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When you install WordPress for the first time (see Chapter 2), you'll have a simple site dressed in the lovely new 2010 default theme. (If this theme is not your cup of tea, don't worry. In Chapter 2, I'll show you how to install other themes, and in Chapters 6 and 7, I'll show you how to create your own.)

Figure 1-7. A simple WordPress home page using the Twenty Ten default theme

Let's break down this page and see how WordPress put it together.

At the top of the page, above the image, you'll see the site title you chose when you installed WordPress. Off to the right is the tagline ("Just another WordPress blog"), which you can specify on the General Settings page (see Chapter 3).

The black area just under the image is a navigation menu. You can specify which links appear in your menu, and you can create additional menus to use elsewhere on your site, but this example shows a simple list of the pages that have been written in this WordPress site.

Below the header and the menu, there are two columns: the content area and the sidebar. This content area shows the most recent blog posts. In later chapters, I'll discuss a number of ways you can change what appears here.

This site's sidebar contains four widgets: search, calendar, blogroll, and meta. You can add and remove widgets by dragging them into the sidebars on the Widgets administration screen in the Appearances section. These four widgets are part of WordPress's built-in set. Some of the themes and plugins you install will come with additional widgets; in Chapter 8, I'll show you how to create your own.

Anatomy of a post

Take another look at the content area, and compare it to the post editing screen:

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Figure 1-8. The post editing screen

Figure 1-8. The post editing screen

Here you can see how each post is built behind the scenes. Theme files are made up of standard HTML interspersed with WordPress template tags corresponding to the post's component parts: the_title(), the_content(), the_author(), and so forth. On this site, the post's categories were shown ("Filed under...") but the post tags were not. If you wanted to change this, you'd locate the appropriate theme file and add the_tags() where you wanted the tags to appear. Template tags are formatted exactly like PHP functions—in fact, they are PHP functions—so if you're familiar with PHP syntax, you'll have no trouble learning to modify WordPress themes. Even if you've never used PHP before, you can begin modifying your site by copying template tags from the Codex or a tutorial. As you grow more comfortable with the language, you'll find yourself making bigger changes with confidence.

Now that you've seen how easy it is to put together a basic WordPress site, let's get started with yours!

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