Sunday, November 17, 2013

You Really Need to Setup a Testing Environment for Your Self Hosted Wordpress Site

The more online experience I get the more I realize the importance of really digging into Wordpress and knowing how to tinker with different settings. I'm also trying to learn the basics of HTML and CSS because there's a lot more I want to do with my sports blog and I don't have a clue.

It's actually quite frustrating at times when you want to do something, but a lack of knowledge prevents you from doing it, this happens to be one of those times! But there's no use in crying over spilled milk because that won't help and I'll just get more frustrated.

I've also come to realize that it's important to set up a testing environment to practice. I remember seeing other bloggers recommend doing it when I started out, but "screw that" I thought. I wasn't going to need to learn any of that coding crap and thought it would be a waste of my time because I already had too much other stuff to learn in order to get my site off the ground.

So I've finally decided to set one up and will chronicle my trials and tribulations on here for the world to see. Plus I can use this as a reference to revisit as I continue my blogging journey.

It's funny how life throws us all curveballs at some point during our time on earth
because I never dreamed I'd end up here in the online world. I've fallen in love with blogging, social media, and trying to build websites with Wordpress.

When I first started out I only wanted to get a site up where I could blog about sports and throw some ads up and earn some money in the process. Boy was I dumb back then, LOL! Don't get me wrong I still want to eventually earn some money, but I want to improve my knowledge and skills when it comes to knowing how to design and modify themes and page templates. I've got other sites I'd like to build in the future, but I want to know how everything works and fits together so I can do them myself.

So there's no way to do all that on my live site because I don't want to crash it, or worse. I know that's exactly the outcome if I start messing around under the hood.

I've went ahead and setup up a fresh installation on a subdomain to practice on. It's just another example of me not slowing down at the start and then coming to the realization that I should have done it a lot earlier.

I'm not in a position where I can afford to pay a real web designer to build the site so I've just got to do what I've done all along and push forward teaching myself. It's a challenge that I actually enjoy once I can see things coming together and different things start to click in my mind.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

What's the Difference Between a Fixed or Fluid Wordpress Theme?

When looking for a theme for your new Wordpress blog it can get a little overwhelming at first because of all the choices, but also some of the terminology used can be enough to make you want to pull your hair out!

You will see this theme touting a fluid width and then another with a fixed width. Some will have both for you to choose from and then you,will see other confusing words, but let's stick to the difference between a fixed or fluid layout for now.

  • Fixed - Each page will be a certain size measured in pixels and could have display issues when viewed through different size browsers.   

  • Fluid - Allows for the site to expand or retract according to whatever browser size it's being viewed on. It's measured in percentages. Now you will also see different words like Liquid, Responsive, Elastic, and I was told they are pretty much the same thing.

It had my head spinning because I knew nothing, but I've hung around long enough and spent countless hours researching all the different aspects of building a successful site. My knowledge of how things work has greatly increased, but my technical skills in putting it all together is lagging behind.

The biggest thing to worry about is making sure your site is viewable no matter how a person reaches it in my opinion. So I think going with a fluid layout offers a better chance at achieving that goal.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Are You Looking to Spice Up Your Wordpress Blog?

Here's a great video that I came across on Wordpress TV that goes into detail about several different plugins that you can use to spice up your blog's appearance.

The video is kind of long, but it's packed with a ton of useful information and presented in a very easy to understand way. I've been watching it in little three to five minute increments and taking little side notes to help retain the information. The speaker does a good job of explaining what and why each plugin can be useful.

If you're serious about learning how to improve your site this video will be well worth the time you invest into watching it. The Wordpress platform has evolved so much from when I started out on my blogging journey a few years ago and it's gotten much more user friendly as well.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Simple Way to Add Google News Feeds Into Your Wordpress Pages or Posts

If you are looking for a simple way to add Google News feeds into your Wordpress blog's pages or posts then you should check out this new plugin I came across in the Wordpress Plugin Repository earlier today. It allows you to do it with a shortcode and I found it easy to use on my sports blog.

I know there's many different ways to add external feeds to Wordpress and some allow you to have all kinds of different options when it comes to displaying them, but they can be very difficult to setup for new bloggers. They have so many options that it can actually be overwhelming and discouraging for someone just starting out. Trust me I know from personal experience!

Now I'll get back on track about using this plugin. Don't let the word shortcode scare you because they are not hard to use if you can copy and paste. The maker of the Simple Google News plugin has very easy instructions on how to use it.

You can display the searches by topic or even use a phrase if you'd like. You can also set the number of items that will be displayed and how much content the individual snippets will show. I like it and here's a link to the page I created on my sports blog with this plugin handling the feed.

Update: The plugin has been updated since I made this post and you can now display feeds in a widget on the sidebar of your blog if you want.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Power Of Social Media Should Not Be Ignored

Social Media is here to stay and you need to embrace it and get on board now! It does not matter if you are a fortune 500 company or someone that's just getting their first blog online, get on board the social media train.

You don't have to start spending money on exotic advertising campaigns in order for social media to work for you. Don't make the same mistake I did by waiting so long to join the party. Here's a great video on the growth and power of using social media that I came across on Social Media Examiner. I'd like to hear your thoughts or questions about the power of social media.

You can generate new blog traffic and gain a boatload of potential customers through using social media. Whatever your online goals may be, getting active in the social media world will help you get there faster and you can do it without spending a dime.

It's not as simple as just getting on Twitter and Facebook and then posting an occasional status update. You need to get active and engage other people in whatever your niche may be. You don't need to spend every waking hour on Twitter or Facebook, but don't just start throwing up affiliate links and trying to sell stuff right away because you will be disappointed with the results.

People will tune you out if that's all you're doing. I'm not saying don't ever tweet out an affiliate link, but just don't make that your sole purpose on whatever platform your using.

I can't believe how much social media has taken over our society in the last five years and can't even imagine what the next five years will bring.

I'd also recommend you to get on Pinterest and also make a Google Page for your blog or website because I've gotten great interaction on both platforms in the short time I've been on them.