Steps to Hosting Your Own WordPress Blog

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 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:

  1. I needed to create an ftp user using Yahoo’s admin panel (easy!)
  2. 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)
  3. 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, 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!

  1. I installed and activated some basic plugins.
    • 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.
  2. The plugins were:
  3. 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”)
  4. Installed and activated the appropriate theme! In our case, Madison choose Orange Sunrise. This required me to
    1. download the theme
    2. unzipp it
    3. ftp the files to the “themes” folder on Yahoo’s servers
    4. activate it on the wp-admin panel
  5. Create a tagline
    • For SEO reasons, I included the words “Real Estate” and “Malibu” but my phrasing could easily be improved!
  6. Unselect “comment author must have previously approved comment!”
    • Want to do everything possible to encourage comments early and often! 🙂
  7. Organize sidebar items via the widget feature (very slick!)
    • 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.

Flaming for Ardell

There’s definitely a tech bent to today’s list…

  1. Starting off with Niki’s interesting take on the launch. Niki runs Homethinking, a site dedicated to letting users review agents. I had a chance to talk with him at SF Connect over a beer (or two or three) and got to learn a fair bit about his site. It is definitely worth checking out as there is a lot to the backend of what he’s doing and it is not necessarily what you might fear (assuming you’re an agent!).
  2. Inside Google talks about a fun press release from Intermedia that talks to the snarky discussions that Galen and Robbie have been having around online office applications. Tech blogger Om Malik gives his reason for not using google’s new service.
  3. Others are asking if Google services are joined too tightly? I’d be really curious to get Robbie’s take on that.
  4. Thinking of Google, Ardell, does it help that Google could could be adding 1000 people in Bellevue? (via Greg)
  5. I’m not the only one thinking of Ardell… I noticed someone trying to start a flame war on Craigslist over Ardell (look for the post title: “Get the feeling Realtors read from a script?”)… It was great to see a few people come to her defense and unlike so much of the stuff over there, the flamewar never materialized.
  6. I’m all over microformats, so I was glad to see someone write this post about understanding microformats for the non-technical web professional or marketer. Most relevant to real estate is the hListing format currently being deployed by Edgeio.
  7. Watch out when Greg’s talking about rethinking everything. 🙂
  8. Also, considering Greg’s opinion on hosted blogging platforms is not exactly private knowledge, I thought he might enjoy this comic from Chris Pirillo
  9. The blogger from from hismove (a christian real estate network???) points out an interesting chart from the NY Times displaying the inflation adjusted home prices in the US since 1890.
  10. Not only are the For Sale By Locals people ready to launch, but these people are serious about going international. Interestingly, they will be launching their official site at a conference in Bolivia. Their temp site looks really bad in firefox, which doesn’t bode well for them in my mind, but considering the massive activity on their blog as of late, I’m definitely interested in seeing what they produce.