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How to SetUp WordPress Blog in One Hour

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How to SetUp WordPress Blog in One Hour

Here at ShoutMeLoud, we always talk about WordPress. No doubt, WordPress is one of the easiest platform to blog on. At the initial stage, you may have to work little hard to learn WordPress, but there are WordPress guides, which will help you to understand everything.

ilovewordpress

I have a few mediocre websites – some Joomla, some WordPress, and some others that I have forgotten about or neglected. However, I am fussy about building them to best practice, within the budget. So let me show how I built a WordPress site in two days and how you can build it in an hour.

I’ll say at the outset that the delay was owing to a problem with a special theme I used, lest I turn you off. As some of you know, you can click a button in your hosting control panel and “install” WordPress in a second. However, WordPress setup and tuning takes work and that is never-ending.

Define the Goals for your WordPress Blog

Most people create a personal blog but, given this audience, I’ll limit this to a money-making WordPress site that requires free traffic. My goals were:

  • Build a review site with a new angle.
  • Give guest bloggers an incentive to contribute such as Shoutmeloud’s revenue-sharing program.
  • Avoid spammy, fake contributions.
  • SEO, i.e. free traffic
  • SMO, i.e. free traffic
  • Forum at a later date

Define the Angle

My motive for the site was not commercial. I have spent over 20 years volunteering with computer user groups. They meet in person, have subscriptions, paper newsletters, etc so you can imagine how the Internet has made them redundant. I am still defining this angle, as the site still resembles a typical affiliate site built for making money. That won’t attract altruistic people, particularly ones who don’t want to include an affiliate link. If you have any ideas, write them in the comments below.

Nevertheless, my angle so far was similar to Shoutmeloud – allow one affiliate link per article that links to the product under review, not AdSense (since my own AdSense code is present).

You need to find your angle. This will help you write content, choose plugins and a theme. A useful, free mind-mapping tool to help you is Freemind. Use it to link related topics that radiate out from the central theme. Here is an example of its output based on one of my other assignments:

freemind 520x332

Created with a free mind-mapping tool, FreeMind

Install WordPress

You can install WP from your control panel. I have cPanel/Fantastico, so it is a one-click install for me. Harsh has written several posts about WordPress installation, and here are WordPress blog installation method for 3 popular hosting companies:

Find right WordPress Plugins to install

You need to find the right plugins to perform the job as per your goals. The WP site often has multiple plugins available to do the same task, so you need to try them out, preferably in advance, such as on your other sites. No harm done if you want trial and error – some old plugins are still listed but you will see a warning that they might not work on your new version of WP. I am not saying that I found the best plugins on the planet, but they do work with the current version of WP (3.0.1).

For my review site, I chose:

Some of the above are optional, e.g. Favicons can be coded manually. WP Security Scan can be done manually if you know how. I bought the review plugin because my time is valuable and I didn’t want to make my own. It comes with an affiliate sharing hook, but if you need one similar to Shoutmeloud, you can use Author hReview or SEOPressor.

I haven’t linked to the plugins because you should search for them from the Plugins > Add New link in your installation.

instplugins

Search for a plugin

WordPress Theme

Take time to choose a theme, not just because of its looks but to be compatible with the current version of WordPress. I had to buy one (it came with the review plugin).

WordPress Blog Setup:

Choosing various WP settings is crucial to good SEO and I’ll share the ones I changed from the defaults:

Posts > Categories

  • Define as many as you can think of for now.
  • The description might not show, depending on your theme.

Pages

  • Create a Privacy Policy page if you run AdSense. It needs certain wording that Google recommends that you use.
  • Create an About me page
  • Create a contact page

Appearance > Themes

Appearance > Widgets

  • Choose Widgets wisely

Appearance > Editor

This is where you can do damage if you are careless. Back up everything at this point before going forward. Customising the theme makes your site a little more different than someone else who is installing everything at its defaults.

