Week 2 | WordPress

Homework | Week 1 REVIEW  

  1. Register as a user of this blog. Post a comment to this blog post to let me know that you are registered and include the address (url) for your  ”wordpress blog”. Each week following this you will post a link to your homework on your own WordPress blog in the comments section of this blog.
  2. Go to WordPress and create a blog that you will use to house your homework for this class. Under appearances, select themes and choose a new theme. Add widgets, fill out the personal info on the blog and create a blog that shows some personality. Add the Delicious and Flickr widgets.
  3. Fill out the student questionnaire.
  4. Create a del.icio.us account for yourself. Tag three Web Sites that focus on WordPress tutorials (example: how to create a WordPress post, how to change and manipulate and/or change a WordPress theme, etc.) and write a note in Delicious about why you think each one would be a good resource for this class. *Make sure you also add the tag: digitalmediaproductionramapo2013 as well as other relevant tags.
  5. Create a Gravatar account. Take a photo of yourself, upload it to Gravatar and link it to your WordPress blog using the email you used to create the blog.
  6. Create a Flickr account.
  7. You are required to purchase a domain name and web hosting space for this class. This is where you will post and maintain all of your work for the semester. My recommended hosting company is Bluehost but you may purchasing hosting space anywhere you choose. The domain name should be your first name, last name .com. Example: www.maryjones.com Make sure you obtain a domain name and web hosting account by the next class. Bring in the username and password for your account.
  8. You will need access to the Adobe Creative Suite for homework assignments. You can come in to use the school computers or you can purchase Adobe Creative Cloud for $19.99/month (student discount).

Week 2 – September 9th

  • Student Websites
  • Wp-Admin Panel
  • Installing WordPress
  • Selecting Themes
  • Adding Pages
  • Creating Posts
  • Adding Media

What is WordPress

WordPress is an open source CMS (content management system), often used as a blog publishing application powered by PHP and MySQL. It has many features including a plugin architecture and a templating system. Used by over 12% of the 70,000,000 biggest websites, WordPress is the most popular CMS in use today.

Once installed, WordPress allows you to manage content, pages, media, create menus, etc. Generally, it gives you power to take control of your website without your web administrator’s help.

This 5-minute video provides a brief introduction to the WordPress content management system and demonstrates why it is the most popular web publishing platform today.

Covered in this video:

  • Brief history of WordPress.
  • Why it’s much more than a blogging tool.
  • The power of “Open Source.”
  • How WordPress works.
  • Six reasons to choose WordPress.

Why Choose WordPress?

  • Free
  • Open Source: Easy to find, easy to use, easy to share

Findability is the end goal for any website. If a tree falls in the forest and no one saw it fall, did it really fall?

If you want to get indexed on Google, WordPress is a great way to do it. WordPress is built to be a magnet for search engines and other online indexes to the extent that if you don’t want your WordPress site indexed, you have to take steps to prevent it from happening.

WordPress has great search and share optimization. Plugins like WordPress SEO, AddThis, and Facebook for WordPress give any site the opportunity to be seen.

WordPress is easily findable, accessible, and provides shareable information. When reading or viewing content on a WordPress site, you are able to access and interact with that content through comments and RSS feeds.

  • Mature
  • Customizable: Easy to publish, easy to configure, easy to maintain

WordPress is at the pinacle of open source. It is built, evolved, and maintained by the people that use it and is in a constant state of forward-moving change. .

WordPress has undergone several fundamental changes that have made applications even easier to use and has become more powerful and diverse.

  • Easy to Maintain: Easy to build, easy to augment, easy to evolve

With the advent of themes, building a custom WordPress site from scratch takes less time than with any other platform. WordPress is a simple interface between the site owner, the database, and the end user.

  • Large Community

The Bottom Line

WordPress offers one of the best available solutions for most websites today. It’s a great tool to use and has both the ease of use and the advanced features to suit pretty much any need. And just when you think your need isn’t met, a theme, a plugin, or an extension is there to fill the void.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

WordPress.org is where you can download the latest version of WordPress for installationon your own domain. It is also where you can find documentation and support, and add-ons to customize your site.

WordPress.com is where you can set up a blog under the wordpress.com domain (yourblog.wordpress.com). The basic service is free and supported by advertising, premium services like your own domain name are available for a fee.

