Creating a website with WordPress

Creating a good website with wordpress is very easy once you have the right direction. In this article I will give you the basic steps to starting up a website/blog with WordPress.

First things first before we begin. WordPress is not the ony content management system for blogs/websites — there are many others. I prefer wordpress over anything else due to it’s simplicity and ease of updating and adding plug in functionality.

WordPress was originally designed for the creation of blogs. A lot of websites are centered around the idea of a blog which is new articles published frequently. For most websites to do well they need to provide constant valuable information at a decent rate. If you put up a couple of pages on a website and leave it at that, most likely your website will drop from the search engines and disappear.

I love the idea of building a website around WordPress and I am working on numerous other websites using it.

WordPress Basics

A WordPress website consists of these main things:

  • Posts
  • Pages
  • Categories
  • A Template

This makes WordPress simple to understand.

Posts: posts are articles written that fit into a category. Posts have an Author, A Published Date, A Title, Content, Tags and Comments.

Pages: Pages are basic articles that are linked to directly. Examples of pages are “About Us”, “Prices”, “Contact Us”, etc. In WordPress, posts and pages are different. Pages have an author, A Published Date, A Title, Content, Tags and they can have comments. Pages are generally directly linked to and are not part of any category.

Categories: categories separate posts into understandable divisions. Examples of categories are: Blog, Photoshop, Funny, etc. Categories help people find posts that they are interested in. Categories can have any amount of sub categories. An example of this is a category of “Computers” can have a sub category of “Windows” or even “Troubleshooting”.

A Theme: every WordPress site has a theme. A theme decides how to show your posts, pages and categories. A theme can also have any number of additional content, like a sidebar or a menu, etc. These are also called templates.

Tags: tags are keywords for posts and pages. Keywords also help people find an article or page that they might be interested in. It is very important to add tags to your posts so that people can actually find them. Some blog systems don’t differentiate between tags and categories.

Comments: comments are very important to a blog. Each post can have comments on it. Comments can be a suggestion, a question regarding the post, or request for clarification. Comments constantly update the post with additional content and help create more interest in your post.

Author: and author in wordpress is the person who wrote the article. In a WordPress site, there can be numerous authors writing posts. It is good to have numerous authors for a blog so that one guy isn’t staying up all night updating the blog.

These are some of the basic things you need to know to work with WordPress and to be succesful with what you are trying to do. We will now talk about how to set up a wordpress blog with ease.

Building Steps

Step 1: Get a domain name and hosting service.

An example of a domain name is “www.techassistnow.com”. A domain name is always unique. A hosting service has many computers to hold information, you will need to set it up so that your website and all of its data has a place to live.

I will tell you how to set these up for the hosting provider that I use. The hosting provider I use is called “1&1“. Using this domain name checker, check if the domain you want is available. If it is, then purchase the hosting option you want. I recommend 1and1 beginner if this is your first website.

For any other hosting provider, read the instructions on their website. In any case, you want to make your your hosting has PHP and mysql.

Step 2: Collect the necessary info from your hosting provider

Once you have a domain name and a website host, you should now have this basic information:

FTP Host:

FTP Username:

FTP Password:

Database Host:

Database Username:

Database Password:

Having this information is neccesary to starting your wordpress site. Once you have this information, continue through these steps. If you don’t have a database, contact your hosting provider on how to create a database.

Step 3: Download & Install WordPress

To download WordPress click here.

A very simple guide to installing wordpress click here.

Step 4: Customize with themes and plugins

Plugins

Installing plugins is very simple, you just go to the “Plugins” menu and click add new. Then you can search for the name of the plugin and install it right from WordPress. You can also download the .zip file and install it that way by clicking on the “Choose File” button.

Here is a list of the fundamental plugins you should have:

  • All in one SEO Pack: This plugin sets up WordPress for Search Engine Optimization. Download it here.
  • WP-Cache: This plugin greatly increases the speed that your WordPress site loads. Download it here.
  • Askimet: This plugin detects spam comments and is very important. Download it here.
  • Contact form: Every website has a way to contact the website editors. This plugin makes it very simple to have complex contact forms for this purpose. Download it here.
  • WP-DB-Backup: Allows you easily to backup your core WordPress database tables. This is a very important plugin for protecting your website from being completely ruined. I recommend it for any WordPress installation. Download it here.

There are a lot of additional useful plugins that can be used. I will list some of them here so you get an idea of the possibilities.

  • Broken Link Checker: Checking broken links can be annoying to you and your public. This plugin makes it simple by checking images and links if they are broken. If so,  you are notfified. Download it here.
  • Google XML Sitemap: This plugin creates an updated xml sitemap for Google. Good for SEO. Download it here.
  • Sharethis: great for adding social marketing buttons to all of your posts. Download it here.
  • WP ECommerce: Turns your site into an online store. This is just an example of a plugin that adds a whole store to your wordpress site for free. Download it here.