  • I use FTP to back up customised themes (in fact all files from the site as well as MySQL backups of the content.)
  • style.css may need editing if your theme does odd things such as not aligning images properly.
  • comments.php needed editing in my case as the comment form is used to add mini reviews.
  • footer.php should contain the Google Analytics code if you don’t use a GA plugin. There is merit in loading it in the header.php because this catches partial page views where the visitor abandons the site before the page loads fully. As an SEO, I prefer keeping the content higher, so I don’t do that. Add rel=nofollow to any links you want to keep, e.g. theme author’s site, wordpress.org etc. Else remove extraneous links.
  • header.php in my case begins with Zbblock code to deter spammers and hackers. Look it up and read the instructions well. Add special tags as needed, e.g. BlogCatalog, Google WMT, etc
  • The remaining files shouldn’t need editing unless you have some special needs relevant to your site’s goals.

Plugins > Add New

Plugins > Akismet Configuration

Plugins > SI Contact Form

  • Choose the form you like and copy the code into a new page you create called Contact Us (or similar)
  • Add a subject prefix in square brackets so that your email program can look for this label and filter it to a special folder. e.g. [Shoutmeloud Enquiry]

Settings > General

  • WP address (URL) and Site address (URL) – ensure that the site begins with “www.”. Later, in Google Webmaster Tools, set the preferred domain to be this one.
  • Anyone can register with a default role of Subscriber.
  • Timezone depends on your audience.

Settings > Writing

  • Size of the text box should be more than the default, so your authors don’t have to discover that they can drag it to as long as they wish.
  • Set a default Post Category.

Settings > Reading

  • For syndication feeds I choose to show a summary. The reader can come to the site to view the rest of the article (and generate an impression if I want to run CPM ads) and possibly buy through an affiliate link.

Settings > Discussion

  • I choose to turn off pingbacks and trackbacks
  • Choose other settings wisely. Requiring registration to comment will discourage some. You can always turn on comment moderation if the comment has a link in it.

Settings > Media

  • Set the image sizes. I don’t want large images wider than 500 pixels, for example, else they would spill off the page in my theme.

Settings > Privacy

  • By default the blog is visible to search engines. Ensure this is the case if you want traffic.

Settings > Permalinks

  • This is important for SEO. I use a custom structure:
    /%post_id%/%postname%/
  • Though with WordPress 3.5+, %permalink% is the best. You can read more about WordPress Permalink here.

Settings > WordPress SEO by yoast

Settings > Feedburner

  • Go to feedburner.com and set up an account. (How to burn feed using Feedburner)
  • Get a feed address and paste it in the field. Remove any stray spaces.
  • Get code to display your blog headlines on any other site you own.

Settings > Follow Me

  • Add profiles from other social media platforms that you want to associate with this site’s goals. Don’t just add them for the sake of it.

Settings > Like

  • Position the button only on Show at Top (or Bottom) and Show on Post
  • Add the FB numeric ID

Settings > Author Bio

  • Only choose Posts

Settings > ShareThis

  • Go to sharethis.com, get your widget code and paste it here.
  • Don’t add to your Pages

Settings > S. Simple Favicon

  • Make an favicon using a tool such as IcoFX and load it both in the theme’s folder and another copy in the root folder. Supply the latter URL in the provided field.
  • 35 Free online tools to generate Favicon

Settings > XML-Sitemap

  • Tick all the Update Notification choices.
  • Use Comment Count as the Post Priority
  • Sitemap Content should only be homepage, posts, static pages.
  • Change frequencies – depends on your site’s freshnesss but I have Daily for the home page, weekly for posts and monthly for static pages. Rest are defaults.
  • Priorities – mine are homepage = 1.0, Posts 0.6, Pages = 0.4

Gocodes

TweetMeme

  • Display button only in your feed. It is on for all Posts.
  • Enter the Twitter username in Source.
  • Hashtags – select the Top tags

Security

News Press

  • Turn on all mobile platforms.
  • Test with any platforms you have.
  • If any break, turn off those platforms.

News Press > Theme Settings

global

Adding custom icons

  • Add your own Site and Desktop .png icons
  • Choose a theme style
  • Add Bookmark Settings as applicable, especially Twitter and FB
  • Uncheck Pages settings

I alluded to some things you need to do off-site. Do this after you have uploaded at least one post. This will kick off a fresh sitemap.

