I started new websites for Lifesong Press and River Girl yesterday. That’s a huge task off my mind. So far I’m keeping them simple!They are on WordPress but will operate as static sites. Lifesong Press is the imprint of my publishing venture, and is part of my licensed small business, LJ Martin Web. River Girl is the name of the first book Lifesong Press will publish. There’s not much more to do on that book – I’m so excited to know I’ll soon see it in print!
The sites are very easy to put together! Let me tell you how I do it.
1. I have two places to host my websites. One is Kualo.Com where I have a reseller account with about twenty sites on it (some are mine, a few are not). The other is HostGator where I have a variety of blogs and websites in one account.
2. I set up the domain name by changing nameservers at GoDaddy.
3. Next I use Fantastico to instantly set up WordPress. Both Kualo and HostGator have Fantastico in their cpanels.
4. The WordPress blog will probably already need updating when you open it. I do that right away, and install plugins I like including the contact form, database backup, WP Touch, and Google-ready XML sitemap. I also use SEO Ultimate, an editorial calendar, and Akismet as a comment spam trap. This also involves making a backup directory, and installing files for the sitemap plugin to work. Oh, one more thing… on this blog I’m using Sketch Bookmarks but on some other blogs and websites I use Add This instead. To install all these you will need a FTP (file transfer protocol) program. I use Fire FTP as a Firefox browser add-on.
5. Inside the blog dashboard I go through the “Settings” and change a few things – on the “reading” page I make sure it is set to send out summaries instead of entire postings. Also on the “permalinks” page I change it to pagename-only file names. That has to be inserted into the .htaccess file of the site. HostGator does that automatically. It also does all WordPress and plugin updates easily.
6. In the “Appearance” section of the blog dashboard, I set up a menu for the top of the page and one for the footer. The top menu typically gets a home page, about page, contact page, and a few other pages or categories. The footer page gets the home page, contact page, and a page of required legal postings. And I have to make the legal page, and the contact page.
6. I write a page about the site and will use that as the home page unless I have a blog I want to put there. On these two sites there’s currently no blog interface, though there’s a comment interface there. I review all comments before allowing them to be posted.
7. The page about the site can be set as the home page… I did that at the River Girl site.
8. I choose photos for the headers of each page, and a nice background color that will work with them.
9. For the sidebar I often choose to use only a search box and links for recent posts, and sometimes links to other sites I love. I’m the ‘keep it simple’ type. Of course if a site eventually gets lots of traffic I might be willing to add advertising there! For a new site, however, why bother?
That’s about it! The next thing is to tell everyone about it. Sometimes that’s the hardest part.