Website Traffic – Where Art Thou?

We create websites because we want to share with the world at large.  But what if nobody knows you exist?  Then you had better like self-affirmation. I have been keeping a log of what I have been doing to try to get the word out about this website of mine.  It is now February 1, 2012.  Since this site went live on January 16, 2012 I have had precisely ONE visitor.  However, that is about to change because of the work I have been doing for the past two weeks.  Specifically, this is what I have done: January 24 How To Do WordPress, the heart of the site completed. Requested that Google crawl my site Site submitted to the following directories: Directory World rDirectory Zeal DMOZ January 25 Signed up for FeedBurner Created a Twitter account Created a Facebook account (still some work to be done however) January 30 Used an SEO tool provided by my host, HostGator, which submitted this site to Google, Bing, Yahoo, and one other (that has slipped my mind) Added huge list of URIs to ping when this site is updated (thank you MaxBlogPress  for the list) February 1 You will have to read below what has happened  😉 In addition I have been active on several forums building up my reputation and including references to this site throughout the past two weeks.  Building quality backlinks is hard work and takes time, but they are valuable and do not depreciate quickly. But the one thing I have done that will give me the most juice is submitting an article to ezine Articles with a...

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...

Beginning WordPress – Themes (Part 1)

There are two choices of themes when you’re starting out with a new site.  One is free and the other is premium.  Some of the free themes look pretty good.  So why aren’t I using them?  Because it’s worth a few bucks to me to be able to get some tech support when my incompetency rears its ugly head.  For that reason, I’m going premium. I’m choosing to go with Elegant Themes.  When I first saw the name, I figured that it was just a category of themes that somehow had a higher design standard.  Whether or not that’s true, I don’t know.  What I do know is that I get 72 choices for about $40, and I can contact the creator if I have an issue.  Sounds good to me.  Best bit is that he and I share a first name, so his stuff must be good, right? So I did run into a problem.  Elegant Themes is an annual subscription that is paid through PayPal.  If you don’t keep your PayPal account funded, like yours truly, then it’s three to five days until you can post the funds in order to buy the subscription.  So it looks like the better part of a week before I’m going to have my real theme up and running.  Until then, I’ll just use a slightly modified stock WordPress theme. Update: So I was wrong.  I was able to pay with my credit card, though I think the processing went through PayPal.  Not quite sure what happened behind the scenes, but I’ve got access to the member’s area of Elegant Themes now. ...

Finally, Beginning WordPress

So I’ve registered my domain and arranged for hosting, and poked around a bit of CPanel.  I still have no idea what I’m doing though.  Time to upload WordPress. To upload WordPress, I’ve signed into my CPanel and found “Fantastico De Luxe”.  I’m told that this will allow me to install WordPress.  Opening it I see a list of links down the left side of the page, one of which is WordPress.  So I click on it and now have a link to click for a new installation, which I’ve clicked. The first of three screens concerns the administrative ID and password, which I dutifully fill in and click Install.  Some stuff pops up about installing a MySQL database and I click Finish.  A screen pops up telling me my admin username and password and a button to return to the WordPress overview.  Lacking other options, I click it.  The overview tells me that I now have an instance of 3.3.1 installed.  Yay for me.  Hey!  I’ve got a site now!  Using my username and password I can log in and get to what appears to be the WordPress dashboard. Since I don’t want a generic looking website I need to find a new theme.  By clicking on the Appearance option on the left of the screen I get to the Themes screen.  I only have the theme that comes with WordPress right now, so I’m going to have to install a new one.  This will take a while, so I’m signing off.   Looking to learn how to create your own WordPress blog? Then head over to my...

First Steps to Beginning WordPress

So the first thing that I need to do is decide where to host the site.  I’ve found at least a dozen different hosts that all seem to be pretty much price equivalent.  I’ve no experience on determining what features to pursue or how to judge ease of use so I’m just going to pick HostGator.  It may be faint praise, but there’s nothing that I don’t like about their site.  Also, since I want to have the site support itself, and I’m sure that all the Hostgator banners I see on other blogs are paid advertisements, I want to get in on that action.  (If I advertise, I’d like to believe in the product that is being sold, and the best way to do that is to use it). Okay, now that I know who will host my beginning WordPress blog, I need a name.  Amazingly, BeginningWordPress.com is available, so I’m taking it.  The process was pretty painless.  I think I have a website, though you’d think that they’d send a confirmation email.  Aha!  It just came in.  I am the proud owner of BeginningWorpdress.com! The welcome email has some info including my username and password.  If I follow the link to my control panel, I get a login page that appears to be called “C Panel”.  The provided username and password work, and I’m now in.  Great.  What now? A popup window has appeared asking if I’d like to watch a video on the Getting Started Wizard, which seems like a good idea.  I’m a bit overwhelmed by everything, but I see there is a way to...

Beginning WordPress, From the Beginning

As I type this, I don’t even have a blog yet.  This post was actually written before the website was even started!  Why do it this way?  Because I want to document every victory and every mistake I make as a beginning WordPress User.  Hopefully at least one person out there in cyberspace will find something useful in this blog. The first decision that I made is that I want the site to pay for itself.  I don’t expect to retire on it, but I sure wouldn’t matter if the site picked up its own tab.  I’ve never tried to get a website to support itself before either, so I’m a two-time neophyte.  Because of this direction, I’m going to pay to have my site hosted instead of being a free WordPress blog.  Plugins, widgets, and who knows what else await me.  What am I getting into? I used to be competent at computer programming.  Slinging code since I was a kid, I could cobble together code to make things happen.  I got an engineering degree and went into industry, then returned and got an MBA in order to move to the business side of business.  Since 2002 I haven’t written anything more complex than an Excel formula.  And I don’t want to relearn how to program. So from manually coding HTML in the 90’s to being completely obsolete in 2012, I am returning to technology with the same knowlege as anybody else.  Perhaps that old foundation will make itself seen, but if I have to write any code I’ve failed in my goal. My goal is simple.  Beginning WordPress...

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