Why I’ve stopped using OptimizePress and what I’ve started using instead….

I bought the OptimizePress 1.0 plugin when James Dyson first released it in 2011. I loved it – it was a huge step forward for building landing and sales pages. OptimizePress 2.0 came out in 2013 and was a quantum leap forward. Now it was a theme – I loved it. However I’ve now disabled OP on most of my sites and I now use InstaBuilder 2.0. Why?

Continue reading “Why I’ve stopped using OptimizePress and what I’ve started using instead….”

The Set Up

In this post we are going to talk more about setting up your WordPress site.

Did you know that as of 2011, over 15 million sites across the globe are powered by WordPress with that number growing everyday? In fact, this powerful content management system accounts for more than 25% of new websites created!

The flexibility and adaptability of this system is the main reason behind its popularity. With thousands of site developers and bloggers raving about how easy it is to setup and install WordPress there’s little doubt that it is a great option for beginners and experienced users alike.

For beginners looking to build a new site will find this point and click system simple and easy to use. With no technical skills required you can quickly build your own website without writing code, learning HTML or installing complicated scripts.

– Installing WordPress

As we have discussed briefly before WordPress installation is fast and easy, the entire process can take around five minutes or less to complete. If you are using web hosting with tools like Fantastico it will facilitate the process even further with automatic installation.

All you have to do is log into your hosting control panel, navigate to Fantastico, choose new WordPress installation and click install. You will have the option of installing WordPress into the main directory of your website or in a subfolder which will allow you to have multiple installations if needed.

If you’re hosting doesn’t support automatic installation you can also install it manually by downloading the files to your computer, uploading them to your web hosting and making a few quick adjustments to ensure proper functionality.

If you have chosen to install WordPress manually you need to go to: http://www.wordpress.org/download. from there you can choose to install the latest release of this powerful content management system. Or if you prefer you can choose one of the earlier versions, which you may already be familiar with. After downloading, unzip the file to a specific folder on your hard drive and follow the instructions provided.

– Setting up WordPress

After completing the installation process, setting up some basic aspects of your WordPress site will be necessary to make it look and function exactly the way you want it to. You will want to take some time to customize your personal or business profile information by clicking…

>Users >Your Profile.

You will also want to go through each of the general settings so that you can customize the way your content and pages are displayed. from there you can add in the name of your site, a description, how many posts will display on your main page as well as set up static pages for specific information. You can do this by going to…

>Administration >Settings  >General

If you want to disclose information about yourself so you can build up your site’s credibility, fill in ‘About’ and ‘Contact’ with corresponding data. Just go to…

>Administration >Pages >Add New.

To modify the appearance of your WordPress blog, go to…

>Administration >Appearance >Themes.

And don’t forget you can search the WordPress Theme Directory with thousands of available and applicable themes to choose from. You select and install a theme that is appropriate for your sites topic.

– Using WordPress Plug-ins

After going through the process of setting up and installing WordPress, it will be time to consider adding in ëPlug-insí to make your WordPress site more useful and appealing to readers. These handy programs can add functionality and usability to your site with a few simple clicks. They can help you customize information, add editing or spell check features, manage updates, create custom posts, automate SEO, enhance social sharing and much more.

Choosing from any of the plug-ins listed in the WordPress plug-in directory is easy and will make your site more interesting, appealing, and useful to readers. You can manage your plug-ins by activating, deactivating, editing, updating, or deleting them from within your WordPress dashboard.

Once you start using WordPress and become more familiar with it, you will discover that the platform is simple to navigate as well as extremely powerful.

Why WordPress?

What is WordPress and why is it so popular?

FACT: WordPress is one of the most widely used and popular blogging platforms available despite the numerous alternatives available. This fact is based on the recent poll of 100 of the most popular blogs conducted and released by Pingdom, a company that runs service tests for website uptime.

The survey found that 48% of bloggers use WordPress as their preferred platform. They also commented on the systemís importance and usefulness as a powerful content management system (CMS). Of the 48% surveyed, 39% of them use WordPress software in-house, while others use the hosted service at WordPress.com.

