Love WordPress as much as we do? Use Shareaholic for WordPress to better share content and measure the effectiveness of your blog.
We can’t contain our excitement for WordCamp Boston any longer! Yesterday, we announced that we will be speaking at and sponsoring the conference. We have always been passionate about this community, so we are thrilled to be able to be a part of this amazing weekend.
To help get ready for WordCamp Boston, we thought we’d compile the list of WordPress resources specifically for beginners with advice on starting your blog, choosing themes, and downloading plugins.
Creating Your Blog
Starting on WordPress can be daunting if you don’t have someone guiding your every step of the way. Fortunately, we found some detailed guides on getting started on WordPress:
- OrphicPixel – “How to Launch a WordPress Website Without the Headache”: This guide talks about choosing the right theme, downloading SEO plugins (for more to download, see our list below), testing before buying and using the WordPress community. Check it out for a great jumping-off point.
- BlogWorld – “A Beginner’s Guide to WordPress Basics”: This guide is a bit more technical than the last with instructions on adding themes, plugins, sidebars and content. Also check out their “Wordpress Pointers for Beginners” for some answers to FAQ.
- Carloyn E. Cooper Communications – “Beginner’s Guide to WordPress 101”: If learning from text isn’t your thing, definitely check out Carolyn’s guide. She uses video tutorials to walk you through the basics of adding and editing posts. She also offers a variety of tutorials for beginner WordPress users, so definitely check out her videos to get that that one-on-one feel.
- wpbeginner: This site has some amazing resources for beginners that go beyond a normal FAQ. It is written in very simple terms, which will help you advance beyond a beginner level. Check it out for troubleshooting tips and answers to more niche questions using down-to-earth language for beginners.
Finding a Theme
After you figure out how to create and set up your blog, you need to pick a theme. To save you some time flipping through the hundred of pages of themes, here is a really great checklist for forming a strategy when picking a theme for your blog.
After you decide which criteria you need in a theme, go a head and find one that suits your fancy! Here are some of our favorite places to find themes:
- wpexplorer: This site offers free, paid and discounted themes for WordPress. When browsing, not only can you look according to price, but also by the blog’s industry focus or type of content.
- Blogex – “Best WordPress Themes of 2012”: Check out the top responsive, portfolio, magazine, business, e-commerce, BuddyPress, Frameworks, HTML5, real estate, and free themes of 2012 here.
- Slodive – “110 Free WordPress Themes for 2011”: Even though this post is from last year, we couldn’t resist when we saw they were free! They offer e-commerce, magazine, gallery, mobile, clean, blogger and minimal portfolio themes.
- Woothemes: Check out even more themes here! The best part about this site is that you don’t have to pick just one—you can join their theme club and get them all from $125.
So now you have your blog all set up with its beautiful theme and basic layout. To continue to spruce up your blog, we recommend the following plugins:
To increase your shareability:
- Shareaholic – We’re one of the top sharing platforms on the web, so why wouldn’t you download us? We make those awesome sharing buttons at the bottom of your posts that make it easy for your readers to post to their favorite social networks. Plus, you can pick the button style that best suits the theme you labored over choosing.
- Facebook Comments for WordPress – While there are wonderful plugins for comments such as Livefyre and Disqus, this plugin will directly share on your commenter’s Facebook page, thus making the comments inherently social.
To be more SEO-friendly:
- All in One SEO Pack – This is our favorite SEO plugin – we actually use it for our own blog! We love it because it works for beginners and advanced users. Since SEO is incredibly important to the success of your WordPress blog, you definitely should download this plugin.
- Google XML Sitemap for Videos – This plugin is great for vlogs. Google does not index videos, so this plugin will help make sure they discover your content. Also check out Google XML Sitemap for Images if you plan on having a ton of images.
To create killer designs and content:
- Banner Rotator / Content Slider – This is a great way to display your top content for easy navigability. Choose from several different designs to find one that works for you.
- Font Press – Customize your font easily with this plugin with more than 30 ready-to-use fonts when you install it. This is a simple and effective way to customize your blog.
- After the Deadline– If your time is consumed by editing your writing, you definitely should download this plugin. It checks spelling, style, grammar and fixes misused words.
- Widget Context– Customize which widgets appear on different pages of your blog with this plugin. We like this one because it allows you to get as creative as you want with your layout across your entire platform.
- Gravity Forms – Easily add submission forms to the site with this plugin. This is great for contact or submission pages as you don’t have to write out your email within the text.
To measure your success:
- Shareaholic – Since you’ve already downloaded our sharing tools for your blog, you automatically have access to our analytics as well. Check out your traffic, referrals and shares on social media for free!
- Ultimate Google Analytics – If you want to take a deeper dive into analytics, you should sign up for Google Analytics and install this plugin. This one allows Google Analytics to seamlessly embed code on your page to track your analytics.
After you install these into your WordPress, tune into the WPCandy shows “The Sweet Plugin” and “First Taste” for reviews on other plugins to download.
What are some tips you’ve learned about WordPress? Comment below with your favorite ones.