WordPress Webinar

I’m doing a WordPress webinar alongside another Stompernet moderator this evening – Lisa Brown. It starts at 6:00pm, or 1:00pm Eastern.

I don’t think I can cover all that I planned to talk about – don’t want the people listening to fall asleep.

We’re trying to show that WordPress is easy to set up and use. I’m doing an Artisteer demontration. I don’t use the product much – only for generating some graphics, but it’s useful for those who want a quick, unique WordPress solution.

Thesis Theme Customizations for WordPress

Power Blog Service - WordPress Websites

We Provide Thesis Theme Customizations

We’re currently in the process of designing a number of standard themes for the Power Blog Service.

Our standard unique themes are specifically to help Power Blog Service members who sign up to our service but who aren’t yet in the market for a custom theme designed from scratch.

We’ll post an entry on the Power Blog Service blog, every time we create a Thesis customization over the coming weeks and months.

But if these are standard themes, and if there are a limited number of them, how can they ever be unique to you? Read on . . .

Making Your Thesis Theme Unique To You

The idea is that for $275, you can choose one of our standard themes, and then have it customized to suit your needs in terms of the colors and images used.

We plan to provide a large number of basic Thesis theme customisations upon which to base your unique theme. So for example, in our simplest theme customization, Boxed Motif, we can change the motif, change the colors and add your logo to the design. You’ll still be using Thesis, the best WordPress theme we know of, so you get the benefits that Thesis brings to WordPress too.

This service does not include logo design but we can show you the best places to get a logo designed when you’re ready.

A New Way To Create a Business Website

Devon Web Designers – Business Websites Powered by WordPress

Would you like to run a great business website on WordPress with complete peace of mind? If so, our new service is tailor made for you.

The Devon Web Designers enables business owners to set up and run professional, self-hosted WordPress sites on a subscription basis, without the need for technical knowledge. And what’s more, we teach you how to enhance your site over time, via our monthly business website owners training.

What you may not know is that WordPress is not just am excellent tool for making blogs but also for creating general purpose business websites. WordPress is for everyone.

But I’m Not Interested in becoming a Technician!

We undertand where you’re coming from! It’s well known that despite being excellent software,self-hosted WordPress software can prove difficult for non-technical people to manage, run and profit from.

Typically a business owner needs his or her website to deliver good quality traffic but won’t have time to – maintain or learn to maintain, the technical aspects of it. Well, we – Devon Web Designers, are here to solve that problem on a number of levels.

Your Devon Web Designers Service Benefits

We’ve created a client focussed service that includes :

  • WordPress installation and customization
  • Plugin selection, installation and upgrades
  • WordPress upgrades (thereby alleviating you for the need to fix problems when they occur)
  • Professional, high availiability hosting
  • Free support for general questions about the training
  • Paid support for any one-on-one technical support you may need for your site
  • Plus, our Coaching Service goes even further and provides in depth SEO advice too.

Why WordPress?

The frustration for many business owners is that they’re unable to update their websites without either expensive and complicated software, or the explicit (and timely) help of their web designers. WordPress is a sophisticated content management system that allows non-technical people the ability to create new website content, without the need for long and arduous technical training.

Our training program is uncluttered. Plus, it always gives you the option to either learn and put what you’ve learned into practice, or just decide to outsource when demands on your time dictate that you can’t attend to the business of building traffic to your website.

Please visit the site for more information on this great way to get a new site up and running quickly.

Technical Support?

You have the choice to buy a monthly support package tailored to cover technical support and coaching, or if you prefer you can pay as you need extra help. It’s up to you.

Visit our site today and watch the slideshow on the home page. It quickly gives you an overview of our web design service.

A Quick Fix for an Every Day Problem – $99

Making Your Blog Look Exactly Like Your Web Site

Sometimes when developing a new web site, I want to create a WordPress blog to go with it. I find this a bit challenging and usually don’t even bother to try and make them match up visually. I am no graphic designer, and I have enough going on without having to add WordPress Theme Designer to my skill set. I am sure many of you are the same.

The ultimate way forward for me is to get to grips with Chris Pearson’s Thesis theme, especially around the use of hooks to enable me to alter the design of that WordPress theme effectively, (note – learning how to use hooks with confidence and flourish is still on my list of things to do).

But until such time I decided to put $99 into a new product that allows me to create a WordPress Theme and a design for a handcoded web page that look the same.

