*Open Studio Visiting Creative, Susan Newman is the Founder of Susan Newman Design, Inc. Her brand identity design company works with new, small businesses to large corporations and spans the United States. To read her Bio, click here
Now for the Savvy WordPress bloggers!
Here’s the most important thing to realize about using WordPress. It can be used as a website whether you wish to blog or not. Using this marvelous CMS can give you the pages you need for a site with the ability to edit the content on those pages. Using this along with the correct settings, and the fabulous plugins available, you can have one smoking hot, trafffic-friendly site.
Adding some of these KEY PLUGINS will help your new site/blog **EXPLODE**
Adding and Activating Plugins:
Akismet – Ends tiresome and endless spam. You’ll need a key, so just follow the instructions.
All in one SEO pack – this will explode your SEO if done correctly on every static page and every blog post. Adds a title, description and keywords area to every page and post. It appears down below the area for content. Look for it and don’t forget it.
Captcha - Adds an anti-spam form to the end of the comments so someone must fill that in to add a comment.
Dynamic Sidebars - Once installed you can select different widgets in your sidebar for different sections of your site/blog. Let’s say you want your Facebook Fan box to appear only on your about us page, and you want your Recent Tweets only on Services… or maybe an opt-in form from your newsletter / blast company on all pages. You just select each one and tell it which page to be on or multiple pages. (It is a bit complicated, so only savvy users should tackle this one, without help.)
Facebook Like Box Widget - Adds a full Facebook boxed area in your sidebar showing latest posts on Facebook as well as the fans. Can be adjusted for width and length so it fits your sidebar design.
NextGEN Gallery – Just one of the many gallery plugins available to add a gallery space to your site. Be careful though if you’ve selected a theme that might already have a gallery function. You won’t need this and wouldn’t necessarily work anyway.
Quotes Collection - Once you’ve added a variety of quotes, they can rotate around the site in a designated spot.
Recent Tweets - Will display a live stream of the tweets coming in on your handle.
Rotating Headers - You can have a slide show with changing headers, but the images must be exactly the same in shape, size, and resolution and maybe only one spot is different like a blurb of text. Then you can shuffle them how you want them.
Sharethis – Adds the share buttons under each page and post so other can share your content.
Sociable – Adds the follow buttons for social media.
Social Media Widget does a similar thing.
TinyMCE Advanced – Expands the toolbar for pages and posts giving you assorted new icons and tools such as, table functions, special characters (©, TM, etc…) and others.
Tweet Old Post – This is one power-packed plugin. Once set up, it will generate Tweets of all the posts you’ve written around the clockfor you. I have mine set for every 4 hrs. So it’s tweeting all the time and giving life to older posts that might not be read. My Twitter followers have increased quite a bit since I installed this one. The post must have limited styles to come in cleanly. If they were styled beforehand, then import, but then each post will need to be adjusted before it can go live.
WordPress Importer: You can import old or other posts from another blog, but be careful because if those old or different posts had strange styling, they can screw up your new site’s theme. The posts must have limited styles to come in cleanly.
WPtouch - If your blog has a very neat design it may not translate exactly as you’d like for a smart phone. So WPtouch strips it down and just shows the content.
Video for advanced plugins:
In addition, there are all kinds of themes that can add functionality to your site, but study the themes well so you know that down the road when it’s time to upgrade, if you want to, it won’t mess up your site. (IMPORTANT! Just because it says a new version is available and to upgrade, doesn’t mean you should. If you have a custom theme design you don’t need to do this.) Here’s an example: I wanted to install “Tweet old post” into one of my blogs, but it couldn’t work unless I upgraded the blog first.
So the first thing you want to do before you upgrade is log into your hosting company and export your content so if something goes wrong, you have a copy of it all. Actually you should do this often anyway, so it’s never lost.
Then flip the switch and upgrade, if you need to adjust things, be prepared with available time. Once all is well, you can install those new plugins.
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