Hi folks, I am back again with stage 2 in my series of posts about setting up a blog site with WordPress.
In last week’s post, Setting up your Foodie Blog on WordPress, I covered the initial part getting a domain name, hosting service, and installing WordPress, and this week I will tackle theme selection, security settings and discussion settings.
Selecting and installing themes
There are thousands of themes out there: ones specific for blogs, ones for photos, ones for business, ones for video/music, you name it, just like iPhone apps, there’s a theme for it. The main thing you have to take into consideration is the free v paid themes question. As I stated in my previous post, I recommend spending that little bit of money (usually no more than $100) as the main elements that come into play are better coding for SEO and support for paid themes. When you take on a free theme, you are usually left to your own devices essentially. If you want to make slight modifications to the look and feel of your blog or if something doesn’t work quite right, it is very unlikely that you will get a response to that call for help you made to the theme developer. When you pay for a theme, you are not only paying for better design and coding, but also the costs incurred in having people available to provide you with the tech support you need for that theme.
Paid WordPress themes are generally termed as Premium WordPress Themes, and http://www.premiumwp.com/ is the best site to visit as it acts as a portal almost to many of the theme developer companies out there that develop premium themes. Our little Zomppa magazine site is run on a Solostream theme and I have to say that I have been very happy with Solostream and great themes they develop. I actually use about four of their themes and they just keep getting better and better. Their support forum is also top notch and they usually get back me the same day with an answer.
I have also been very happy with Headway Themes and I have used Woo Themes and Elegant Themes quite effectively. The one challenge with playing around with different themes from different designers is that the settings for those themes all look quite different on the dashboard end. Seeing as I am very accustomed to using Solostream’s settings, I find it takes a little time to get my way around other theme settings. This shouldn’t be a challenge for most of you really as you will likely just select one theme for one site, but just be aware of that factor if you decide to change themes in the future or work on other WordPress sites.
You may have also heard of Thesis and Genesis. They are WordPress Frameworks and have a slightly longer learning curve than regular premium themes. They provide a large amount of built-in control and flexibility which allow you to create many different styles and layouts for your blog. They essentially make it possible for you to customize your site more and build one that looks very unique. I have no experience of using these two frameworks as to date I have not had the time to dive in and learn how they work. Even though I have set up and run a number of WordPress sites, this is not my day job, it is just where my geek side comes out and the hours of the day run out at some point.
Moving on to those all-important security settings. So, you now have everything installed and are now ready to start posting stuff! Okay, wait up a second. Before you start posting anything, you will want to make sure that you have some security settings and actions in place.
Security Settings and Discussion Settings
- Disable Remote Publishing: Unless you use an external blog editor most folks recommend disabling both Atom and SML-PRC publishing. These settings are under Settings > Writing.
- Disable Post Via Email: These settings are also under Settings > Writing. I doubt very much than any of you will be wishing to post via email, so don’t put any real information in this section.
- Remove The Admin Account: You’ll want to delete the default admin account that is automatically created when you install WordPress. Hackers know that this account is automatically added by default and is automatically assigned ID#1 making it an easy starting point for them. Once you have created another user account name for yourself, just go to users and delete the admin account.
- Set up an htaccess file to prevent people from browsing your directories.
Up until now, I have steered clear of mentioning cPanel/File Manager and FTP sites to not complicate matters for newbies. To upload the htaccess file you will need to use either the File Manager on your host’s cPanel or an FTP client like Fetch to upload the file through the FTP site. If I have lost you here, please visit this post, that will hopefully help. If you are still lost, give me a shout in the comments section and I will get back to you.
Seeing as blogs are about having a conversation, you will need establish from the start the type of parameters you will want to set for comments and pingbacks. The Settings > Discussion area has some important options that you will set according to your own personal preferences. Lets go through them all:
- Attempt to notify any blogs linked to from the article – This will notify any other wordpress blogs that you link to in an article with a pingback. Pingbacks can send decent traffic to your site so it is best to keep this one checked.
- Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks.) This notifies you if any other wordpress blogs link to you and adds a pingback/trackback to the comments of the article that was linked to. Best to also keep this one checked
- Allow people to post comments on the article – This one is obviously a personal preference, but if you want to have a blog, you generally need to have comments open. The only time I recommend turning these off is if you are using WordPress to set up a static website for business or something.
- Comment author must fill out name and e-mail – Best having this checked to reduce the amount of spam you get in your comments. (I will also talk about a couple of plugins that can assist with spam in my next post)
- Users must be registered and logged in to comment – In most blogs you will not want to require readers to register to comments, but if you do, then check that box.
- Automatically close comments on articles older than x days – Some bloggers choose to close comments for older posts as it becomes to cumbersome to have to go back and answer questions, etc. Again, up to you.
- Enable threaded (nested) comments — levels deep – No idea what this does actually. Something I can look into more…
- Break comments into pages with — comments per page and the — page displayed by default. If you have a very active blog with 50+ comments per post, this feature will let you break up the comments into different pages.
- Email me whenever – Anyone posts a comment – If you have a high traffic blog, you may not want to get an email every time someone posts a comment on your site. Personal preference again.
- Email me whenever – A comment is held for moderation – If you would like to get an email whenever there is a comment awaiting moderation on your blog, check this option. Generally you would want to check this one.
- Before a comment appears – An administrator must always approve the comment – If you want to have to approve every comment before it goes live, check this option. Some may choose to do this so that they can check for spam or inappropriate comments before they actually show up on the blog. Because I generally set up two plugins to address spam on sites, I don’t get much spam so my preference is to keep this open on most blogs. That said, I do get an email every time someone comments so if anything inappropriate is posted, I have the option to delete it.
- Before a comment appears – Comment author must have a previously approved comment – If the comment author comments have been approved in the past on the blog, their comments will post automatically.
That brings this tutorial to an end folks. Come back next Tuesday for a post dedicated to plugins! This will include database backup plugins and analytics plugins.
BTW, if you are having trouble transferring over from Blogger or WordPress.com, let me know. I don’t have any direct experience of handling such transfers, but I can put you in touch with some folks who do.
Check out the other two posts in this series:
Additional useful resources that cover the whole WordPress set-up process:
Installing WordPress: http://codex.wordpress.org/Installing_WordPress
WordPress video tutorials on A4Magic.com
WordPress training by Atomic Design Studios
About the Author (Author Profile)Kat is not only a whiz at online new media and social networking–is the brains getting this site up and running!–but she’s also a monster on the tennis courts. Her penchant for honesty and genuine pursuit to lead a good life has garnered her many fans, although she is far too modest to even realize this. A connoisseur of espressos, cappuccinos and Italian/Irish gastronomy, Kat will gladly share her opinions in one of four languages. Check out Kat’s site if you need help with your social media and web communications strategies www.kathleenholmlund.com
Sites That Link to this Post
- My Voice by Elizabeth Schmeidler | Causes of autism Blog | February 16, 2011
- Tweets that mention Setting up your Foodie Blog on Wordpress – Part 2 | Zomppa - International Food Magazine -- Topsy.com | February 17, 2011
- Setting up your Foodie Blog on Wordpress – Part 3, Plugins | Zomppa - International Food Magazine | February 22, 2011