ASP 22: WordPress 101 for Authors (and Plugins We Love)
Table of Contents
Quote of the Day:
“WordPress is a part of who I am. Like eating, breathing, and music, I can’t not work on WordPress.”
– Matthew Mullenweg
One of the biggest platform tools for building a website is WordPress.
For those who don’t know, can you tell us what WordPress is and why you prefer it?
Simply put, WordPress is an online website tool builder. It is the go-to platform of many developers. Think of it as the iTunes app store of websites.
It’s very user-friendly. You can get it up and running in a few clicks. It’s not difficult to have a WordPress site, which is why so many people use it.
As a search engine optimizer, Ron thinks WordPress is the best out there when it comes to ranking, design, etc. Content creation and publishing is also easy on WordPress. But you’ll start to need more technical skills when it comes to design.
There are other platforms out there, but WordPress is by far the biggest. It has become ubiquitous, and there are now many people you can turn to ask questions. It is also regularly updated in terms of security.
WordPress.com is the hosting site of WordPress, and WordPress.org is the website where you can download the WordPress software, which you can then install on your own hosting account. And best of all, almost all Web hosting services have an easy one-click install that makes WordPress installation painless.
Good web hosting services include:
What about Square Space?
Square Space is trying to set itself up as an alternative to WordPress. In Ron’s opinion, it cannot yet compete with WordPress in terms of SEO. But Square Space does provide hosting, 24/7 support, and “eye-candy” templates for artists.
But there are downsides to Square Space as well. First of all, you’ll be tied to their platform, which can be restrictive. Secondly, there isn’t a lot of variety available in terms of plug0ins and themes.
Once you have WordPress installed on a hosting account server, what do you do next to get your site up and running?
The next step is to get your theme set up. The best way to do this is to select a stock theme or hire someone to build you a custom theme. In short, your theme is what your site is going to look like.
What are some different themes, and how do you choose the best one?
For authors, it is usually best to go with the most minimal theme possible. Focus on selling books, not building complicated websites.
Ron runs site speed tests using Pingdom and the following showed great results:
How much consideration should people give to site speed, and making their sites mobile friendly?
Site speed is important when it comes to retaining people on your website. If your website is slow, people will leave—it’s that simple. That’s why it’s important to select a good theme.
Your website and theme should also be mobile friendly, because almost half of today’s Web traffic come from mobile devices.
Mobile-optimized themes resize their dimensions according to the device a person is using.
Plug-ins are things that bolt onto your WordPress page and extend the functionality of your theme. Each plug-in serves a different purpose. A lot of these plug-ins are free on WordPress.org.
7 plug-ins we love:
- Click to Tweet – You can take any piece of content, run it through Click-to-Tweet, and people can then easily Tweet it with one click.
- Hello Bar – This places a bar or banner at the top of your website where you can showcase an offer.
- Pretty Link – Creates a short, “clean” version of your URL.
- WP-Polls – Allows you to run a simple poll.
- Thrive Visual Editor – Allows you to easily set up landing pages (LeadPages).
- All-In-One SEO – This plug-in makes optimizing your pages and posts much easier.
- W-3 Total Cache – This is a speed enhancer for your website.
There are also plug-ins that you should avoid. As a general rule, always check when a plug-in was last updated. If it’s not recent, it may cause problems.
It is also important to back up your website. As with everything else digital, there is always a chance of things crashing, and the last thing you want is to lose the Web content you have worked so hard to build.
Ultimately, though, don’t be intimated by all of this technical stuff. Google is your friend, and you can always search there for answers to technical questions. There are also a lot of people out there who can help you at a reasonable price.
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