Before You Start:
Before you Start, it’s important to understand that this lesson goes through the process of manually setting up your blog with the use of a service called "Fantastico", which is a standard feature of the web hosts we recommended earlier.
While there are third party "paid" auto-assisting options for installing and configuring a blog, initially going through it manually will help you to better understand the process, which can be very helpful if you have to do any troubleshooting of your blog.
Finally, as you go through live examples of the steps included in this lesson, you may discover that the interface for your hosting site is different than the one in the example. If you have followed the recommendations of this course, you would have signed up with a hosting service that contains all of the functionality demonstrated in the live examples, so you need not worry about the differences. Simply search for the corresponding functionality and you should be good to go.
As a last ditch effort, you can contact your hosting service provider for assistance with finding the needed functionality.
Before you install your blog, there are some settings which need to be taken care of with your hosting service. To do so, complete the following:
1. Log into your hosting account and click on the “Fantastico” icon.
2. In the left navigation menu, click on “WordPress”.
3. Click on “New Installation”.
4. In the “Install on domain” section, select the domain you wish to install a blog for.
5. Leave “Install in directory” blank. You could enter a directory here but if you used add-on domains when installing your domain in the previous step, you would leave this blank.
6. Enter in your admin access preferred username and password.
7. NOTE: Do not bother with the “base configuration” as this will be modified later in a different module.
8. Click on “Install WordPress”. WordPress will create all the information for you. Be sure to save that information for future reference.
If your web host does not provide "Fantastico", you can install it following the detailed installation guide found at http://codex.wordpress.org/Installing_WordPress.
Very important: There are two forms of WordPress – wordpress.com and wordpress.org. WordPress.com will host a blog for you online, treating it as something like a sub-domain. This has nothing to do with the auto-blogging system you’re being trained on.
WordPress.org is a blogging platform that WordPress allows you to install on a server. This is the platform you will use in this training course. Again, the installation guide for this installation is found at http://codex.wordpress.org/Installing_WordPress.
Blog Management Spreadsheet:
Important to your business is the ability to manage your assets. The blogs of your auto-blog network are assets you want to manage very closely. To help you with this, we’ve created a spreadsheet that enables you to track the information of your blogs, such as access information and details related to the profitability of your sites.
Your Hosting Service is configured and your blog is created, there are some initial settings that need to be configured on your blog. Perform the following steps to complete the initial configuration of your blog:
1. Log in to your blog admin area by going to yourdomain.com/wp-admin. This will provide a login screen where you will enter your username and password.
2. Once you are logged in, click “Settings” >> “General” and update the email address with the domain-specific email address you just created. This is the one that forwards to your central email management account.
3. After entering the email address, click “Settings” >> “Writing” and...
* In the “Remote Publishing” section, click the checkbox beside “XML-RPC”. This will allow your blog to be communicated with different services via XML-RPC. This is something you may want later on and so this will be covered in a later portion of the training.
* In the “Update Services” section, delete the URL. When you first create your blog, you do not want it to be pinging any services, preferring instead to have it discovered naturally. A red flag may be raised when a new blog is engaged in pinging so deleting the URL solves this issue.
4. Click “Save Changes”.
5. Click “Settings” >> “Permalinks”, then...
* select “Custom Structure” and enter %category%/%postname% (note the / between the two). The default URL is a bit messy. This change will produce a professional looking, user and search engine friendly (e.g. keyword rich) URL.
Very important: You can configure this any way you wish. For example, some prefer to just have %postname%.
6. Click “Save Changes”.
7. View the blog and make sure the permalink is working.
8. Back in the admin area, click “Posts” and remove the “Hello, World” post.
9. Click “Links” and remove the default links.
10. Click “Pages” and remove the “About” page.
These steps are done as a matter of future consideration. By completing them, you make sure your blog is ready for linking with other services, that it can generate professional, ‘friendly’ URLs and that it does not come across as spammy. All of these points are of good value going forward.
Initial Plugins Installation
The purpose of this lesson is to learn about plugins. The key points that will be covered are
Installation of Plugins:
There are three recommended methods for installing plugins on your WordPress blog. They are …
* Auto-install: WordPress has a built-in feature that allows easy installation of plugins. Detailed training of this process can be found on the WordPress website at http://codex.wordpress.org/Plugins_Add_New_SubPanel.
* Plugin Central: A plugin itself, this plugin gets installed before any other plugin. Then, once done, you are able to enter in (manually or copy and paste from a pre-existing list) a list of the plugins you want installed and it will do so automatically.
Manual: Depending on the set-up of your host, you may not be able to use the auto features that are built into WordPress. As a result, you will need to install the plugins manually. Like the training for auto-install, detailed training for manual installation can be found on the WordPress website at
A quick walk-through of how to do an installation is given in the main video for this lesson. It is not as extensive as the detailed instructions linked to above, but it will at least give you some idea of how to go about successfully installing your desired plugins, whether doing so manually or using the auto feature.
