Introduction

WordPress is a popular and well supported blogging platform and I’ve been using it for years for blogging. Now I am using it to build up a small website.

I am getting ready to launch an iPhone application called Cloud Browse and need a web presence to promote my company and the product. Since I am going to blog on this new site, using WordPress to do everything makes a lot of sense.

There are a lot of articles on the web talking about how to use WordPress as a Content Management System (CMS), but most of them are a jumbles list of tips and plugin suggestions.

I am going to write step by step how I got my site up and running, along with the plugins I used to and why I chose them. My site is very simple so hopefully it will be useful to others to get started before diving deeper with other articles.

The Basic Steps

Disclaimer: I am using WordPress 2.9.1, so if you are using an older version, the steps I am using may not work for you.

A plain WordPress install already include all you need to get a simple site up and running. Assuming you want a home page at http://example.com, and the blog at http://example.com/blog, just follow the steps below. I’ll describe what each step in detail after.

  1. Add two pages called “Home” and “Blog”

    Add Pages

  2. Go to Dashboard > Settings > Reading and set the Front Page Display to “A static page” with Front Page as “Home” and Post Page as “Blog”

    Setting Front Page to a Static Page

  3. Go to Dashboard > Settings > Permalinks, change Common settings to “Custom Structure” to “/blog/%year%/%monthnum%/%day%/%postname%/” and set Optional > Category Base to “blog/topics” and Optional > Tag Base to “blog/tags”

    Move Blog Permalinks to a Custom Path

If you’ve been following the steps, now you should have a basic web site displaying the “Home” page at the top level, and a regular blog under “/blog.” Read on to dive into what each of the steps actually did and how to customize each step.

The Gory Details

  1. The Home and Blog pages are required for step 2. The title of the home page isn’t important, but the contents of the page is what gets displayed at the top level of the site.The title of the Blog page is important since it is what determines the path the blog shows up under, more specifically, it is the slug of the page that determines the path. So if you want your blog to show up under “/diary” then make sure you name your page “Diary.”
  2. Front page displays is the important setting that allows the blog section of your site to be separate from the rest of the pages. WordPress will show the Front page as the top level content and the list of of blog postings when viewing the Posts page. WordPress won’t even display the contents of the Posts page so don’t bother putting any content in it.
  3. Using a custom permalink structure is important for two reasons. One is so users can see the title of the post within the url, which is also important for search engine ranking, and the second is so all blog posts shows up under “/blog”. You can customize the structure but be sure to start with “/blog.”Setting the Category base and Tag base is again to keep all blog related urls under “/blog.” If you don’t set this, the default url would look like “http://example.com/categories/a-category.”

Now you’ve got enough knowledge to start a basic site using WordPress. The next article will focus on creating a site structure by adding more pages and setup the navigation menu.

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