Setting up a WordPress Blog from Scratch Notes by Hale Pringle We are going to go through a four-step process setting up your WordPress blog. All this assumes that you have figured out your niche and have an idea of the keywords you want to target. You want to have these keywords in your domain name since they do raise your Google ranking. 1. Go to GoDaddy.com and purchase your domain name. 2. Go to HostGattor.com and purchase a hosting account. This will give you the nameserver names you need for GoDaddy. (Nameservers names are the names of the actually machines that host your site on the Internet. GoDaddy has theirs and HostGator has their own.) 3. Go back to GoDaddy and enter the nameservers names into your domain. 4. Continue on with HostGator setting up your blog The GoDaddy instructions are in a separate document. Hosting – Use HostGator Land and Foundation of your System You own it , can’t be shut off on a whim HostGator has Cpanel and 3 click WordPress Install – Fantastico HostGator has great uptime (5 minutes downtime in 5 years) Be sure you get Linus Hosting if you go elsewhere – WordPress will work Avoid One and One and DreamHost – challenging to setup and use NOTE: Linux is an open source operating system. It differs from Windows in a number of ways. The one that can cause you problems if you don’t know about it that file names (and username and passwords) are CASE SPECIFIC. The file Hale.htm is different from hale.htm. Windows would ignore the capital “H”, but Linux treats them as different. Hosting Plans at HostGator.com (Things might look a little different – they upgrade Go to HostGator.com - click on the VIEW WEB HOSTING PLANS button Don’t do the cheapest plan – it only gives you a single domain/ You WILL want more. The Baby Plan is recommended for most people – you can see the features and they should be enough for most people a. Host as many sites as you want b. Have as much material as you want c. Have as much Bandwidth as you need d. Secure Link is with a shared SSL certificate – which is okay. For heavier hitters use the Business Plan it is only a little more per month a. The private SSL Certificate is n nice if you have a shopping cart. It is more secure. b. The private IP address will help you some when you want to rank with Google. You aren’t sharing you site with other web sites that have content that you don’t know about. It dilutes your site’s consistency since Google can’t tell you from them so it lumps you all together. c. You also get a Toll Free Telephone number which can be nice for contacts getting in touch with you. d. It is only a few dollars more per month. Once you have chosen a plan, you will see two options. HostGator can provide domain names, but GoDaddy does it better. HostGator is one of the best Hosting Sites around, they don’t do domain names all that well. They are a little more expensive and their customer service for domains is not as good. Use GoDaddy.com Enter the domain you got from GoDaddy.com Enter a coupon code if you have one. You can Google for codes. There is a http://HostGatorCoupons.net site. There are four things to do at the top of the billing page. 1. Confirm your account type 2. Pick a billing cycle (it costs a little more to do monthly) 3. Enter a user name 4. Enter a pint/password Enter your billing information Click the “I agree” box Click on the CREATE ACCOUNT Button (not shown) CONGRATULATIONS!- You now have a HostGator account. They will email you information about how to sign on and which nameservers to use. LOGGING IN TO HOSTGATOR Logging into HostGator can be a little confusing. Basically you start with three different logins and you add one with every domain you add. These are described in the email you get when you see up your account 1. There is a login for you Cpanel (Control Panel – the daddy account) 2. There is a login for billing 3. There is a login for you WordPress blog. Two of these are shown on this sample Confirmation email Side note. I accidentally put Hale (note the capital H) into the login screen and Windows would change hale to Hale. I am using FireFox and I had to menu Tools Options Security and scroll down to find the gator1291…. Listing and delete it. Linus servers as Case Sensitive. They see Hale as different from hale. LOGGING INTO BILLING We are not going to cover that here. LOGGING INTO CPANEL You will want to bookmark this site. Your’s may look a little different, it changes from time to time. I added the “case sensitive” note so it sure won’t be on your screen. Here is the top part of what you will see. DON”T PANIC!! We will only be using a couple of these buttons. First scroll down to the bottom and look at the far left. You will see the namesevers we have been talking about. If you haven’t already done it, you can copy these to your clickboard (highlight and Ctrl-C), go back to GoDaddy. And follow the instructions to login, My Account, Domain Manager, manage your domain, and set nameservers. AFTER YOU HAVE A NEW DOMAIN NAME AND THE NAMESERVERS ARE SET Here are the four steps we need to take care of to complete the setup process