The walk-through is very basic instruction on how to do the installation. In the next section of this lesson you will be given a list of recommended plugins to install. Some of the plugins will have short videos to assist you with their installation and configuration so be sure to take advantage of them if you are uncertain of how to go about it.
Plugins to Install:
In this section you will learn what plugins to install and how to go about installing and configuring those plugins for effective use in building your auto-blog network.
There are a couple of things you need to know before we get into the list of recommended plugins.
First, you will discover the list changes continuously over time. Whether because we want to add new or existing plugins to our blog, have modified any plugins we personally have developed and need to update them, or to remove any currently used plugins that have become obsolete, we ensure the list is kept as current as possible for the benefit of keeping pace with changes in the environment and industry.
Secondly, the list contains two important sections: “Activate Now” and “Activate Later”. The purpose of dividing the recommended list into these two sections is to ….
* Make sure you activate only those plugins that are immediately relevant to your blog development.
* Prevent you from activating plugins prematurely that have features which should not be activated until later on in the life cycle of your blog, e.g. site caching and pinging of services. You will be informed as to when the best time is to activate the plugins that are in this section.
The list contains several plugins. All plugins can be installed at this time but remember, activate only those in the “Activate Now” section. In order to access the list, simply click on http://blogblueprint.com/plugins.
Plugin Installation and Configuration:
This section will cover the installation and configuration of several of the plugins you will install on your blog. The reason not all plugins are covered here is that those which are not present either do not require configuration or are self-explanatory. For basic instructions you can refer back to the ‘Installation of Plugins’ section of this lesson.
Plugin Name: Plugin Central
Plugin URL: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/plugin-central/
Plugin Description: Plugin Central improves the management of plugins by allowing you to install plugins directly. This is done by typing the name of a plugin or the URL to a plugin’s zip file. You can also use the multiple-plugin install feature, which allows you to move your plugins from one blog to another. This plugin displays the status of plugins in need of update on the Dashboard and also allows you to update all plugins at once with a single click.
Activate the plugin.
* In your blog’s wp-admin area, click on “Plugins” >> “Plugin Central”.
* In the text box provided, enter the list of “Plugin URLs” provided in the file: http://blogblueprint.com/plugins.
* Click on “Install Plugin” and the system will automatically download and install all the recommended plugins. If any of the recommended plugins are already installed, then the “Plugin Central” will indicate that it could not write to that folder.
Plugin Name: Akismet
Plugin URL: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/akismet/
Plugin Description: 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. Recently this plugin has added a PRO feature that is not required and you are still able to use the WordPress.com API http://en.support.wordpress.com/api-keys/ to use this plugin. This plugin is default with most WordPress installations and should already be added to your plugins directory.
* Activate the plugin.
* In your blog’s wp-admin area, click on “Plugins” >> “Akismet Configuration”.
* Enter in your Akismet API Key, then check the box beside “Automatically discard spam comments on posts older than a month” and then click “Update Options”.
* If you do not have an API key, you can get one from: http://en.support.wordpress.com/api-keys/.
Note: You can use the same API key for all your auto-blogs in your network but we do recommend getting a new API for each network (just our own personal preference).
Plugin Name: Broken Link Checker
Plugin URL: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/broken-link-checker/
Plugin Description: This plugin will monitor your blog looking for broken links and let you know if any are found. There is a paid option that provides a few extra features but is not needed (we don't use it).
Activate the plugin.
* In your blog’s wp-admin area, click on “Settings” >> “Link Checker”.
* The only settings we recommend changing are under the “General” tab:
o Check: Send me e-mail notifications about newly detected broken links
o Check: Apply custom formatting to broken links
o Check: Stop search engines from following broken links
* To see any broken links that have been identified, you can click on “Tools” >> “Broken Links” in the left hand navigation in your wp-admin area.
Plugin Name: Cbnet Ping Optimizer
Plugin URL: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/cbnet-ping-optimizer/
Plugin Description: Once you set up your blog’s “Update Services” (covered in a later lesson), your blog will automatically ping these various services each time a new post is added. The problem is that WordPress will also ping these services when simple edits are made to your blog. If you ping the various services too often, they will blacklist you and consider your blog a spammer. To prevent this and still take advantage of the power of “pinging” this plugin will ensure that none of the services are pinged too often.
* Activate the plugin.
* In your blog’s wp-admin area, click on “Settings” >> “cbnet Ping Optimizer” to see the settings page of this plugin.
* There are no further actions required for this plugin right now. Once your blog is completely ready to start promoting, we will add a list of URLs to this plugin. This is covered in a later lesson.
Plugin Name: All in One SEO
Plugin URL: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/
Plugin Description: Optimizes your WordPress blog for Search Engines (Search Engine Optimization).
* Activate the plugin.
* In your blog’s wp-admin area, click on “Settings >> All in One SEO"
* Check the "Enabled" radio button beside "Plugin Status".
* Enter the title, description and keywords you used for the index article into the corresponding “Home Title”, “Home Descriptions” and “Home Keywords” fields.
o Conical URLs
o Rewrite Titles
* Leave “Use Categories for META keywords” checked.