Sample Sites

Some people think they don’t want to use a system like WordPress because they don’t want there site to look like a “template” or a “blog”. Basic WordPress sites do share similar layouts but there are thousands of free and commercial themes that you can use and, if you want to get into more advanced techniques, completely customize. Here are some examples of sites that were built with WordPress:

Steve Jobs on Failure (1994)

Setting Up Your Website

  • This tutorial will guide you through the WordPress install on Bluehost.
  • Go to Bluehost.com and click on Control Panel Login
  • In the ACCOUNT LOGIN area, enter your url and password
  • Click login

Installing WordPress with MOJO Marketplace

  1. Navigate to the MOJO Marketplace section inside cPanel.
  2. Click the One-Click Installs icon.
    One-Click Installs
  3. Choose WordPress.
    WordPress Icon
  4. Click the Start button.
    Start a brand new installation
  5. Choose the domain name to install it to.
    Select installation domain

    In the field next to the doamin, you can enter a subfolder such as ‘blog’ or leave it blank if you want the site’s main page to be the blog.

  6. Read through the license and service agreements and check the boxes.
  7. Select the Install Now button.
    Install Now button 

Using WordPress: Log in the Admin Panel

To access your WordPress administration panel, you will (in most cases) add “wp-admin” at the end of your domain name in your web browser.

For example: http://www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin/

When you installed WordPress through the one-click install on Mojo, they gave you  a username and password. Use that to login to your WordPress admin panel.

If you are successful, you will see a screen similar to the one below:


The Dashboard

This video provides an overview of the WordPress Administration Panel which provides access to the functions and features of your WordPress-powered website.

Covered in this video:

  • Familiarizing yourself with the WordPress Dashboard.
  • How to customize the WordPress interface just for you.
  • Hide Dashboard modules you rarely use.
  • The collapsible navigation menu and functions.
  • The default modules that are available to users.
  • How to use the QuickPress module to quickly create a new Post.

View the video here.

WordPress Themes

WordPress themes control the aesthetic design of your website. This includes more than just color, but also fonts, layouts, columns, and much more. When you first installed WordPress, it installed the default WordPress theme. There are all types of themes available and hundreds, if not thousands, of free themes as well. Many themes are developed for specific types of businesses or personal websites and you can search through those themes in your dashboard.

There are many places where WordPress themes are available. You can find many themes at the official WordPress site, inside your WordPress Dashboard, and many other third parties as well. Some themes are free, other themes from private third parties may charge money, and some themes are free but require you to carry their copyright information.

WordPress, out of the box, doesn’t look ‘pretty.’ The front of your WordPress site, when first installed, is basic, simple, and rather boring.

WordPress Twenty Twelve Theme

WordPress’ Twenty-Twelve Theme

That’s because the theme that comes pre-installed with WordPress is very basic, simple, and boring. It’s a RESPONSIVE THEME. Responsive Themes have a flexible foundation with fluid grid system that adapts your website to mobile devices and the desktop or any other viewing environment. This theme is still pretty plain. That’s the theme of the theme: simple. It’s meant to be uncomplicated.

But that’s not really how we want our site to be, right? We want colors, and cool tricks, and we want to stand out!

WordPress allows you change your theme.  You can choose something like this:

Portfolio Theme from ThemeFoundry

Portfolio Theme from theThemeFoundry.com

Or this:

WordPress - Annasbay.org

Custom WordPress theme for annasbay.org

But the backend of your website, the place that gives you the most power, still looks like this:

WordPress Dashboard - Basic

Out of the box WordPress Dashboard

The Beauty of WordPress Themes

WordPress themes change the aesthetic look of your website, the theme of your website, without changing the core functionality of WordPress.

Choose a theme PRIOR to installing content on your website! Each these looks an acts differently so settle on a theme FIRST.

In summary: themes dictate the way that your WordPress website looks. You can consider it the skin of your site, or the look and feel of your site, it’s the eye-candy that you hope website visitors ooh and ahh about.

Changing your layout: Finding a new WordPress Theme

WordPress has thousands of themes readily available to be installed directly from your WordPress Dashboard. You will need to login to your Dashboard.  Once you have logged in, select “Appearance” on the left menu and the “Themes” page will automatically load. Click on the “Install Themes” tab to find a new theme.


What different Themes are available?
There are a few different ways to find a new theme on the Install Themes tab.  Click on the “Featured” and “Newest” links as this will show you some of the most popular and up to date themes available.


If you click on the “Featured” link a page similar to this one will load that will allow you to look at different themes that WordPress is featuring.

How do I search for a Theme?

