If you’re looking for a new website but can’t afford to get a bespoke website created for your business, there are many sites available that offer pre-designed themes to apply to your wordpress site. WordPress is a powerful CMS (Content Management System) that most people use these days which allow you to edit the content yourself without worrying about modifying the design.
So, what’s the price for such a wonderful offer? Well, most premium wordpress themes can go for anything from $20 – $200, and that is just for one theme. With elegant wordpress themes you can get all 87 themes for just $69!
It’s $69 per year but any theme that is added while you’re a member can be yours to download too. So, you may be paying for 87 themes when you first register, but if ten more themes are created within the first year those are available to you as well. So, you could in theory pay $69 for 97 themes!
I’ve tested a couple of the themes and they are pretty easy to use. If you do get stuck, however, there are instructions on how to use the theme included.
Also included with the themes are the PSD files (so you can edit it in Photoshop) and the plugins used for that particular theme.
All in all, I’d recommend you sign up to this site now while the price is so low – at $69 for 87 professional wordpress themes, I’d say that’s too good an opportunity to miss!
Recently the company I work for have taken over the running of a blog. The blog hadn’t been updated since last April, and the version it was running on was a very old version.
I was tasked with upgrading the blog to the current version and I wanted to do it quickly and efficiently.
After surfing the Internet I came accross a great plugin that upgrades wordpress for you.
When running this plugin please be aware that it creates a backup folder in your root directory called “wpau-backup” which is accessible for writing to. You may want to rename this folder and change the permissions to 444, or you can delete it (I’d advise you download a copy before doing this).
All in all though, this plugin allowed me to upgrade wordpress automatically within 5 minutes, and it will alert me when a new version of wordpress is available, to which it will upgrade automatically too.
If you’ve read the first two parts in this series then you should be well on your way with writing your blog. But one thing that is very useful in making your blog more creative, and making usability easier, is: Plugins.
I’m not going to list every single Plugin available as there are plenty of resources that already do that, I’m going to list the ones that this blog is using and how it is useful to me.
Adman [ VISIT PAGE ]
Adman is a useful plugin that allows you to insert adsense into your posts. Usually with the standard WordPress installation it won’t allow you to insert adsense code into posts, therefore losing any adsense revenue you could potentially earn from your post.
With Adman it’s easy. You choose if you want Adsense at the beginning, middle, or end of every post (you can have all three!) and it will automatically do it for you for each post you make. If you only want the Adsense to appear on certain posts there’s a tick box when creating a new post that lets you choose if you want to disable it for that post.
Akismet [ VISIT PAGE ]
This plugin comes with WordPress but you can’t use it until you’ve registered an account at wordpress.com which will give you an API key you need to activate it. You don’t need to create a blogging account at wordpress.com, a simple non-blogging account will do. Once the plugin is activated you will notice its usefulness straight away.
When you’ve posted a blog, did you ever receive lots of spam comments?? Akismet will catch all the spam comments for you. Don’t worry though, you can check through the comments its caught to make sure no “real” comments went through. If any did, you can select it and tell Akismet that it isn’t spam, and it won’t catch any future comments from that poster. The same goes with normal comments, if any spam comments did get through, you can tick the spam tickbox and Akismet will remember that for the future!
All in One SEO Pack [ VISIT PAGE ]
Ahhh the SEO’s dream. This one allows you to create your own Title tags and Meta tags for each individual post. With the standard WordPress installation you can’t do that – usually it would create the Title tag from the Title you gave your post, and the meta Description from the first few paragraphs of your post. With the SEO Pack you can create your own tags that will mean something in the search engines.
Code Markup [ VISIT PAGE ]
I don’t use this one often, but sometimes if I’m writing about HTML/PHP code and want to display the code in a post, with this plugin all I have to do is place the code in < code > tags, otherwise the code wouldn’t appear correctly, or wouldn’t appear at all! Very useful to have if you write about HTML/PHP, or any code, alot.
Comment Relish [ VISIT PAGE ]
I only found this one recently but I think it’s a great way to increase readership. This plugin will send a thankyou email to new commenters on their first comment. A quick “thank you for your comment, we hope to see you again soon” is always nice to receive in an email from someones blog. The email is customisable so you can put whatever you like in there.
Dofollow [ VISIT PAGE ]
I’m a firm believer in the “Do as you would be done by” method. I’d like to think that when I write comments on other peoples blogs the link to my site will be worth something. This plugin allows all the links in my comments to be worth something.
