Are you a noob (newbie) at internet based commerce? Don’t feel bad about it, to be honest, we are all noobs at one point in our lives. Today’s Internet Marketing Superheroes like our own Ben Adkins were all beginners one day. So was (and in some aspects, so am) I.
Before you get started with this post, make sure you read “What You Need to Know to Get Your Blog Setup Today (Part 1)”. I walk you through the first four steps of installing WordPress in that post. Make sure you read it first, then comeback to this post when you’re finished.
If you follow the instructions on these two posts, you’ll have a WordPress site. And, your site will be ready for your first visitors and for your first sale.
Once you unlock the process of getting your first sale, you’ll be able to duplicate that process. That’s what we’re working toward right?
So, by the end of this article, you’ll be able to:
- CHOOSE A WORDPRESS THEME
- INSTALL WORDPRESS PLUGINS
- START POSTING CONTENT IN WORDPRESS
- GET WORDPRESS SEO BASICS DONE
If you’re going to set up what Ben recommends in his post “How You Can Build a Profitable Blog in 48 Hours,” read these two posts first. That way, you’ll have WordPress set up in the way you’ll need it to be for that project.
If you’re new to internet marketing, with no WordPress experience, here’s what I would do:
- Read and complete the instructions in “What You Need to Know to Get Your Blog Setup Today (Part 1)”
- Read and complete the instructions in this article
- Read and complete the instructions in Ben’s article “How You Can Build a Profitable Blog in 48 Hours,”
There are a few other great posts on the Fearless Social blog you can use to learn even more. At the end of this post, I’ll tell you a secret to put you ahead of most internet marketers, so pay attention.
If you’ve completed the assignments in part 1, then let’s get busy and finish your website!
CHOOSE A WORDPRESS THEME
A WordPress theme is a set of files that affect the appearance of a WordPress blog. When searching for “themes” on the WordPress.org website, over 6 million results were generated. Some of the results were articles and requests for information about themes. But, you get an idea of the sheer amount of themes available.
There are several sites where you can buy other themes. Here are the few I trust: (again, none of these sites are affiliate links)
Another hot area of theme development lately is the Parent/Child theme. According to the WordPress manual, a parent theme is the base configuration. The child theme contains the images and styles that form the layout and design.
This configuration protects the main theme (parent). And, it lets you customize your theme (child) without harming the parent.
The FearlessSocial blog uses the Genesis framework (Parent Theme) and the Agency Pro Theme . The maker of Agency Pro, StudioPress, has created several themes you can use for your website. Before you start choosing your theme, read their “get started” page first.
All StudioPress themes are responsive. This means they will look great on smartphones, tablets and computers automatically.
To install a theme, there are two options. You can install a free theme from the built in theme selector. You also have the option of uploading a theme package you bought from another site. Here are the steps:
- in the WordPress Menu, select “Appearance”, then “Theme.”
- Click “Add New”
- Search through the available free themes and install one.
(Make sure the theme is responsive)
To install a “premium” theme (a paid theme):
- Buy and download the theme
- In the WordPress Menu, select “Appearance”, then “Theme.”
- Click “Add New”
- Click on “Upload Theme”
- Click on “Choose File” and upload the files from your hard drive
- To activate the theme once it after upload, go back to “Appearance>Themes”
- Hover over the theme you wish to use and click on the “Activate” button
- Go back to the “What You Need to Know to Get Your Blog Setup Today (Part 1)” and repeat the “Setup The Basics” section
Once you’ve gotten the basics set up, follow the instructions with your purchased theme. Then, you can customize the theme to appeal to your audience.
The next step is to choose and install your WordPress Plugins.
INSTALL WORDPRESS PLUGINS
I always prefer to install my plugins first. Even before I deal with themes. There are a few reasons for this. First, it’s just a matter of preference. Second, I can then install a theme and know almost immediately if it will work well with my plugins.
That’s just my preference. You may take any path you so choose: theme then plugins or plugins then themes. Most WordPress users typically install their theme first. Either way is OK.
I will recommend that you limit your plugins to about 10-15 total.
For some themes, you may need to install required plugins for all the features of the theme to operate. So, make sure you keep the number of plugins around 15 or fewer.
To install plugins, mouse down to “Plugins” in the WordPress menu. Then, click on “Installed Plugins.”
WHICH PLUGINS DO I USE?
