Free wordpress installation service

Thinking of moving your site or starting your own blog ? Well it is better late than never… If you are serious about blogging or creating your own content to expose your ideas or product and it is important for you to distinguish yourself with a domain you can call your own, and a site that is 100% owned by yourself.

If you would like a free professional installation of WordPress with the most popular plugins on the planet – this is where we come in handy! I am an experienced web developer with hundreds of professional wordpress installation left behind. So for the aspiring blogger that wants to have a quick start in the right direction and get the most out your WordPress – signup today for free. Yes, all for the cost of nothing. [Read more...]

Starting off with blogging with wordpress.com

From time to time I get the following question “can I start with wordpress.com hosting then transfer it over to self hosted WordPress later” ?

The short answer is Yes!

The long answer is Yes, but might not be the best of idea’s if you have not started your blog or site and are asking the question. If you are planning to start a personal blog or site without much inspiration to conquer the masses then a wordpress.com blogging platform is your way to go, but if you are planning to have anything remotely commercial with your site / blog then you should at least get your own domain and point it over to wordpress.com. [Read more...]

Backing up your wordpress blog

Trusting your web-host backups – Not Recommented!

There are many ways to keep your blog data safe for a rainy day, you can start by using a host that keeps an accessable snapshot backup of your blog data (the actual ftp directory) and your MySQL database. This alone can save the day in most cases of a fire .

In other cases when the snapshots are not sufficient due to some tech guy that accidently split coffee over the backups it is advice to keep an offsite copy of your WordPress files and media. If you only update you blog once every blue moon, then you can stick to a manual backup of your data once on a while, but if you are a problogger or are using WordPress for a content thirsty commercial websites then you surly need some real assurance that you are not going to get wet.

Manual Backup of your WordPress blog

If you are already friendly with FTP and know how to install a plugin or two you can easily backup your site by downloading the following directories :

/wp-content/themes
/wp-content/plugins
/wp-content/uploads

I strongly suggest un-selecting the option “Organize my uploads into month- and year-based folders” in the Settings > Miscellaneous WordPress menu. In addition to these directories you also need to create a backup of your WordPress database. I recommend installing the wp-dbmanager plugin, this little goody with easily help you create a backup file of your database and if you set up the plugin it can even email you the database backup file once in a while (whenever you decide). It is an old plugin that still does a great job!

VaultPress Coming Soon!

The guys that created WordPress did it again… and they are now offering out beta access to a new real time backup service called VaultPress. A nifty name for a simple service that makes sure that your entire WordPress enviroment is safely stored away. The service requires installing a plugin on your WordPress that takes care of the whole process in the background. I am sure that it also takes care of optimizing the backup process to minimize the amount of data that is required to be sent over to the backup cloud. You can read more about it on there blog. They are currently in beta so go try it out before the beta is over.

Your own wordpress URL shortener

We have almost been swamped my the huge amount of URL shortening sites that have poppd up in the recent year or so, a trend mostly boosted by Twitter that allows only 140 chars to get your message out. I personally like using is.gd for quick URL shortening and bit.ly for automatic wordpress to twitter feeds that include a lick back to the wordpress site. Bit.ly allows tracking the number of clicks. I have yet found a better free link tracking service. If you want to spend a few bucks I recommend using clicky.me which is integrated with Clicky Web Analytics. I like to use Click on smaller sites where Google Analytics  is an overkill.

If you want to use your own domain for url shortening you may use the Short Url Plugin and make your own url shortening service for your private usage. You can create a url such as blog-install.com/u/21.

The plugin also provides basic statistics that includes the number of times the link was clicked.

Recommended plugins I use

Here you will find a list of plug-ins that I use over the various sites that I have developed and maintain for customers. Some of really crucial plug-ins and some are small plug-ins that solved a tiny task. I will update this list from time to time. For delicious.com users I recommend subscribing to my delicious or take a direct look at the wordpress plug-ins section.