Standard wordpress installation applies the rel=”no-follow” tag on all links left in comments, which basically means it isn’t seen as a “proper” link, therefore Google disregards it. It’s worthless. Adding the Dofollow plugin removes all rel=”no-follow” tags on all links in my comments meaning if you post your link here it is worth something.
Google XML Sitemaps [ VISIT PAGE ]
If you have a Google Webmaster account you can submit a sitemap for your site, either in .txt or .xml format. Once the sitemap has been submitted Google will visit your sitemap regularly to see what’s new there.
The Google XML Sitemaps plugin automatically updates your .xml sitemap for you every time you create a post, a page, or even edit a post or page. This makes it a whole lot easier than having to do it manually.
Show Top Commentators [ VISIT PAGE ]
This plugin is useful to encourage commentators back to your site. It will list the Top Ten Commentators for the month with a link to their site. Obviously the more comments they leave the higher their chances of being in the top ten are, and with the plugin shown on all pages, if you have a blog with 100 posts that means they’ll have at least 100 links to their site. If that isn’t an incentive to comment I don’t know what is.
Subscribe Remind [ VISIT PAGE ]
If you have a RSS feed that you’d like people to subscribe to, sometimes having a nice RSS image at the top of your site isn’t enough. This plugin will create a line of text after every post reminding people to subscribe to your RSS feed.
Subscribe to Comments [ VISIT PAGE ]
This plugin is must-have in my opinion. If you’re leaving comments at different blogs, and some of them you may want feedback on, it can be difficult remembering which blog and which post you commented on to go back and look at a future date. If they had this plugin, however, you wouldn’t have to remember.
This plugin allows you to receive emails when someone else has made a comment at a certain blog or post you’ve commented at. This is not only good for the commenters, but it’s good for blog-owners as if people have subscribed to comments, they’re going to receive an email every time someone else comments which means those people are likely to visit again to see what else is new.
WP-ContactForm: Akismet Edition [ VISIT PAGE ]
This is basically a script that allows you to insert a contact form into your blog. You will need to activate Akismet before it will work, but it’s a very useful plugin to have if you don’t know how to create a contact form. You’ll be amazed at how many people contact you if you have a contact form ready to hand.
For further plugins, check out 101 WordPress Plugins you may not have known about.
This post follows a post I did last month: Getting Started with WordPress – Part One. As promised this post will deal with creating and managing posts and pages.
Before we get onto that subject however, there is something you need to do before creating any posts or pages. This will help with the SEO of your blog.
Go to the Options page on the Word Press admin panel, and click on the sub-link “Permalinks”. You’ll see the Default set at “http://www.yoursite.com/?p=123″ which is something you definately don’t want it set at, otherwise there’ll be no keywords set in the URL of your page and will often discourage people to visit your site if it’s seen in Search Engines.
I recommend setting it at “Date and name based” so your URLs will appear like so: http://www.yoursite.com/2008/04/30/sample-post/. This way I can add keywords to the URL and also have it date based, so anyone who’s looking in the Search Engines can see exactly what date it was posted and know that you’re site is pretty much up-to-date.
I would however suggest if you want your URL to just be “http://www.youriste.com/sample-post” set the Permalink to Custom, and in the text box just have “/%postname%/”.
Now that is out of the way let’s take a look at creating and managing posts.
When you create a post you have four standard things:
The Title is used as the title of your post and although it’s a little useful to include keywords in it, it isn’t major to do so. In fact, most people write catchy Titles to attract readers rather than stuff it with Keywords. Keep this in mind when writing your titles.
The Post is obviously where you write the content of your post so I won’t insult your intelligence by explaining how to do that.
Categories & Tags are similar. In fact, there was a time where I would use the same words for the categories and tags. This isn’t useful though for people who are looking for something specific. The categories section should be used as a general categorization and tags to be used as something more specific.
For example, if I write a post about how to create a logo in photoshop, the Category I’d put it in would be “Design”, or “How To”, but the tags could explain it more specifically by using the words “logos”, “photoshop”, “creating” etc. You can use as many tags as you like for each post. The more specific, the better!
Now let’s take a look at the other sections of the Write Post page.
For me the Post Slug is the most important part of the Write Post page. If you leave this blank it will create the Post Name of your post automatically from your title.