with HostGator. Step 1 – Tell HostGator that there is a new domain pointed at them Scroll down the page and find the ADD ON DOMAINS button Click the button. This screen pops up. Enter your new domain name/ Once you enter the domain name, the system will fill in the Subdomain/Username and the Document home. You enter a password (There is a password generator button to provide you with a very random password. Be sure to store you password somewhere. Click the ADD DOMAIN button and your domain is ready to use. You will see a screen with just the first two lines. Wait for it. After a minute or so, the rest will fill in. YOU ARE DONE! - Your domain has been set up. Overview of WordPress WordPress comes in two varieties. The first is WordPress.com. This version is free and limited. The flexibility you need is not present here. WordPress.org contains the scripts that make up WordPress. You copy these scripts to your host and install them. Fortunately at HostGator there is an application call Fantastico De Luxe that does it for you. A working WordPress blog is made up of three different parts. The basic scripts that make up the guts of the program. These are running on a file server (large PC) at the host site. A Theme – There are literally thousands of special sets of computer code called Themes that give you additional functionality and a look and feel. Some are free and some are not. You will pick one Theme for you Blog. We will go over where to find some very professional and inexpensive themes. Plugins – these are add-ons that also give you additional functionality. You can add a number of these and we will go over a set that we feel is important for everyone to have. Of course there are experts that will disagree with any list like this, so use your own best judgment as you become more knowledgeable. Every now and then you will get a notice that WordPress has a new version and they ask you to install it. You usually need to do this. What happens is that the new scripts are automatically copies and installed. (Occasionally one of the add-ons you will have added to the basic WordPress System will not work with the new version. You will need to disable it and the problem is usually fixed within a few days – especially for a plugin you paid for. STEP 2 – Installing WordPress. Scroll down near the bottom of the Cpanel screen and find Fantastico De Luxe. Then click on it. Fantastico can install several things. Find WordPress on the left and click on it. You will see a screen with several fields to fill in. Pick the Domain from the drop down list. Leave the Install in Directory blank Pick a username to login to WordPress with Pick a password you will remember to login to WordPress with Pick a nickname, an email address, the Site Name and a short description Then press the INSTALL WORDPRESS button at the bottom You will see a SUCCESS Screen. Have it send you an email for the details and then click the BACK TO WORDPRESS OVERVIEW Here is the Email I received. This is the THIRD login I mentioned when we started this. After a few minutes (it could be up to an hour), enter your domain name and……. There is the WordPress Blog we created today. It is up, but it needs a bunch of TLC before we are finished. LOGIN To login to WordPress Blog the secret (not so very secret) is to add “/wp- admin” to the end of your URL. For example my blog here is http://HalePringle.us so to login to the Dashboard I would use http://HalePringle.us/wp-admin You use the username and password you set up earlier. Remember this site is case sensitive. I used HalePringle as my user name. If I enter halepringle it won’t accept it. Not like Windows, where it wouldn’t matter. Here is the Dashboard: UPDATE The FIRST thing you do it look at the top. If it says that there is a newer version available, go ahead and click the link. You want to keep your system update. It helps keep your site secure (plug any security holes they found) and it will give you any new features they have installed. Click the UPDATE NOW button and off it goes. It is extremely rare to have an error at this point. If you do, support at HostGator will help you. When you are done, it will take you to a page that shows you the new features. Down at the bottom is a “Return to Dashboard” Link. Note that WordPress will now show you new features with a pop-up screen. You can all click on the “W” to see the list of updated features again. PICK A THEME The next step is to pick a “theme”. This is like the interior design of your house. It determines the look and feel of your blog. It also determines if you have special features that WordPress does not normally come with. Picking a theme Fairly neutral colors Fairly light background Dark text (people over 30 have a hard time reading gray on white or red on black) – there are psychological impacts for different colors. Add some color Add some fun Remember main goal here is to get people onto your list so you can market to them. There are Themes you Purchase and there are Free Themes. Several companies are recommended if you are going to purchase a theme. They have been around and their themes tend to be stable. Don’t go wild with a crazy theme that doesn’t help you convert opt-ins. Free Themes - For free themes Google for “Free WordPress Themes”. These are sometimes harder to update. You can also find them at WordPress.org – in their theme database or from within your blog. The issues with free themes are 1) lack of support (may cause a crisis after an update), 2) links back to the creators website and/or products. This is not necessarily bad, but you usually don’t want someone else selling stuff to your customers in your site. They are taking traffic away from you! Premium Themes - Premium themes (from reputable companies are usually well worth the money. They almost always work and work with the various plugins. If there is a problem, you paid for it so you can get support and they look amazing. The cost is usually in the $75 and up range. Recommended list: Woothemes Genesis Thesis http://WooTheemes.com Woothemes are among the easiest to get running and generally look the best right out of the box. Genesis and Thesis are highly configurable and extendable. If you are a programmer (or know one or out-source to one) and you want to do a lot of fancy things with your blog, you might look here. On the Woothemes page, click the OUR THEMES button and look. They have close to 100 different themes. You can pick one and click the demo to see how it looks. You can also change the colors and basically play around with how it might look for your purposes. When you find the one you want you purchase it and they send you a file. You will upload this file to your blog. (Almost all the themes companies work the same way in this regard.) To install a theme, go to your dashboard and hover over the APPERANCE Menu option. A fly-out menu will appear with THEMES as one of the options. Click on it. The Manage Themes Page will appear. One of the major options is to “INSTALL THEMES” When you click on that, it will ask you to browse for the file that the theme company sent you. The screen that comes up has a search bar that allows you to look at all the themes that WordPress comes with. You can choose a color and you should probably choose 2 column and right sidebar. It sill show you all the available themes. FREE THEMES IN WORDPRESS` Note the two-column. Click on FIND THEMES and you will see: If you like the theme, you can X out of the Preview and click the install link. PREMIUM THEME If your purchased a theme, they will have sent you a ZIP file. You need to download it from your email to a place that you can find it (your desktop or under My Documents, etc.) Instead for using the FIND THEME button to search WordPress’s themes, you will click the Upload button and find the zip file. Browse for the zip file containing the theme you purchased and then click INSTALL NOW. Once the theme installs correctly, you need to click the ACTIVATE link. NOTE: This is Ty Tribble’s MLM Theme NOTE: Remember if you see a message to Update your WordPress, you should do that. WORDPRESS SETTINGS Log back into the Dashboard for your blog (http://yourblog.com/wp- admin) Hover over the SETTING menu on the left side of the screen, a fly-out menu will appear. Click on PERMALINKS. The default gives you a name of “?p=xxx” You really want to change this for a couple of reasons. First, it is much easier to read something like “about-me” and second Google really likes these names. They will almost always have the keywords you are targeting and Google REALLY likes that. Click on CUSTOM STRUCTURE and enter /%postname%/ Now click on the PRIVACY Setting. We need to check something. We want to be SURE that the search engines can find our site. So check that the right button is on and then press SAVE CHANGES> MAKING YOUR WP INTO A WEBSITE There are two steps to turning your blog into a web site. 1. Go to Pages and add two pages Home and Blog 2. Go to Settings and choose Reading The default will look like this: Click the Static Page Option and choose your new HOME page as the Front Page and your new BLOG page as the Posts Page. Now when people come to your URL, they will see the Home page first. FAVICONS Favicons are the little icons that show beside your URL name in a browser window or down at the bottom of your screen in the task bar. Try http://Favicon.cc to build one. MANUALLY MOVING FILES TO YOUR WP SITE There is a utility in your CPanel called WebDisk that makes your web site look like another hard drive on your PC. This allows you to drag and drop files. SCREEN CAPTURE AND ANOTATION Google for Jing and download. It is free. PLUGINS Plugins are add-ons that give you additional functionality. Since WordPress is Open Source (owned by all developers everywhere), there are literally thousands of people working on features that add something to the basic WordPress system. We have a list that you should consider. Okay the philosophy is “Less is More.” Too many plugins can start to conflict with each other and you get subtle errors that are VERY difficult to diagnose and fix. Here is the recommended list. SEO All in One SEO – add descriptions and other