Crash Course in WordPress.com

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WordPress.com is seeing growing adoption in schools. One of the colleges that we work with is making it a core part of their program's curriculum. All students are required to start a WordPress blog and maintain it over their three year program. We were asked to speak with these students, so we prepared this presentation - a fast-track crash course to introduce beginners to what WordPress.com has to offer.

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Crash Course in WordPress.com

  1. 1. A Crash Course in WordPress.com
  2. 2. Who Am I? Andy McIlwain - Graduate, Advertising program @ SLC ‘09 - Communications @ WPUniversity.com - Co-Organizer, Toronto WordPress Group - Organizer, WordCamp Toronto 2011-2013 - 6+ years of experience with WordPress - Inbound Marketing & Web Strategy
  3. 3. What is WordPress? - Content Management System (CMS) - Open Source Software & Free To Use - Manage Posts, Pages, & Media (e.g. Images) - Add features with plugins - Customize appearance with themes
  4. 4. WordPress.org vs WordPress.com WordPress.org - Standalone software. - Requires hosting & a domain name. - Lets you use themes and plugins. - Complete control. - Requires more technical knowledge. WordPress.com - Service built with WordPress software. - Don’t need to buy hosting or a domain to use WordPress.com. - Free and premium themes available. - Can’t install plugins.
  5. 5. Great to start with WordPress.com - Don’t worry about technical stuff. - Dedicated customer service team. - Get found thanks to a large community. - Lots of customization available. - Lots of features built in. - You can move to self-hosted later if you want.
  6. 6. Why does WordPress matter? - Powers approx. 20% of the web*, market share is continuously rising. - The go-to CMS for marketing sites, blogs, publishers, media companies. - Opportunity for freelancing and taking on side projects for additional income. *Source: VentureBeat http://venturebeat.com/2013/07/27/19-percent-of-the-webruns-on-wordpress/
  7. 7. Your WordPress.com Account https://en.wordpress.com/settings/account/ Controls your... - Account Options - Security Options - Public Profile (Gravatar.com), used for avatars and your bio on WordPress.com - Billing Preferences
  8. 8. Using WordPress.com Posts: Use subheadings for easy skimming. Use images for appeal. Images also get picked up when your posts are shared on social media (e.g. LinkedIn and Facebook). Post Categories: Like sections in a newspaper. Post Tags: Keywords related to the post. Pages: “Reference” content not associated with any given date. Cannot be categorized or tagged. Consider: About & Contact page; links to friends and other useful sites/pages. Media: Upload images to your site. Opportunity for people to find your stuff via image searches. Feedback: Where form submissions are held.
  9. 9. Blog Sharing Settings Lots of setting options that can be configured to your preference. Sharing is important for promotional purposes. Publicize: Connect WordPress.com with other social media accounts to automatically share your posts. Sharing Buttons: Also customize the sharing buttons that appear below posts on your blog. Drag n’ drop the available services into the order you prefer.
  10. 10. Choosing a Theme - First impressions are everything. - Consider the purpose of your site. Are you creating a portfolio for copy or design? - Choose a theme that does not distract from your content or portfolio items. - When looking for a theme: Click “Feature Filter” to toggle lots of options.
  11. 11. Working With Your Theme Customization - Customization options vary from theme to theme. Typically include: Change colour scheme, upload a header image. - Consider your personal brand. What impression should your site make? What fits you? Mobile Appearance - Mobile is important! Don’t force visitors to pinch n’ zoom. - Some themes are responsive (adapt to device). - You can also use the WordPress.com mobile theme.
  12. 12. Working With Menus - