Site Set-up (Looks)

Setting Up Your Website (The Look)

Installing Plugins

I’m going to take you step by step in setting up your WordPress website, starting with a brand new WP installation with either the 2010 or 2011 Theme.  The 2011 Theme has a few more options but is pretty much the same.

I’ll be using the most common settings and explain why you should use each setting.  I’ll even include how to load the key plugins, modifying the theme, walk you through changing a theme.

I hope that you are excited about this section as well as the book as a whole.  I’ve been around the internet since before it was called the internet and I have never seen anyone provide the all encompassing information to build an entire site from start to finish.  Then on top of all that show you how to set up the site for best function, best SEO, how to use the page/post editor, etc.

I’ve seen separate books for some of this and I’ve seen videos that cover some of it, but never have I seen it in one product.  I hope you appreciate what I’ve put together for you.

So let’s begin…….

Earlier in the book I walked you through how to install the WP platform to your site.  This is the point from which we begin.  Your WP presence is loaded.

To begin at this point you are ready to log into your websites administrative panel.  To do this go to your web browser and type your site URL followed by “/wp-admin” then type in your user ID and Password and click the LOGIN button.

You are now in your dashboard or home page of your administrative panel.  If you are looking around, the menu to get to all the settings we will be doing is on your left.  Each category of this menu was explained earlier in the book.

Loading the Plugins

Your basic 2010 or 2011 Theme from WP is already loaded.  We do not have to deal with it at this time so we are going to get to work loading the key “every site should use” plugins that I listed earlier.

— Akismet – Navigate to “Plugins” in your menu.  “Select Add New” and in the Search Box type Akismet and click the “Search Plugins” button.  What this does is connect to the WP Plugin Library and searches for what you typed in.  Find the Akismet plugin and under the name click install.  Now it is installed and you should be back on the plugin page, if not go to Plugins/Installed Plugins.  Click “activate” (under plugin name) then from the plugin description area follow the directions to obtain your API code and keep this in a safe place for the future.  If you build other sites and add Akismet, you can use the same API code on all your sites.

Once you have the code, go to the plugin title and right below it select “settings.”  Copy the API and paste it into the Akismet API Key box.  Right below the key box there are two radio buttons, make sure the top box is checked to delete spam after one month.  Then below the two boxes, click the “Update Options” button.  That is it – your first plugin is installed.

— All-In-One-SEO – Navigate to “Plugins/Add New” and in the search box type “all in one SEO pack” and click the “Search Plugins” button.  Find the plugin on the search results list and click install.  On the “installed plugins” page, under the plugin name, click “activate.”  If the page does not change to the “All In-One-SEO-Options Page” click the options configuration panel link in the plugin description area or go the admin area and on the menu Navigate to Settings/All in one SEO.

Scroll down to the page to:

  • Plugin Status:  Select the “enable” radio button
  • Home Title:  Type in the title of your website (name)
  • Home Description:  Type a short description of what your website provides.  This is the META description of the site.
  • Home Keywords:  Type in the main keywords that you will find on your home page.  Separate each by a comma with no spaces.

All the other settings are good to go.  The default settings work well.  So scroll to the bottom of the page and click the “Update Options” button.  Woo Hoo!  You’ve completed your second plugin. Congratulations.  You are getting the hang of now aren’t you?

All-In-One-SEO also adds boxes at the bottom of the pages and posts editing areas.

  • Title:
  • Description:
  • Keywords:

Fill in each of these to match the post or page you create.  There are other options to fill in if you wish, but these are the main ones you really should fill in.

— Blog Protector – Navigate to “Plugins/Add New” and in the search box type “blog protector” and click the “Search Plugins” button.  Find the plugin on the search results list and click install.  Click the “activate” link.  Then under the plugin name click “settings.”  Now click both radio buttons on this page and in the box that says “Enter Warning Message Here” type something like “You have No Rights to use any Content of this site.”  Then click the update button right below this section.

Now when someone right clicks to highlight text or an image, the warning you just put in will come up in a pop-up box with a audio bell ring also.  Cool right? This protects people from copy and pasting your site content to their site. 😉

— cbnet Ping Optimizer – Navigate to “Plugins/Add New” and in the search box type “cbnet ping optimizer” and click the “Search Plugins” button.  Find the plugin on the search results list and click install.  Click the “activate” link.  Then under the plugin name click “settings.”  Make sure that both radio buttons under the list of ping sites are both check and click the “Save Settings” button.

 — Efficient Related Posts – Navigate to “Plugins/Add New” and in the search box type “name of plugin” and click the “Search Plugins” button.  Find the plugin on the search results list and click install.  Click the “activate” link.  Then under the plugin name click “settings.”  From top to bottom, your settings should be;

  • Title:
  • Related Posts You May Be Interested In:
  • Display Text When No Related Posts Found:  No Related Posts
  • Ignore Categories:  Don’t ignore any if possible
  • Max Related Posts to Store:  10
  • Number of Related Posts to Display:  5
  • Other Setting:  Select “Auto Insert Into Posts” radio button.

Now click the “Update Options” button.

Further down the page, at the bottom of the “Build Relations,” area click the “Process Post/Pages” button.

— FaceBook Share (New) – Navigate to “Plugins/Add New” and in the search box type “name of plugin” and click the “Search Plugins” button.  Find the plugin on the search results list and click install.  Click the “activate” link.  Then under Admin Menu, navigate to “FaceBook Share/Settings.”  From top to bottom, your settings should be;

  • Type – Select the “Button” radio button
  • Counter – If you wish to include a counter, select it and one of the two    locations listed.
  • Display – I suggest you select all three locations
  • Position – I suggest the “Before” option
  • RSS Position – N/A
  • Styling – I suggest the default of “float: right; margin-left: 10px;”
  • API – Select the “FaceBook Share Button” option

Click the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page.

— Google Analyticator – To load and operate this plugin widget, first you need to go to the Google Analyticator website and establish an account and set up your website in your account.  You will need to have the sites User Identification Designator (UID) number that Google provides once you’ve established your website in your account to authenticate the widget.

Navigate to “Plugins/Add New” and in the search box type “name of plugin” and click the “Search Plugins” button.  Find the plugin on the search results list and click install.  Click the “activate” link.  Then under the plugin name click “settings.”  Although the settings page is long, it is basically good the way it is.

In the second paragraph there is a box for the UID number, Place your whole number here.  Then go to the bottom of the page and click the “Save Changes” button.  Then go back to the top of the page and click on the “Authorize with Google Authenticator” link.  Once it authenticates your URL should appear in the box where you placed your UID.  Go to the bottom of the page and “Save Changes” one more time.  The Google Analyticator widget shows up at the bottom of the Dashboard page.  This allows you to check your page and link statistics at a glance.

— Google XML Sitemaps – Navigate to “Plugins/Add New” and in the search box type “name of plugin” and click the “Search Plugins” button.  Find the plugin on the search results list and click install.  Click the “activate” link.  Then under the plugin name click “settings.”

— WordPress Database Backup – Navigate to “Plugins/Add New” and in the search box type “name of plugin” and click the “Search Plugins” button.  Find the plugin on the search results list and click install.  Click the “activate” link.  In the Admin Menu navigate to “Settings/XML-Sitemaps.”  This is another long list of settings, but everything is basically the way you want it, unless you want to play with it at a later date.  The only thing you need to do is to click the link in the second to the last line of the first section to build or rebuild the sitemap and them at the bottom of the page click the “Update Options” button.

Other plugins that you find and may want to add to your site are installed in a similar manner to the ones that you just installed.  Just take your time and follow the directions.  Trust me; if you have done everything up to now in this book you should not have any problems.

Selecting a Theme

One of the nice things about using a WordPress website platform is the Theme options that are available on the internet.  There are hundreds of free WP themes available in the WP Theme Library and many more “pro” themes available from businesses on the internet.  But the standard theme that comes with WP is a very nice theme.

When you load WP onto your site, it comes with the 2010 or 2011 basic WP Theme.  Either of these themes is very versatile allowing you to choose colors or graphics in the header and in the background, all of the standard widgets for your sidebar(s).  Other themes can even have three or four areas (depending on theme) in the footer bar.

If you think you need something more than the standard theme you can always find one elsewhere.  However, selecting a theme for your site can be an inundating undertaking if you’re not sure what you want from a theme.  So to help you understand the basics here are a few things to make your mind up prior to selection.

WARNING:  If you choose to purchase a theme, be sure that your builder provides updates to stay in step with always improving WordPress Versions.  If not you could be stuck with a theme that will not work at all in only a short period of time.

Your first decision is how many columns you would like, as well as, where you want them located.

One Column – Content only for a blog, sales page, or a static page without any side bars.

 Two Column – Content column for a blog, sales page, or a static page with one side bar column for either on the left or right side of the content column.

 Three Columns – Content column and two side bar columns.  The sidebars can be split with the content column in the middle or the side bars could be together on either the left or right side of the content column.

Depending on the theme these options could be stationary, whatever you see they cannot be moved, or the theme may have options to move them around in the different configurations.

Then you have to choose colors, fonts, graphic header, colored header, Title only header, menu type (top of page, in sidebar, bottom of page).  Once you decide on all that stuff you still need to be concerned about what widgets are included, do you need a special site for specific functions like handling photo galleries, or an online store with e-commerce built in.