useful info to each post. Google XML Sitemap – create a site map. This makes it easier for Google to spider your site. YARPP – Yet Another Related Posts Plugins – gives you a list of posts related to the one you are working on. SEOPressor – scores you draft post. Follow instructions until you get a high score and then publish. Hale’s Pick – Keyword Winner – check your keywords and your ranking – right in WordPress SEO Smart Links – automatic linking between your posts – provides automatic SEO Benefits. STATS K-Stats reloaded – more real time than Google Google Analytics for WordPress – show your traffic. Statpress – real time stats. SOCIAL Wb-fb-fan-box Sexy-bookmarks Facebook iLike Easy Buttons Twitter Tools Tweet Meme – adds a retweet option Socialble – probably the standard with all the connect to me buttons. Over 99 different sites you can add links to. Facebook Share – adds a Share on Facebook button. SECURITY Bulletproof security Wp-db backup – backup your database and your settings Akismet – stop spammers from commenting Better WP Security – you can change and close most of the holes that attackers use. Redirectrion plugin – use if you rename pages. POSTS Shadowbox- enhances imbedding videos in your posts. Next Gen Galleries – enhanced photo galleries Page-in-widget – allows you to put a whole page (like one you created for a capture page – in a widget Comment Luv – lets people put their link in your comments – more likely to comment and give you a link. Custom Contact – contact form without your email be scrapable Contact Form 7. – Forms for your blog All in One SEO – basic Search Engine Optimization. – more on this later. Google XML Sitemap – this creates a “map” of you entire site that makes it easy for Google to find and index everything. YARPP – Yet Another ?? – more on this later. SEOPressor – this plugin will grade your post for how will it follows the rulss for getting good rankings. It will tell you what you need to do to improve your score. Keyword Winner – Allows you to put keywords as your title and it will show you the number of times the key word is searched for and the competition you will face if you use this keyword. It also shows you where your posts rank in Google when you view ALL POSTS. K-Stats reloaded – very nice to log into your site and immediately see what kind of traffic you have had. Google Analytics for WordPress – necessary when you get further along. You need to know where traffic is coming from. This becomes especially critical when you start to do paid traffic. You really must be able to track which ads are working for you (and stop paying for the others.) Wb-Fb-Fan-box – when you have a fan page, this automatically puts a link to your fan page on the right side beside every post. Very cool. Sexy Bookmarks – this links to all your social sites and it is the one that almost everyone is using. Facebook iLikes – not really necessary now, but it is nice. It puts a thumbs up beside each post and lets people link your blog post into Facebook with one click. Easy Buttons – puts your social links in the right hand side bar Twitter Tools – integrates into your Twitter profile and tweets your new post title when you publish a new post. Bulletproof Security – makes it harder to hack into your site. WP-db Backup will email you a complete backup of your site every day or every month or whenever you choose. It is a fact of life that eventually your files will corrupt or be hacked or your site will go down. You MUST have backups to recomer. Akismet – is installed automatically but must be activated (paid for). This blocks spammers from your comment sections. INSTALLING A PLUGIN Hover over the PLUGINS menu on the left side of your dashboard and click on ADD NEW. Search “for All in one SEO” You will see several options, in this case, just choose the basic All In On SEO Pack. Note: You can click on the DETAILS link under any of the options and see a screen or two of information. Click on INSTALL NOW. It will ask “Are You Sure?” – click Yup . It will unpack and install. Remember you must click on ACTIVATE to actually have the plugin start working. Click on the link in the middle of the red box that is yelling at us that we need to configure All in one SEO This will take you to an options page. There are several things to do here. First – it is nice to donate to things that you find useful. Be sure you click the ENABLED Option. The Home Title is what will show in Google when they reference your whole site. The Description will also show in Google. Enter some key words – between 3 and 6 – five being the sweet spot. Scroll down to see more options. You can leave the rest of the options as they are with two exceptions. For technical reasons it is probably best to click “Use noindex for Tag Archives” and “Autogenerate Descriptions”. Once you have checked those, you can click the UPDATE OPTIONS button Be SURE to click the UPDATE OPTIONS button in order to activate All in one SEO. You will see a screen that tells you that your successfully updated All in one SEO. The system will go back to the All In One SEO