Archive for learn wordpress – Page 2

Video Tutorial: Edit your default layout

In this video, you will learn how to edit the default layout that comes with iThemes Builder Air.

Bonus: I also show you how to create a sitewide footer!

This video takes you through using the iThemes Builder layouts in detail:

This video takes you through creating a layout from scratch:

This video takes you through creating views:

And this video takes you through using extensions (these are like mini-themes):

Learn how to make your home page unique from your other pages.

Video Tutorial: Installing iThemes Builder Air

If you change your theme, your content will remain. Changing the theme only changes the look and style of your site. Follow this video tutorial to install iThemes Builder Air:

Make sure you create the custom child theme and delete all the layouts except for the default layout. This will make things simpler as you are building your site.

This video takes you through all of the Builder settings in detail:

Learn how to edit your default layout.
This tutorial is part of a series of e-courses created by Cat Scholz to empower you with using the self-hosted version of WordPress to achieve your internet marketing goals. Get more information and/or sign up:

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Tutorial: What is a responsive theme and do I need one?

responsive theme versus non-responsive themeThe simple answer to this question in the year 2016, is a resounding YES, and you had better make sure your theme is responsive. From Wikipedia:

Responsive web design has become more important as the amount of mobile traffic now accounts for more than half of total internet traffic. Therefore, Google announced Mobilegeddon (April 21, 2015) and started to boost the ratings of sites that are mobile friendly if the search was made from a mobile device.

How can one tell if they have a responsive theme or not? On a desktop, grab the corner of your browser window and decrease the size of the browser window by dragging it towards the center of your screen. If text or images get cut off, then your theme is not responsive. On a mobile device, if you have to expand or enlarge the screen to read the text or see the images, then the website you are looking at is not responsive.

There are many responsive themes available for your self-hosted WordPress website and selecting a good responsive theme can be a bit overwhelming for the new website developer.

After over 8 years of playing around with themes, I have chosen iThemes Builder as my go-to responsive theme. iThemes Builder is being used on over 19,000 websites. With iThemes Builder you can:

  • make custom layouts for your pages/posts (and give them unique sidebars)
  • make your site look good on all devices (responsive)
  • integrate with an e-commerce plugin (I will cover this in my Level 3 e-course)
  • add a sitewide footer to every page
  • integrate with Google Analytics
  • widgetize any part of your page layout
  • easily add a favicon
  • and much, much more

When you purchase iThemes Builder’s Foundation pack, you receive the Air child theme along with some other iThemes Builder child themes. The Air child theme is a great starter theme and can be completely customized using the built-in layout editor and custom CSS styles. However, you can choose any iThemes Builder child theme to get started because they are all fully customizable.

Also, when you purchase any product from iThemes, you get great email support as long as your license is active, usually for a year. Just login to your member panel here: https://members.ithemes.com/panel/ and visit the help desk here: https://members.ithemes.com/panel/helpdesk.php.

iThemes support actively responds to support requests (typically within one business day) during normal business hours, Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm (CST).

Visit my post for a tutorial video on how to install iThemes Builder Air.

This tutorial is part of a series of e-courses created by Cat Scholz to empower you with using the self-hosted version of WordPress to achieve your internet marketing goals. Get more information and/or sign up:

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Video Tutorial: Widgets

widgetsWhat is a widget? A widget is very simply, a small amount of code. With WordPress, you can place a widget, or a bit of code, into any “widgetized” area on your website. In most cases, this would be a sidebar. The core WordPress software gives you a set of widgets and plugins can give you more widgets as well. Here is a video tutorial that shows you how to use widgets:

This tutorial is part of a series of e-courses created by Cat Scholz to empower you with using the self-hosted version of WordPress to achieve your internet marketing goals. Get more information and/or sign up:

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Video Tutorial: Web-friendly images and the WordPress media library

Before you upload an image to your media library, be sure that the image is web-ready. What does this mean? There are a few factors involved:

  • Image size – your image, in most cases, will be no wider than the width of your layout. The exception to this is if you have an image that you want to display at the entire width of the screen (outside of the bounds of your layout or container). So if your container width is 960 pixels (the standard width for a website), then you can size your images to 960 pixels wide or less. When you upload your image to your WordPress media library, WordPress will auto-generate multiple sized versions of your image and give you those size options to choose from. See the video tutorial at the bottom of this post for detailed guidance with using the WordPress media library.
  • Image quality – make sure the resolution of your image is at or around 300 dpi (dots per square inch) to ensure your images display well on all types of displays, including the modern retina displays.
  • Image format – save your image as a .png or .gif for an image that has some parts of it that are transparent (that means that whatever is behind the image on the page will show through). Use the .jpg format for a solid image without transparency.

