wordpress

Setting Up Your WordPress on Your Own Domain

This article will give you the basic steps you need to set up and run your own website on the WordPress platform. As we discussed in earlier blog posts it really does benefit you to have your own website as opposed to using a free one.

Step One: You will need to register and domain name or address, this is referred to as your URL and would look like:

http://yourdomainname.com or http://www.yourdomainname.com

You need to choose a domain for your business and see if it is available. You may want to start out with a domain in your own name. This is a great way to brand yourself and you can always link to a business site from it at a later date.

In order to register a domain you need to buy one for a register. Two of the most popular are Go Daddy and Namecheap. I prefer to use Namecheap for all of my domain names. Search for a monthly coupon code that can save you a little extra money too.

Step Two: In this step you need to host your new website somewhere. Again, there are lots of hosting companies out there and some of the most popular are:

  • Hostgator
  • Namecheap
  • A2 Hosting
  • Site 5

When you first sign up you may even get a domain name for free, so that would save you the cost from step one above. If you are not sure what hosting plan to choose just select a basic one. You can always upgrade later on.

Look for a hosting account that uses something similar to Cpanel as this is really easy to use.

Step Three: This will only apply if you have purchased your domain name from a different registrant as outlined in step one. Your URL needs to point to your hosting account. This is easy to do yourself or you can ask the company to do it for you.

You need to point your URL to your hosting company and this is done under the Manage Your Domains area of your account. Your hosting account will give you the name-servers and you simply add those into your details.

Name-server addresses look like ns123.hostgator.com

Step Four: Now you are ready to install WordPress on your account. Log into your hosting account and go to your Cpanel. Look for Fantastico and click on this. Next you will choose the option to install WordPress on your site. Fill in the details, include a password and choose the option to email the details to yourself. This way you have a record of them.

Just follow the instructions and WordPress will be installed. Follow the link to login to your account and you are now ready to start setting up your blog. For quick access always login through your WordPress admin panel, this will be the one that you had emailed to you.

newwordpressttheme

Are You Waiting for the Next Word Press Update?

The last wordpress update 3.7 saw lots of new features being added. This included ones such as automatic updates which added functionality to wordpress without anything being seen. The next update is due out this month and is reported to focus on improving the user interface in the admin area. This means that there will be a ton of visual improvements. Here is a sneak peak at some of this features, some of which are available for test purposes only.

Once wordpress 3.8 is ready it will feature the MP6 Plugin. The purpose of this plugin is to give the admin panel a more modern and clean look. It allows you to select a color scheme by going to users – profile. Currently you only have a choice of two color schemes which make the admin panel look totally outdated.

The dashboard is going to be getting an uplift as well. The new dashboard will have fewer and more relevant widgets. These changes will leave the dashboard area looking less bulky.

The live previews of themes will be improved and the theme search is being moved to the top right corner of the screen. It will be much easier for you to preview a new theme and it will work much faster than before.

Currently it is not always easy to move widgets around and get them to appear where you want them to. This area will become more user friendly and will allow theme developers to build multiple widget ready areas in their themes.

The new interface will make dragging widgets easier and will allow the user to get them into the right sidebar the first time. You can look forward to a much cleaner, clutter free and appealing widget area.

Of course the new default theme will be introduced – Twenty Fourteen. It will have a magazine style appearance and will allow you to feature content across your site. You can use this with or without featured images.

Users will have the ability to customize the featured content area and can choose between a grid or slider layout style. Simply add tags in the theme customizer to display your content. The theme will search for posts with these tags and display them automatically.

Some people who have seen the theme are not raving about it and it comes with a left aligned layout. The theme does seem to look a little crowded.

You can check out the demo version of the new wordpress theme here:

windows8

What Operating Platform Should You Choose?

With the introduction of Windows 8 many users are finding the change so radical that they are not always happy with their purchase. Almost 50% of PC users still run on Windows 7 while a good majority still run on XP.

If you are an XP user you may be interested to know that as of April 2014 Microsoft will be no longer updating this operating system. So if it develops a bug it will not be fixed. Forecasters are expecting a rush to the stores shortly for XP users to upgrade. The question is should they choose Windows 7 or 8?

Windows 8 is being advocated as the first touch environment for an operating system. It is app based and if you currently use a smartphone you will find that there are a ton of similarities. XP users upgrading directly to Windows 8 will find that there are some huge differences as well.

Many standard XP features are not included in Windows 8 including windows media player, games and many of the accessories. Instead you will need to create a Microsoft account and visit their store to get the applications you need.

One huge improvement for Windows 7 users is the introduction of IE 11. This is reported to be very similar to the new improved Windows 8.1 version which was just released. Many of the bugs have now been resolved and loading speeds for both systems are much faster. This is Microsoft’s way of competing with the popularity of Google’s Chrome browser.

