Several friends who have decided to explore WordPress have asked how I built my site. Here are the steps I went through:
1) I hired a designer, Robyn Smith (http://dubbahdesign.com/). Robyn installed WP on my existing web host (dotable.com). Fortunately, they offered support for WP, since I was paid up for the year. I decided to install WP rather than use their hosting because it seemed like that gave me more control over the design and plug-ins.
2) I chose a theme. That took some research, and was easier once WP was installed in a test environment. Once WP was running on my web host I could upload a new theme and instantly see what it would look like. You can find themes at
The theme I liked best was a free one from wpthemeshop. However, I wanted to tweak it, so I paid them for the right to customize it.
3) I worked with Robyn to customize my chosen theme, choose colors, fonts, design the navigation, tweak the layout, etc. It went quickly. I now know enough to tweak the site myself, but sometimes need guidance from Robyn. Robyn also installed, or pointed me to, widgets that added new features, like the search box and a plug-in that pulls my blog posts from TechSoup into my site.
4) Robyn created a banner using a photo I bought from iStockPhoto.com
5) Robyn copied the content from my old site to the new one. I could have done that myself had I been more comfortable with the WP tools, and I’ve done all the content creation since we went live.
6) Over time I’ve added more features, like the blog. (While many people use WP exclusively as a blog, I’m using it for overall content management). WP isn’t always intuitive, but generally the Help files or other blogs get me through it. I’ve had to ask Robyn for help a few times.
It’s not 100% WYSIWYG – at least the way I use my site. I still need to use HTML to manage my Resources page and sometimes to tweak pages. But most of the time I use the visual editor.