This video tutorial will take you through the basics of using your WordPress media libary:

And this video will show you how to add your web-ready images to pages and/or posts:

And lastly, this article from the WordPress.org codex shows you how to make a simple image gallery without using a plugin:
https://codex.wordpress.org/The_WordPress_Gallery

Jetpack’s Carousel feature can turn your native WordPress gallery into a nice full-screen slideshow.

This tutorial is part of a series of e-courses created by Cat Scholz to empower you with using the self-hosted version of WordPress to achieve your internet marketing goals. Get more information and/or sign up:

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Tutorial: Make your site load fast with a caching plugin

Google looks at how fast your website loads to determine your page rank. And most website visitors have the attention span of a gnat. So, it would behoove you to make sure you have a good caching plugin working on your website.

What is caching? These guys explain it well in laymen’s terms. In short, caching is the process by which your website content is quickly and efficiently delivered to the world wide web.

There are a few different caching plugins to choose from to make your self-hosted WordPress website load super fast. Keep in mind,  it’s usually best to wait until after you launch to install and activate a caching plugin. Otherwise, you will have to clear the cache to see your changes as your work on your website.

Use SuperCache by Automattic, Inc. or Comet Cache for a basic website with a blog. They are both good, so pick one or the other. 🙂

Use W3 Total Cache if you plan on using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) such as Amazon Cloudfront and/or if you have a really large site with lots of rich images and lots of custom stylesheets.

If you are a SiteGround customer, use SiteGround’s caching plugin. You can download that here:
https://wordpress.org/plugins/sg-cachepress/

Review my tutorial on how to install a plugin here.
This tutorial is part of a series of e-courses created by Cat Scholz to empower you with using the self-hosted version of WordPress to achieve your internet marketing goals. Get more information and/or sign up:

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Tutorial: Jetpack for Contact Forms, Stats, Social Sharing Buttons and more

jetpackJetpack is a free and very robust plugin made by the makers of WordPress itself (Automattic, Inc.). It comes with many useful features, giving self-hosted WordPress owners many of the bells and whistles available on the free WordPress.com platform. The most useful features I use on many of my sites are:

1. Secure contact forms (Create a contact page if you don’t have one already & make sure you have added this page to your navigation menu (Appearance–> Menus); Jetpack Contact Forms will be activated by default when you activate the Jetpack plugin. On your Contact page, in the WordPress editor, click the “Add Contact Form” button and go modify your contact form as you see fit; Go to email notifications to change the email address that will receive a notification (by default the notification is sent to the author of the contact page; Insert your form into your page). If you need more direction or support for Jetpack contact forms, visit Jetpack’s support website.

2. Site Stats: Site stats are active by default when you activate the Jetpack plugin. Your stats will appear in your Jetpack dashboard. To turn stats off, go to  Jetpack–>Settings–>Engagement–>Site Stats and toggle the feature to “off.”

3. Social Sharing Buttons (Go to Jetpack–>Settings–>Engagement–>Sharing; Scroll down past Publicize to Sharing Buttons; Click the link to configure your sharing settings; Drag and drop the buttons you want to use at the bottoms of pages and/or posts; Adjust other settings as appropriate; Choose which types of content you want to display sharing buttons on and save your settings). You can then turn sharing buttons off on an individual page/post basis by going into the page editor, scrolling to the bottom of the page and unchecking the box for sharing buttons. For support with sharing buttons, visit Jetpack’s support website.

4. Social Media Blog Sync (Publicize) – Go to Jetpack–>Settings–>Engagement–>Publicize and open up the area to see the link to configure your settings. Connect your social media sites to your blog in a few easy clicks. Read more about using Publicize. I used to use Networked Blogs for this, but Jetpack makes it much easier.

