Noob Mistake With Domain Name Costs Several Hours

I have got several sites up and running since I started with WordPress last year, but I can still make mistakes.  Had I followed my own instructions, I would not have been scratching my head for a couple of days, and spent a few hours troubleshooting a WordPress installation. As is usual for me now, I registered my domain with NameCheap, and arranged for hosting through HostGator.  I then went to my control panel at HostGator and installed WordPress with Fantastico De Luxe and tried to log into my new WordPress website.  No dice.  I got an internal server error.  (You experienced people should already know what I did, or rather did not do.) Another symptom was also making itself evident as well.  I was not receiving any email to the account I had set up.  My test emails from another account were bouncing.  Email from HostGator was making it though.  Very mysterious, but also a very obvious clue when you know what is going on. So the mistake I made was in not moving the domain name to the host.  If you do not change the nameservers at your domain registrar, the internet does not know where your domain lives.  And if the internet does not know where you live, then when you type in a web address you cannot be found.  Same problem with email.  If nobody knows what town you live in it is unlikely that your mail ever arrives. So remember.  No matter how big of a rush you get into, you have to do things step by step to insure that things work properly. ...
Beginning WordPress – Plugins

Beginning WordPress – Plugins

Oh boy, this is a tough one.  I picked WordPress because there are a zillion of these plugins that do different things.  Back when I was a baby engineer, one of the grey-hairs shared a piece of wisdom with me.  Never build what you can buy.  Well, and I can’t program anymore anyway, so I’ve got no choice.  What plugins to install? Akismet: Comes with WordPress but you need to activate it.  Hmmm.  I click Activate and it’s not quite done.  It’s asking for my API key, which of course I have no idea what that is.  However, there is a tempting link to click labeled “Get your key”.  Okay, so I click and go to akismet.com.  At the bottom right corner there is a link labeled “Sign up for an Akismet API key”, so I click there. This is apparently not free software, but since I’m going to try to have a self-supporting site and I can afford $5 I’m in (it is free for personal use).  I almost wonder if I shouldn’t start a second site just to see the difference between with and without.  Once I gave them my card number they sent instructions to the email address I provided, and it’s a piece of cake to turn on. BulletProof Security: This protects the website against hacking attempts.  I somehow doubt that it’s bulletproof but hey, anything is better than nothing.  Wow, that was easy.  I just searched for it, clicked the name, clicked install now, clicked activate and it’s up.  So simple it’s scary.  Update:  Okay, so it wasn’t quite that easy.  You do need...

Adding Content

With the site all set up (or at least set up enough to get started), there are actually some pages to check out!  I added a sitemap (using a plugin, of course), a contact me page (using another plugin, of course), and most importantly, a page titled “How to do WordPress”.  I’ve posted the first tutorial under it, which concerns topic selection and keyword research. I hope it helps!   Looking to learn how to create your own WordPress blog? Then head over to my step by step instructions on how to do...

Beginning WordPress Settings

The WordPress Dashboard has a number of buttons to click down the left hand side.  The one all the way at the bottom is Settings.  This is a good place to start. The first subcategory under Settings is the General tab.  I changed four things in this category.  I changed the site title, the tagline, the timezone and the day that the week starts on.  I think I read that the first two are important to being found on search engines, but I can’t remember.  I also clicked the box saying that anyone can register.  I figure if this is a problem I can alter it later. The two subcategories are Writing and Reading.  Writing I don’t want to mess with, but there is one thing I changed in Reading.  I want a static first page to greet people, so I checked the box.  Since I don’t have any pages uploaded, it looks like there’s a default to hold the place.  Update:  I have reversed myself on this.  With a static page I can’t figure out how to have the latest post appear, which makes the site look dead.  So I unchecked the box. The Discussion submenu does have some things I want to change.  I want to let people comment on postings for a month.  The default seems to be to never close a post to comments, but I think I’ll learn enough in a month to make my early posts no longer relevant.  I just check the box and change the 14 days to 28 days.  I’m also changing the Maximum Rating to PG.  I don’t know...

Beginning WordPress – Themes (Part 2)

So when I left off last post, I had uploaded a new theme that, instead of making my site beautify made is plain black text on a white page.  Not exactly what I had in mind when I decided to go premium with Elegant Themes. At the top of the Manage Themes tab of the Themes category there is a highlighted box that says: “This is a fresh installation of StudioBlue theme. Don’t forget to go to ePanel to set it up. This message will disappear once you have clicked the Save button within the theme’s options page.” First, let’s check out my new theme!  Oh no!  All I get is black text on a white background!  That’s not supposed to happen.  I check out things and think I’ve confirmed that the theme is installed, but still no dice.  Let me read some documentation and see what I can find. Aha!  I found a message that says that I need to add a particular plugin.  Go to my How to Install a Plugin post for instructions on how to do this.  This alone did not change my site to look as I expected it to however. Now that I’ve been fighting with the installation for a while, I see that the answer is actually really, really simple.  When the message says that you have to click the save button, it means that you will have no formatting at all before you hit the save button and be perfectly formatted afterwards.  No actual settings to change.  No boxes to check.  Just scroll down to the bottom of the page and...

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