It has been so long since I initially set up a blog on a new server that I had to pretty much re-learn everything in order to build InsideBu. The process isn’t all that hard if you’re comfortable with terms like FTP and database. If not, there are many great blogging options for people who will host your blog for you (The Top Producer team I work with will happily host a WordPress blog under your URL as part of their real estate website product!) and both WordPress.com and Blogger offer good, free blogs (hosted under their URL).
BTW, I feel compelled to mention that this blog post is LONG LONG LONG overdue as I promised it way back on December 15, 2005, but never could put together all the steps into a blog post and never had the need to build a new blog from scratch.
Here are my running notes taken directly from a Google Doc I used to document the process (but cleaned up to add links and delete out usernames/passwords)…
We choose to use Yahoo Hosting because I’ve heard good things from other bloggers about the service. I was less concerned about the price (good hosting options for a blog differ by at most $5/month), and really focused on ease-of-use. I’d heard that Yahoo has a really easy install for WordPress (WP) blogs and that definitely appealed to me!
However, I was immediately disappointed that the blog they install was an old version of WP and not in the root directory. This would mean that I would need to do a manual upgrade before even blogging! OUCH! Anyway, I ended up bypassing Yahoo’s “easy install” option and instead, I installed the latest version of WP from scratch.
The manual install required three extra steps:
- I needed to create an ftp user using Yahoo’s admin panel (easy!)
- I needed to created an “empty” MySQL database (which also required me to install PHPMyAdmin) and note the name of this database (again, all of this was done through Yahoo’s admin panel)
- I needed to install use an FTP client (I used the free and open source FileZilla)
None of these were particularly hard and I noticed that Yahoo provided help files for all three of these tasks should you need that kind of thing.
With the back-end ready, I simply followed the instructions for the 5 minute install of WordPress…
This required me to create an admin profile for the blog (again, pretty straightforward).
At this point, InsideBu.com was live and functional, but with a generic theme and no plugins…
Here are some of the steps I took to spice up the blog and get it ready for launch!
- I installed and activated some basic plugins.
The plugins were:
I tried to update and optimze the permalink structure, but this screwed up something on the new version of WordPress and I couldn’t find the .htaccess file to update (long story!), so I gave up on this one for the time being and used the generic linking structure (i.e. “?p=33”)
Installed and activated the appropriate theme! In our case, Madison choose Orange Sunrise. This required me to
- To install I simply used FileZilla to drag and drop the files from my hard-drive to Yahoo’s servers. Once configured for a server, FileZilla operates somewhat like the Explorer tool on Windows.
- To activate, I simply clicked the “activate” button within the “Plugins” tab of InsideBu’s Admin panel.
Create a tagline
- download the theme
- unzipp it
- ftp the files to the “themes” folder on Yahoo’s servers
- activate it on the wp-admin panel
Unselect “comment author must have previously approved comment!”
- For SEO reasons, I included the words “Real Estate” and “Malibu” but my phrasing could easily be improved!
Organize sidebar items via the widget feature (very slick!)
- Want to do everything possible to encourage comments early and often! 🙂
- I’ve put links at the very top for now closely followed by comments. As the site gets more comments, I’d flip this order in order to encourage community participation!
Those were my steps to creating a brand-new blog using the free and open-source tools available from WordPress. It is probably too complicated for most agents, but probably not too complicated for many of agents that are reading this blog.