Windows 8 uses fewer resources on your computer compared to running XP. New users will appreciate faster speeds and less lag time. One thing to be aware of is to check your system to see if you have enough resources and space for running Windows 8.

Currently the requirements are:

Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2

RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)

Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)

Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver

If your PC is an older model you may not have sufficient RAM or disk space. So upgrading your hard drive or purchasing a new one may be necessary. With the average life of a PC of about 3-4 years it may not be worth upgrading.

To take advantage of the Touch ability in Windows 8 you will need a touch screen monitor. Again another reason you may want to purchase a new system if yours is older.

For XP users going directly to Windows 8 you will experience lots of differences. One thing I like about it is that you can organize your work more easily and you can select from the Windows 8 start screen or go to the Desk top screen. Can’t find a program or the control system? Just start typing it in and Windows 8 will display options.

Would love to hear your thoughts and if you are ready to switch to Windows 8 or not! Once you are accustomed to using Windows 8 you should find it easier to do all your work and find your files and folders more easily.

blogging

Finding Content for Your WordPress Site

Once you have your new wordpress up and running you probably have a fair bit of information you want to write about. That is just great but what usually happens is after a few weeks or months you start to not know what topics to write about any more. At this point a lot of people tend to forget about adding new content and wonder why their sites stop receiving so many visitors.

There are many ways to find content for your site where you don’t always have to write all the information yourself. One popular method of finding content is to use something called Content Curation.

What this simply means is that you take an article or item that is making the news and you write about it. This usually includes adding the link from your main article into your blog post along with one or two small quotes. In the blog post you would actually add your thoughts and opinions on the story.

This is a very easy way to find ideas to include each week and really cuts down on the amount of time you have to spend writing new blog posts. You don’t just have to do this with articles you could also find interesting videos and even infographics and include your thoughts and opinions on them.

One great way to stay up to date on all of this is to get into the habit of searching sites like Google News each day. You can easily search by subject or pick one of their general headings and see what is going on in your niche each week. There is no reason why you can’t even include posts about news in your local area. This helps you come across as more human and helps to put a face to the person behind the website.

Other ways to get ideas and content for your blog posts is to subscribe to RSS Feeds and then check them each day in your RSS Reader. Again you can include links to the articles that you find interesting. Plus you are helping your readers by providing them with the latest news and with new trends.

For those of you who have some real time constraints you could even use an RSS plugin that can automatically turn a feed into a blog post. Once this is set up it is a real time saver and you can set how often you want to post to you site. Plus you can add several feeds so that your content looks natural as though it is coming from various places.

Don’t forget that you still need to have backlinks to your site and I find that using a plugin works extremely well. You may want to do the same as well.

social media marketing

The Basics of Social Media Marketing

If you market on or off line you will no doubt at least have one social media account. The top two social media sites currently are Facebook and Google+ with Twitter coming in third. While you may have these accounts are you actually using them to promote your business?

Many people are not using social media sites for their business instead they use them to connect with family and friends. Facebook and Google+ allow you to create pages within your account which you can use for your business.

Facebook has what are known as Fan Pages and Google+ simply calls them Pages. They are easy to step up and customize and are the perfect way for keeping your personal and your business news separate.

Here is a list of the top social sites you may want to consider using for your business:

  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram

Pinterest and Instagram are perfect for anyone who uses a lot of images and graphics in their business. With Pinterest you can simply Pin images to specific Boards to get exposure. This is certainly a different and fun way of attracting people to your sites.

The main thing about using social media sites is that you want to be consistent. You don’t want to add content or posts for two or three days and then disappear off into the darkness for weeks on end.

While it can be time consuming to an extent to add content you do have options. There are great tools available which can help automate this process for you. One such tool is Hootsuite which has a free and paid version. You can manage several social media accounts from within your dashboard and start scheduling your content.

As well inside Facebook you can schedule posts to your fan pages. So you could literally sit down for an hour and create and schedule all your posts for the entire month. This might be something a virtual assistant could do for you as well.

In addition to using these sites you want to use widgets and social sharing plugins on your site. This allows your readers to Like or +1 your pages as well as allowing them to share on their own pages. This provides you with more visibility and the potential of connecting with new clients or customers.

Another benefit from this is the ability to create links to and from your site. As you creating backlinks is an important aspect of driving traffic to your site. So why not use social media sites to help you achieve this?

If you haven’t yet started incorporating at least one social media site into your business plan, what is stopping you? Why not start with Facebook, Google+ and Twitter and have fun creating posts and interacting with your fans.

 

plugins for everything

Plugins for Just about Everything

Since WordPress has become so popular more and more developers are working on plugins for just about everything that you can imagine. It is now possible to find plugins that help you run a webinar or Google Hangout on Air, you can find plugins to create surveys, squeeze pages, to evaluate your keyword selections and more.

