Tune Up Your Digital Marketing: Your Website Bootcamp

Leverage the Power of WordPress

Learning Objective: Making the “tech stuff” easy

Now we come to the nitty-gritty—the “tech” stuff that people typically get nervous about.

Just follow along, step by step, and we’ll get the heavy stuff done … all in one go!

Step One: Housekeeping

Go to your inbox and find the email sent from Softaculous informing you of the new installation of WordPress.

Double-click on it to open the email, and retrieve your:

  • Login URL

  • Admin name (the custom one you created)

  • Password

Enter the Admin URL into your browser bar and click “Enter” to go to your website WordPress login page.

(Your URL will consist of “http://”—or if you have chosen another protocol, that particular protocol (e.g. “http://www.”); your domain name and extension; “wp-admin/” (E.g.: http://marywalker.coach)

Your login page will look like this:

Bookmark it, if you like. Enter your Admin name and Password and press “Login”.

If you see your website’s WordPress dashboard—congratulations!

By all means take a tour and get to know your dashboard—but when you’re ready to start customizing, we’ll be working with the left-hand, vertical menu, which holds all your controls for your site. (Many of these tabs expand into drop-down menus.)

First, we’re going to add a new nickname—otherwise, if you leave your comments enabled, people will see posts under the secret unique admin name you use for your site login!

Note: You cannot change your actual Username (your login Admin name), which should remain private.

Here’s how to set up a new Nickname to be used when posting or answering comments.

Hover your mouse over your tiny profile photo in the top right corner of your dashboard: Then click on “Edit My Profile” when the drop-down menu appears

Scroll down way below “Admin Color Schemes” until you reach this section.

  • Type a brand new nickname—the name you want displayed in your comments section—into the “Nickname (required)” text field

  • Next, click on the drop-down arrow beside “Display name publicly as” and select your new nickname

Next, decide if you want your site to have a static home page (one that never changes) or a true blog. If you want a static home page, CREATE A PAGE THAT IS GOING TO BE YOUR HOME PAGE FIRST.  (Some folks often choose an about page as home page.) Don’t worry what to put in it yet: For now, it’s better just to create it.

To set your website format to blog style or static front page, select Settings>>Reading.

Click the radio button against the type of page you wish people to see when they first arrive from the drop-down.

Repeat this process if you want to add a blog to your static page. After you have designated your home page, click on Posts Page. Then select the page you want to use as your blog—all your blog posts will appear on that page—which you will probably want to call “Blog”.

The dashboard is pretty straightforward. Now that you’ve performed a couple of functions, go ahead and explore it. A good rule to follow for now is, however, don’t change anything if you don’t know what it’s going to do—but you can go ahead and change the obvious stuff, like Time Zones or number of posts displayed at a time.

Step two: Your Perfect Theme

You’ve pre-chosen your ideal theme. You can easily upload, preview and install it right from your dashboard.

If you are using a free theme from WordPress.org, go to your left-hand dashboard menu and click on Appearance>>Themes>>Add new. When the “Add Themes” window opens up, enter the name of your WordPress.org theme in the search bar.

If you don’t yet know the name of the theme you want, simply enter a parameter you want it to match, such as “3-column responsive”—always choose a responsive theme.

You will instantly see a selection of themes fitting those parameters that you can choose from. You will be given the option to Preview them before deciding to install.

If you have purchased the Divi theme, log in to Elegant Themes and download your theme to your preferred folder. You will find all plugins and themes right on the login page, if you scroll down.

Keep going, past the plugins, to find the themes, and select “Divi”.

Then select any other customized version of Divi that you’ve settled on (view all the variations on the Divi theme by either browsing the Elegant Themes gallery and making a note of your choice, or just clicking on “Preview” in the theme slug of the theme you are interested in.

Use “Preview” to browse the pre-customized themes based on the Divi builder before selecting the one you like best.)

