In this project, you’ll create a blog and website suitable for a publishing project or an author. The project will help you learn the concepts we’ve covered in the course so far. It will also provide you with a website and blog that you can use, with a little extra work, for your own marketing.
The project is in three parts:
- In Part 1 you’ll learn how to set up a blog by actually creating a WordPress blog hosted on WordPress.com.
- In Part 2 you’ll turn this blog into a fully-fledged website that promotes a book and an author.
- In Part 3 you’ll use your new WordPress site and its content management system to create search engine-friendly articles.
So set aside some quiet time, turn off the distractions, and let’s get started.
Image Credit: http://500px.com/photo/7575310
We’ve created video tutorials to take you through each step. You’ll probably need a couple of hours and each part of the project is self-contained so you can break it up over two or three sessions.
Some preparatory items:
- We suggest that you open a new browser window or tab for WordPress so that you can keep these instructions open to refer to.
- The website you create will be a live website ready to use in your business if you wish. If you don’t wish to use it, you can delete it afterwards.
- You cannot re-use the name of a deleted site. So if you plan to delete your practice blog, don’t choose a name that you might want to use in future. Wordpress.com site names are in the form sitename.Wordpress.com. You can, however, attach your own domain name to a WordPress.com site for a small charge.
- We’ve supplied the images and placeholder text files we use in the video tutorials. You can download these demo files and use them in your project, or use your own files. If you use the demo files, you can easily delete and replace them with your own files later.
While WordPress is free and relatively simple to set-up and use, it’s very powerful and will handle a lot of traffic. It’s now the most popular content management system on the web for both large and small sites, so you’ll be in good company if you use it.
Part 1. Build a blog using WordPress
Create a blog using the free hosted service WordPress.com.
- Go to WordPress.com, click the Get Started button.
- Complete the registration details.
- Choose your preferred customization options.
- Click Finish. You’re ready to start posting articles.
1. VIDEO: This video will take you step-by-step through setting up a WordPress blog
2. DOWNLOAD Project files
Part 2. Customize WordPress and turn it into a complete website
Turn our WordPress blog into a complete website including a ‘proper’ home page and sections for each main topic.
We’ll do this by customizing its appearance, adding features to expand its usefulness, creating additional sections and a homepage, and adding website navigation.
- Log into our WordPress.com blog and go to the dashboard.
- Go to Appearance. Choose and customize a Theme, Header, and Background.
- Add and customize widgets.
- Add pages for new sections.
- Change Settings.
- Add a custom website menu.
- Finish. Your website is ready for you to add content that is easily screen-readable and search engine-friendly.
- VIDEO: This 2-part video will take you step-by-step through customizing your WordPress blog then turning it into a complete website.
Part 3: Creating articles that are easily read on-screen and search-friendly
Create articles for our WordPress blog and website. We’ll use techniques that produce posts which are easily read on-screen and rank well with search engines.
- Log into our WordPress.com website and go to the dashboard.
- Add text to a new post.
- Follow 4 steps to produce easy-to-read copy.
- Follow 4 steps to produce search engine-friendly copy.
- Insert images and image metadata.
- Add categories and tags.
- Publish post.
- VIDEO: This video will show you how to use the WordPress editor to produce effective posts.
Summary of the main steps.
VIDEO: Learn about editing HTML and CSS to tweak your new WordPress site
You can do a lot to make your new site your own without knowing any programming. But if you want more control over the site’s look and its content, it’s worth understanding a bit of basic HTML and CSS, the two main technologies behind the web.
Here’s a link to seven short, fun video tutorials called Don’t Fear the Internet. (They are oddly arranged in reverse order: the first video to view is the last one listed.) In a very simple style, they cover basic HTML and CSS, and show you how you use them to modify your WordPress site.
Note that, if you’re running a free site hosted on WordPress.com, you’ll need to pay a small upgrade fee to gain access to your site’s CSS. You can do this from within the Dashboard.
Find out more about this topic on our Digital Publishing 101 useful resources site.