Monday, January 28, 2008

Building a website with Wordpress: a do it yourself guide

I'm very proud that I built a website on my own domain name with an integrated weblog using Wordpress. You can visit it at I'm meeting more people who want to set up their own Wordpress blog, so it might be useful for them if I blog the process. And there are some nice lessons about learning by doing (and the importance of some background support). Starting a Wordpress blog on their site is much easier by the way!

OK. I actually started with the idea of building a website to explain my freelance work with NVU. I wanted it to be bilangual, English en Dutch. I looked at websites I enjoy and admire and wrote down what I liked about them. In september I decided that I'd like to incorporate this blog in my website. Because it generates traffic, but most of all also because it allows you to show more about your ideas and work. People get to know you. Much better than describing your work.

John Smith was the first to advise me to start with Wordpress. But I wasn't ready to give up my blogger blog or to migrate from blogger to Wordpress. So I thought about either integrating my blogger blog via a feed or as a subpage of my website. But I started rethinking the purpose of my site. I actually wanted to make my work more known in the Netherlands and connect to the Dutch blogosphere and thought of focusing on Dutch speakers only. After all, I don't really want to travel anymore. So I asked the group of freelancers on our Ning forum. Elmine Wijnia again advised me to try Wordpress, but now I was more open to the suggestion. The huge advantage of Wordpress over Blogger is that you can set up additional pages. In blogger your blog is just one page. Suddenly it clicked that I could have two blogs, one Dutch and one English... And I would have the opportunity to learn about Wordpress and Blogger and compare them.

So far the decisions. Then the real tech work started. I postponed diving into the technicalities, which seemed huge (and were huge). With Miny, another freelancer from the ning group, we decided to set ourselves and each other a deadline January 31,2008.

I started found some great resources on the internet.
1. How to start/setup your own blog using Wordpress
2. How to upload a file to your website using the Fillezilla FTP client

The steps are clear. Unfortunately it didn't work! My webhost helped out. My blog loaded to in stead of straight to the domain, I hadn't thought of that. So I did not have to ask free support for Wordpress installation which is available too. One hurdle taken. Then I started to select a Wordpress theme. Downloading it and installing it was smooth. Every step that went well without set-backs was energizing. Like setting up the pages. (though I forgot to click on publish!) Again there are good resources on the web that really helped me. But to change the main image was hard. I couldn't find the code! And wow, Wordpress is very different from blogger. So I was very happy that Christian would help me out with a few things. I ended my journey with installing Google analytics to measure visitors statistics.

Concluding I might say that it is feasible to install a wordpress blog and add pages on your own domain yourself. Use and read various webresources (and you should have a bit of perseverance), but it's great to have some people you can run to when things are not working out. I'm amazed that with every succesfull online task that I figure out myself, I become more courageous to try and do things myself. (I used to call my husband for everything!). I think that's the habit that people who start their online interaction journey have to develop too.


Henry Addo said...

If you want to migrate your blogger contents to wordpress, you can use this plugin to migrate your images.

and follow this instruction to migrate the contents.Its a bit technical though but actually easy.

One super advantage wordpress has over blogger is that, there are loads of plugin for you to download for free. Any extra feature you want wordpress to do for you, just go on a plugin hunt. Wordpress is just sweet. Happy blogging with wordpress.

Joitske said...

Hi Henry, great to hear from you! Thanks for the instructions, I'm a little scared to move a whole blog, but who knows in future...
How's the wikipedia in Akan and Twi?

Henry Addo said...

Don't get scared. I moved my entire blogger posts to wordpress without any glitches.For the Akan and Twi wikis they're still active thanks to the active contributors.