Essentials of Blogging

Below you'll find a growing list of articles posted on the WordPress PAD that we consider our Essentials of Blogging because they cover basic and necessary info regarding building and maintaining a successful blog. Some of these articles might be appended (added to) if we need to update the content, 'cause the times, they are always a'changin' on the "Internets". Well, go on ya whipper snapper, read, read!

Installing WordPress: When to Say, “I need help”, and when to know how much to pay

July 1st, 2008 · No Comments

Installing WordPressIf the kind folks at WordPress cannot help you install your WordPress for free, see here, there are alternatives.  If you are inclined not to even try installing WordPress yourself, you have a couple of solid choices that cost you nothing or very little. First, let me say that it’s not difficult to install WordPress even if you are completely tech-unsavvy. But, I do understand how some would rather not touch complicated looking files in gibberish language. Visit WordPress’s page on the 5-minute installation. It actually takes 5 minutes if you’re somewhat computer savvy, but maybe 10 minutes if you’re not. Also visit WordPress’ main installation pages if you’re installation requires a bit more elbow grease for whatever reason.

Now, on to the nitty-gritty. There are usually two types of installations you can do. Either a new installation or an upgrade. Upgrades may or may not be simple depending on the difference in versions. If, for example, you’re upgrading to the current version, 2.5.1 from let’s say version 1, which I hope to goodness you’re not, things can get a bit complicated…maybe.

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Tags: Essentials · WordPress

The Business of Blogging: Separating Information Safely Shared From Skills That Should Not Be

January 31st, 2008 · No Comments

information is not skills

When I first began this blog, I suffered the same conundrum many beginning business bloggers suffered: How much is too much information? I didn’t want to give away so much info that the services my business offers can be of no use to them. It’s not as dire as giving away trade secrets, but blogging about WordPress design, content, tools, plugins, etc. sometimes means teaching readers how to, when to, and the where to of what I do, on some level. But, does it mean my readers can go out, install, develop, design, update, maintain, and fix bugs in their blogs after they read my posts? Not really. I don’t give away trade secrets, sure (not that much is “secret” in these days on the information superhighway). But, most importantly I’ve learned and I am still learning that what I know is one thing, what I and my business can do is another. Other business bloggers should know this too.

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Tags: Blogging · Essentials · Web Content · Writing

How to Blog (Using WordPress)

January 20th, 2008 · 1 Comment

How to blog?

How does one go about blogging? Well, first read Poles Apart Design’s article What is a Blog? Why Should I Blog? Who Blogs? This article should especially help you in deciding if you should blog and why. Now that you’ve decided to blog, you want to know how to go about it. Well, here’s a somewhat comprehensive list on how to blog:

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Tags: Blogging · Essentials · Tools · WordPress

Top Essential WordPress Plugins for Every Blog and Blogger

December 17th, 2007 · No Comments

The following are plugins that I think all WordPress blogs should have to make your blog ideally functional:

Aksimet and Spam Karma 2: Aksimet is the great default spam killer that comes with every installation of WordPress. Spam Karma 2 is an additional essential plugin that not only gives your blog extra security and you more piece of mind, you also have the option of sending yourself a digest of spam stats, or you can just check the stats and modify many settings in the WordPress admin area so you can control more spam the way you need to.

All-in-One SEO Pack or, Add Meta Tags and SEO Title Tags: SEO is essential for your WordPress blog if you want search engines to find your blog.

WordPress Database Backup: You should definitely backup your database as often as possible and this plugin gives you the option to do so by either downloading it your computer, emailing to yourself or saving it on your server, hourly, daily or weekly.

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Tags: Blogging · Essentials · Tools

App-crazy, Widget-mad and Pluginsanity; What’s it all Mean?

December 3rd, 2007 · No Comments

When I first started building websites and blogs I toured a few content management systems that were all but ridiculous to figure out. Though, at the time there were a few out there that were simplified for the non-designer or non-developer, me being me, I needed something more robust and endlessly flexible. Joomla and Drupal were a couple I explored but both, especially Drupal, were just so incomprehensible. Of course, the modules, extensions, etc. gibberish make sense to me now, but back then, I was just as lost as the average person trying to learn either a new language or a new system. In fact, looking back on those maddening weeks of hyper-research, I realized now, with Web 3.0 looming and Web 2.0 in full throttle, that it’s often language that is a barrier in learning, using and adapting any new way of doing something or any new system, especially on the Internet which is still very new to many people. At least, the way many of us use it now. In this article I’ll attempt to break down common gibberish (lingo) used to explain simple concepts in this new age of the Internet and put them in context.

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Tags: (Web) Technology · Design and Development · Essentials · Innovation

Good Web Writing is All in the Tone and Context

November 14th, 2007 · No Comments

write stuff for the webIt’s a difficult thing to write and non-writers take it for granted that readers don’t want to read bad writing. Bad writing is like bad singing. If you’ve seen the auditions for American Idol, you get my meaning. Anyway, bad writing is especially offensive on the web because the web is meant for readers irregardless of this new dawn of videos, photo galleries and emoticons. Just like the web won’t replace books, no matter what people say (and fear), images won’t replace text as the major form of communication no matter how evocative the image. Not that an emoticon can be that evocative to begin with. And yes, a picture says a thousand words, but the words they say can’t always be left to the imagination of the viewer if you’re trying to get your point across. I’m a big proponent of distinct communication. What I mean by distinct is that no matter the medium and no matter the context, what you’re saying should be evocative of the the tone in which you mean it, and the context in which you put it. Obviously you should write what you mean as clearly as you can, but more than anything, humans being what they are, the way something is said is as important as what’s being said. This may seem like a lot of effort for web content, but to stand out on an Internet with over a 100 million web pages, it warrants a little consideration at least, right?

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Tags: Blogging · Essentials · Writing

Wow Them With a Hot Header

November 12th, 2007 · 2 Comments

One of the many great things about WordPress (and PHP in general) is that your header is separate from the rest of your design & layout so it’s easy enough to create a distinct blog or blog-powered website design by just designing or redesigning the header alone. The header is the first thing you see when visiting a web page so your header needs to leave a great first impression or your site visitors won’t stay and browse. What makes a header pop and not suck is that it directs site visitors to where they should go, looks good and gives the overall impression of what the site is about.

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Tags: Design · Essentials · WordPress

How to Hire a Website or Blog Designer and Be a Good Client

November 5th, 2007 · No Comments

As Featured On Ezine ArticlesSo you need a website or a blog and haven’t the faintest idea how to go about choosing the best one for you or your business? My best advice to you, speaking as a small business owner, a website and blog designer, and well, a human being is know what you want your website or blog to accomplish first and then start your search. Why? Well, it will cost you less in time and money. You won’t have to do as much research for one. And second, the designer or firm you hire will spend less billable hours talking with you and redoing whatever it is you want undone or adding whatever it was you forgot to mention for your website or blog to meet your needs.

Ultimately, when you’re looking to hire a designer, developer or firm to design your website or blog, know your needs and know your wants, then get a reality check. In writing school we were always told to “kill your babies”. Meaning, get rid of the part of our story or article that we love too much, so much that everything else suffers or so much that we get stuck. My advice to you individuals and businesses who are looking to get a website or blog created, make a list of your needs first, your wants second. Keep those things that overlap, keep the rest of the needs, put the rest of the “wants” in your pocket for a rainy day…or until your budget expands to support these wants.

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Tags: Blogging · Design and Development · Essentials · Web & Blog Business