When you have settled on your theme…

Select “Download” within the theme slug.

Download your theme to your computer. (Keep the Elegant Themes download page open.)

Go up to Plugins on your Elegant Themes login page. Repeat the download process with the Divi Builder Plugin.

IMPORTANT: Keep your downloaded theme zipped.

To find and upload your new premium theme from your computer to your website:

Go to Appearance>>Themes, and click on the “Add New” button.

Select “Upload Themes”.

Press the “Choose File” button and select your theme (still zipped)

Click the “Install” button

Once you are notified the install has been successful, you can select your new theme from Themes, preview and/or just install it.

Now here’s the real beauty of the Divi theme: Not only is it built with the Divi Builder, giving you easy drag-and-drop functionality when customizing your theme, but you can also simply click on “Documentation” …

… and a new page opens up with complete tutorials on all the next steps or options. (Bookmark this page!)

Select any heading, and you will get a tutorial video telling you what to do and how to do it—and anything else you need to know on that particular topic.

So go ahead and install your new theme.

Go to Plugins, and install and activate the Divi Builder plugin too.

Step three: customizing your theme

Once you have activated Divi, Select Appearances>>Themes and press the “Activate” button for your Divi theme.

Click on the “Divi Documentation” link to watch videos on how to set up and configure Divi…

…Or you can simply select New in the very topmost dashboard menu, and select Page from the drop-down menu.

Immediately, you will see that your page customization options are different from the usual Page options. This is what you will see with any other theme, compared to Divi.

Notice another difference: You’ll have a Divi Page Settings window on the right hand side of your page, which will allow you to instantly change the layout (and other) settings with simple clicks.

So go ahead and click on the purple left-hand button, “Use The Divi Builder”, and immediately you’ll gain access to those drag-and-drop sections, rows and modules.

You can insert any number of columns into your modules. You can have any number of rows inside a section. You can place more than one module in a row—and you can designate these as text modules, image modules—whatever you like.

Reverse their positions by just dragging and moving; or add even more modules.

You can also instantly do neat stuff like choose different background colors for each separate section. Building your site in this way makes it incredibly easy—and you can instantly see your results.

Once you have the Divi theme and the Divi builder plugin installed, do check out the Divi Builder Overview video for a crystal clear walkthrough of how everything works and a peek at all the wonderful options you can choose.

And if you already have a WordPress theme you like, remember that you can simply use the Divi builder plugin to give it Divi functionality and features—and it’s easy to load through the WordPress dashboard.

CoachGlue.com actually made a video to show how easy it is to use the Divi Builder plugin to do things like create stand-alone Sales Pages.

And this CoachGlue.com page was built using Divi.

Below, you can see what happens if you click “Add Row” within a section: You get a popup of all the different layouts you can apply to your row.

The same principle applies for adding modules. When you click the “+ [Insert Module]” buttons, a list of all the specific, different modules you can add appears. Select the ones you want, and move them around within their row.

(You’ll find resources like individual tutorials on modules alone back in the Documentation section, so be sure to refer to this section in your Elegant Themes account.)

STEP four: widgets, contact forms, menus

You will add other elements in exactly the same way. For example, go ahead and create your contact form within your autoresponder.

Grab the code—and insert into a “Contact Form” module. Move that module around within the page to determine where it looks best.

This is ideal if you only want the contact form on your Home page, or in your Contact page—but if you want it to appear in every page on your sidebar, you would be better to paste your code into a “Widget” module.

Or—if you’re not using Divi—create a Text Widget and drag the text widget to your Sidebar.

(NOTE: You will have to really scroll down to find the Text Widget and it can be a bit tricky to maneuver it up to your sidebar, so drag it firmly and then drop it onto the closest category at the bottom of your Sidebar—and you can move it upwards from there.)

But the Text Widget is a handy little tool—if you’re not using Divi—for all sorts of uses.