While plugins really can make your life easier you do need to be careful with them. Quite often adding a new plugin to your site can disrupt the function of another plugin. These conflicts can be very annoying and there is only one way to find the culprit. You need to deactivate each plugin in turn until you find the one that is causing the problem. It may not necessarily be the new plugin and sometimes it can be a conflict due to your theme.

The best advice we can give you about plugins is to think about the purpose of the plugin. Is it something that can truly help your site or is it only going to display a fancy banner or an item that is not imperative to the way your site functions.

Important plugins would be those like the Samson Plugin that actually helps you create backlinks to your site.  This type of plugin helps to increase your site’s visibility in the search engines and will help you achieve a higher ranking.

Another thing to keep in mind about using lots of plugins is that they can decrease the load time for your site. If your site loads very slowly then you will find that you are losing visitors, they can’t be bothered to wait and will navigate to another site.

Try to reduce the number of plugins you use by seeing if there is a plugin that can do the work of two smaller ones. A good example of this is for social sharing plugins. Try to find one that will work for all the social sites, instead of having one for Facebook and another for Pinterest and another for Google+1’s.

Always look into the functions of every plugin you are considering and see if it is something that will truly benefit you. It doesn’t hurt to try out plugins and see if they do what they say. Just remember to deactivate and uninstall them if you decide to stop using them.

While it is fun to use all the latest and greatest plugins as they become available. They can also be detrimental to your site and could cause you to lose rankings in the search engines.

 

traffic and content

Driving Traffic to your WordPress Site

Once your new blog is created your next step is to drive traffic to it. There are several ways to do this which we will cover in this article. Some will be the more traditional methods while others may be a new concept for you. It never hurts to try something new as it could bring unexpected results for you.

You probably have lots of great content on your blog that you can share in other places. Most people have heard about slide sharing and document sharing sites. These are something that you should be using and can be extremely effective.

In addition there are a few other places where you can share your articles and further information. Two that you may not be currently using are Quora.com and Tumblr.com. Both of these are community based and have thousands of users who are active on a daily basis.

You could also set up a Tumblr blog in your related niche and add additional content to it. This will provide you with some solid backlinks back to your main site.

If you are already using graphics and images on your blog that’s fantastic news! But are you using photos that attract and hold the reader’s attention?  Try adding a variety of images and see if your traffic increases over the next few weeks or so.

While we are talking about images and visual aids don’t forget to take advantage of Pinterest. This is a huge community and works by allowing users to pin images to various boards. Plus you can repin items, share items and more. The advantage of repining images is that you get more exposure for your business.

One thing to be careful about with Pinterest is that you do not want to self promote all of the time. Instead spend time repining items that have something in common to your business or service that you are promoting. Each time you repin an item the person receives an email from Pinterest to notify them of it. This allows your name to be seen by more and more people.

On your blog you want to always have social sharing buttons along with a Pin button. It is helpful to place the Pin icon under an image so a reader can easily pin your image.

When pinning images to your boards you are allowed to use hashtags if applicable and a description. If you haven’t added this as a way to drive traffic to your site go and open up a Pinterest account today.

After sharing your image on Pinterest do the same thing on Instagram. Instagram has over 100 million monthly users so you could very easily tap into this wonderful traffic source with each of your images.

Google+ is increasing in popularity as well particularly when it comes to their Hangouts feature. This is where you can invite people to a video presentation. The nice feature about this is that you can record private sessions and once you are finished your video gets uploaded to YouTube. You can then place this onto your blog as additional content for your visitors.

Driving traffic to your blog can be done in many different ways. Try some of the above if you aren’t currently using them and just get creative in how you deliver your content.

 

choosing wordpress

Free or Premium WordPress Themes

Once you have a basic website up your next step with wordpress is to choose a theme and activate it. Now, while this sounds simple, it can be a big deal for many people. There are literally thousands of wordpress themes available, in different designs, colors and with more coming out almost daily it can be hard to choose which one to use.

Then on top of this you discover that there are paid or premium wordpress themes. Now you are really feeling bewildered and lost so what is the best way to go?

First let’s look at some basic parts of a wordpress theme:

  • Color – pretty much self explanatory
  • Columns/Sidebars – themes can have one, two or three columns along with no columns
  • Footer – allows space for contact info, banners
  • Header – allows you to add your own header to personalize your site
  • Plugins – this are additions to your site that allow you to display text and do certain functions in an easy manner

When it comes to premium themes one of the biggest advantages is that they will often come with support. This is great and is a good place to go to if you run into problems with your theme or using wordpress in general.

Premium themes can be priced fairly high though so keep this in mind. Many premium themes use something called a Child Theme, which is a base, and then can be combined with a different main theme. One of the popular themes that follow this premise is the Genesis Theme.

