Starting a WordPress 3 Blog from Scratch, Part 1

I confess to not being a complete beginner at WordPress. I have two blogs already that I mentioned in my first post that I created last summer. While researching and creating those, I wrote a series of five blog posts called Dipping a Toe into WordPress on my Tech Ronin TypePad blog. If you are here to learn more about WordPress, you may want to check them out starting with my first post.

My first two WordPress blogs are running under the Thesis theme using WordPress 2.9.4, currently. I was scared to upgrade them to WordPress 3, so started this new blog as a trial that hopefully will become my personal blog here on out. Having more than one blog is something I’ve become accustomed to since starting my very first blog in 2003 on Movable Type.

I really like the look of the plain vanilla Thesis theme, which my and blogs use with only minor modifications. I love the white space. But, there are definite advantages to using the default theme. You get the absolute best compatibility with WordPress itself and best compatibility with the most books, blog posts, images, widgets and plug-ins by using the default theme.

I own the 2nd edition of WordPress for Dummies available on iBooks for around $11 and Kindle for $15. Lisa Sabin-Wilson does a great job and she spends time teaching you how to modify your own theme. Now, she is referring to WP 2.8 I think, but still it is much easier to understand the teachings using the default blog than using Thesis which has lots of unique power-user features in its plumbing that I don’t have time to learn.

If you want what Thesis has, you might want to buy it outright. I am now on my third WordPress blog and feel I have the time to learn from the ground up a bit more and live with less features to get simplicity and compatibility.

The Default Theme: Twenty Ten. But on with the post. The first thing you see on a brand new WordPress 3.0 blog is the default theme that includes a great photo across the top. You get 8 photos to choose from in your dashboard under Appearance/Header.

The Photo. While the default photo is awesome, I don’t want to be among the 9000 blogs using it or one of the other 7 default photos. Keep the trees and winding road for a while if you like. But, in the end, blogging is self-expression and representing yourself and your style. I bet there are a lot of other photos already available for this theme that are free to use with attribution. Try Flickr for openers.

I chose to use one of my own photos as a start. Inferior to the trees and windy road, but it will do in a pinch. I cropped this photo of the San Francisco Bay with San Francisco in the background. Improving on it will be a challenge that I will continue to pursue. I can do better and digital photography is pretty easy.

Dreamhost. Before I go, I should mention that I’m using Dreamhost, one of the top recommended and used web hosts that is recommended by both WordPress and WordPress for Dummies. And, it’s only about $10/mo for a very generous set of capabilities. Dreamhost staff know about WordPress and can supply answers to some of my and possibly your dumb questions that we all have when doing these kinds of things.

I’m Using a Subdomain. Also, I long ago registered the domain and chose to create a subdomain for my first name so that I would have this nice URL: Better, really, than from a readability standpoint. This cost nothing extra to setup.

Getting this Blog Up and Running. Once I defined a subdomain using Dreamhosts Dashboard in the evening, I also created one email address and then slept on it knowing that it takes a few hours for a new domain to become available.

Some time the next day, I got an email saying my subdomain was up and running. I then did a one-click WordPress 3.01 install and was given the option to install it at which I did.

An hour or so later I got an email with a link to my WordPress dashboard. I clicked it and saw the dashboard. Very nice. Then I typed into Safari to take a peek at my new creation.

That motivated me to change the default blog post number 1 that appears, to entitle my blog and few other good things. I loved the default photo as described above. And today, Day 2 I am writing this post.

In business. Good stuff.

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2 thoughts on “Starting a WordPress 3 Blog from Scratch, Part 1”

  1. Janet, take a look at “weaver”, it is a child theme of Twenty Ten and both the sites above have this child integrated with 20/10. I am really digging the cool things to mod on of several themes within the theme. Recently the developer has added “transparent” to the color and this can allow you to make what are called the “big backgrounds” styles.
    BTW, I wouldn’t use that background pink myself, but I’m digging it!

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