How to set up Minimatica
- If you have already set up a hosting plan, registered a domain name, and installed WordPress onto that website, you can skip to step 3. I’ll run through the process of setting up a site quickly. I use Dreamhost–they don’t offer the cheapest hosting, but I like their intuitive control panel and their reliable service. If this is your first attempt to set up a website, I highly recommend reading Lifehacker’s Night School series on How To Make A Web Site, especially Lifehacker Night School Part IV: Choosing a Host and Launching Your Site.
- For this demonstration I’m creating a sub-domain called “test.” In the Dreamhost panel go to Manage Domains>>Add New Domain/Sub-Domain, create a name for your test site (such as “test.mydomain.com”). Then click on Goodies>>One-Click Installs. Click the WordPress icon and choose “Custom Installation,” picked the domain that you just created from the dropdown list, and then let it automatically create a database. (I have since switched to testing WordPress websites locally on my Mac using MAMP.)
- Login to your new WordPress website using the link provided in the WordPress confirmation email.
- To add the Minimatica theme to the new WordPress installation, navigate to Appearance>>Install Themes>>and search for “Minimatica.”
Now that you’re in the game, its time to put together a minimalistic WordPress website to showcase you’re photography. Minimatica acts like a static home page with dynamic flash elements–the perfect platform to get your website off the ground.
The Front Page Slider, Featured Images, and Thumbnail Galleries
I imagine that most Minimatica users (and viewers) are drawn to the theme’s bold but minimalistic front page slider element. Once set up, the slider offers simple navigation to posts and galleries, but many Minimatica users find getting the slider to work the most difficult initial challenge.
To add featured images to the home page slider create four (or more) new posts. Give each post a title and write text in the body if you want these to appear in the slider. Anything you write in the body of the post will appear at the bottom of the post’s gallery as well (in this case, below the thumbnail images that you find when you click on the slider image). If you want to link to post consisting of a gallery of images when you click on one of the slider windows, then choose “Gallery” as the post’s format. You can also choose a category for your post (I use four different categories for my four home page slider windows to create minimalistic navigation–read more about my setup here).
When you’re done with these steps click on “Add Featured Image” in the lower right hand corner and use the flash uploader to add the images that you want as thumbnails on the post page. Most of my posts have over twenty images in their respective galleries. You can choose to display your thumbnails in four columns instead of the standard three if you would like, but making the change involves editing .css and .php files Navigate to Appearance>>Editor>>Theme Functions (function.php). Scroll down about two thirds of the way through the code and looking for a commented out section that reads div class=”gallery post-gallery gallery-columns-3.”
Change every occurrence of “3″ in the following section to “4,” and then navigate to Editor>>style.css and make sure “#container” and “#content” show widths of 940px. For more information see the original post on the Minimatica support site (found here). Scroll down to rirawin’s last post for the best info.
I use Lightroom to process my photos, and when I export them before uploading I size the long side to 800px. 800px x 600px looks good on the home page slider, and I like the resulting image size when you click on the post’s thumbnail. To set the image that will represent your post in the home page slider navigate to the image you want to use and select “Use as featured image.” I recommend only using horizontal images over 600px long, or the slider will crop the image and ruin the slider effect.
Although the Unofficial Minimatica Users Guide describes how to set up a Minimatica themed WordPress, you should be able to modify these instructions to create a look that fits your needs. I highly recommend using the Minimatica Support Forums–the members there are courteous and helpful, and usually answer your questions quickly. Daniel, Minimatica’s creator, weighs in on occasion, and the community seems healthy and supportive.