Many other surveys have yielded similar results as well. W3Techs, an Internet- based survey company, also recently released the results of its own poll, which showed that 54% of its website-respondents use WordPress as their preferred site building platform.

Bottom line, WordPress is currently the most popular system among thousands of users from all around the world and is considered one of the most functional and easy to use platforms available today. Its users range from individuals running small websites to large companies and organizations running massive portals. With an astounding amount of existing website owners making the switch to this powerful platform every day.

Contrary to popular belief WordPress is more than a blogging platform.

As I mentioned earlier, it is also a powerful content management system (CMS) enabling its users to easily customize the look and function of their websites with relative ease. It’s ease of use makes it an extremely functional tool that can be used to design website virtually any type of according to user specific preferences.

Another thing that makes WordPress so popular is that there are thousands of ready-made themes and plug-ins available to help make building a site with it much easier than with other web design software.

Ultimately making it the go to tool when it comes to design flex ability and functionality.

Many WordPress competitors have been steadily losing their hold on top spots of blogging platform surveys for the last several years. For instance, Movable Type, the second most popular blogging platform after WordPress based on the 2012 list, was the blog of choice of only seven bloggers from 12 (preceding survey of Pingdom).

TypePad (another blogging platform) was used by only two blogs from 16 in 2009. Newer competitors are slowly gaining popularity, though there is no clear indication that they can be at par with the system. Drupal, which started in 2001, and Tumblr, introduced in 2007, are among those. There are many other blogging platforms with insignificant numbers of users.

Of course, the founder of WordPress was very pleased with the survey results and expressed no surprise about the findings. Matt Mullenweg remains confident that the rise in the popularity of this powerful system as a blogging and site building platform is expected to continue for many years to come.

In fact with the growing social media marketing trend more and more businesses are currently starting blogs to complement their existing websites to help facilitate consumer interaction, with many of them making the switch to the WordPress platform completely.

With its ease of use and so many powerful features there is little doubt that WordPress will remain superior to other platforms developed and offered by competitors making it an excellent choice for anyone looking to develop their own fully functional and user-friendly website.

Bottom line, if you’re using WordPress to build and manage your website yet then you owe it to yourself to check it out as soon as possible. You’ll be amazed at the results you can achieve.

A Quick 11 step WordPress Set Up Cheat Sheet

This is a quick, 11-step WordPress set up guide. This won’t teach you how to completely create your site but it is a good reminder of the simple starting steps everyone should take when they begin their WordPress journey.

1. Install WordPress

This is pretty self explanatory. The first step should be to install WordPress on your host. WordPress has a great guide to follow so this shouldn’t hold you up. Some webhosts even have something called Fantastico, if your hosts does you are in luck! Fantastico will install WordPress automatically for you.

2. Login to your new site

Again self explanatory. The way I usually access my WordPress site is by adding a /wp-admin after my domain name in my web browsers address bar.

3. Make sure your email addresses are set

This is important because this is where you will get your updates and password if you ever lose it. There are two places to make sure your password is set. The first spot is in Settings->General. The other spot is in your Users menu – you will want to ensure your Admin email is correct.

4. Change your permalinks

I suggest this to all clients. In your Settings menu there is a Permalinks section. Open that menu and then choose your new style of permalinks. For the ultimate in clean URLs I suggest choosing custom structure and inserting the following string: /%postname%/. This will make the title of your posts be the web address.

5. Add your title and tagline

In General Settings once again add the name and tag line of your blog. The name is anything you want – keyword rich is best. The tagline is your site’s description.

6. Choose your theme

If you want to use a theme (you do) you can find a wide variety to choose by using your WordPress back office itself. Just navigate to Appearance->Themes and then use the tools they have to search for a theme. Once you find one to your liking download and activate it.