You can also manage your theme with the Customizer that appears with many themes. If you click on “Manage in Customizer”, you’ll be operating from the theme Customizer menu in your left-hand dashboard:

Expand or go back from any slug in the Customizer. Be sure to SAVE when you’re finished with a section—and press the top-left “X” to return to your main dashboard.

You can customize other elements like your Menu from the Customizer too (without or within Divi) if you prefer, moving menu tabs up and down (or horizontally) to get the perfect placement you want. Put some thought into your menu placement: Into whether or not you will use drop downs or keep everything at main-menu level (a good option if your site is extremely simple, with few sections).

To determine whether or not you should put something in a drop-down, think in terms of categories and sub-sections. Is it part of a larger whole?

For example, a coach might have a “Shop” main menu tab—which opens into a drop down containing “Books”, “Packages” and “Programs” sub-menu-tabs.

If you are using Divi, menu creation is drag-and-drop. Choose “Appearances>>Menus”. You can now name and create menus, move menu tabs around, add existing pages to specific menus and so forth.

And be sure to check the Elegant Themes documentation-section video, Creating Mega-Menus, for a thorough example of how this works.

Step five: plugins

When you’re done with your theme, it’s time to turn your attention to your Plugins section on your dashboard.

A good rule to follow is to go light on plugins—don’t get carried away, as they can slow down your site—but there are a few essentials you really should consider using: And (within or without Divi) most plugins you can find, upload and install for free simply by searching from “Plugins>>Add New” in your dashboard.

(A) “Search Plugins” to find free ones at WordPress.org … or (B) if you’ve bought a premium plugin, you can press the “Upload Plugin” button to upload it (zipped) into your plugins directory.

You will need:

  • A security plugin

  • A spam control plugin

  • SEO (search engine optimization plugin)

  • A social sharing plugin

You’ll notice that the Akismet spam control plugin arrived pre-installed in your Plugins directory. Activate it, and you’ll be prompted to get a key (a serial number, really, that you enter into that plugin’s Settings).

Akismet is no longer free, so you’ll need to pay a small fee, but this is a plugin you really must have—particularly if you mean to have comments enabled on blog posts.

You can simply search for plugins with the appropriate search keyword (e.g.: “security”)—paying careful attention to the star ratings and reviews for each one you’re considering—or you can enter the name of a recommended plugin such as:

And finally, if you’d like to include a customized form on your Contact page (or anywhere else in your site) just install the free Contact Form 7. You can add as many or as few fields as you want. You can make it a simple sign-up form … or you can create a testimonial, feedback or contact request with multiple fields.

If you do search through your dashboard for a plugin, be sure to select “Search within the WordPress.org plugins directory”.

If you choose a responsive theme such as Divi or customize a favorite theme with Divi Builder, you shouldn’t have to install a Mobile plugin to make your site display properly for mobile users—but be aware that included in your Elegant Themes downloads is the wonderful Handheld plugin—and the Monarch security plugin is included in your membership as well.

Check to see if your new website is mobile-friendly at Google Webmaster’s Mobile-friendly test.

For a screenshot of what it looks like on several mobile devices (plus other helpful data) enter your URL into the search box at mobiReady.

Other plugins you might want to include:

  • PopUp Ally – if you want a popup to appear

There are plugins available for just about anything: Membership site handling, video embedding, podcasting. Just remember to check the star ratings and reviews before installing free plugins—and ask your WordPress-savvy friends for recommendations or join the Blog Energizer Facebook Group.

When adding plugins, always add and activate each plugin one at a time; then test your theme (visit your own site) to make sure your plugin is compatible with your theme. If it “breaks” your theme and things look screwy, deactivate and uninstall that particular plugin, test your theme again, and try a different one.

We haven’t discussed a back-up plugin—another essential! Go ahead and search for one if you prefer—but in Website Jump Start 4: Building Your Online Fan Base, we’ll be talking about a much better way to back up your site—and build your community and reputation.