Chapter 8 - Building proficiency with Wordpress

Chapter 8 web version

In the book version of this chapter we will cover:

  • Choosing a host and downloading to your computer
  • Transferring your .com site to .org
  • Choosing, downloading, unzipping and activating a theme in
  • Recommended themes for creating magazine and news sites on WordPress
  • Essential adjustments to make to your WordPress account
  • Plug-ins you should add to your WordPress site to boost functionality
  • Enhancing search engine optimisation on your content.

At the end of the chapter are a range of assignments and projects to enable you to practise what you have learned.

Here we will take a look at:

  • Detailed step-by-step guidance in how to switch your site from .com to .org
  • Further, step-by-step tuition in developing your WordPress site
  • Links to all the sources and examples cited in the book version
  • Essential updates to using

Always have the book version of Multimedia Journalism to hand while you use this website – the off- and on-line versions are designed to work together.

8B1 Using

A detailed guide to the pros and cons of .com and .org

The techie side to self-hosting a WordPress site

You’ll need to understand this sort of stuff if you are to transfer your site yourself:

  1. Download and unzip the WordPress package.
  2. Create a database for WordPress on your web server, as well as a MySQL user who has all privileges for accessing and modifying it.
  3. Rename the wp-config-sample.php file to wp-config.php.
  4. Open wp-config.php in a text editor and fill in your database details as explained in Editing wp-config.php to generate and use your secret key password.
  5. Upload the WordPress files in the desired location on your web server:
    • If you want to integrate WordPress into the root of your domain (e.g., move or upload all contents of the unzipped WordPress directory (but excluding the directory itself) into the root directory of your web server.
    • If you want to have your WordPress installation in its own subdirectory on your web site (e.g., create the blog directory on your server and upload WordPress to the directory via FTP.
  6. Run the WordPress installation script by accessing wp-admin/install.php in a web browser.

If that’s incomprehensible, don’t worry, you don’t have to do it that way. Alternatives include having WordPress do it for you. WordPress guided transfer explained:

WordPress-recommended hosting companies:

Using Dreamhost for your site

During sign-up with Dreamhost you can register a domain, or click to transfer a domain you already own across.

Alternatively, you can register a holding URL that ends in for now. That’s a good approach if you just want to see whether Dreamhost works for you. If it doesn’t and you decide to cancel within the two week trial period, it doesn’t cost you anything – unless you’ve bought a domain through them.

Once you’ve clicked through the process you get a confirmation email that includes your FTP server, username and password.

Log back in – using the email and password you signed up with – and you are taken to a screen headed: Let's get started.

From the options there, choose 'Website hosting'.

Installing WordPress on Dreamhost

In the nav running down the left-hand side of the browser go to Goodies>one-click installs. Or, if you are logged in to your Dreamhost account, you can use this link:

Among the tiled options you will see WordPress. Click on WordPress and the Dreamhost One-click installer appears.

Click on 'Custom installation' and a dialogue box is added to the pop-up.

Click on the dropdown arrow to the right of 'Install to' and the domain you used when registering will appear.

You’ll notice an option called Deluxe install is already ticked at the bottom of this screen. This Dreamhost wiki page ( explains what that is: “A default WordPress installation, along with choice customizations to make it easy for beginners to get started!”

"Includes free, open source, themes from Automattic, a standard selection of plugins, and security enhancement.”

Click 'Install it for me now' and you are done.

The email they send you covers these points:

  • You can administer all aspects of your account from their web panel at:
  • Your FTP account will be activated within the next 30 minutes with the following username and randomly generated password (the X’s you see below will be an actual username and password:
  • FTP Server  :
  • FTP Username :  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • FTP Password :  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Dreamhost says you should change that password to improve the security for your ftp user. You do that by clicking the "Edit" button at a link they give you.

The next email you get will confirm you have successfully installed WordPress on your site, and give you these instructions:

  • Create an admin user at:

Your URL will appear in place of the X’s above.

When I clicked I got a 'page not found' message. So I raised this with Dreamhost support and got a reply after a few hours that said it could take four hours, or up to 48 hours, for the transfer to be effected. As far as I can see, they don’t warn you of that when they send the email containing the link.

Once that link does work, and you click it, you get to a WordPress welcome screen. Fill in the details requested, click to install and you get a screen reading: 'Success' and allowing you to log in. Once you do, you are taken to your WordPress dashboard.

8B2 Transferring your site to .org

Here's a video from Mashable that takes you through the process of transferring your .com site to .org.

    8B3 Recommended themes for journalism

    book icon

    Find a range of recommended themes discussed.

    Here are the links to them:

    Newspaper-style themes:

    WordPress Newspaper

    The Journal

    Magazine-style themes

    This guide to 60 free ones




    Magazine Basic

    Branford Magazine

    Broadcast news-style themes:



    Further ideas

    Many more themes work for journalism, here are some places to find recommendations:

    8B4 Enhancing your site with plug-ins

    book icon

    In the book we look at a range of essential plugins you need to add to your .org site. Here we look at some further recommendations.

    WordPress Codex on plugins:

    Other: Twitter, Facebook and further social media plug-ins include:



    More recommended plug-ins for journalism

    This is a trawl from good sites with useful recommendations. offers these:

    Converged Media suggests these:

    WDL (Web Design Ledger) goes for these:

    Finally, here are 30 essentials according to Shout Me Loud: