Learn How to Use WordPress
If I can start a blog then you can too! I walked into this with ZERO knowledge on how a blog was made and had never even heard of WordPress. Looking at WordPress for the first time was pretty overwhelming… where to start? But after playing around with things you will quickly realize everything is pretty self-explanatory. I’m here to give you a little nudge in the right direction though. Here is a WordPress overview to help you start things off right. In the first video I will show you how to work with WordPress. The second video is geared towards blog design. I discuss how a free WordPress Theme compares to a purchased Theme, like Thesis. And at the bottom of the page I also share with you a list of my favorite plugins.
How to Use WordPress!
Why Purchase a Theme?
First let’s tackle what exactly a theme is for those of you that don’t know. It’s like the way your website is laid out, usually based upon an already existing format. Most of the free themes are not very customizable. You have to work within the confines of the structured layout. By purchasing a theme you are given much more freedom as to how you want your site to look.
Elegant Themes and Genesis are both companies that create and sell semi-customizable themes. They basically develop a number of designs and layouts and give you multiple options to adjust them to your liking. They are more customizable than free themes with better SEO in the coding. The prices are around $50, depending on the theme you choose. More flexibility and features = more money. They are a cheaper option than going with a more advanced theme like Thesis, but much less customizable. I would suggest using one of these themes if you want to create a professional looking design on a budget and don’t know code.
Thesis– Currently I use Thesis 1.8.2 and it has worked wonders for me. As their slogan says “Do more, code less.” That is exactly what my problem is- I look at code and get dizzy. It might as well be a foreign language. Thesis takes some of the code work out of creating a completely personalized blog look. Or at least version 1.8.2 did. Thesis has since upgraded their system to a 2.0 version. It is entirely different from what I am working with. It’s not quite as self-explanatory and requires a bit more work on your part. It looks like you can purchase version 1.8.5 still. I am pretty excited about this for you since the 1x version is AWESOME and 100% usable for non-code people like myself. 2.0 Thesis takes a bit more knowledge and time. To get Thesis 1x version, purchase your plan, log into your account, and on the bottom of the page where you are directed to download Thesis 2.0 you will see the option to download 1.8.5 bulleted beneath it. You can find an unlimited number of Thesis 1x tutorials on YouTube.
With a little time and patience, your options are limitless. I am currently working on upgrading to 2.0 and re-designing my layout myself rather than paying a company $1,000+ to do it for me. If you are interested in doing that too but don’t have any idea where to start, let me share with you my resources:
- BYOB Website– This link has multiple video tutorials. It gives you an overview of the new Thesis platform and shares a number of videos explaining how to do a variety of things to your design.
- ThesisVideoTutorials (by Amelia)- Amelia does an incredible job demonstrating the power of thesis in 61 short video clips. Step-by-step she guides you through the process of design a custom layout from a completely blank canvas. I found these videos especially helpful.
- HTML and CSS Textbook by Jon Duckett– I don’t know a thing about code. Or at least I didn’t. I purchased this book to give me a brief lesson in the basics so I could understand the principles behind design and maybe implement a few new things myself. It is a great book for beginners.
Thesis doesn’t have the visual appeal that some other purchased themes have, but it makes up for it with usability and SEO enhancement. If you are already knowledgeable in HTML, CSS, etc. you can make all the changes you want yourself. It would have been impossible for me to have customized my blog without it. To get Thesis click here.
Since it does cost between $87 and $197 (depending on which package you choose), it is only something I would recommend if you know that you are going to be blogging for a while. If you are just toying with the idea of blogging, I wouldn’t worry about it at first- just use a free WordPress Theme. But if you want to invest in your blogs future, purchase a theme such as Elegant Theme, Genesis Theme, or Thesis.
Take a look at the video below where I compare how WordPress is used with both a free theme and a purchased theme and decide what works best for you. Personally, it was the best $87 I’ve ever spent.
Free Theme Versus Purchased Theme:
My Favorite Plugins
Contact Form 7– A simple way to setup a contact page.
Akismet– Protects against spam in comments.
Easy Recipe– Enter, format, and print recipes on posts.
nrelate Related Content– Show related posts at the bottom of each post.
Pinterest Pin It Button For Images– I LOVE this! Creates a Pin-it button to appear when cursor hovers over an image.
Tweet Old Post– Tweets whenever you put up a new post as well as old content at selected intervals. Helps old posts stay alive and drives extra traffic to your site.
Blogger Importer– If you want to import past posts from your Google Blogger Blog onto your new WordPress blog, this plugin makes an easy job of it.
Note: Some of the products that I link to are affiliate links and I will earn a commission off of them should you chose to make a purchase through my link. I am not simply recommending them solely for my benefit- I can fully attest to the quality of all of these products since they are the ones I use myself. They are each highly regarded in the community of bloggers.