VirtualMV/Digital Learning Technologies/Blogging/WordPress
|Digital Learning Technologies|
|Blogging||Microblog | Blogs | WordPress | Google | In teaching and learning | Issues|
WordPress is a free and open source blogging tool and content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL. It has many features including a plug-in architecture and a template system. WordPress is used by over 14.7% of Alexa Internet's "top 1 million" websites and as of August 2011 manages 22% of all new websites. WordPress is currently the most popular CMS in use on the Internet.
It was first released on May 27, 2003, by Matt Mullenweg as a fork of b2/cafelog. As of December 2011, version 3.0 had been downloaded over 65 million times.
Activity: Read the WordPress features page
Creating a WordPress account
You will need to set up a Wordpress account before you can set up your blog. Go to http://wordpress.com and follow the instructions on the screen.
As part of this process you will also be asked to put the domain name you wish to use and the title of your blog. You can change the blog title later but not the domain name.
Please also ensure that you choose en-English as the language.
You can choose whether to have your blog picked up by the google search engines or not by ticking (or not) the Privacy check box.
Once you have clicked the sign up button you will need to wait for an activation email which will be sent to the email address you gave them. If you want to personalise your account, you can fill in your profile while you are waiting for it to come through. However, you don't have to do that
When the email comes through, click on the address that it contains and this will take you to a page which confirms that your account is active and which shows your password – you can now login.
When you first login you will be taken to the Dashboard. You can control everything about your blog from here – take some time to familiarise yourself with all the different parts of it.
The first thing you will probably wish to do is to go to the Appearance tab and set up the look of your blog – you can change it later if you wish. This tab shows all the themes that are available for you and at the top under current theme it shows you the one that your blog is currently using. Choose the one you want! I chose Andreaso4. When you choose your theme, it will show you it as a full page – click the activate link at the top and it will return you to the appearance page but will now show that your chosen them is the current theme.
You can further customise the appearance by clicking on the options beside the current theme display. Choose widgets to add things to your site like Links, Recent Posts etc.
Click on the Edit tab under Posts to make your first posting. Click on links to enter the url of other blogs or websites of interest.
- Acknowledgements: Parts of Creating a WordPress account from NMIT CC-BY
Page vs Post
While WordPress started out as a Blog Application, where posts are made and are displayed on a timeline, it also allows pages to be created. The pages allow you to create static but editable content. You can allow posts to be attached to a page or turn this off so that the page looks and feels like a normal web page. By changing the start page of your site Dashboard > Settings > General and change the "Site Address (URL)" you can make your web site look like a commercial web site - especially if you change the theme (under Appearance).
Widgets and Plugins
The functionality of WordPress can be extended by using Widgets and plugins. For example an RSS news feed can be added to a page, specialised menus can change the way the navigation works, calendars can be included and so on. A widget allows drag and drop placement of many plugins' extended capabilities, and users can rearrange widgets without knowing any web based code (PHP or HTML). As at February 2012 there were 18,314 plugins, 266,691,309 downloads. Check out the Plugin Directory for more information.
WordPress Site Options
As WordPress is Open Source there are several options you can choose from for your site:
- Have your Blog hosted
- Host your own WordPress blog.
- If you have a Web Host you may be able to install your own version of WordPress. This allows for maximum customisation (you can even change the php code if you want to but this is not recommended as upgrades can remove your alterations!!)
- Download the WordPress code from http://www.wordpress.org, and follow the installation instructions.
- Many sites provide a packaged way to add WordPress. For example http://www.hostable.com/ uses a user interface called cpanel, where a simple click will install WordPress.
- If you just want to play with WordPress on a stand-a-lone computer, in a virtual machne or in the cloud you can find a WordPress "stack" at http://bitnami.org/stacks
One real strength of WordPress is the seamless way updates are installed. A notification is displayed when you are logged in as administrator, and a simple click will download and install the upgrade.
You can restrict who has access to your pages by attaching a password to a post/page. Unfortunately, with the popularity of Wordpress it is becoming a target for internet hackers.
- "Security analysts have detected an ongoing attack that uses a huge number of computers from across the Internet to commandeer servers that run the WordPress blogging application. The unknown people behind the highly distributed attack are using more than 90,000 IP addresses to brute-force crack administrative credentials of vulnerable WordPress systems, researchers from at least three Web hosting services reported." Goodlin, D. (2013, Apr 13)
Unfortunately with the ability to add comments by others to your blog, spam comments are common. As administrator you will set up an email account and as additions are made to your blog they will be emailed to you. Spam comments are quite easy to spot and simply acknowledging that they are spam (a link from the email) will remove them from your blog. To help manage spam a plugin called Akismet is commonly used, that checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not.
Examples of WordPress
- Mogul ( http://www.mogul.co.nz/ ) a New Zealand based web development company that customises WordPress for client web sites.
- virtualMVBlog ( http://www.virtualmv.com/blog/ ) I use this to put "interesting" things into that don't have a place in my wiki. Using the categories allows me to find different things more easily, for example, I have a "Help Desk" category which I add to Posts relating to trouble shooting.
- Scott, A.D. (2012) WordPress for Education. Packt Publishing. ISBN-13: 978-1-84951-820-8.
- Available in Safari Books
- Become Expert with 40 WordPress Tutorials (Cameron, 2010, Dec 22)
- 22 Handy WordPress Code Snippets (Dale, 2010, Nov 19)
- Easily create multilingual sites with WordPress (Jung, 2011, Mar 20)
- Add a Superfish Dropdown menu to Wordpress (Kavin, 2011)
and for those of you who really want to see what is going on...
- Database schema. http://codex.wordpress.org/Database_Description#Database_Diagram
- WordPress. (2012, February 12). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 09:53, February 15, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=WordPress&oldid=476487989
- Goodlin, D. (2013, Apr 13) Huge attack on WordPress sites could spawn never-before-seen super botnet. Retrieved from http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/04/huge-attack-on-wordpress-sites-could-spawn-never-before-seen-super-botnet/
- Cameron, L (2010, Dec 22) Become Expert with 40 WordPress Tutorials. Become Expert with 40 WordPress Tutorials Become Expert with 40 WordPress Tutorials Retrieved from http://www.dzineblog360.com/2010/12/become-expert-with-40-wordpress-tutorials/
- Dale, O. (2010, Nov 19) 22 Handy WordPress Code Snippets. Retrieved from http://wplift.com/22-handy-wordpress-code-snippets
- Jung, J-B.(2011, March 11) Easily create multilingual sites with WordPress. Retrieved April 9, 2011 from from http://www.catswhocode.com/blog/easily-create-multilingual-sites-with-wordpress
- Kavin (2011, July 18) Add a Superfish Dropdown menu to Wordpress. Retrieved from http://kav.in/wordpress-superfish-dropdown-menu