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How to fiddle with your WordPress blog without showing the world your mistakes

Don’t know about you, but I’m naturally curious. So I’ve just installed WordPress on a USB thumb drive. Now I can hack away at it to my heart’s content without worrying about how stupid I’ll look to anybody who stops by my blog.

It’s non-trivial, but if you follow the instructions precisely, you’ll get there. Check out the wonderful instructions I found by searching WordPress.org. This points to videos by “Figaro” (I’d like to tell you his full name, but he doesn’t say what it is…). So if you’re interested, go to the WordPress.org page, and then go watch Figaro’s videos.

Comes the usual question: Why?

I’m just starting to investigate, but here are some early thoughts:

  1. Play with different themes. You’ll find that they don’t all work the same. Some support things that others don’t. Some are two columns, some three or even four. All look different.
  2. Adjust your current theme. Carrington, which is the theme I use, allows impressive customization. For example, it’s pretty trivial to change the colors of the headers and footers. I haven’t found that in the few themes I’ve downloaded to look at.
  3. Try plug-ins. I run about 13 plug-ins in my blog. They let me do everything from RSS feeds to moving comments that are put on the wrong posts. There are thousands of plug-ins, and you can play with them on your own system until you find the combination you want.
  4. Test anything first. I’ve been worried about upgrading to the latest version of Carrington, and I’ve avoided it because I know I’ll lose some of the customizations I’ve done. Since I just tried it on my own machine, now I know what I’ll have to change. Likewise, I had problems with WordPress stats, and rolled back my upgraded version. I’ve just tried the latest version on my personal WordPress installation and it works, so I upgraded my “real” site.
  5. Just learn about WordPress. It’s a great platform, and it brings publishing within the grasp of people like me, but there’s still a lot to learn. It’s surely better to learn on your own real estate.

Just a footnote: you don’t have to run your personal WordPress from a thumb drive. I loaded it on my hard drive, and then copied it to my thumb drive. So I’m actually running it from a high-speed device. On my computer, the response is better than I get from my hosting service.

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2 Responses

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  1. Dana Shultz says

    Walt, you’re braver than I am. I don’t even like upgrading off-the-shelf software (takes hours, at best). My blog is stable, which makes me happy. The thought of having a spare copy to play with on a USB drive petrifies me!

Continuing the Discussion

  1. How to fiddle with your WordPress blog without showing the world your mistakes | Wordpress News linked to this post on September 8, 2009

    […] How to fiddle with your WordPress blog without showing the world your mistakes Posted by WPCitrus on 8 September, 2009 No comments yet This item was filled under [ Themes, WordPress ] tweetmeme_url = 'http://wp.lemonandlimedesigns.co.uk/?p=5309';tweetmeme_source = 'SaveForWeb'; Don’t know about you, but I’m naturally curious. So I’ve just installed WordPress on a USB thumb drive. Now I can hack away at it to my heart’s content without worrying about how stupid I’ll look to anybody who stops by my blog. It’s non-trivial, but if you follow the instructions precisely, you’ll get there. Check out the wonderful instructions I found by searching WordPress.org. This points to videos by “Figaro” (I’d like to tell you his full name, but he doesn’t say what it is…). So if you’ […]