* Check “Use Tags for META keywords”.
* I personally do not check "Dynamically Generate Keyword for Posts Page", but I know many others that do. I found no benefit in using this but the choice is up to you... it does what it says
* Check “Use noindex for Categories”. Category pages contain content from the different posts and as a result can often be considered “internal duplicate content” by the search engines, which can mess up your search engine rankings. By checking this option you will still allow the search engines to visit the category pages and follow the links but you prevent them from indexing the content, which means those pages will not appear in the rankings and therefore will not cause any internal duplicate content hassles.
* Check “Use noindex for Archives”.
* Check “Use noindex for Tag Archives”.
* Leave "Autogenerate Descriptions" checked.
* Click "Update Options"
Plugin Name: RSS Footer
Plugin URL: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/rss-footer/
Plugin Description: This plugin makes it easy to add a line of content to the beginning or the end of all the articles in your RSS feeds, for instance to display a link back to your blog. The power of this comes from the fact that you will be submitting your RSS feeds to different services when you start promoting your blog. Many of these services will create unique pages for you that contain the contents of your RSS feed and by using this plugin you can ensure that each of these pages link back to your blog’s important pages.
* Activate the plugin.
* In your blog’s wp-admin area, click on “Settings” >> “RSS Footer”.
* Check to ensure that the HTML links to your blog with the correct keyword. If not, update the HTML and click on “Update RSS Footer Settings”.
* Once we have added the initial content to your blog, you may wish to also add links to those posts as well. It is not recommended that you put more than 3 links in here.
Plugin Name: Secure WordPress
Plugin URL: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/secure-wordpress/
Plugin Description: This plugin provides help to secure your WordPress installation.
* Activate the plugin.
* Leave plugin with the default settings. If you would like to review the default settings, then you can see them at “Settings” >> “Secure WP”.
Plugin Name: Sexy Bookmarks
Plugin URL: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/sexybookmarks/
Plugin Description: This plugin helps to get your readers to actually submit your articles to numerous social bookmarking sites.
* Activate the plugin.
* In your blog’s wp-admin area, click on “Settings” >> “SexyBookmarks”.
* In the “Enabled Networks” section, click on “Most Popular”. This is a personal preference, but you may select whatever networks you wish to use. You can select “Most Popular” and then also select a few other preferred networks as well.
* Under the “Functionality Settings” area, there are options for Yahoo Buzz and Twittley. If you have not selected these as networks to use then you can skip this step. If you have selected them then:
o Select the “Default Content Category” for “Yahoo Buzz Defaults”. Leave the “Default Media Type” as Text.
o Select the “Default Content Category” for “Twittley Defaults”.
o In the “Default Tags”, enter in 3 tags that best represent your blog.
o I also recommend you select “Yes” for “Open links in new window?”.
* Under the “Plugin Aesthetics” area, select your preferred “Background Image Option”.
* Under the “Menu Placement” area, click “No” for “Show in RSS Feed”.
* Click “Save Changes”.
Plugin Name: SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam
Plugin URL: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/si-captcha-for-wordpress/
Plugin Description: This plugin adds CAPTCHA anti-spam methods to your WordPress installation on the comment form, registration form, login, or all. In order to post comments or register, users will have to type in the code shown on the image. This prevents spam from automated bots. It also adds security.
* Activate the plugin
* Leave plugin with default settings. If you would like to see the default settings, in your blog’s wp-admin area, click on “Plugins” >> “SI Captcha Options”.
Plugin Name: StatPress
Plugin URL: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/statpress/
Plugin Description: A real-time plugin dedicated to the management of statistics about blog visits. It collects information about visitors, spiders, search keywords, feeds, browsers etc. This plugin is great for auto-blogs as you do not want to enter Google Analytics on all your blogs, which can create an easily traceable footprint.
* Activate the plugin.
* Leave this plugin with the default settings. If you want to check out the default settings, then in your left hand navigation menu, click on “StatPress”.
We will go into more detail about using this plugin in a later lesson.
Plugin Name: WP No Category Base
Plugin URL: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-no-category-base/
Plugin Description: As the name suggests, this plugin will completely remove the mandatory 'Category Base' from your category permalinks ( e.g. myblog.com/category/my-category/ to myblog.com/my-category/ ).
* Activate the plugin.
* There are no options to modify.
>> Articles Directories <<
>> RSS Directories <<
>> Podcast Directories <<
------ Start of Plugin URLs ------
------ End of Plugin URLs ------
------ Start of Activate NOW Plugins ------
all in one SEO
broken link checker
cbnet ping optimizer
si captcha for wordpress
wp no category base
------ End of Activate Now Plugins ------
------ Start of Activate LATER Plugins ------
buy sell ads
dagon design sitemap generator plus
google sitemap generator
si contact form
w3 total cache
what would seth godin do
wp database manager
------ End of Activate LATER Plugins ------