On the “Search” link you will be able to search for themes using terms or by selecting the features you want the theme to have:


How you search depends on what is important to you.  Do you need a dark color?  Two columns?  Columns that have Flexible Widths (meaning you can easily change the width of your website)?  You can try different combinations of searches to find the theme that is just right for you.  Sometimes with the search option in WordPress it is hard to find the exact theme you are looking for, so if it does not find the theme you had in mind you can also scroll through the themes available in the “Featured” and “Newest” links we mentioned above.

Installing a new theme in the WordPress Dashboard

Log into your WordPress Dashboard, click on Appearance and then themes.  Once you find the theme that you want to install, click the “Install” button link under the theme and the pop-up box below will appear.


Click on the “Install Now” button, and a page will load that confirms that the theme has been installed.


Go back to the “Manage Themes” tab, the theme you just installed will be available to use.


Click on “Activate” under the new theme, and that theme will now be the one used on your website.

Finding a new theme online

While WordPress comes with hundreds of themes available to be automatically installed through the Dashboard, you may not be able to find one that meets your needs perfectly.  With thousands of themes available online, to help you get started below I’ve outlined how to find more WordPress themes online.

What types of themes are available online?
There are two main types of themes available fro you to use:  free and paid.  Look into the free themes first since there’s no point in paying for a theme if you can find a free one that you like.  Many free themes will have a line at the bottom of your theme giving credit to the person that made it, but beyond that you can fully customize them.  If you purchase a theme, some sites will sell a theme by itself while at other sites you will pay a yearly fee to have full access to their themes.

Where do I find themes online?
Many websites offer WordPress themes and a simple Google search returns millions of links to websites for WordPress themes .  To help you get started, below I’veoutlined some of the more popular theme sites.  Themes commonly used by WordPress users:

Free Themes

Paid Themes

Once you have downloaded the theme you want to use, you will need to install the theme. Most themes will contain documentation on how to manually install the theme and any plugins the theme may require you to install.

Installing a WordPress Theme from the Internet

Any theme you find online can easily be installed using your WordPress dashboard. You will need to download the theme to your local computer, usually a compressed zip file, and then proceed to upload it.

Installing a Theme Manually in WordPress
Download the theme from the internet.  Once you have downloaded the compressed file, in the WordPress dashboard, click on “Appearance” which will bring you to the “Themes” page.upload1

Click on “Install Themes“, them proceed to click “Upload


Click on the “Browse” button and find the file you saved on your computer. Once you have located the zip file, click “Open” and then “Install Now


Your new theme may take a few minutes to upload. Once the upload process is complete you will see the following screen. You can now preview how the theme will appear on your website.


Click “Preview” to preview how your website will look with the new theme.


Once you determine if you like how your website look, click “Activate” under the theme and this will enable the theme to publish to your website.


Your website it now using your new theme! You can now visit your website in the browser and make sure the theme displays properly.

Changing Your WordPress Theme

You can change your WordPress theme, you can. It’s a simple process done through your WordPress dashboard.

appearance_theme To change the theme, you will need to log into your WordPress Dashboard. Once you are logged in, select “appearance” on the left menu pane.
installtheme3 Be sure to click on the Manage Themes tab. It will automatically display.

You can change to any theme you may have installed by simply clicking on the “activate” button. Selecting a new theme will not affect your content BUT it can impact whether widgets and plugins functions. Once you have changed your theme, it’s wise to visit your website in a web browser and test it to make sure it is functioning correctly. If it is not, you may need to disable some plugins or widgets that may not be supported.


Design, Sustainability, Change 

A Little Inspiration.

WordPress: What is a Plugin?

(WordPress Plugin) Plugins are pieces of code created with the purpose of expanding the functionalities of a software, in this case of WordPress. There are literally thousands of WordPress plugins already created, solving a wide range of problems and needs.
They are third party pieces of software you are able to install and use on your WordPress website. Plugins are typically developed to add additional functionality to your website that is not included in the standard installation of WordPress. Some examples of plugins are image galleries, contact forms, and banner rotators.

What are Widgets?
Widgets provide a way to arrange your sidebar content without having to alter your actual code of your website. Widgets can be a calendar, search bar, or many other types as well.

Searching for & Installing Plugins

One of the best features of WordPress is the ability to customize your website with Plugins. Plugins are easily downloaded and installed and within minutes. You can easily add customized functionality to your website.

