An Overview of WordPress
To begin I wanted to answer some of the most common questions about WordPress and give a complete overview of WordPress and the dashboard. The video is pretty long but I cover all the basics. Feel free to skip around to the parts you really need to see.
Links mentioned in the Video
An Overview of the Video
- WordPress.com is the free version of WordPress.org
- To Use WordPress.org you must have a web host, like BlueHost, hosting your website.
- To have your website hosted you need a domain name, which you can buy through BlueHost or move from any domain host to BlueHost, this video will show you how.
- Once you have an account set up in BlueHost you must install WordPress on the server. You can do this quickly and for free. This video will show you how.
- Once WordPress is installed you can log in with WordPress and begin editing your site form the dashboard.
- Using "themes" yo can customize your site with a new layout. WordPress has free and premium layouts you can use.
- You can add plugins to your site to customize it and add tools to help you manage your site. The most helpful are Jetpack, WordPress SEO, WordPress Editorial Calendar, Disqus Comment System, WordPress Backup To Dropbox
- Be sure to UNCHECK "anyone can register" under Settings > General
Let me start off by saying that BlueHost is 100% the best web host I've worked with. They have made all the technical stuff extremely simple and affordable.
The Technical Stuff
Terms to know
- Web Host
- Internet hosting service that allows you to make your website accessible and visible. An example of a web host is BlueHost or GoDaddy
- The URL used to get to your site (www.norbly.com for example) Can be a .com, .net, .org, etc.
- The control panel used on your web host to manage your site and it's files
- Website Builder
- The content management system that lets you build a site (ex. WordPress, Weebly, Wix)
- Where your site data and files are stored on your Web Host.
Choosing a Web Host
You probably know that I recommend BlueHost as your web host, however there are a TON of other great web host on the market, so if you're looking for something else here's a couple other good hosts.
- BlueHost (The price you see is what you get - cheapest option overall, comes with a domain, free WordPress.org and free email, ask about month-to-month plans if you don't want to pay one lump amount!)
- GoDaddy (Cheaper option for host only but you pay for your domain (which then comes with free email) and then you pay for WordPress)
- HostGator (Cheap but servers tend to go down now and then, I don't know much about them)
As I said there are a ton of other hosts. There are some things you should look for when choosing a host
- Free WordPress download (or cheap price)
- Free Domain Name with Hosting Fee
- One Click or Simple Install of WordPress
- Free email addresses
- Unlimited bandwidth and server space
- 98%-100% Up-time (how often their servers work - how often your site doesn't go down)
Installing WP onto Your Server
A huge reason I love BlueHost is because it's so simple to add WordPress to your server. You can learn how to do this by watching their video and using their guide to install WP.
Choosing/Transferring a Domain
Let me tell you right now, it's easiest to have your web host also host your domain name and 99% of the time, there is an option to choose a custom domain with your host.
If you're like me and you make a custom domain name before getting your own host, you need to transfer your domain name to your site. Which can be a pain. Luckily (again) BlueHost makes that process simple. They have a full guide here.
If you haven't yet chosen a domain name, here's some tips to help you chose a great one:
- Keep it short
- Would you remember LoveBloggingAndLifestyleByNora? Probably not. Short and sweet is a good rule here.
- Avoid Numbers
- Is that Love11Blog or LoveElevenBlog? Avoiding numbers mean it's easier for visitors to share your blog by word-of-mouth
- Never Copy Names
- Although it may seem like a good idea to use NikeShoesBlog as a domain name, it's not. Never use another company's name in your URL. All that'll happen is trademark trouble and end up with you not having a URL.
- Match Your Brand
- If your blog name is Rainbow Designs, try to get as close to that in your domain. Rainbow-Designs, DesigningRainbow, RainbowDesigns. Don't have your blog be names Rainbow Designs and have your URL be HomeSweetHomeBlog. It doesn't match up.
- Give Readers an Idea of What You Do
- Fashion blog? HeelsAndLipstick would give your readers an idea of what you blog before they even get to your site. That being said, if you want to have your URL match a bunch of different topics, consider using your name or a made up word (ex. Norbly).
- Be Memorable
- Pick a URL that readers will remember, something that's short, easy to spell and quick to type. It'll save them trouble and get you more views.
There are hundred of thousands of WordPress Plugins - some are absolutely fantastic, others don't really work. To save you some of the stress of finding the right plug-in for your need, I made a list.
If you want to do something on your blog (for example, opening a shop) but don't see a plugin for that, just comment below! I'd be happy to find the perfect plugin and add to this list.
