How to Create and Maintain a Professional Looking Website or Blog the Easy Way – Part 2 of 2

 WordPress  Comments Off on How to Create and Maintain a Professional Looking Website or Blog the Easy Way – Part 2 of 2
Mar 132013
 

In part 1 of this topic, we talked about how WordPress.com is a viable option for folks who want a blog or website that is professional looking, yet easy enough to build and maintain themselves.

However, a WordPress.com site does have it’s limitations. For example, additional plugins and widgets are not supported. So, if you want to add, say drop caps to your blog, you cannot do this with a WordPress.com blog.

You can purchase a premium theme or customize the design of your current theme for a price. However, because of how the WordPress.com platform works, you are still limited in what you can do.

website

Enter WordPress.org. With WordPress.org, the software is free but you have to find a web host to install it on. Thus, the initial setup is a little more complicated than a WordPress.com site and the web hosting will cost you a little money, but the flexibility that you get is priceless.

You now have the ability to load any of the numerous WordPress plugins (including widgets) that are available and you have free access to many fully customizable themes that are not available on WordPress.com. And Google Analytics is fully supported. You can even monetize your site if you like.

Michael Hyatt has an article called, “How to Launch a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog in 20 Minutes or Less.” Both he and WordPress.org recommends Bluehost.com to host your site.

I recently migrated from a WordPress.com site to a WordPress.org self-hosted site. I followed Michael’s instructions linked above and was able to get the WordPress.org software installed in a short period of time! It was literally a one-click install and I never had to touch a server’s desktop!

Migrating my blog posts over to my new site was as easy as clicking Tools > Export > Download Export File on my old site’s admin page, installing the WordPress Importer plugin on my new site, and then clicking Tools > Import > WordPress on my new site’s admin page.

Migrating my email subscribers was straightforward as well. First, I had to make sure that Jetpack was installed on my new site, which is also a one-click install.  Next, I had to contact WordPress.com support and ask them to migrate my email subscribers over from my old site to my new site. I also posted a request in the WordPress.com forums. I think the post in the forums sped up the process.

I chose the Suffusion theme. It is touted as “the Best, Most Versatile and Totally Free WordPress Theme,” and I would tend to agree. The number of options that this theme allows is quite impressive, if not overwhelming at first. Getting your theme (site) to look the way that you want it to is perhaps the most challenging part of the process.

The last step that I had to take was to edit my website’s DNS nameservers. I simply logged into my old WordPress.com site’s admin page, selected Store > Domains, and under “Domain Administration” selected “Make changes to DNS.” I then set a new password and clicked “Save password.” Next, I copied my customer number to my PC’s clipboard and clicked “Manage Your Domains.”

It was here that I changed my nameservers to the following:

NS1.BLUEHOST.COM

NS2.BLUEHOST.COM

After 24-48 hours, all website requests for my domain garyleemillner.com were directed to my new site over at bluehost.com

All-in-all, the WordPress.com to WordPress.org migration went very smoothly.

I would love to hear from you. Have you always wanted a website but have been afraid of taking the leap? Do you have a website that is a pain to update or manage? Do you have website hosting horror stories?

How to Create and Maintain a Professional Looking Website or Blog the Easy Way – Part 1 of 2

 WordPress  Comments Off on How to Create and Maintain a Professional Looking Website or Blog the Easy Way – Part 1 of 2
Feb 242013
 

With the age of the internet (e.g. websites, social networks, and blogging) booming, being online and connected is now more important than ever.

Christian authors, leaders, bloggers, and generally anyone who wants to reach the world with the message of the Good News of Jesus Christ, have a unique opportunity to reach billions of people online (over a billion people on Facebook alone!).

A website or blog has the potential to reach people 24/7/365. Your site works for you even while you sleep. If the world uses the internet for their purposes, shouldn’t we as Christians also take advantage of this wonderful tool for the Kingdom of God?

I started out when the only applications available to help build websites were basically just glorified text editors. You were responsible for writing the HTML code yourself. WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) wasn’t coined yet, at least as far as I know. Creating a website from scratch was a hard road, real hard.

Create Maintain WordPress Website Blog Easy Way

I experimented with creating websites in the early days of the internet but I never really got very far because of the complexity of building them from raw HTML code and the further pain of having to maintain them.

On one occasion, I remember building a website using a free template that I had downloaded. The website looked very nice and used Java script. I was proud of it. The only problem was, since I didn’t understand Java scripting, it was extremely difficult for me to create any additional content and make the website look like I wanted it to look. Thus, I quickly became discouraged and never finished it.

When the age of blogging began, I experimented with different blogging platforms (mainly Google’s Blogger.com but perhaps one or two other platforms). Blogging platforms offered a nice alternative to a full-blown website. I found them very easy to build and maintain and the nice part was that you didn’t have to understand HTML code.

However, the problem was that they looked, well, like a blog, and not a website. Even with the myriad of themes that were available, none looked professional enough to call your homepage.

Enter WordPress.com. I was first exposed to WordPress through a pastor friend’s website. His website was a WordPress.com blog but there was something different about it – it looked very professional. I also noticed that his website did not have the standard xyz.blogging_platform.com naming convention. His website was in this format:  his_name.com. I was quite impressed.

It wasn’t long after this that I decided to give the whole blog/website thing another try. I signed up with WordPress.com and garyleemillner.wordpress.com was born.

I found that WordPress.com made the domain name registration process very easy and even included this functionality within their web-based blog administration software. All I had to do was enter some information, click through a couple of screens, pay $17.00, and before I knew it, I had officially registered garyleemillner.com as a domain name for a year.

I now had a very professional looking blog/website that was relatively easy to build and maintain. I was a happy camper.

I have used my new site for several years now and have been extremely happy with it.

WordPress.com is a viable option for folks who want a blog or website that is professional looking, yet easy enough to build and maintain themselves.