As you can see, there are many WordPress plugins. You can pretty much get a plugin for anything you want to do with WordPress.

Themes

Installing themes is very simple with the newest version of wordpress. All you have to do is go to the “themes” menu and click “add theme” and then upload a zipped file of your theme. WordPress will automatically install the theme for you. You should also install any recommended plugins for that theme.

Here is a list of website that have  a good free themes that you might like.  There are so many options and looks available for themes — it’s hard for me to list them all — but I will point you in the right direction.

Step 5: Start adding content!!

Now you have your WordPress site set up. Start writing and adding posts with unique content. Make sure you also add the standard pages (Contact, About, Etc).

This is a simple guide to start your WordPress website. There are many advanced features and theme custumizations still possible after this point. There are hundreds of websites dedicated to these advanced features — just google what you are trying to do.

Blogs and SEO

Blogs and SEO
What are blogs? Why are they important for Search engines and why are they important for your website?  

What is a blog? Most people don’t know what blog means.

The definition of blog is:
blog (a portmanteau of web log) is a website where entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (artlog), photographs (photoblog), sketchblogvideos (vlog), music (MP3 blog), audio(podcasting) are part of a wider network of social mediaMicro-blogging is another type of blogging which consists of blogs with very short posts.

You can see that a blog adds interactivity and up-to-date content to your website. The only catch is that you have to add the blog entries and keep them updated.

How does this relate to your website?

Most websites have a blog attached to them that gives updated information regarding the subject of the website. Clients or people interested in the subject of the site will look for blog entries when they come out because it gives them up-to-date information on the website or subject. This keeps visitors coming back to your website to look at the new blog posts.

For example, I keep an eye on new adobe products by linking to their blog from iGoogle. Whenever a new product comes out I go to the blog entry and read it. This keeps me coming back to the website for more.

A blog on your website also makes your website more up-to-date and useful. Major search engines like Google and Yahoo can detect that you have updated information. A website that is frequently updated is given more inportance in search results. The moment you don’t update your website for a while is the moment that it starts slipping in the rankings.

Most Blogs are created so that they stand on their own. A lot of companies put valuable time and effort into their blog and treat it as an important individual website — as it should be.

Making a standalone blog can still be very beneficial to your website and/or client base. An example of this: if you are a sign company and have a website for your company. You could have a blog on signage techniques that would direct people to the main website and also provides useful information regarding your line of work.

Some ways to set up a blog

– Set one up on your web server using plain html and add posts by uploading new HTML files (Not many people do this. It is very inefficient)

-Set one up using a blogging system for your server like “WordPress” www.wordpress.com

-Set a blog up by using blogger.com  www.blogger.com

-There are many other ways to set up a blog click here to find more

I hope that helps you understand blogs and how they help your website.

Website Sales Optimization

increasing-web-salesThis tutorial covers optimizing a website for sales. What does this mean exactly and why is this important.

An example of this is a website I was optimizing that got visits, but no sales. After some steps to optimize it for sales made it a much more productive site that actually sold the intended product almost instantaneously.

There is a lot of hype about page rank, keywords and showing up as number 1 on the search engines, which might tend to distract someone from the real purpose of their site. Do not get me wrong — the subjects I brought up are very important for your website. The point I am making here is that there is so much more involved in getting your site to accomplish it’s purpose.

In most cases, the purpose of the site is business — which would indicate making money by delivering a product.

When you are making a website to sell a product, there are a couple of things you could do to optimize your site for sales. I will go over these next.

The first thing to do when optimizing your website for sales is to go through the exact thing a customer would do to buy something on your site, literally as if you were going to buy something.

After you have done this you need to figure out how you can make it as quick and simple as possible for the customer to buy products on your website.

Once you have finished the first step (Making it as simple as possible to buy products on your website) then move onto the next step: Find ways to get the customers to want to buy.

Wow! that sounds simple… well obviously this step takes some research and thought. The way to do this would be to find out what makes the customer want to buy. You might need to survey a number of customers to find out what makes them want to buy or what they don’t like that makes them not want to buy.

As an example — for one website that I was optimizing, I found out that the customers for that site liked to be able to have a rush shipping option. When we added a box to the home page that said “Rush shipping available”. The sales went up. No money was lost by allowing for rush shipping because the customers paid for the rush (Which they were happy to do to get the item into their hands faster)

The above example just shows what you can to to increase your websites sales by adding small things which communicate to the customer something desirable about buying your products.

After you have optimized your site you want to concentrate on getting more people to your site who are the correct kind of people.

A Site that sold jewelry that had teenage punk rockers being directed to it will not sell — no matter how good it is. Keep this in mind when you are doing other optimizations to your website to get people to it.

I will sum up what was just gone over into 3 basic steps.

3 basic steps for optimizing your websites sales:

  • Ensure the buying process is as simple and fast as possible
  • Communicate desirable things to your customers that will get them to buy
  • Get a lot of the right kind of customers to your website (SEO and Advertising)