Keep in mind, you don't need all of these. I wanted to give multiple options in each category.
*If you are using a free wordpress.com site, you cannot add plugins. That's why I recommend a wordpress.org site if you want to customize your blog*
Protect and Backup
Comments and Contact Forms
Shops and Stores
Better Posts and Pages
Organizing and Planning
Advertising and Marketing
Photos & Display
Everything About Widgets
What's a Widget
A widget is the tools you use to build sidebars and footers. Under appearance then widgets is a drag-and-drop page where you can choose from some pre-loaded tools and any other widgets added through plugins.
To activate a widget, choose one from the left and drag it into the area you want on the right. Then you can open the widget with the little arrow (in the right corner of the widget) and edit the content.
Widgets are the best and easiest way to customize your blog because they are simple drag-and-drop modules that can be customized with a couple clicks.
If you want to use your own custom HTML or CSS coding you can use the "Text" Widget. The text widget allows you to enter your own text or HTML to make a customized widget.
What To Include In Your Sidebar
- An image of you (or your blog logo) with a short "About" blurb letting new visitors know who you are.
- Your social media links - where can readers find you around the internet. There are many plugins to make this super simple, or use this site and enter the final coding into the text widget
- Your blog categories and a search bar (so visitors can find what they need)
- Popular Posts so readers can get some ideas what other people enjoyed reading
- You should include a small blurb about your copyright and any affiliate links you may have. Feel free to copy my policy below
"Some links and ads on this blog are affiliated links. I will only advertise brands I know & trust. All images and content are property of ________ unless otherwise stated. You may not use my images or content without written permission."
Other Ideas For Your Sidebar
There are limitless possibilities for your sidebars. Just remember that less is more and a cluttered sidebar can overwhelm readers.
- Embed a Pinterest Board to Your Sidebar
- 20 Plugin Widgets For Your Sidebar
- Newsletter Widget (With MailChimp)
Need More Help With Widgets?
I didn't want to go too much into widgets because they really are very simple. If you need more help, Kelly from blogging 101 has a GREAT walk-through.
Knowing some basic HTML can be extremely helpful when creating widgets that are a little more customized. The video will http://youtu.be/woVes04_xTsshow you some basics!
Overview of the video
- <b> is bold </b>
- <i> is italicized </i>
- <u> is underlined </u>
- <s> is strike-through </s>
- <a href="link here"> link text </a>
- <img src="image url goes here" title="image title goes here">
An Overview To Making a Blog
The Basics of Starting a Blog
- Find your niche. What are you interested in? What do you want to write about? Lifestyle, fashion, business, school? Narrow your ideas so your blog isn't too messy.
- Find your voice. Be yourself! Write as you speak and people will love you. Let your personality show through your writing.
- Pick a name. Name your blog and domain name the same thing so people can find you. Pick something unique but still related to your site!
- Pick a Content Management System (CMS) Examples are Wordpress, Tumblr, Weebly, Blogger, TypePad. I recommend WordPress.
- Start posting! Add pin-able photos, break up your text with headers and lists, post on a schedule and engage your readers by asking questions.
- Build your brand Start marketing on social media, follow other blogs, comment on posts, join communities, attend events, connect with other bloggers.
- Love what you do. Don't let your blog become a chore. Enjoy your blog and remember to make it your own.
Keep in mind there are pros and cons to blogging as with any job. I talked a little about those on this post.
Marketing and Social Media
Facebook and Twitter are the first two accounts you should make when starting a new site or brand. YouTube is another great option to get your name out there. I personally use YouTube as part of my marketing strategy.
My Favorite Widgets & PlugIns
- WordPress Editorial Calendar, I use this to plan, edit and schedule all my posts. It's my all time favorite plugin and it's free
- Disqus Comment System, This is the plugin I use for all my comments. It's super simple, customizable and free.
- Jetpack by WordPress.com, This is the first plugin you should download. It has all kinds of apps and free features. It's amazing.
- One-Click Child Theme, If you aren't familiar with WordPress, I would skip this. However if you plan on customizing your current theme this plugin allows you to make an edit a child theme in one easy step.
- WP Super Cache, This handy plugin speeds up your site so your visitors don't have to wait for your pages to load.
How to Make Money from your Site
I made a whole post about this here, but with Google AdSense, I made the most money when the ad was in my sidebar and I used the size 728x90 with purple links and dark grey text. Once you start making money online the best thing you can do for your blog is to make and keep a posting schedule.
Did I miss something important? What are your tips for new bloggers on WordPress? How did you get started?