Tutorial: Logging on to WordPress

Logging on to a blog
Logging on to a blog

Logging on to my WordPress blog

Logging on to WordPress

Type in the blog name, followed by a forward slash and then type ‘wp-admin’. So on this blog I would type in – blog basics.com/wp-admin

The WordPress login form will be displayed.

WordPress login screen

Your blog's WordPress login screen

Enter your username and password.

Remember Me Box

DO: If the computer you’re working on is safe then click ‘Remember Me’.  You will then be automatically logged in whenever you are using this computer.

DON’T: If lots of people have access to the computer don’t tick this box as anyone could login to your blog and could write posts, delete posts, change the user permissions and lock you out, play around with the layout and do lots of other damage. .

Click the ‘Log In’ and you should be in WordPress and see a screen similar to the one below.  You can then add and edit posts and pages, change the layout, add new plug-ins or change the theme.

WordPress dashboard

Blogbasic's WordPress dashboard

My Links

Coming soon tutorials on writing a post, writing a page, working with the widgets, working with plug-ins, developing a contact page, changing the theme and much, much more.

Tutorial: Installing WordPress using Fantastico

If you took my advice and your hosting company offers Fantastico then installing WordPress is extremely easy. Just follow these instructions.

1 – Login to cPanel

On most websites you would type in the domain name, followed by a forward slash which is followed by the word cpanel.  So on this site you would type — blogbasics.com/cpanel.

cPanel login

A blog's cPanel Login Form

You would enter the domain’s username and password.

Click ‘Log In’ button and a screen similar to the one below will be displayed.

Cpanel

Part of Cpanel screen

 

2 – Select Fantastico

Scroll down the screen  until you find section which contains Fantastico button. This is usually found in this section marked software.

Click the Fantastico button.

cpanel-fantastico button

Cpanel Fantastico Button

3 – Select WordPress

Fantastico software available

Some of the Fantastico software available

On the left-hand side of the Fantastico screen click on the WordPress to start the installation process.

4 – Install WordPress

Fantastico: New Installation for WordPress

Fantastico: New Installation of WordPress for your blog

Press ‘New Installation’.  The form below will be displayed.

Fantastico Install WordPress Form

Fantastico Install WordPress Form

This is reasonably straightforward to fill in.

Install in domain – should always include your domain.

Install in directory — if the only thing on the website will be the blog then leave blank. If, however, we plan to run other things on the site then I suggest you place the blog in its own directory, (being unoriginal I usually need this directory ‘blog’).

Admin access data – enter a username and password that you will remember. These you will use to log into the blog. It will probably be wise to write these down and store them somewhere very safe.

Admin nickname — this will be the name that will be displayed as the author of any posts that you make in the blog.

Admin e-mail — this is the e-mail linked to the blog. Make sure it is valid as this is the one that is used if you’ve forgotten your password.

Site name — name of the blog.

Description — really this is the tagline for the blog.

When you have finished filling in the form you can press the single ‘Install WordPress’ button.  The message below will be displayed.

WordPress Installed

Fanatastico WordPress Installed message

Press the ‘Finish installation’.

You will then get a confirmation message giving your username and password. All you need to do now is press the ‘Back to WordPress overview’.

Logging on to WordPress

You now need to log on to WordPress so that you can add a theme, change the layout or write a post. Tutorial: How to log on to WordPress.

Coming soon

I will be writing a number of tutorials the use of WordPress in the coming week. These will include had to write a post, how to install a plug-in, how to setup a widget, how to install a theme, how to set up a contact form and much more.

Five reasons why bloggers must use a cPanel Hosting Company

Fantastico Goodies
Fantastico Goodies

Bloggers your Fantastico Goodies are here

OK let’s get a bit geeky: the vast majority of companies that host WordPress use LAMP technology, (see below). But don’t panic — as a blogging beginner you do not need to know very much.

Cpanel

Part of Cpanel screen

1 – cPanel is the market leader

It is the market leader by far. Most LINUX based hosting businesses, big and small, use cPanel to allow their customers to control their websites.

2 — cPane has a host of features

cPane allows the user to control e-mails, databases, accessed the website, check statistics and do a remarkable number of technical things that the majority of us do not need to do. However, as you develop your online career you will find that some of these features are useful when you load more complex packages.

Cpanel also allows the hosting company to add extras.  So some hosts will give you links to programs that will let you build a website, give you access to clip art images or website templates. However, I find that most of these features are not very useful.