Spam Protection

wp-spamfree by Scott Allen
An extremely powerful anti-spam plugin for WordPress that virtually eliminates comment spam, including trackback and pingback spam. The plugin includes a spam-free contact form too. The plugin works behind the scenes without any captcha’s, challenging question such as “is the sky green ?” or any other inconvenience to your sites visitors. You may follow the plugin’s on twitter @WPSpamFree

CMS

my-page-order – A simple plugin that allows you to easily rearrange your pages into whatever order you’d like.

page-restrict – You can select all, none or some of your pages to be viewable only by registered users. Great for sites being used as a CMS.

Page Template Extended – A simple plugin that allows you to build templates unique to any page by simply building it a PHP file named for its ID tag.

xavins-list-subpages – Allows you to display either all of the subpages, or just the ones you choose, on the parent page.

automagic-twitter-profile-uri – Automatically add your users twitter profile link to comments

faster-image-insert – Image manipulation directly form a metabox.

Getting visitors to sign up!

wp-greet-boxThis plugin lets you show a different greeting message to your new visitors depending on their referrer url. This can certainly help increase your RSS and email subscriber count. The greeting is placed at the top of the post.

How to boost your feedburner email subscribers

Since there there are so many blogs and others sources of information the only chance that you will get a returning visitor is if the visitor either bookmark your site or sign up to your RSS feed or email updates.

Some of us are still using Google FeedBurner to manage the RSS feed of our blogs and that is great, but if you do not have a email list with a signup box on your site it would be best to us the FeedBurner e-mail option to deliver the updates of the RSS via email.

The only advantage of FeedBurner email feature over a professional email list service is that it is free.

Although RSS has bee around for a log time But is that enough ? I claim that the answer is NO.

An RSS feed can be read in many places such as Google Reader, the browser, or in one of the many reader applications.  These are tools that make you just one of the crowd. In order to get your message right “in the face” of your reader you would be better off by receiving your message directly in the visitors inbox.

The simplest solution would be to enable the rss to email feature in Feedburner or FeedBlitz, but that is only good for users that actually click on your RSS link and know and see that there is an option to sign up via email.

So to solve this the correct path to getting visitors to sign-up via email is to add a signup form to your blog (in addition to the RSS link or icon).

Here is a simple example of a signup form and button (that actually works, so try it out!) :

And here is the HTML code example :

<form action=”http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify” method=”get”> <input name=”email” type=”text” value=”type your email here” /> <input type=”submit” value=”Send” /> <input name=”uri” type=”hidden” value=”bloginstall” /></form>

Be sure to change the URI value to your feed name.

Below you will see the outcome of our simple form, a direct insertion of the email into the feedburner email signup form.

Feedburner Signup Form

Feedburner Signup Form

This is all great, but there is still one downside to this wonderful tip! This is all based on the usage of feedburner, that means that we have great statistics but no emails of the actual visitors. For some that is not a problem or a concearn, but what can you do when you want to sent your subscribers a notice, offer or update that is not a post on your wordpress site ?

Well, we will deal with that problem in the next email marketing post next week.

WordPress vs Tumblr – which blogging platform to choose ?

There are so many people twittering and asking about what blogging platform to choose – wordpress, tumblr , blogger, self hosted wordpress. So I decided that it is time to explain my view on this matter.

Tumblr – Superfast micro-blogging

Tunblr is a micro blogging enviroment for simple, quick blogging with support for posts, images, quotes, video, audio and links – all you need to get your message out as quick as possible. A simple interface for super fast blogging. Not feature extensive as the others.. but that is the beuaty of the beist. Quick and simple, great for personal and quick blogging.