One of the biggest struggles I had as a WordPress user was the decision of which plugin to use. There are so many to choose. According to WikiPedia, there are over 40 thousand plugins available for WordPress. “Each of which offers custom functions and features enabling users to tailor their sites to their specific needs.”
As a former retail marketer, I learned early on the best way to lose a sale is to offer too many options. You confuse the buyer and they will, more times than not, walk away and not buy anything. That is definitely the case with the Plugin Market at WordPress.
So I could help you narrow the field, I created a PDF report of my 25 Best Plugins For WordPress Newbies. Some of the plugins in this list are preferred plugins for online marketers. Others are the “basic” plugins almost every WordPress installation needs.
Here are my absolute “must haves” for any WordPress installation:
While JetPack has some features to limit spam, that’s no need to not have Askimet. As the producer proclaims, this plugin has been “slaying spam since 2005.” This plugin is solid, it does it’s job without complaining, and is rock-solid reliable.
2. YOAST SEO
Yoast SEO simplifies the process of optimizing your posts for search engines. They also help you with formatting your social media content from the posts you write. The SEO interface with Yoast gives key insights into the SEO properties of each post. Yoast also gives you basic instruction to improve your ranking power. Some of the plugin features include
- word count
- keyword density
- keyword placement
- meta description length guidance.
This is a very comprehensive security plugin. WordFence manages all critical site security issues. It can ban IPs and IP ranges, and scan your files for problems. You can schedule the scans or you can set up the scans manually. There is a paid, premium version of this plugin which offers more control and security. But, the free version should be all you need.
WordPress’ popularity entices hackers to look for ways to break into unprotected sites. If you don’t install some security tools, your site will probably become a victim sooner or later.
This plugin is one of the best traffic and list-building tools anywhere. SumoMe offers free and paid versions of just about every feature you can get through the plugin. If you’re going to be building an email list, get SumoMe. If you’re going to promote social sharing on your site, get SumoMe. If you don’t want to install a contact form plugin, use the one in SumoMe. (I still use the free version)
I mentioned JetPack when speaking of Askimet. This plugin, offered by the makers of WordPress, is a multi-purpose tool. JetPack could use it’s own easier to understand owners manual.
Because it’s created and owned by Automattic, the makers of WordPress, it is very stable and constantly updated.
There are so many features of JetPack that I can’t list them all. Here are a few I recommend you use:
- Publicize –
- Connects your site to your social networks and automatically share your posts with your followers
- The Widget Visibility Module
- Gives you control over the visibility of widgets based on the page(s) you wish them to appear on
- Gives you great stats visibility directly on your WordPress Dashboard
- WP.me Shortlinks
- This lets you use the WordPress platform for shortened links. With this feature, you won’t need to use a third-party URL shortener in your social media posts.
- Comment management
- Because you should have comments on your blog posts. JetPack helps you increase engagement and create constant updates to your content. (which Google loves)
6. WP LIMIT LOGIN ATTEMPTS
This plugin protects against what is called “brute force attacks.” This is when hackers just keep hitting your server with as many login requests as possible. Their goal is to be able to hack your password and gain access to your administration panel.
Limit Login Attempts does what it’s name suggests. It limits the login attempts made on your site in a period of time. This makes it harder for hackers to guess your password.
The WP Limit Login Attempts plugin replaces an older plugin “Limit Login Attempts.” The latter plugin hasn’t been updated since 2012.
One other word of caution: do not use “admin” as your administrative login. Create another login account and make it an administrator. Then, login under the new administrative account, and make “admin” a regular account.
7. GOOGLE XML SITEMAPS
This plugin is still the choice of many bloggers and other users of WordPress. The plugin automates the process of creating a sitemap with just a few clicks of the mouse. The power of the sitemap is that the map helps Google index your pages faster. The sooner a search engine can follow your site map, the faster they can start sending search traffic to your site.
I’m only recommending seven plugins as “must have.” This way you have some freedom to add some plugins of your own choice.
DELETING ONE UNNECESSARY DEFAULT PLUGIN
First, we need to remove a plugin that comes as part of the default installation.
“Hello Dolly” is the first official WordPress Plugin. When enabled, it displays in your admin panels a random lyric from the Louis Armstrong song “Hello Dolly.” It’s not a large plugin, nor does it tax the server much. But, it’s not useful to most WordPress users.