I of course cannot go through every option that could be available for a WP website theme.  My point of this discussion is that you need to ensure you think your website through.  What do you need it to do?  Colors?  Columns?  Music players?  Photo Galleries?  E-commerce?  PayPal script?

So, it is not as simple as you thought is it?  The good thing is that the internet is loaded with billions of websites that you can look through and find at least one that will do everything you need to do.  Normally at the bottom of each site, there is a link to the theme builder.  If the builder is not listed, contact the site owner and ask them who built their theme.  More than likely they will be willing to share this information with you.

When I am building a website for a client, I always ask what colors they like, how many columns and what they are going to use their site for.  If they cannot tell me within ten minutes, I tell them to scan the web and find one they like and we go from there.

Take your time and find a website theme that meets all of your needs for now and as much into the future as you can imagine.

How to Upload a WordPress Theme

If you are going to use anything other than the theme that WP provides with the platform, you’ll need to upload/install a theme.zip file into your administrative panel.

You can load many themes into the theme area and you can activate them one at a time so you can get a good look at the options for each of them.  Once you select a theme that meets your needs, you can delete the one(s) you are not going to use.

Uploading a Theme for the WP Themes Library – To find a theme from the WP Theme Library, navigate to “Appearance/Themes.”  At the top of the page there are two tabs, “Manage Themes” and “Install Themes.”  Choose “Install Themes,” if you do not type in a search name and click the “Search” button, all themes in the library will be loaded for your perusal.  If you use the radio buttons to specify options and then at the bottom of the page click “Find Themes” you will have a more succinct list and a whole bunch less themes to go through.

When you are on the review page you’ll see a thumb of the basic theme, a short description of what theme options it includes, and three links to “Install,” “Preview,” and list theme “Details.”  Click the “Install” link if you find one you’d like to take a look at on your site.  A shadow box will appear with a thumb of the site, if it is correct, click the “Install” button.

Then you can choose to preview the theme one more time, activate the theme or “return to the installer.”  Click “Return to Installer” and select the Manage Themes” tab.  You now have your new theme in your theme area.  To choose and use the theme select “Activate.”  Then go to your site and check it out.

Uploading a Theme Zip File – If you have purchased or downloaded a theme zip file to your computer you can easily upload it to your themes by Navigating to “Appearance/Themes” and selecting the “Install Themes” tab.  Just below the tabs there is a horizontal menu, choose the “Upload” link.  Then click the Browse button and navigate on your computer to the zip file location, select it and click the “Open” button.

Now you can go to the “Manage Themes” area and activate the theme.  Then check the look of your new theme.  If it looks like you want it to, go back into your dashboard and check out the widgets and the other options and make sure the new theme does everything you need it to do.

Minimize Your Risk – Here are a few things that if put into practice, will help you minimize the risk of getting exploited:

1. Keep your themes and plugins updated – #1 cause of malware infections and hacks independent of any platform!

2. Only download from reputable sources (WordPress.org).

3. Only use plugins and themes that are being actively developed and have good, trusted reviews.  Do your homework.

4. Keep an eye on WordPress security news to see if there are any issues with the plugins or themes you are using.

5. Don’t just disable the goodies you’ve loaded, remove any software/plugins that you’re not actively using.  Just because it’s not active doesn’t mean it’s not vulnerable.

Selecting/Modifying a Header

To take a look at your Header options, navigate to “Appearance/Header.”  On this page you’ll see the current header graphic.  Just below the test header you can upload a custom header image to be shown at the top of your site instead of the default one.  On the next screen you will be able to crop the image.  If you have custom graphic images of exactly 1000 × 288 pixels (2010 theme), they will be used as-is.  Click the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page to finish the job.

If you would like to use one of the provided images, select the radio button next to the header you like. Be sure to click the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page to finish the job.

You can choose to remove the header graphic from the page by clicking the “Remove Header Image.”  Be sure to click the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page to finish the job.

You can choose whether or not you’d like to display the title text in the header by choosing a radio button of “No” or “Yes.”  Be sure to click the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page to finish the job.

You can also choose the color of the Title Text.  Type in the hex code or use the “Sect a Color” button and move the cursor to find a color you like.  The hex code will show up in the box.  Be sure to click the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page to finish the job.

The last change concerns changing the text color back to the default.  Click the “Restore Original Header Text” to do this.  Be sure to click the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page to finish the job.

Modifying the Background

One of the options of the theme is the capability to upload a graphic or image for the background.  To do this, navigate to “Appearance/Background” click the “Browse” button to upload an image from your computer.  Navigate to the image and select it, click the “Open” button.  The image will display in the background box.  Be sure to click the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page to finish the job.

The other option you may choose is to select a color for the background.  Type in the hex code or use the “Select a Color” button and move the cursor to find a color you like.  The hex code will show up in the box.  Be sure to click the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page to finish the job.