3 – cPanel makes it very easy to change host

Once you know your way around one cPanel host you know your way around them all. Therefore it is very easy to transfer to another host and know your way around the new system in minutes.

cpanel-fantastico button

cPanel Fantastico Button

4 — The fantastic Fantastico

Fantastico it’s an add-on to cPanel.  It allows the automatic installation of around forty different open source programs: these include blogging packages, mailing lists,discussion boards, e-commerce, customer relations software and many many more packages.  All installed by the click of a few buttons plus entering your details on a simple form.

Do not subscribe to a host unless they have Fantastico.

Fantastico software available

Some of the Fantastico software available

5 – cPanel has fantastic support

As the package is very popular all you have to do is Google your problem and you will see dozens of solutions and tutorials.

If you belong to a technical support forum, such as the very helpful Daniweb, you’ll find dozens of people who will help you with any cPanel problem.

Personal story

For the couple of years I have a resellers hosting account with a respected company. Although the installation of WordPress was non-standard I was very happy with the service.

That was until I needed to install a couple of other packages. I then found at my non-standard host gave me what you technical problems. This involved me spending hours dealing with their support people and finding out but there were quite a few technical limitations from this company.

I then had quite an argument with this company getting part of the money back that I have paid, (as I had pleaded in advance for the year). Fortunately I know the English law reasonably well and was able to come to an agreement with the company.

I will now only use cPanel hosting and I’ll never pay more a quarter in advance. I hope you will learn from my problems.

My links

Blog Basics: Installing WordPress using Fantastico

Conclusion

Unless you have a good valid reason, (such as your uncle owns a hosting company), you need to use one of the many hosting companies that offers Cpanel with Fantastico.

Arghh – geeky stuff

A quick overview of LAMP technology

L stands for LINUX, A stands for Apache, M stands for MySQL and P stands for PHP.

LINUX is a free, open source operating system that is used to support Internet servers. From the user’s point of view it is harder to use than say Windows, but the experts tell me that LINUX is more secure and has more features. That’s all you need to know about LINUX, unless you want to go into developing computer systems at a high level.

Apache is free, open source server software. It is the most popular server technology on the Internet. It has a host of features and is very well supported. That’s all you need to know about Apache servers.

MySQL is a free, open source database package. It is extremely powerful and has been used by large corporations very affectively. Fortunately as a blogger you do not really need to get into detail with MySQL, unless you are into developing interesting plug-ins for packaged like WordPress.

PHP is a server-based programming language. This means that when you call a page of your blog the PHP does clever things such as finding the content, displaying the date, sorting out some of the layout and pulling in sections of your blog, such as the header, footer and sidebar.

WordPress is written in this language and it is possible that you may need to know a little about PHP if you get into customising your WordPress themes.

You don’t really need to know much about these technologies to use WordPress efficiently.

Ten reasons why bloggers MUST use WordPress

Woman eating chocolate instead of blogging

OK chocolate is better than blogging

WordPress is the leading blogging software. It has gained popularity because it was free, was well-designed and had a very active bunch of volunteers helping develop the package.

Rapidly it has become the most popular blogging package on the Internet. This has led to tens of thousands of developers producing thousands of plug-ins and themes, enhancing the package and the look of blogs in general.

Below are 10 reasons why you must use WordPress

1 - It is the most widely used blogging software around

WordPress is now the market leader in both blogging and content management, open source, free software packages.

Its popularity is growing and for the majority of bloggers it is the obvious choice to use.

2 – WordPress is free

Because of its popularity WordPress has a great deal of support in this has enabled it to develop fast. The package is now very sophisticated and has the appearance of a commercial product. The fact that it is free is a great bonus — and makes it a program that you can afford, no, it is a program that you cannot afford NOT to use.

3 – It’s incredibly well supported

Google ‘wp’ and then add any problem that you might be having with WordPress and I will be very surprised if you cannot find ten, twenty or more websites with the solution.

I admit that the WordPress support itself can be a bit intimidating for newcomers. But hey there are thousands of other places to get support — you are visiting one now.

4 — WordPress is designed to work we’ve search engines

The content on your blog makes easy reading for Google and other search engine spiders. Once on your site they will jump from post to post an index all of .

Even by itself WordPress works well with the search engines. However, this greatly boosted by plug-ins and some theme designers, like this one, which was designed by StudioPress.

5 – The amazing range of plug-ins

There are literally thousands of free plug-ins for WordPress. They range from simple plug-ins that allow, say the most popular posts to be displayed in the sidebar, to quite clever procedures to back-up the entire blog.

There are numerous enhancements to the basic WordPress package, which include automatically updating Twitter or Facebook with your latest post to a useful plug-in I found recently that allows you to merge all the posts in two categories — which saved me probably half a day’s work when I wanted to put all of the posts on a client’s blog into one large category called ‘Ald Blog’.