7. Install your plugins

Any plugins that you wish to add, do so now. Plugins are very flexible so you can add more later on if you discover one you need. Install whatever plugins you think you need. I would suggest that you definitely include All-in-One SEO and XML Google Sitemaps. They will both help with your SEO and each has fantastic support if you need to know more. I would also suggest Askimet but it comes installed already.

8. Activate Akismet

I think this should be done as soon as possible. Askimet is a great spam blocking plugin that ensures your site isn’t full of spam comments. As soon as you start adding content you will notice the spam beginning. Askimet has a huge database of comment spam so it can usually pick up and block any on your site. If it does make a mistake then you can manually override it for a particular comment and it will actually learn from that. The one caveat to this is you have to get a WordPress API key. To get that API key you have to sign up for a free account on wordpress.com. Not a big deal, but an extra step you might not be aware of.

9. Check your privacy

In your Settings menu there is a Privacy heading. Click it and make sure your blog is visible to everyone. If it isn’t, Google will not index any of your content!

10. Add your widgets

Under Appearance there will be a Widgets menu. You can use this to add functionality to your WordPress site using the sidebars. If you chose a widget ready theme (most are) you will have one or two sidebars (or more) on your site. In the widgets menu the sidebar will show up and you can drag and drop “widgets” into it. These widgets can be things like a search bar, an archive, a calendar, a recent posts list or a text/html box that you can put just about anything in. There are even more widgets than that available. There are even downloadable ones if the standard ones don’t do everything you need.

11. Create content

Now you can create some content! You can add pictures, galleries of those pictures, an about page etc… You can also start making posts – remember to create categories to keep them organized. Take advantage of the tag feature as that will come in handy when you have hundereds of posts. It helps with searches on your site as well.

That is the bare minimum to get started with WordPress. You will have to learn a lot more but when you do, you will be happy you made the move to WordPress. Happy blogging!

When something goes wrong

Using WordPress is a smart choice for anyone who is looking to build a web presence.  One of it’s best “selling” points is that it is free.  Their .com site will even provide hosting for you. 

There is one downside to this though – there is no one to call when something goes wrong.  For the most part you are on your own.  It is usually up to you to fix your own problem, but luckily there is some help out there:

1. WordPress.com/WordPress.org Forums

Whether you host your own site or use the .com service, both instances have an online forum.  This is probably the first place you should look for any issues you are having.  If something is wrong with your WordPress site there is a good chance that someone else has dealt with it. 

Before you make a post asking your question, do a search on the forums and you might find a thread with your answer.  If you can’t find an answer that addresses your issue, then you can make your own thread dealing with it.  Titling and tagging your post properly will be a huge help in getting the answer you need.  Make sure you describe your issue in detail, including your website URL never hurts.

2. Paid Theme Support

This is only helpful if you have paid for a WordPress theme.  Most of these premium WordPress themes will have their own support.  If you come across an issue, this should be the first place you look.  Either email your theme provider or use their support forum (they should have one).  The reason this should be your first stop is that there will be people there that know specific issues with your theme. The WordPress.org forums won’t have access to certain details about your theme.

It will also be hard to find support elsewhere, because paid theme providers make sure that theme specific support info is only shared by them.  This ensures people aren’t just stealing their theme.

3. Google

Google is your friend.  Just today a friend of mine upgraded WordPress and had an issue.  His admin panel was all of a sudden full of error messages.  We had no idea what to do, and no idea what the error meant.  I simply took as much of the error code that wasn’t specific to his site and Googled it.  I got a couple different results but the fixes didn’t work.  I then Googled the error code with the name of his theme, and instantly got the fix from a blog.  It was as simple as changing a tiny piece of code. Google is the world’s leading search provider for a reason – it works. 

By using the above methods you can probably address just about any problem you come across.  The toughest part of fixing your problems is properly explaining them and only with practice will you get better.  

The more times you use a support forum means the better you will be at using it.  The same goes for Google, once you have spent some time hunting down answers you will get a knack for stringing together the right search terms.  

Good luck, and I hope you find the answer to all your probelms quickly and painlessly.