WordPress: Advanced Features - Plugins

Now that you have a WordPress blog up and a fresh new Theme showing off your own personal flavor, it is time to give your blog some advanced features. Adding Plugins to your WordPress blog will not only make it look and work better, but will also keep it safe and secure.

Plugins can extend WordPress to do almost anything you can imagine. To install a plugin to your WordPress site, you will first download the plugin, usually as a .zip file, extract the plugin and upload the named folder into the /wp-content/plugins directory on the server. Every plugin that you upload to the server will then be available to enable or manage through the WordPress admin page.

So what should you install? Well, there are thousands of plugins available in so many flavors and colors, so you should do some searches for features that you think might fit your blog best. You can find many of the best plugins through the WordPress Community Plugin Page. They have a built in search feature that will allow you to browse the over 13,000 plugins that have been uploaded to the WordPress community.

There are definitely some very popular plugins that you will want to check out. The most popular of which is the All In One SEO Pack. This plugin will automatically optimize your WordPress blog for Search Engines (Search Engine Optimization). Beginners or advanced users will find it very powerful, since it works out-of-the-box, or you can fine-tune everything to your specific needs.

And if generating traffic to your blog is important, you will also want to look into the Google XML Sitemaps plugin. This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and to better index your blog. With such a sitemap, it's much easier for the crawlers to see the complete structure of your site and retrieve it more efficiently. The plugin supports all kinds of WordPress generated pages as well as custom URLs. Additionally it notifies all major search engines every time you create a post about the new content.

Another popular plugin is Akismet. This plugin is awesome for stopping those pesky spammers who love to fill your blog comments with their own ruthless advertisements. Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not and lets you review the spam it catches under your blog's “Comments” admin screen.

A simple but flexible contact form plugin is Contact Form 7. This plugin can manage multiple contact forms, plus you can customize the form and the mail contents flexibly with simple markup. The form supports Ajax-powered submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering and so much more.

If you want to include an image gallery, a good plugin is NextGEN Gallery. This plugin is a fully integrated Image Gallery plugin with a slideshow option. You can add custom templates for the galleries to match your WordPress theme and other effects.

There are so many fun and interesting plugins that you really want to check out if you are serious about having a well developed WordPress blog, so head over to the WordPress homepage and start searching for plugins that will enhance your blog now!

Feb 24th, 2011

WordPress: Beyond the Basics - Themes

So you have installed WordPress and are blogging your little heart out, but your blog just isn't as exciting as you hoped. The content of the blog is only half of the fun of having a WordPress blog...customizing your blog with a new look and new features is where the real bloggers shine!

The easiest and most popular way to spice up your blog is by installing a new THEME. A custom theme will completely change the layout, colors, and features of your blog...and you don't even need to know any code to do it.

First, you need to find a theme that you like. You can either look for a theme that reflects your own personal style and culture, or you can use a theme that directly relates to your common topics discussed in your blog. If you had a blog that was specifically discussing cars, you might want to install a theme that had pictures of cars. If you were discussing an assortment of topics and wanted to have your blog reflect your personal love of cats, you could install a theme that had lots of pictures of cats!

So, where do you find these themes? You can search the huge list of themes available through the WordPress homepage at The WordPress Themes Page. There are over 1,000 themes available there, so go do some keyword searches for something you find relevant and see what comes up. Or you could even browse through all of the 'Most Popular' themes to see if anything catches your eye. You can also use Google to search for WordPress themes using your specific keywords to find plenty of other resources that offer free or paid WordPress themes that may spark your interest.

Once you have found that perfect WordPress theme, you will want to download it to your computer. Most of these themes can be downloaded as a .zip file, which you can then extract into a folder on your computer. You will then upload that extracted folder onto the server into the /themes sub-directory under your /wp-content directory wherever you installed WordPress. For example, if you installed WordPress to the root directory, you would want to upload your new theme folder into the /primary/www/wp-content/themes directory. If you installed WordPress into a directory named blog, you would upload the new theme folder into the /primary/www/blog/wp-content/themes directory. Make sure you upload the actual extracted folder into the /themes directory, not just the files inside the folder. This will give you a list of directories in the /themes directory with the names of each theme you have installed.

