This raised the question of WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org. He then walked through the process of downloading WordPress from WordPress.org, creating your database and user, editing the wp-comfig.php file, and then uploading the files to a web host. Once uploaded we ran the activation process.
There were several other topics discussed in this presentation such as:
- Common settings you should configure first with any new WordPress install such as the timezone and permalinks.
- Planning the kind of site you are creating and thus the content and navigation structure.
- Finding the perfect theme:
- Themes are meant for the display of your content and shouldn’t be riddled with massive functionality. Functionality should be reserved for plugins.
- Using the WordPress repository to find quality free themes.
- We looked at the Customizer for selecting and setting up a theme.
- Some places and kinds of themes you should avoid.
- Premium themes that James recommends such as StudioPress, iThemes, Array.is, and UpThemes. There are many others but that would be an entirely new presentation.
- Plugins most every site should be running.
- Anti-Spam, Search Engine Optimization, forms. James recommended Akismet, WordPress SEO by Yoast, and Ninja Forms respectively. He also gave a nod to JetPack for some a simple contact form and a few other features some may want.
- Others mentioned that an analytics and caching solution might be something they would recommend for most sites.
Presentation: How to get the best support possible when issues arise (Zach Skaggs)
- Use support sites like https://wordpress.org/support/.
- Give a good description of the issues.
- Include error messages if at all possible.
- Disable plugins and change to a default theme to track down what may be causing the problem.
- Be Polite!
- Many things can be found on http://codex.wordpress.org/ .
- Let the support person know the priority of your problem.
Many of these items have been abbreviated but if you have questions or need clarification please feel free to ask in the comments.