Artisteer

Artisteer - Matching WordPress Themes and Web Designs
I bought the Artisteer product last night and have quickly been able to design a working WordPress Theme and web design that I hope will appear seamless once running. The product is only in Version 1.0, and is quite robust for that. This is a good sign. Although the Artisteer web site itself does not instil masses of confidence. It does not have that shiny Web 2.0 look that so many new sites have – still – I digress.

The product, although at V1.0 has a good feel about it – you can tweak the colours of practically everything, and the best part is if you change one colour, it changes all the others to go with it. I thought that was particularly clever.

And it really does seem to produce wordpress themes and web designs that look pretty much the same. You’ll have to manipulate the resulting design files for the web yourself somewhat, so it is not really for total beginners. If you go to the Artisteer Forums you will find many happy customers plus a number of disgruntled ones who don’t have the experience with web design in general to get the product to work for them. You will need good skills to integrate what it produces into a web page.

Currently the product is on sale for 99$ (introductory price – not sure how long will be for).

The only downside I can see so far, is that the results it produces are quite dated in look and feel and necessarily, the pages produced are really all the same design, but with slightly different design elements. Hopefully both these points will be addressed in future versions. I would like something that produces a broader range of more modern looks.

Example of Artisteer Output

My husband has used it to set up his new blog which should be up by the end of the day. He is still struggling with the Code Iginiter/design integration, non-blog portion of it though. He’d never seen Code Igniter until this morning. That is despite being a Java expert, general technical whiz and one of the very best problem solvers I have ever met. Sweet.

However, his blog and his main site have been styled using Artisteer and they look the same.

What To Do When You Start a New WordPress Blog

Daily Web ToolsI started a new blog on 1st July. It’s called Daily Web Tools and I will be adding a new post at least every weekday.

Daily Web Tools is a blog that will be of interest to webmasters, especially those who are new to the game of running, writing and maintaining their own web sites.

Please subscribe to it now as via it, I’ll deliver a useful website or software tool every day to your feed reader.

At the moment it contains precisely 10 posts. But I want to set it up so that it will become more popular as I add more posts.

This is what I am doing to achieve that in the first few days. If you have any other suggestions, please add them here.

Beginners Steps To Blog Promotion

Set The Blog Up As A WordPress Blog

WordPress is a fabulous tool, it’s free to install, and is infinitely customizable using plugins, widgets and good old code edits (if you are able). And even if you are not. It is still worth using.

Set The Blog Up On WordPress.org

In other words self-host the blog. Forget about wordpress.com because it is too limiting. Your choice of theme is limited, and you can’t add plugins at will, and you are unable to apply any SEO techniques to improve the site’s search engine visibility. Further, at the time of writing you are not able by any normal means, to monetize your hosted blog.

Pick a Nice Theme

I always start a blog off with Neil Merton’s Web2.0 Theme. It’s clean, clever, and customizable. And did I mention, it has no images. But very soon after launch . . . . . . get an appropriate theme written for you by someone on eLance (or some other outsourcing website). Better to do this a few weeks in, when you have decided how you want your new, constantly expanding, blog to look.

Write Posts As Frequently As Possible

On Daily Web Tools I am deliberately aiming to write every day. This helps your blog get noticed, especially if what you write is of real use to your target audience. Do this for a few days, then start the publicising task.

First Steps – Blog To Do List

  1. Set up a gravatar and add a gravatar plugin
  2. Add a Google Analytics plugin so that you can monitor your traffic, starting with no traffic
  3. Add a plugin to help with SEO – like All in One SEO
  4. Add the Askimet plugin to handle spam or you’ll drown in it
  5. Add the Sociable plugin to promote within the social media sites
  6. Add the What Would Seth Godin Do Plugin
  7. Add a Google Sitemaps plugin for both XML and HTML, then sign up to Google’s Webmaster Tools to associate it with the sitemap. Proceed to monitor the report you get there.
  8. Add a Related Posts plugin
  9. Go Settings/Writing and add a number of update services. A great list can be found here.
  10. Set Up FeedBurner and burn your feeds, including the comments
  11. In the settings/writing admin panel on WordPress, add a number of ping services that are relevant to your blog in the ping services box.
  12. Go to Technorati and claim your blog
  13. Add your blog to MyBlogLog, and then try to visit other blogs within MyBlogLog and get your gravatar noticed.
  14. Sign up to Google Alerts for your keywords and use this to give yourself ideas about what to blog about.
  15. Set an hour per day aside to read other people’s blogs within your market sector and comment where you can add value
  16. Make a commitment to write regularly – either every week day, or once per week, depending on the type of blog you have started. The more often you post, the more chance your blog has of being noticed.
  17. Once you have a decent number of posts, start to submit your blog to blog directories.