One thing to keep in mind today is that many people will be viewing your website from their mobile devices. It is possible to get Responsive Themes that can be viewed from a PC and on a mobile device. Obviously the easier you make it for people to see what you have to offer the more traffic you will see.

When deciding to go with a free or premium theme you should consider your budget and what you want to achieve with your site. For example if you are building a store type site then an e-commerce theme will be more suitable.

If you don’t currently have a main purpose for your site my best advice to you would be to go with a free theme. When you see what direction your website is going you can then make a final decision on what theme you want to use.

Another important consideration is to make sure that your theme is compatible with any plugins that you want to use. A good example would be a shopping cart plugin, there are often issues with certain themes, so test it out first. You may have the best looking theme but if it doesn’t work with your shopping cart then you won’t get the results you are looking for.

Take these points into consideration when choosing your next word press theme and don’t forget to remember to look for plugins that create backlinks as well. This can really help you get ahead in the traffic game.

Tips for Setting up Your Word Press Site

Setting up a new wordpress site is fun and exciting but it is only too easy to get carried away with adding too many bells and whistles. While you do want your website to attract visitors you don’t want to have a website that is cluttered with banners and advertisements.

Planning your website only takes a short amount of time and can really help improve how your site looks and functions. Below are a few easy tips which you should take into consideration when wordpress siteplanning out your site. Some of these tips concern wordpress plugins while others will help you with the look and setting up of your site.

Don’t use too many plugins as they can slow your site down. Only add those that you are actually going to use and remember some plugins do cause conflicts.  If you experience any kind of technical problems after installing a plugin deactivate it and see if the problem clears up.

  1. Use fewer categories and make sure each category contains lots of posts.
  2. Choose categories after doing keyword research for your topic.
  3. Don’t overload your site with affiliate banners, choose one or two related products to promote at one time. If you see no sales then you can always change your promotions.
  4. You want to draft and schedule posts ahead of time to ensure that new content is published regularly. This will attract the Google spiders to crawl your site on a regular basis and helps push your rankings in the search engines.
  5. Set up your comment guidelines in advance, don’t wait until you start getting tons of comments each day.
  6. Use a word press theme that is quick to load and doesn’t take up too many resources.
  7. Include some form of website statistic measuring such as Google Analytics.
  8. If you are promoting products or offering advice make sure you have all of the correct legal pages in place.
  9. Stay up to date with your wordpress updates otherwise you are leaving your backdoor wide open for hackers.
  10. Do not use Admin as your user name again it is too easy for hackers to guess. Use something related to your site and it doesn’t hurt to include a keyword if possible.
  11. It is important to build links within your site and one easy way to accomplish this is to reference posts and pages.
  12. Driving traffic to your site is important and this can be done by creating smaller feeder sites that link back to your main site. You can use additional wordpress sites for this or you can use properties like Squidoo and Tumblr pages.

Building links to your site is important and is often overlooked by people new to using wordpress. If you incorporate this method into your site you are more likely to see success faster.

wordpress ecommerce

Turn Your Blog into an Ecommerce Site

With the popularity of wordpress today more business owners want to have the ability to offer their products for sale, directly from their sites. At one time it was hard to get your website to look professional but with the advance of shopping cart technology this is pretty simple to achieve.

WordPress now has ecommerce plugins that can turn any existing site into a store front. The plugins are simple to set up and to customize. If you have Html and CSS skills you can change the look to match your branding.

When setting up a shopping cart system keep in mind that the fewer clicks it takes someone to buy a product, the more sales you will make. So while a fancy looking store front is nice make yours easy to navigate especially when it comes to the checkout.

Offering various payment options is a huge plus for your customers. These ecommerce plugins now offer options such as PayPal, Google Checkout and more. Plus with these plugins you can set shipping rates, delivery methods, sales taxes and more.

Depending upon your products it is always great to offer images for your customers. This will help increase your conversion rates as well. People love to see what they are buying as much as possible. Another tip is to include a good description of your product. Be as specific as possible and list all the features and benefits of each one.

Ecommerce is the perfect solution for both physical and digital products. These plugins can be setup with different shipping methods with various rates. This allows you to get your products in front of an entirely new audience.

To get started with your own ecommerce site various basic plugins are available for free. This includes the WP Ecommerce plugin and one that is for digital products only called Easy Digital Downloads. To customize these plugins you simply need to purchase various extensions to get advanced capabilities within your shopping cart.

Extensions can add additional payment methods, they can create PDF invoices and can automatically add a customer to your mailing list. The great thing about extensions is that they grow with your business. As you need a new function you can just purchase the appropriate pack. This is a cost effective way to build a superior store front over time and is perfect for the small business owner.

While adding a store front and shopping cart is great don’t forget to still focus on traditional marketing methods with your word press site. This includes including keyword terms and creating backlinks to and from your site. When writing your product descriptions use keywords at least once as this will increase your traffic and your visibility.