To uninstall the Hello Dolly plugin
- Hover over “Plugins” in the WordPress menu, then click on “Installed Plugins”
- Find the HelloDolly plugin, and click on “Deactivate” beneath the name.
- Refresh the page after WordPress has deactivated the plugin
- Click on “Delete”
- Click on “Yes, delete these files” on the next page
- Go back to the WordPress Dashboard, or to Installed Plugins
To install any of the plugins you find useful in my downloadable list of 25 best plugins for just getting started with WordPress, follow these instructions
- Hover over “Plugins” in the WordPress menu, click on “Add New”
- Search for the plugin name you’ve chosen to install on your site
- When you find the plugin you want, click on “Install Now” button under the correct title
- Wait until WordPress refreshes with a screen that says “Successfully installed the plugin _____”
- When that screen appears, click “Activate Plugin” or “Return to Plugin Installer”
- If you have other plugins to install, click on “Return to Plugin Installer.” Choose your next plugin to install. It is not necessary to activate plugins one a a time. We will take care of that in steps 8 through 12.
- If you are finished installing plugins, activate the plugins at once.
- Click on “Installed Plugins”
- Click on “Inactive.” You’ll see the number of inactive plugins in a parenthesis next to the word inactive.
- Click on the box to the left of the word “Plugin”. Choose from the dropdown menu the option “Activate” then click on the “Apply” button.
- Be patient. You’ll get a notification that your plugins are installed.
- Next, click on “Installed Plugins.” In that list, click on the word “Settings” beneath each plugin you’ve installed. Follow the instructions.
START POSTING CONTENT IN WORDPRESS
There are some important pages in your WordPress installation you need to take care of as soon as possible.
Following Ben’s 48 hour blog article, there are at least three types of posts you need to create. He suggests writing an authority post, combined with review articles and how-to articles. Read his post to find out more.
By the way. If you haven’t noticed, the authority page will also serve as great content for your “About Me” page. There’s nothing wrong with doing a copy and paste from your authority post to your About Me page.
One final note, you can choose to “Publish” the post as soon as you’ve finished it or you can publish it at a later date. Here’s how to do that.
Or, if you don’t want the page to be published just yet, you can save the post using the “Save Draft” button.
With your content at least saved in draft mode, you have one final task to do before you “go live.” I will warn you, from personal experience, make sure you click on the “Save Draft” and not the “Publish” button if you’re writing content not yet ready for public eyes!
GET WORDPRESS SEO BASICS DONE
I could write another two or three part post on SEO settings in WordPress. Instead, I hope you’ve installed the Yoast SEO plugin as I suggested.
The creator of that plugin can help you much more than I can. If you use the YoastSEO plugin, check out his post “The Definifive Guide to Higher Rankings for WordPress Sites.”
Once you start publishing content, you’ll need a system to convert your audience from consumers of content to buyers. This means you need to learn how to maximize your content’s effectiveness.
These are just part of the tricks of content marketing you can learn by attending the Content Marketing University.
In the meantime, get your feet wet by setting up WordPress using these three posts below.
“What You Need to Know to Get Your Blog Setup Today (Part 1)”
“What You Need to Know to Get Your Blog Setup Today (Part 2)” (this post)
“How You Can Build a Profitable Blog in 48 Hours.”
If you’d like to make your 48 hour blog really start to work for you, get the FearlessSocial course Content Marketing University. You’ll learn different types of posts you can write, how to market the sites and reach your audience, and how to find things to sell that will serve your audience’s needs and make them want to buy from you.
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- A Dozen Easy Ways to Quickly Improve Your Content Marketing - February 12, 2016
- What You Need To Know To Get Your Blog Setup Today (Part 2) - February 5, 2016
- What You Need To Do To Get Your Blog Setup Today (Part 1) - January 28, 2016
- How To Avoid the Common Failures of Affiliate Marketing - January 20, 2016
Dom Sirianni says
Incredibly thorough Phil! I have a question regarding the authority posts. Do you have any examples where the authority isn’t directly tied to a sales push. I have a hard time transitioning to a call to action on an authority-focused post. I’d love to hear your recommendations.
Phillip Swindall says
Thanks, Dom, for the compliment!
Authority posts aren’t supposed to be “direct sales” pieces as much as they are a sales piece for your authority.
Ben Adkins explains the concept of authority posts quite well in his article, How You Can Build a Profitable Blog in 48 Hours.
If you need more assistance, feel free to ask.