Monetization

You will need to fine-tune the monetization model and Shoutmeloud is a great place to get more ideas. This will include promotion by yourself. Put some deep thought into that instead of taking shortcuts that may ruin the site in Google’s eyes, e.g. blackhat methods, spam etc.

Webmaster Accounts

You need to open Webmaster accounts at the three major engines (you will need accounts there):

I use the file method of authentication. That way you don’t need to make sure that the tag is on every page.

Robots.txt

The contents of my robots.txt shows the folders I want to hide from spiders, mainly to stop duplicate URLs that are caused by the same page showing in tags and categories. It is also a place to add the location of the sitemap.xml:

robots

Exclude some directories in robots.txt

More Supercharging

  • Keep in mind that you may wish to get a more streamlined theme such as Thesis at a later date.
  • Server performance is quite important – keep image sizes low and use Firefox add-ons such as Page Speed and Firebug/Yslow to find areas to improve.
  • If all you can afford is a shared host, ask the tech support to move you to a lightly-loaded machine. Use Bing to find how many other sites are on your IP address, e.g. put IP:67:222.19.134 in the search window to see that Shoutmeloud shares this IP with one other site. Check your own.
gradeb 334x520

Shoutmeloud gets a commendable B grade from Yslow

I know this article is detailed, but if you are someone who is planning to start with WordPress, this tutorial will help you to setup WordPress in no time. If you are still not comfortable, you can always take advantage of ShoutMeLoud Free WordPress setup.

This is a guest post by Ash NallaWalla who blogs at ceviews.org. If you like to write for Shoutmeloud, do read: Shoutmeloud revenue sharing program.

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{ 12 comments… add one }

  • Robin

    Its huge and worthy for new bloggers who wish to start their blogging in wordpress platform. :) great article and u proved that u have loads of patience :) Cheers.

    Reply
  • Kunal

    Really a supercharging post by Ash for new and beginner bloggers.
    New bloggers find their way tough for optimizing their blog. Plugins like Pretty Links and XML sitemap mentioned is this post will help bloggers know about them.!!
    Thanks to Ash for wonderful post.

    Reply
    • ash_nallawalla

      Yes, after building 30-40 WP sites, you need a checklist, but I do try out new plugins from time to time. Thanks.

      Reply
      • Kunal

        Yes, as a blogger you should experiments with new plugins as sometimes you may find really good and helpful plugins which may enhance your site. You can also teach others about it as you did in this very post.

        Reply
  • Virtual Agent

    Which is better wordpress or blogger for a personal blog? What about for a business, which will look and feel better to use for a blog?
    :) TY!

    Reply
    • ash_nallawalla

      Definitely self-hosted WordPress, for personal or business blogs. A personal blog needs the same love as a business one, but I can understand that students may not want the expense of a self-hosted blog. You can always migrate a Blogspot blog to a private WP site.

      Reply
  • Sammy

    Its after a long long time that I have seen such a detailed and thorough article. Its almost a dishonour to call it an article – its more of a detailed user guide for those who want to set up their wordpress blog the right way.

    Well done buddy.

    Reply
  • Dean Saliba

    Fantastic article. Out of the list of plugins I have pretty much all of them but I found WPtap News Press to be very helpful. :)

    Reply
    • ash_nallawalla

      I only have an iPhone but would appreciate comments on how it looks with other platforms.

      Reply
  • MazaKaro

    Thanks :)
    Thankyou for telling name of “Pretty Link” plugin. I got tired of searching this type of plugin on WordPress.

    :)

    Reply
    • Harsh Agrawal

      Do come back and share your experience with pretty link plugin.

      Reply
    • ash_nallawalla

      Nobody has bought anything because I haven’t “launched” the site. Still seeding it with reviews and trying to get others to write real reviews. But I like the ability to see stats per link. I have just one click but so far I like the fact that each visitor is given a code such as “qbgr90 (1)” where 1 is the number of visits by that person’s PC. That would be useful to drill down deeper to see visitor patterns (in addition to GA).

      Ash

      Reply

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