5. Image Hosting (Photon) – Go to Jetpack–>Settings–>Appearance–>Photon to turn this feature on and your images will load from WordPress.com’s content delivery network (CDN). Learn more about Photon. *If you are using a CDN to host your website, such as CloudFlare, do not use Photon because it will create a conflict.

6. Enhanced Distribution for your blog posts – Go to Jetpack–>Settings–>Engagement–>Enhanced Distribution; This feature allows your content to be included in the big wide world of WordPress.com, which increases your exposure – more details here.

There are also some features that I consciously choose to deactivate in the Jetpack settings. One of those is Subscriptions. Because I use AWeber for email marketing, I don’t need the free subscription service Jetpack offers. However, if you want a free and easy way to allow viewers to subscribe to your blog, Jetpack Subscriptions works well.

Just keep in mind, with the jetpack subscriptions feature, the email notifications that go out to your subscribers are branded with the WordPress.com logo and colors, not yours. If you want to brand your blog subscription emails with your logo and styles to match your website, use AWeber.

Read more about why I use AWeber and how to use it for your email marketing plan.

This tutorial is part of a series of e-courses created by Cat Scholz to empower you with using the self-hosted version of WordPress to achieve your internet marketing goals. Get more information and/or sign up:

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Tutorial: Managing Comments and Blocking Spam

block spamNo one likes getting spam. And if you have comments enabled without a spamblocker, you will get lots of it!

Here is a brief guide on how to use Akismet by Automattic, Inc. (the makers of WordPress) to get rid of it:

What if you disable comments on your blog posts, do you still need Akismet?

Good question! Akismet also blocks spam on contact forms. So it’s a good idea to keep it running whether or not you allow comments on posts or pages.

Here is a video tutorial that guides you through managing your comments:

That’s it!
This tutorial is part of a series of e-courses created by Cat Scholz to empower you with using the self-hosted version of WordPress to achieve your internet marketing goals. Get more information and/or sign up:

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Tutorial: WordPress Security

WordPress SecurityWordPress security is a prominent topic since WordPress has become so popular and therefore the target of would-be hackers.

There are some quick and easy steps you need to take to keep your website secure. Fortunately, the free iThemes Security plugin makes it really easy and fast to lock your site down.

Follow these simple steps:

  • Install the free iThemes security plugin from your dashboard. Review my post on installing a plugin if you need a refresher.
  • Find the new Security menu item towards the bottom of the left sidebar of your dashboard.
  • Click on Security Check or Settings.
  • Run the wizard to configure the core settings.

WordPress Security PluginYou may also want to check out the Pro Version for more features.

Here are some of the cool things the free version of iThemes Security can do to secure your WordPress site:

  • Automatically lock out bad users after too many failed login attempts
  • Provide protection from Brute Force Attacks
  • Rename the default ‘Admin’ user account
  • Enforce strong passwords for all accounts
  • Monitor files for unauthorized changes

This tutorial is part of a series of e-courses created by Cat Scholz to empower you with using the self-hosted version of WordPress to achieve your internet marketing goals. Get more information and/or sign up:

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Tutorial: Updating your website

Because WordPress is constantly evolving, so are the themes and plugins that work with it. In order to keep your website secure, loading as fast as possible and functioning well, you need to keep your core software, theme/s and plugins up-to-date on a regular basis.

How often should I update? Ideally, every day. Once a week may not be often enough. Once a month is the bare minimum. If you go longer than a month, you are putting your website at high risk of being compromised either by malware or outdated code.

UpdatesHow do you know if your site needs to be updated? When you login to your dashboard, you will receive a notification when something needs to be updated in the Dashboard—> Notifications area

. Roll your mouse over Dashboard to see the link for “Updates.”

Here are the best practices for keeping your self-hosted WordPress website updated:

  • Always backup before updating the core WP software – 
can’t hurt to backup before updating a theme or plugin as well. Review my post on how to backup if you need a refresher.
  • Store your backup securely
, then Go to Updates in your dashboard and choose “Update Now.”
  • Make sure the plugin has 100% compatibility (according to its author) with your version of WordPress before you update it.
  • Keep your current theme and/or the most recent default WordPress theme updated as well.

Short on time and prefer to hire someone to maintain your site for you? Cat can help with that.
This tutorial is part of a series of e-courses created by Cat Scholz to empower you with using the self-hosted version of WordPress to achieve your internet marketing goals. Get more information and/or sign up:

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