This article is Part 2 of our guide on WordPress Blog Setup. In this article, we cover Ping/Update services, Themes, Plugins and more. In Part 1 (How to Setup A WordPress Blog), we cover installation and configuration settings.
You want your audience to be able to find and easily read your blog. In order to facilitate this, you need to set up your Ping (Update Services) and your RSS feed.
Update Services. WordPress will automatically “ping” an update service site whenever you publish a new article. To take advantage of this feature, go to Settings>Writing and copy the following recommended services into the text box and save your changes.
Recommended Update Services for WordPress:
http://blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2 http://rpc.pingomatic.com http://rpc.weblogs.com/RPC2 http://ping.feedburner.com http://xping.pubsub.com/ping/
I recommend that you use Feedburner to manage your RSS feeds. Feedburner is recommended for several reasons: it’s free, it provides great statistics, it’s loaded with options, and virtually every A-list blog is using it. For detailed instructions on how to setup and integrate Feedburner, go to: www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/step-by-step-guide-to-setup-feedburner-for-wordpress/
A WordPress theme is controls the layout, appearance and functionality of your WordPress site. Choosing the right theme is a critical decision as it will have implications on all aspects of your site (including look and feel, usability, SEO and more). To choose a theme, you need to consider the purpose of your website, size/scale of your business, and how well the theme is/will be supported. Specifically, you need to consider:
- Will your WordPress site be just for casual blogging, or will it be an entire website representing your company/brand etc. The more important your website, the more important the theme decision.
- Will you be advertising heavily on your site. If so, you will need a theme that has flexibility in layouts so that you can add advertisements virtually anywhere (e.g., header, pre-post, in a post, after a post, in sidebars, footers, etc.)
- Do you expect your website to be growing in scale and complexity? If so, you may want to consider a theme that has a robust framework to allow you to add additional functionality seamlessly.
- How technically savvy are you? If you are not technically savvy then you will want your theme to be able to do the “heavy lifting” for you without having to edit any files.
When considering themes, you will also want to look at how the theme is supported. There are thousands of themes available from thousands of different developers. Some themes are free. Others are available to purchase by themselves or as part of a subscription to a “theme club”. No matter how the themes are offered, you will need to insure that the theme is supported by the developer and has a community of users. To evaluate a theme’s developer, you should consider the following:
- What support offerings are available if you use the theme?
- Does the developer offer email, chat or phone support?
- Is there documentation?
- Is there a robust knowledgebase/FAQ section on their website?
- Does the developer offer a forum that is actively used/monitored?
I recommend the following themes/theme frameworks for your WordPress blog setup. I currently have major websites running on all of these themes.
Genesis – The framework/theme that I use for StartGrowProfit.com. Very flexible and fast wordpress theme framework.
Yoothemes – Another versatile theme provider. Has themes for both Joomla and WordPress.
Woothemes – Nice framework with robust functionality. Also has free themes.
WordPress Blog Setup: Plugins
WordPress, by itself, is a very capable system. There are, however, times when you need to extend the functionality of WordPress by using plugins. There are thousands of plugins available for WordPress that can help you accomplish almost anything that you can dream of.
Plugins may interfere with eachother.
Plugins may open you up to security vulnerabilities.
Plugins may make it harder for you to upgrade to the latest version of WordPress.
Plugins may not be supported/maintained/updated.
Installing plugins in WordPress is extremely easy. You simply find the Plugin that you want to install and download it to your local drive. In the WordPress admin, you then can go to Plugins>Add New>Upload and select the zip file that you downloaded previously. You then activate the plugin, change any settings that the plugin manages, and you are ready to go.
For beginning websites, I recommend only two plugins: Akismet and WordPress SEO. As your needs grow, there are several other plugins that you may find of interest, but I always try to minimize my use of plugins.
Akismet – If you open your site up to commenting, the Akismet is a must have plugin. Akisment is a very robust spam filter that you will find indispensable. Akismet comes pre-installed on your new WordPress installation. All you need to do to use it, and obtain and enter a WordPress API key. WordPress API keys can be used on multiple websites, so if you already have one, you just need to enter it. If you need one, simply go to: https://akismet.com/signup/ to request one.
Yoast WordPress SEO – – Yoast’s SEO plugin is a highly recommended plugin to help manage virtually all of your WordPress SEO needs. The plugin will help you manage virtually all of your WordPress settings that will impact your SEO. It also helps you optimize your individual posts by allowing you to set your title and meta descriptions, your image settings and more. It even evaluates your individual posts (keyword density etc.) for your chosen focus key phrase.
This WordPress Blog Setup article is part 2 of our series on WordPress configuration. In Part 1 (How To Setup A WordPress Blog) we cover installation and configuration settings.