Once you have your theme uploaded to the server, you will log into your WordPress admin page, click the Appearance section, then click the Themes link. You will now see the Current Theme at the top, as well as a list of Available Themes. Any theme you have uploaded correctly to the server should be listed under the Available Themes To enable your new theme, click the Activate link.

Just like that, you have a whole new stylish go find that special theme that screams CHECK ME OUT!

Feb 17th, 2011

Introducing WordPress - The Basics

The most popular PHP script used by webmasters, beginners to experts, is Wordpress. Wordpress is a simple web software script that allows you to create beautiful web sites and blogs.

We have a simple to use script installer within the Account Manager for Wordpress. With just a few clicks, you can have a pre-configured blog uploaded to your site in minutes. Blogging is so much fun, and honestly you can blog about just about anything these days! People love to read and discuss so many different topics, so no matter what you want to blog about, someone will find your site and enjoy what you have to offer.

You have the option to install Wordpress manually by downloading the files from the Wordpress site and uploading those files following their instructions. Or, the simple solution is to use our Install Popular Scripts tool in the Account Manager.

Once you log into the Account Manager, click on the Install Popular Scripts link under the Website Marketing and Design section. You will then click the Install Packages link next to the domain you wish to install Wordpress to. You can view a brief description of the software by hovering your mouse over the Package Description link, or you can visit the Wordpress developer web site by clicking the Wordpress' Home Page link. To install Wordpress, simply click the Install link!

Once you are inside the Wordpress installation page, please take the time to read the Wordpress information as well as the Notice section which explains some important information about using our installers. Once you are comfortable with your selection of Wordpress, click the Continue button.

Inside the Wordpress Installation page, you only have to enter a few quick items. The first item you need to select is the location of your Wordpress blog, which will go in the Installation Directory field. If you want your Wordpress installation to go into the root of your domain, you will leave the field blank. If you want it to go to a separate directory, you will enter that directory in the field. For example, if you want the blog to show up at, you will enter /blog in the field. Please note that the directory you are installing to must be empty, so make sure there are no files in that directory before you begin this process.

You can enter a unique Admin Username, and make note of the temporary admin password assigned to your Wordpress installation. You will then enter the email address for the Admin Email, check the box for the Agreement and click the Install button.

Your Wordpress installation is now queued for installation, and will be configured and uploaded in no time. The beauty of this is that you do not have to fool with creating and managing MySQL databases or any of the code...the installer does all of that for you! Now get to blogging everyone!

Feb 10th, 2011

Secure Your Domain Name For Life

One of the most frustrating things that could happen to a successful web site developer is to lose the domain name that you had worked so hard to develop a web site around. Unfortunately, this happens far too often, for so many different reasons!

In the past, web site hosting services were always auto renewed using the credit card on file, but domain name registrations were never automatically renewed. Customers would have to log into the Account Manager and manually renew each domain in order to keep ownership of that domain name.

Some people may not realize that domain name registration is completely separate from web site hosting service. We are always very concerned when someone who has built a very dynamic and successful web site loses their domain name. If you were to allow your domain to expire and be deleted, someone else could register that domain and you would be left with a web site that doesn't work!

We are very proud to announce a new, free feature available with every domain name registration: Domain Name Auto Renew.

Domain Name Auto Renew is an option that may be enabled directly through the Account Manager. It automatically renews the registration of a domain name within two weeks of expiration. Auto Renew ensures that domain names remain registered with the same ownership. Auto Renew effectively secures domain name registrations for as long as the option is enabled.

Allowing a domain name to expire allows it to be registered by someone else. Why risk losing ownership of a domain name?

To enable Auto Renew on one or more domain names, please follow these Three Simple Steps:

1.Log in to the Account Manager
2.Click the Auto Renew option in the Domain Name Management section.
3.Select the checkbox next to the domain names to configure for Auto Renew, or click the Check All box to Auto Renew all of the displayed domains. Choose the credit card that will be billed for the Domain Name renewal, and click Update.

The selected domain name(s) will now automatically renew. To turn this feature off, follow the steps outlined above and simply remove the check next to the domain names to remove Auto-renewal and click Update.

Don't lose that awesome domain name! Keep your domains under your ownership for life!