  • Login to your WordPress Dashboard. Once logged in, click “Add New” under “Plugins”
  • Search for a plugin using the search feature.
  • If you wish to use the plugin after reading about it, click on “Install Now”
  • After the plugin has been successfully installed, you will need to click “activate plugin” to begin using it. To change the settings of your plugin, click on the “Settings” menu option on the left  hand side to access the settings for your new plugin.

Updating a WordPress Plugin

Plugins like any other piece of software need to be updated from time to time. When a new version of the plugin is released you may need to update the plugin. Most plugins are updated to patch a security risk, or to add more features to the plugin. It is important to keep your plugins up to date for security purposes.

How do I know if a plugin needs to be updated?

Log into your WordPress Dashboard and select the plugins menu option. If you have a Plugin that needs to be updated, the plugins menu will have a number next to it.

On the Plugins page, you will see a message letting you know there is a new version available.

Click on the “update automatically” link, and it will lead you to a page to automatically install the update for that plugin.

Recommended Plugins for WordPress

Here is a list of some basic WordPress plugins to help you get started. There’s hundred more available but here are three you may want to use:

WP Super Cache – This is a caching plugin for WordPress.  One of the main issues we see with WordPress sites is that if caching is not enabled, it causes some sites to load slower and use more resources.  It is highly recommended to install Super Cache to help prevent these issues.

W3 Total Cache – This is an even more advanced caching plugin for WordPress. It’s recommended to use this caching plugin if you’re having issues with a large amount of 404 errors on your WordPress site.

Limit Login Attempts – This is a plugin that will limit the number of failed login attempts allowed, and will temporarily ban the IP address from trying anymore login attempts.

Captcha – This is a CAPTCHA plugin that operates by asking simple math questions to prove a human is filling out a form instead of a spam bot.

Google XML Sitemaps  – To help your Search Engine Optimization and increase your visibility to customers, it is recommended you use the official Google XML Sitemaps widget.  This will create a sitemap for your website which search engines look for when they crawl your site.

Akismet – This is a plugin that will help block spam from being posted in your Comments section.

Finding and Installing Widgets in WordPress

Widgets add functionality to the sidebar of your WordPress website. Follow the steps below to add new widgets to your website.

1. First, login to your WordPress dashboard. After you have logged in, click “Widgets” under “Appearance

This screen contains three areas of interest:

  • Available Widgets
  • Inactive Widgets
  • Primary Widget Area

How to activate Widgets

Widgets that are listed in the Primary Widget Area are widgets on your website the you are currently using. To use another widget, simply drag the widget you want to use from the Available or Inactive list to the Primary Widget Area. Your theme may contain multiple areas that use widgets. If this is the case, you can add widgets into the Secondary, First Footer, and Second Footer areas.

Changing the Order in which Widgets Appear
Widgets load in the order in which they are listed in the sections. If you wish to change the order of the widgets simply drag the widgets under “Primary Widget” to the order you wish to have them display.

How to use the WordPress Text Widget

The WordPress Text widget is the easiest way to add custom HTML code to your WordPress sidebar.

In this article, I’ll show you how to add an “About us” section to your sidebar.

  1. Log into your WordPress Dashboard
  2. Under Appearance, click “Widgets”
  3. Find the “Text” widget under the “Available Widgets” section, and drag and drop it to your “Main Sidebar” section.
  4. A window will appear in which you can type in a title and text for your widget. Enter your text, and then click “Save” and then click “Close”.
  5. Your widget is now saved and is visible on your website!

Customizing your WordPress Sidebar

How to add images and image links to your WordPress sidebar
Written by Scott MitchellViews: 515Published: Jan 25, 2013
The sidebar is a wonderful piece of real estate on your site to place relevant content that may not fit directly on a page or post. Most content in a sidebar is text, however you can certainly add some diversity by making some of those text links into buttons or image links. Adding an image link to your WordPress sidebar is not much different than adding any other meta data. Below is a quick tutorial on how to add image links to your sidebar in your WordPress site.

Adding image links to your sidebar in WordPress
Log into your WordPress Admin dashboard.
Once logged into the Admin area, look to the left hand menu and click on the Appearance menu category. From there, click on the Editor sub-option to continue.
This brings you to the main Editor page for all php and css files for your current theme. Look to the menu on the right-hand side and scroll down until you see the Sidebar option. Click on that link to open the sidebar.php file in the editor.
select editor menu option
With the sidebar.php file open in the editor, you can edit the code and add your image. The snippet of code below is an image link that points to the XML reference site. Notice the tag uses the URL of an image on the test site. This is an image that was uploaded to the hosting account, which you can do either with the cPanel File Manager or by FTP. You can also point it to a location on another site if they allow you to do so.

