WordPress 101

One of the most popular places to host your blog: WordPress. It could be its simplicity that draws in so many customers, hosting more than 60 million blogs and websites all over the world. WordPress 101

Users love WordPress for a variety of reasons. With features like post scheduling, tagging for easy organization of content, assigning pages for long posts so users aren't incessantly scrolling, and auto save, it's easy to see why. Their plugins to enhance your blog are abundant. Corporations such as CNN, the NFL, and TechCrunch all rely on WordPress, so that is certainly saying something!

Looking for cheap web hosting on WordPress, but don't know where to begin? Here's a handy guide to help you figure out WordPress unique tools and features to get you started!Domain Debate: Web Hosting Or No Web Hosting

You are given the choice of a WordPress.com or WordPress.org site. Which is right for you?

WordPress.com is free to sign up for, and a snap to create. Choose from many themes that are customizable, but you cannot upload your business' theme or add plugins. So if you have a special theme that jives with your brand, you might want to skip the .com.

WordPress.org is free also, but only through WordPress. You must choose a cheap web hosting company such as Hostgator or BlueHost, unless of course you are as big as CNN. If that's the case, a cheap hosting company might not be good enough. You'll need a web hosting company that can handle the traffic your WordPress site will see, such as WP Engine, starting at $29 per month.

With a WordPress.org account, you are free to customize at will. You are able to alter the HTML, keep watch for spam, monitor your SEO, and download plugins to improve the experience for users and yourself. Your web hosting company should take care of installing your website, or at the very least provide you with a 1-click install script. If this isn't the case, you can follow the directions on WordPress site to download it yourself.

WordPress 101: Plugins

You can peruse the various plugins right on your WordPress dashboard, located on the left hand side. If you know the name of the plugin you want to install, type it in the search bar and click “Install Now.” Click “OK” in the dialogue box that pops up, and your plugin is installed. To activate it, simply click on it.

Don't know what plugin you need but know what you want the plugin to do? Go ahead and type it into the search bar and a list will appear for you to find exactly what you're looking for.

Themes

You can choose from free themes in WordPress directory, hire a graphic designer to create a custom theme, or choose a paid theme from a variety of online vendors such as DIY Themes, StudioPress, Woothemes, and ThemeForest. Prices range from free to $99.

Pages

Now you need to set up pages for your readers to get information. A nice place to start: a Contact Us page, an About page, a Customer Review page, and a Photos page.

Posts

Now you're ready to post! Go ahead and click “Add New Post” in the left hand menu, and start typing. You can also prepare a .txt file using programs like Google Docs, MS Word, and NotePad. Just cut and past, but note that formatting is a little different. Double check that everything is as you want it prior to posting!

Additional Tips

  • A great way to build your reader base: plan out your posts, and cover a variety of useful topics. Whether you use Google Calendar, your iPhone, or even a pad of paper, this will help keep your content fresh and informative.
  • Check for broken links often. Who likes going to a site and clicking a link that ends up with an error code? No one.
  • Backup your data with a service such as vaultPress rather than relying solely on a backup plugin.
  • Comment on comments! Your readers will feel like you listen, which is big for retaining and growing your regular readers.
  • Use Google Analytics to figure out your most popular pages and posts, giving you insight for future posts that people will actually want to read.
  • Don't forget to include links to your social media sites! There are plugins that will embed your latest Tweets and Facebook posts which are a great idea to include.

Do you use WordPress? What do you like most about the platform? Are you considering starting a WordPress account? Is there anything you'd like to know more about? We'd love to help!

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