For example, if your title was to read “What’s all this then?” and the Post was actually about what Google Adsense is and how to use it, the URL of your page will end up being “http://www.yoursite.com/whats-all-this-then” which is pretty useless as it doesn’t explain what the page is about and will lose Search Engine rankings.
But, use the Post Slug and type in “what-is-google-adsense” the URL of your page will be “http://www.yoursite.com/what-is-google-adsense” and has more of a chance of being in Search Engine Results for someone searching for information about Google Adsense than if you left this blank.
And of course, this does leave the title of your page intact, so no need to worry about it being overwritten.
You can upload images to go into your post. Word Press automatically uploads it to a folder on your server and then inserts it into your Post. It will usually place it at the top of the Post so be sure to cut and paste the code it inserts into a place where you want the image to be.
Writing a Page and Writing a Post are very similar. The only difference is that you can’t include Categories or Tags into a page.
There are a lot of useful plugins available that will help with the SEO of your blog, which I will discuss in the next part of this series. These include the All in One SEO Pack which allows you to create unique Title and Meta tags for each post and page which will help significantly with getting in Search Engines for your specific keywords and search terms.
Managing Posts and Pages
This is fairly straight forward so I won’t go into too much detail with it. Basically when managing posts and pages you can View, Edit or Delete each one. It will display what date you posted it, what categories you’ve placed it in, how many comments it has, and the author of the post (useful if you have more than one person creating posts and pages).
As I said earlier the next part in this series will discuss useful plugins for your blog and how to use them. I hope you’ve found this post useful and I hope you’ll look forward to the next in the series.
Even the most experienced of Web Designers can find using Word Press for the first time a little daunting. I know that when I first started using it I became a little confused by just what exactly Word Press is for and how it is used.
Here is a quick and easy guide to get started with Word Press – Part One. This part will guide you through the installation of Word Press on your domain name.
1. Domain and Hosting
Before you get started with downloading Word Press you will need a domain name and somewhere to host it. I use Dreamhost to buy my domains and host them. (Get $50 off a yearly Dreamhost package by clicking here).
2. MySQL and PHP
When you choose a hosting company make sure they support PHP and allow you to create MySQL databases. Some hosting companies charge you per MySQL database so try and steer clear from them. With Dreamhost you have unlimited MySQL databases so you can even have more than one blog if you wanted to!
3. Download Word Press
Go to the Word Press website (www.wordpress.org) and download the Word Press software. Unzip the files into an appropriate folder on your computer. I saved my copy into a folder called “Emz Design” when I initially downloaded it so I’d remember where it was and why it was there.
4. Change the wp-config.php file
There will be a file in the Word Press folder called wp-config-sample.php which you will need to edit. In this file there is a place for you to insert your database details. It will look something like this:
// ** MySQL settings ** //
define(‘DB_NAME’, ‘database_name’); // The name of the database
define(‘DB_USER’, ‘database_username’); // Your MySQL username
define(‘DB_PASSWORD’, ‘database_password’); // …and password
define(‘DB_HOST’, ‘localhost’); // …and the server MySQL is running on
You will need to edit these as below:
‘database_name’ replace with the name of your database.
‘database_username’ replace with the username you use to access the database.
‘database_password’ replace with the password you specified when creating the database.
‘localhost’ can remain the same in most cases but if it doesn’t work specify the IP or hostname given to you by your hosting company.
You will now need to save this file in the same place you found it, but save it as wp-config.php.
5. Upload the files to your website.
Be careful when uploading the files to your website because depending on how you want to use Word Press you might upload it to the wrong place. Some people make the mistake of uploading the whole thing in the folder “wordpress”, which will upload to your domain as www.yourdomain.com/wordpress. This is a great way to do it if you want to have a separate blog from your site, although I’d recommend using a different name instead of “wordpress”, such as “articles”, “blogs” etc.
But, if you want your blog to be your main site, open the wordpress folder on your computer and upload all files in there to your domain. This should upload all files to www.yourdomain.com
6. Install Word Press!
All you need to do now is go to www.yourdomain.com and it will take you straight to installation. Provided you have specified the right database details in the wp-config.php file you should now see a page that asks you for the name of your blog, and your email address. Insert this information and you’re good to go!
Word Press will give you a generated password for you to login to your account. Please change this as soon as you login so you have a password that’s easily remembered.
Getting Started with Word Press – Part Two will be coming up in the next couple of weeks and will deal with creating and managing posts and pages.