WordPress for Numpties

In which I provide terrible advice for those who have never heard of WordPress.

Vintage style typewriter for writing

Cover of "WordPress For Dummies"

For the last week I have been reading the excellent WordPress For Dummies, partly to get more ideas on how to run this blog.

So what have I learnt about how to use this blogging platform? I thought I was fairly adept at it all until I go to the section on coding. I know nothing about code, with the exception of a bit of VBA so I had to stop after chapter five (I’ve added PHP For Dummies and CSS Web Design For Dummies to my list though!)

What I learnt this week:

You need to be comfortable using a computer, mouse and keyboard.

Yes, the first part of doing a blog is to make sure you can switch a computer on.

An exciting aspect of blogging with WordPress is receiving feedback from your readers after you post to you blog.

This is where I often fall down myself, I spend more time writing in isolation than actually engaging with anyone who leaves a comment. I enjoy getting them but I always seem to put off thanking and replying to any feedback that is left. One of the key aspects of getting feedback is also leaving it for others. Something else I am not that good at.

The blogging community says that a blog without comments isn’t a blog at all.

I have had 40 odd comments…I am a proto-blog.

You can arrange the order of your modules on the dashboard to suit your tastes. (just drag and drop).

This is a great tip, on the WordPress dashboard and when adding a new post or page you can move all the various modules around. If you want to have the tags module at the top of a page just drag and drop it to move it around (just like you do with widgets). You can also change the windows by selecting “Screen Options” at the top right of the screen.

Pretty permalinks are links that are more pleasing to the eye than standard links, and, ultimately more pleasing to search-engine spiders.

The URL for this page is http://geekergosum.com/2015/02/21/wordpress-for-dummies-review/ and this looks a lot better than http://www.geekergosum.com/?p=243. You can change the way your links look by selecting “Permalinks” from the settings menu.

Don’t confuse tags with categories (a lot of people do). Tags are clickable, comma-separated keyboards that help you microcategorize a post by defining the topics in it.

Whereas categories are what you would use to store related things together. Think of it like a kitchen, your categories would be Fridge, Cutlery Drawer, Cupboards while the tags would be the things in them. Sub-Categories are like shelves.

Posting consistently really matters on MySpace.

This book was written in 2011, when was the last time anyone used MySpace. Where is the chapter on optimising for Altavista search?

Breadcrumbs are often overlooked when creating a Web site.

Websites are like woods, readers are like Hansel and Gretel.

Searching endlessly for the perfect theme – trust me , you won’t find it.

If only I had had Wordpress for Dummies a while back, I think I’m currently on the tenth different theme (and currently working on a new one). I think this is one of the best tips from the book. In the end what your site looks is less important than the content. Or at least I hope so, but my experience with data analysis often says style beats substance.

In reality the one bit of advice I would give new bloggers is this; find it yourself. If you want to post regularly then do so, or post once a year if that’s all you can manage. Do you want to be super-niche and panic you are not broad enough, or have a scatter gun approach to topics, it doesn’t matter.

Another person’s advice is their own experience, and normally their own preferences and style. Listen, take on board by all means but find out how you blog and your style. Be guided but not led.

Give your newer sisters and brothers-in-WordPress one piece of advice based on your experiences blogging. If you’re a new blogger, what’s one question you’d like to ask other bloggers?

Source: Key Takeaway

Author: geekergosum

Ah, so you worked out the riddle. You just needed to use dwarfish and the doors to Geek Ergo Sum opened. Or perhaps you just used Google. Either way you are here, on my little corner of the Internet.

3 thoughts on “WordPress for Numpties”

  1. MySpace and AltaVista. Let’s not leave out Geocities! (I’d completely forgotten about all of those until you mentioned it!)

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  2. Ah – Alta Vista and Geocities! My first website was a Geocities site. I spent hours on that!

    Blogging advice? Spend some time before you launch a blog thinking about a) your title and b) what “the point” of your blog is going to be (ie: what you want out of your blog). I’m on my third blog and surfed about and mulled it over quite a bit before jumping in again and have almost hit three years (my longest yet) and I’d say it was because I was clearer this time on what I wanted from the experience.

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