30 Day Marketing Bootcamp for Freelance Writers – Day 6

on September 8, 2009 in Marketing, News & Updates
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Yesterday you should have registered a domain name and set up a Web hosting account (if you didn't already have them). Today you're going to jump into getting your website set up. We're going to use the self-hosted version of WordPress.

Background

Rather than hosting a basic static website, I'm choosing to run you through website setup with WordPress. That's for three primary reasons:

  1. WordPress is very easy to use (if you can write in Microsoft Word, you can create pages and posts easily in WordPress.
  2. WordPress allows you to update your website from anywhere with an Internet connection (no need to be where your files are stored in order to upload the edited versions).
  3. WordPress is very adaptable -- you can incorporate a blog, directory, and other features easily. That said, WordPress can also operate like any static site. It doesn't have to be a blog.

Follow the steps below to get WordPress setup on your hosting account. Note: These instructions are the easiest method for those who used the recommended host from yesterday (or any host with Cpanel and Fantastico installed). Your process might be different if you use a different hosting provider, and you might need to do a manual WordPress installation instead (in which case you should follow their five minute installation tutorial).

Exercises

1. Follow my previous instructions on how to install WordPress using Cpanel and Fantastico (when you login to your Web hosting control panel). If you have to setup your domain name as an add-on domain to an existing hosting account -- instead of being the primary domain setup already when you signed up for the hosting -- those instructions are in the post as well.


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2. When your WordPress installation is complete, I'd like you to start looking for a theme (design) to use. There are many free WordPress themes available (including a couple that are exclusive to Query-Free Freelancer members in the members only section here -- designed by Chris Hennis). Chris also has some free themes at JungleJar.com. I strongly suggest looking into his as they tend to be clean, simple, and use understated tones that are ideal for professional sites as opposed to traditional blogs. Installing a theme can vary from one to the next. For example, in Chris' themes, you'll find installation instructions in the ReadMe.txt file included with the theme download (including the themes available on this site). Another option is to login to your WordPress installation (www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin), and click the "Appearance" link in the left sidebar. In the dropdown menu, then click on "Add New Themes." You can search for themes based on things like color schemes or layouts there, and simply click the "Install" link below the theme you want to install. That's the easiest way to install a WordPress theme if you're just starting out.

Now that you have your basics setup, tomorrow we can move on and talk about the different pages and / or sections you could (or should) add to your website, and you'll start to build your basic pages.

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.

She owns 3 Beat Media - a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.

4 Comments

  1. Matt Willard September 8, 2009 Reply

    You gonna cover customization options? Personally, I can only sum it up as “Google fu”-I just saw elements of websites I wanted and Googled for the code to make it happen. If you’re industrious enough, you can easily learn how to make the look you want.

  2. Jenn Mattern September 8, 2009 Reply

    We’ll cover some of the important customizations, but mostly along the lines of plugins (so, for example, users can optimize their sites for SEO which will be a bigger focus later in the bootcamp or get their feeds easily tracked through feedburner — things like that). We’ll also be talking about how to set things up to get a static homepage and all so it doesn’t look like a blog. But we won’t talk a whole lot about things like CSS changes and such, as that’s a bit beyond the bootcamp (which is more to get the right info up there, get it optimized, and do it in a way even newbies to their own sites will hopefully be able to understand).

    After the bootcamp there’s a shorter series planned on customization, specifically based on changes I made to simplify one of the free WordPress themes available here, where we’ll talk about altering templates and stylesheets to get what you want.

  3. Matt Willard September 8, 2009 Reply

    Sounds good. I’m interested about that static homepage, too, so I’ll keep checking in for that.

  4. Jenn Mattern September 8, 2009 Reply

    If you already have a site up on WordPress and want to jump to that in the meantime, it’s very very easy.

    You just create a page that you’ll want to make your homepage (using the add new page option in the left navigation — page, not post). Or you can use an existing page. Then you just go into the settings link, and in there you’ll have an option to make one of your pages a static-style homepage. I’ll give better instructions in tomorrow’s post, but if you’re familiar with WordPress, you should be able to find that setting fairly easily if you want to move ahead a bit.

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