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My soon to be self hosted WordPress blog is coming along very well. I’m taking my time with this, so that I understand fully what is involved and how to manage my blog site going forward. As I stated in Spouting 13, I will be using this blog to detail my progress of my self hosting WordPress install and set up. Afterwards, I will transfer everything over to my self-hosted blog and continue blogging from there.

I decided to use a subdomain of my site to do all of my testing, as I learned that it would be very easy to transfer my completed test blog to my main domain when the time is right. As such, I’ve completed the phase 2 of my sight: installing and playing around with plugins. I haven’t installed every plugin that I will need, but the two that I did install contributed to the learning process for me to know how to actually do the installation. The two plugins that I chose to start with is the All in One SEO Pack and Tweetmeme. Both of these plugins installed quite nicely. WordPress offers a great internal installer. And the beauty of all of this is that you do not need to install directly from WordPress if you choose not to. If you’re interested in doing it manually, you simply need to upload your plugins to the plugins folder on your server via FTP. Not that I’m afraid to do it manually, after all, I’m quite proud of having installed WordPress manually. As noted in my first phase, Spouting 13: WordPress Update, the installation was a piece of cake. I really only had to change 8 lines in one file called: wp-config.php and then upload that file with the rest of the WordPress application files to my root server via an FTP client. Now that I understand the manual process, I don’t have a problem with letting WordPress automate it for me. Another nice feature is that WordPress will decompress the .zip file the plugins come in as part of the auto installation process. I simply can not believe how easy this has been. I also installed a different theme. It’s not the one that I will be using, but I also wanted to understand how theme installations were handled. The fact that WordPress is setup to allow the user to search for and install plugins within its own dashboard is wonderful. This prevents the user from having to go to another site. Yet, if the plugin you want to use isn’t available within the dashboard’s plugins page, then you can still simply upload the .zip file and have WordPress take care of the rest!

As of now, Tweetmeme,was the easiest of the two plugins to understand. Although I have the All in One SEO Pack installed, I’m not sure if it’s really working or how to determine if it is or isn’t. I did a test post, but I didn’t see anything beyond the general stuff that appears with a post. This means that I will simply play around with the plugin a bit more, visit the forums and see what I can discern. For those of you reading this and considering the same, some resources that I found to help me out with this part of my installation were:

My Google seach string for the “must have” plugins for a WordPress blog

WordPress Plugins Page

How To Make My Blog’s 18 Most Downloaded Plugins Ever

Thesis Theme Plugins Customization

Quick Online Tips’ Must Have WordPress Plugins

Business 2 Press’ 30 Must Have WordPress Plugins

Most of the information is repeated in the above links, but I put them in the order that I found them to be most useful. With regards to the Thesis theme, I’m not sure if I will be going this route. It’s a highly customizable theme for WordPress with a very clean structure. If you like to control everything and have the time to invest, then this is the theme for you! My personal opinion, and I could be wrong, but it’s really for those that are more high end users. I’m keeping my eye out on it, maybe one day, but I really like more visually laid out themes, like Elegant Themes, and while I’m still on the fence about which direction I’ll take my blog, I am leaning more towards Elegant Themes. That being said, I will be saving my theme of choice to the very end. As far as plugins are concerned, I would enjoy reading anyone’s suggestions on any other plugins that I should consider using, whether they are on the lists noted by the url’s above or not. I make no promises, but to check them out!