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When it comes to websites, WordPress is an entrepreneur’s best friend. The free, open-source content management system allows small businesses to take control of their website and save thousands of dollars. WordPress makes it possible for you to build your own website in minutes, and maintain it yourself after it’s built. And while it’s fairly simple to use, there is a bit of a learning curve.
The first thing you should know is where to go. WordPress.com is the free WordPress blogging platform. That’s fine if all you want is a free, hosted blog. However, for small business websites, your source is WordPress.org. You will need your own domain name and website hosting account, but you will have complete control over your own website.
So let’s get started. Here is my short list of WordPress resources for small businesses wanting to create and control their own website. The list is by no means complete, so please add your favorite resources in the comment section below.
Getting Started with WordPress
WordPress Versions – How Many and What’s the Diff? – Great rundown of the different versions of WordPress and which one’s right for you.
Your New WordPress Website Step By Step. Beginner’s Guide – Simple basic instructions for beginners
WPBeginner – The Beginner’s Guide for WordPress. Offers tips, tools, resources and suggestions. Leans to the blogging side of WordPress, but lots of good stuff here.
Creating a Website with WordPress – My own three-part tutorial on setting up your own small business website with WordPress.
WordPress Codex – The official WordPress help resource. Includes all the basic stuff, including how to install and get started in WordPress.
WordPress Video Tutorials from Weblog Tools – Collection of tutorials that you may need to refine and search further.
Twenty Ten: A Walkthrough – Video tutorial of how use and customize WordPress’ default theme.
WordPress runs on themes. It’s what makes a site look pretty, but more importantly gives the site function. Themes are easy to switch out, but their functionality can vary significantly. Be careful with frequent switching of themes. Here are a couple of sources for your website theme. The WordPress.org site has more themes than you can imagine, these links help narrow down the choices.
25 Fresh, Clean and Unique WordPress Themes – and Free
40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes – All Free.
Plugins are WordPress add-ons that enhance the function and usefulness of WordPress sites. There are lots of them, both free and premium. If you’re just getting started with WordPress, don’t go crazy on them yet. Learn a little first and then add them gradually.
10 Essential WordPress Plugins For New WordPress Installation – Don’t be fooled by the article’s focus on blogs. This is good stuff for websites too.
WordPress Plugin Directory – This is WordPress’ own repository of free plugins. Some good, some not-so-good. The advantage of this site is that WordPress collects reviews and ratings from the user community.
THE 15 BEST WORDPRESS PLUGINS TO USE IN 2011 – Thousands of new plugins are introduced each year. Here are the ones you should consider for 2011.
Search Engine Optimization
Overall, WordPress is great for search engine optimization. But it can be made better with a few simple tricks and plugins. Here are a couple of links to get you started.
WordPress SEO – Dutch WordPress developer Joost de Valk with seven useful search engine optimization tutorials. He focuses on the blog aspect of WordPress, but still great stuff for full websites.
The Ultimate Guide to WordPress Theme Search Engine Optimization – A 10-part series on tweaking your WordPress theme. Beginners may not be able to follow some of this stuff. If not, bookmark it and come back to it later.