6 – The amazing range of themes

another great success of WordPress has been that it is relatively easy for a web designer to design a WordPress theme. There are hundreds of free themes available from the stylish, through the garish to themes for business, entertainment, to display photographs, be outrageous, girly or just nice and gentle or a personal blog.

7 – The amazing widgets

Widgets used to be a clever feature of WordPress that allowed even the most basic user to add things to the sidebar. The standard widgets include things like search box, displaying or recent posts and the archives of the blog.

Today widgets, usually linked plug-ins, can be quite sophisticated and so they may display a Twitter feed, advertisements linked to the content, a signup for a newsletter and interesting combinations of text and image.

8 – The great Plug-in Contact Form 7

This simple plug-in allows you to create a contact page within minutes, without having to display your e-mail address.

Once installed all you have to do is create a blank page, add a little text and add a simple code, given to you by the plug-in, enclosed in square brackets, like this [ code], and your contact page is ready for action.

9 – The wonderful Permalinks

Permalinks is the process which enables WordPress to make the page names of your blog more memorable. Instead of something like ‘post=134′ Permalinks converts the title into something like this: ‘ten-reasons-why-bloggers-must-use-wordpress’.

This process not only makes the page title more readable by human beings, but it helps search engines, such as Google, make more sense of the page, (one of the most important factors used by Google is the title of any webpage).

10 – It makes you look professional

An important consideration of the blogger is to appear professional to others. The fact that you have chosen to use the world’s leading blogging package demonstrates that you are taking a businesslike approach to your blogging.

Other bloggers may want to work with you; advertisers, the media, visitors, support workers and potential buyers of your blog could possibly be put off if you are not using the industry standard.

Conclusion

Unless you have a good reason to go for a different blogging software package, (such as you need the added business functions of Drupal and know to how to use it),  then you should use WordPress.

I know that some of the rivals are very good, but none of them has anything like the range of support, the range of enhancements, (such as plug-ins) or the range of themes as has WordPress.

WordPress is also rapidly improving and each new version of the package has the number or enhancements, (so in a recent upgrade it is possible to link customised to sidebars to specific posts, specific categories and even specific tags.


 

Three reasons to use tags in your blog

tangle of string
[toc]

Three benefits of using tags

Tags, the keywords you can use to categorise the content of your blog post, are extremely useful for the blogger. They are usually displayed at the bottom of a post and when clicked will provide a list of blog posts with the same tag.

Your blog benefits from tags in the following ways:

  • it helps your visitors find their way around your blog
  • it helps search engines classify your content
  • it boosts your blog in Technorati

Difference between a category and a tag

Categories and tags are both very useful in organising your content.  It helps your visitor find their way around your blog.  They help search engines categorise and understand your content.

Logically you should break down the main subject areas of your niche into categories and then use the tags to highlight the sub-categories or topics.  This is also useful if a topic crosses more than one category.

I have decided to re-organise this blog.  I’m going to set up ten major categories – one for each of my seven stages of blogging, plus a category for each of business blogging, personal blogging and one for campaigning blogs.

My tags would then cover topics, such as writing content, web site promotion and specific posts on say a WordPress plugin, a review of a website, an introduction to a new theme or  productivity.

This gives the site a navigation grid allowing the visitor or search engine spider, (the clever software that indexes the internet), find your post through both the category or through the tags.

It helps your visitors find their way around your blog

I have a friend who has a motoring blog.  Every month he receives around 400 to 500 visitors the majority from search engines.  The visitor stays and reads the specific post, but few, very few visitors read more than one page.  That is they have bounced, gone away, and few will come back.

His posts are good, but the navigation on his site is poor.  One of the ways he could overcome this is to add tags on different makes of car, different gadgets and specific topics, such as winter tyres.

Like this blog we are going to re-organise his site.  There will be categories for car reviews, car news, under the bonnet, (for technical discussions) and specific ranges of gadgets, such as sat-navs.

He’ll then use tags to give more detail.  He’ll then have a set of tags for a car make, (say Ford), the specific model and the type – say hatchback.

As these changes to his site will make it far easier to someone find their way around the site, building up the number of page views and building up traffic.

It helps search engines classify your content

Somewhere within the great Google empire there is the magic machine – the computer, or probably the network of computers, that index a huge chunk of the internet.

But, and this is an important but, the computers are computers.  The only way that they can identify which is the best set of web pages to serve up to a particular user search is to see how those words are associated with other  words.