Options page. The red bar is gone and the plugin is now active. MORE PLUGINS Install the rest of the plugins the same way. The ones you buy will usually have you upload a zip file that will install automatically. CREATING A CUSTOM HEADER/LOGO Here are some guidelines for creating a customer header or logo. Simple is better Have a picture of you (high res, professionally done) Include Product/Site Name Include Tag Line Brand YOU, not the company you are selling products for. Here are some places where you can get help online Logonerds.com ($47 – you get six concepts of a logo, you tell them what you like or don’t like, they revise and in the end you have a professional looking logo.) 99designs.com ($250+ - designers around the world send you lots of concepts, you pick, have them revise and pay for the one you like best.) UPLAODING THE HEADER The instructions to upload you Header will either be in the APPEARANCE menu on the left (under HEADER), or under the THEME you purchased (probably under HEADER or LOGO). In either case they will give you a BROWSE button so you can locate the file on your hard drive and then they will upload it. UPADATING YOUR BLOG SITE – PAGES Click on ADD NEW under the PAGES menu option. One of the first things you are going to want to add is an ABOUT ME page. Add the Page name at the top and enter your text. To add ann image, place your curso where you want the image to go and then click on the UPLOAD/INSERT link right above the text. Here you can either drag and drop the image into the dotted line OR press the SELECT FILES button and find your files on your hard drive. This is the standard screen you see when you are inserting an image. It may be from an upload or from the Gallery or the Archive. At the top where it says HIDE, it will say SHOW if the details aren’t shown (like they are here). You toggle between HIDE and SHOW. Enter the ALT text. This should be something descriptive to help blind readers and people reading your blog on small screens where they have turned the images off. You should also load the ALT field with your keywords. Google looks for them there. Pick left, right or center for where your want the image. Pick a size and then click the INSERT INTO POST button. Click on the PUBLISH button and your About Me page will be live. ADDING A POST Under the POST menu option on the left, click ALL POSTS. This shows the POST menu and the ADD NEW. When you hover over a post, the menu for that post appears. This is where you edit a draft or make changes to an existing post. ADD NEW When you click on ADD NEW, the following screen comes up. Here you see the Title for your post (be sure to include your keywords), the permalink, the toolbar (like a word processor), the text, a place to save a draft, a place to publish the post, a place to tag the post and a place to categorize the post. Adding images is done the same way you did with pages. There is lots more to editing, but that is enough for this. CHECKLIST FOR YOU HOME PAGE Header 1. URL should be visible 2. Your tag line should be there and be congruent with your niche 3, Your URL must be YOU (possibly your niche, eg, Someone who is probably going to stay with RVing) - NOT the company you work with. That could change! Niche 1. You must define a narrow niche 2. You must create an in depth Avatar - name the person and write their story (It does NOT have to be YOU) 3. You want to become the "go-to" person in your niche. Think about that. Blog Body 1. Clean and uncluttered Color appropriate for the gender of your avatar You can put your name, vertical bar, keywords, vertical bar and tag line in the page title so it displays at the top of the browser. 2. You must have an opt-in - with an irresistible offer for your avatar 3. Your story - be real, be transparent. Video is good. (in About Me page) 4. You must have a contact form - do not use your email or phone - Uses Custom Contact or Contact Form 7 plugins. 5, A way for people to buy stuff from you (must be congruent with your niche) 6. Social Links - help people connect with you 7. Legal Disclaimers at the bottom 8. Killer content - be the go-to guy/gal 9. Again clean and uncluttered. 10. Categories should be congruent with your niche 11. Activate Comments on your blog - she likes Comment Luv plugin. SUMMARY There you have it. We went through all of these steps. 1. Created an account with GoDaddy 2. Purchased a domain name 3. Created an account with HostGator 4. Changed the nameservers on GoDaddy to match HostGators 5. Added the domain to HostGator 6. Use Fantastico to install WordPress on HostGator 7. Configured our blog (login information) 8. Signed into our blog’s dashboard 9. Updated our WordPress 10. Purchased a theme and uploaded it 11. Configured our theme 12. Added (and purchased) several plugins 13. Configured plugins as needed and activated each one. 14. Purchased or created a Logo/header 15. Uploaded the header 16. Added a Page 17. Added a Post. You have a complete WordPress Blog I hope you found this useful. Is this a Great Day? Hale Yes!!
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