Pros
- Tumblr’s backend is stylish
- 3rd party tools for Tumblr
- large array of themes (but less than wordpress)
- Easy managment from your phone
- Using your own domain on tumblr is FREE
- Can use Google Analytics to measure your traffic

Cons
- Troublesome archives
- Need to tag to support search
- Limited flexability and plugin support
- No direct RSS feed
- Does not expand easly
- No built in commenting

WordPress – hosted on wordpress.com

For a personal blog that has no commercial value or no intent to become commercial I would recommend using the free wordpress.com blogging platform, it is simple to setup and incldues a selection of wordpress features that would expect to install yourself. The ease of the hosted wordpress.com platform is great if you do not want to pay for your own web hosting and if you don’t want to have the hassle of handling the wordpress installation on your own webhost. Also here you can add your own domain for $15 / year or map a already purchased domain for $10 / year. So if you don’t require custom design, custom plugins and other customizations it would be a good option to start with. Note that there are many popular plug-ins that are highly recommended that are not included on the wordpress.com blogs.

Pros
- Dozens of gorgeous themes
- Integrated stats system
- Commenting with anti-spam built-it
- Good support community
- Mulitlanguage support

Cons
- Using you own domain cost $10 / $15 a year
- Limited plugin support, can not install your own plugins
- Custom CSS / additional storage costs extra
- Ads shown from time to time
- Can not optimize for SEO

WordPress – self hosted on your own domain

If you have not found your heaven in the above and are looking for more, or looking to start a serious personal or commercial blog, a self hosted wordpress blog is certainly a good solution. You may either signup for hosting that includes pre-installed wordpress that you can start using, or install wordpress yourself. Will a little bit of computer / internet knowledge you could have your blog up and running in 5 min – well it will usally take longer than that, but the basic installation is really simple, it is the customization that can drive a non tech-savy wordpress installer crazy. Feel free to drop us a line for a free professional wordpress installation on your hosting or follow us on twitter via @bloginstall

Pros
- Highly flexable , fully customizable
- Easy installation / updating of plugins (from wordpress 2.7)
- Thousands of gorgeous themes from all over the globe
- Great community support
- Excellent plugins and features for SEO optimization

Cons
- Requires your own domain and hosting
- Requires some technical knowledge and maintanence
- Is not backed up automatically (so make sure you you do)

In the end I would choose from either WordPress or Tumblr according to the kinds of users and usage. For personal blog I would go for a pre-hosted blog on tumblr or wordpress.com and for a serious personal blog or commercial blogsite I would go for a self-hosted wordpress installation.

Looking for a wordpress guru to install your wordpress blog on your own hosting for free ? let us help!

How-to add Google Analytics tracking code to wordpress

You may add the Google Analytics tracking code to you site either manually or with a plugin. There are many plugins that can help you do this, but I have selected a very simple one, that get the job done simple and sweet.

Adding Google Analytics manually

  1. Login wordpress admin panel
  2. Goto Appearance > Editor (theme editor)
  3. Select the footer.php or index.php
  4. Find the </body> html tag
  5. Copy and page the Google Analytics code before the </body> tag.
  6. Don’t forget to click Update File to save changes.

The only problem with the manual installation is that if you swap your wordpress themes you will loose your  Google Analytics tracking. That is why it is better to handle the Google Analytics tracking code within a plugin. The selected plugin is a simple plugin with no-mumbo-jumbo.

Where do I find my UI tracking code ?

  1. Log in to Google Analytics at http://www.google.com/analytics
  2. From the Overview page, select the account that has the profile for the tracking code you’re looking for, as the code is profile-specific.
  3. Select the profile from the accounts Overview page.
  4. From that profile’s Actions column, click Edit
  5. At the top right of the ‘Main Website Profile Information’ box, click Check Status
  6. Your tracking code can be copied and pasted from the text box in the Instructions for adding tracking section

Adding Google Analytics with the Header-Footer plugin

  1. Download and install the Header-Footer plugin
  2. Goto Settings > Header-Footer
  3. Cut and paste the google tracking code in the bottom footer textbox.
  4. Enjoy.

If you are looking for a more advanced feature packed plugin that can also handle the above and more, you might want to try HeadSpace2.

Please note that this tip requires wordpress installed on your webhost.