The search engine knows that certain words in a post are more important than others.  So headings, words in bold are significant.  Tags are also prized as humans have decided to catagorise the post with these terms.

The computers will then compare the tags from one site with the same tags from other sites.  So if a blog was writing about films and the tag – Brad Pitt was entered then the Google computer would trawl all the other taqgged Brad Pitts and would have links to his career, his films and the gossip about him.  This information would then help the computer to widen its classification of the post.

It boosts your blog in Technorati

Technorati is the leading blog directory.  Once your blog has five or six posts you should sign up to this service.  It will not only boost the number of visitors to your site, but because Technorati makes extensive use of tagging the visitors are usually looking for a specific topic. Most visitors I’ve had from Technorati have spent some time on the site, visiting an average of five pages.

Technorati uses tags, links, number of visitors and it’s spiders to rate blogs with an overall rating, ie their ranking compared to all the other blogs in the directory.  The site also ranks blogs in a wide variety of categories.  In addition you can search for specific keywords to display a list of all listed blog posts that may have that term.

I recommend all bloggers sign up for this service.  If you are writing a personal blog use the classification – Living. (See the statistics for Beginning to Blog – but bear in mind that the blog has only been running for two months).

Conclusion

Tags are very useful for guiding and retaining visitors on your blog.  The search engines use tags to classify and understand your content.  Both will boost your blog’s authority, which in turn builds your ranking and traffic.

Technorati also uses tags to rank your blog.  I recommend that all bloggers join Technorati and get their sites listed in the directory.

Blogging: Sidebar and Widgets

Clicking into place
Clicking into place

Setting up your money making sidebar

The sidebar, the column that runs, beside the content area of most blogs has become increasing useful to bloggers. In early blogs the sidebar will probably only contain a list of blog entries and a search box.

Programmers quickly developed other features such as a display of important posts, a blogroll, (useful links outside the blog), a link to the login page and increasingly important the display of small advertisements.

Nowadays a new feature has been added to most blogging systems which is the development of widgets.  These are are effectively small  add-ons that can be quickly added, removed or have their position changed by the non-technical user.

There are now widgets allow you to sign up to an e-mail letter, use Twitter, Facebook, display video, automatically list the most popular posts and allow advertising systems, such as Google Adsense, display advertisements will link to to content.

Sidebars today

It used to be that the sidebar was displayed on the left-hand side of the content. This sidebar will contain an important navigation aid listing sections, topics and categories. However, most blogs nowadays display their sidebars on the right-hand side of the screen. I believe that scientists have demonstrated that this is the best way of getting the visitors to interact with the website. In particular the top of the right-hand sidebar is the best place to put a sign-up form for newsletters.

 

Widgets in WordPress

Widgets in WordPress

Widgets today

On a blogging pack each, such as WordPress, there are more like a few built in widgets for the sidebar. Recent posts, a search form, a list of categories, the archives of the blog,list of blog pages, calendar and a tag cloud, (a box that displays the popularity of tags used on the blog).

In addition there is the standard text widget that allows the blog owner to add writing, images, links, video and even add quite clever coding to enhance the site.

There are several hundred free WordPress plug-ins, that  provide new widgets, for the blog writer to use. In addition there are a number of developers that provide premium, paid for, widgets.

My Sidebar

As I have only set this blog up a couple days ago my sidebar is quite boring. I have a simple search box, a video, (in a text widget), a list of my recent posts at my archives, which only have entries for this month.

Once I have written, or re-written, around 30 posts on this website will then concentrate on the look of the blog. the navigation particular is important and I will be adding quite a few internal links to the sidebar. There was a plan to make some money so I will be adding links to social media  as well, of course, a few advertisements. I will write an article on these developments some time next month.

Conclusion

Your content is the most important factor in your blog’s development. Learning to use widgets to improve navigation around your blog, build up e-mailing list and encouraging your visitors to recommend you on social media sites is an important part of promoting your blog.

I will be exploring widgets and plug-ins in the future. Managing widgets is a simple, but vital, skill that you should be able to pick up fairly quickly. There will be quite a few articles on this in the very near future.

Our links

Blog Basics: WordPress standard widgets

Blog Basics:  How to install a widget

Blog Basics:  What is a blog?

Blog Basics:  Components of a Blog

Other links

Vandelay Design:  The effective use of sidebars

Google.co.uk:  Images of blog sidebars

Shout Me Loud: 5 WordPress plug-in that enhance a blog’s sidebar

Over to you

Browse the net. Look at how different websites used their sidebar. Do they improve navigation? Do they encourage you to stay longer on the site? Do you see any interesting gizmos or features on a blog’s sidebar.