Adding image link code to file
Once you have entered the code and ensured your image is in the right location, click on the Update File button to save the change and activate the code. Below is a shot of the test site with the XML image link pointing to the XMP site.
image sample after adding


  1. Install WordPress on your web hosting space. Each week you will post a link to your homework on your own WordPress website in the comments section of this blog.
  2. Go to your DASHBOARD and install a theme (you may not use the default theme) under appearances, select themes and choose a new theme.
  3. Fill out the personal info on the site in the SETTINGS on the dashboard.
  4. Add the following PAGES to your website:
  • About
  • Contact
  • Ramapo College
  • Digital Media Production
  • Create additional PAGES for the other class your taking this semester
  1. On the ABOUT page, add a photo of yourself, an artist statement and a bio. Have the image ALIGN LEFT. You should UPLOAD your headshot onto Flickr and insert it into your ABOUT page using INSERT URL.  When upload your photo to Flickr, change the title and description, create a set, upload to photostream. Click on the photo you want to use, shift click and select view original image, choose the size you want the image to be, shift click on the image ad COPY image URL.
  2. On the CONTACT page, add a contact plugin form. Try searching for Contact Form 7 in PLUGINS under POPULAR.
  3. ON the RAMAPO COLLEGE page create a list of all your RAMAPO fall 2013 classes.
  4. On the DIGITAL MEDIA DESIGN page, create a list with the following information:
  • Week 1 Homework | Due 9.13.13
  • Week 2 Homework | Due 9.20.13
  • Week 3 Homework | Due 9.27.13
  • Week 4 Homework
  • Week 5 Homework
  • Week 6 Homework
  • Week 7 Homework
  • Week 8 Homework

Create a POST called WEEK 1 HOMEWORK | Due 9.13.13

  • On that post write links to all your homework. Copy the URL. Go to the page  you created called DIGITAL MEDIA PRODUCTION. Highlight Week1 Homework, click link and paste in the blog URL.

Create a POST called WEEK 2 HOMEWORK | Due 9.20.13

  • On that post write links to all your homework. Copy the URL. Go to the page  you created called DIGITAL MEDIA PRODUCTION. Highlight Week 2 Homework, click link and paste in the blog URL.
  1. List the Theme you added to your site
  2. List the PLUGINS you added to your site (Add at least SIX plugins).
  3. List any widgets you added
  4. Website URL
  5. List your Delicious url
  6. On your del.icio.us account tag three Web Sites that focus on WordPress, WordPress themes, plugins, widgets or anything we learned in class today, and write a note in the Delicious comments section about why you think each one would be a good resource for this class. ALSO, add week 2 in your comments section so that I can keep track of your comments. *Make sure you also add the tag: digitalmediaproductionramapo2013  AS WELL AS add additional tags.

17 thoughts on “Week 2 | WordPress

      Create a del.icio.us account for yourself. Tag three Web Sites that focus on WordPress tutorials (example: how to create a WordPress post, how to change and manipulate and/or change a WordPress theme, etc.) and write a note in Delicious about why you think each one would be a good resource for this class. *Make sure you also add the tag: digitalmediaproductionramapo2013 as well as other relevant tags.

      Create a del.icio.us account for yourself. Tag three Web Sites that focus on WordPress tutorials (example: how to create a WordPress post, how to change and manipulate and/or change a WordPress theme, etc.) and write a note in Delicious about why you think each one would be a good resource for this class. *Make sure you also add the tag: digitalmediaproductionramapo2013 as well as other relevant tags.

      Go to WordPress and create a blog that you will use to house your homework for this class. Under appearances, select themes and choose a new theme. Add widgets, fill out the personal info on the blog and create a blog that shows some personality. Add the Delicious and Flickr widgets.

    1. http://www.therealtg.com isn’t a link to the site you were supposed to create for this class.

      Create a del.icio.us account for yourself. Tag three Web Sites that focus on WordPress tutorials (example: how to create a WordPress post, how to change and manipulate and/or change a WordPress theme, etc.) and write a note in Delicious about why you think each one would be a good resource for this class. *Make sure you also add the tag: digitalmediaproductionramapo2013 as well as other relevant tags.

      Create a Flickr account.

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