Widgets

Widgets are containers which hold program scripts to accomplish individual actions of various types.  Widgets make it very easy to add powerful code to your site by dragging and dropping them into the sidebar(s) and providing simple settings to get them up and working in only a few minutes.

There are basic widgets included with the WP Platform but many themes include additional widgets to accomplish programming for that particular theme.

In this section I will be cover the key widgets which most sites like to use.  This will familiarize you with how to add a widget; a couple methods they use for settings and let you know some of their capabilities.

So go ahead and sign into your admin panel.  Navigate to Appearances/Widgets to take a look at them.

Pages Widget – One of the most used widgets is the “Pages Widget” so choose an area in the right hand column where you could like to put it.  I suggest either the Primary Widget Area or the Second Widget Area and click the arrow on the right had side of the area title to open it.

Now go to the widgets to click and drag the Pages Widget into the widget area you chose.  The nest thing is to open the pages widget by clicking the arrow on the right had side of the pages title bar.

You’ll have three areas to modify:

The first box is the Title box.  If you want to apply another title other than “Pages” Type the new name in the box.  If you leave it blank, it will remain Pages.

The second box is a drop down menu for the order in which the pages will be listed.  The default option is “by name.”  The other two are by “Page Order” and “Page ID.”  This page information can be found by navigating to the “Pages category in the admin menu on the left.  The pages listed in the Pages area is reflected in the widget when you look at the website.  All will be listed unless it is marked as DRAFT or PRIVATE.

The third box is to exclude additional pages from being listed, just add the page id(s) with a comma separating each id.

Play with the settings being sure to save them each time and viewing the webpage until you get the look the way you want it.

Links Widget – The links widget is a very popular way to share links to Related Sites, Joint Ventures, Professional Partners, Good Blogs, etc.  The good news is that you can list all of your links through the Admin Menu, Links area and by categorizing them you can they can be listed in a Links Widget.

Drag a links widget from its parked area to one of the Widget areas on the right side of the page.  Click the arrow on the right hand side of the box to open it.  Inside you’ll find a drop down menu which will show “All Links” and each Category you have created in the Links Area Page.  You can use several “Link Widgets” and have them showing each category separately in different areas of you sidebar.

Play with the settings being sure to save them each time and viewing the webpage until you get the look the way you want it.

Text Widget – The Text Widget is handy to have due to the varieties of information you can post in it.  You can place code in it to show a graphic that links to a site, or text that is a link, or post widget code to an Ezine widget listing your articles (you can build one in www.ezinearticles.com then copy and paste the code into a text widget.)

There are many options that you can think up to use the text widget to your advantage.  When you open the Text Widget up you’ll see a box for the text and at the bottom, a radio button to check to Automatically Add Paragraphs (suggested), links to “Delete” or “Close” and a “Save” button.  Be sure to SAVE every time you change something in a box.

Here is some coded text that you can play with:

<div><b>WEBMASTER:  <a href=”http://www.jaylynne.com/”>Jay Mueller</a>

JayLynne Enterprises</b></div>

Put it in the box and view it then figure out what code does what. 

Ok, I’ll break it down for you.  The <div> is the beginning of the script; <b> is code for bold text; WEBMASTER: is text that will show; <a href=http://www.jaylynne.com/> is a hyperlink for the next text Jay Mueller and </a> stops this hyperlink/text combination. As we continue JayLynne Enterprises finishes the text and </b> closes the bold code and </div> closes this division of code.

So play with it a bit and see what you can get it to do.  Be sure to save each change you make before viewing in on the page.

Recent Comments – The “Recent Comments” Widget lists a number of recent comments made on your blog.  So a lot of bloggers like to acknowledge their visitors that comment.  When you open the Recent Comments Widget you’ll see a Title box were you can insert an optional title, a drop down menu dictating how many comments you wish to show, and as always the Delete, Close and Save Button option.

Recent Posts – Is another widget that some people use, but I think it is a bit redundant and clutters up the site (my opinion).  It works just like the Recent Comments widget except it lists the most recent posts and as always the Delete, Close and Save Button option.

Categories – The Categories Widget is a good way to let your users search for common posts.  The category widget show a dropdown menu of all categories related to your posts.  If they click a particular topic, all posts will be shown for them to look at.  I like it because it is only a dropdown menu instead of a big list, keeping the look uncluttered.  There are a few radio buttons for some options.  I suggest that you use the “display as dropdown.”

I think that you now have the idea of widgets can do for your site.  There are additional widgets that you can get from the WP Plugins Library.  So do a search on something to see if there is a plugin that contains a widget that will take care of that need.  Don’t be afraid to experiment with new ideas and new technology that makes your job easier and provides a better experience for your readers.

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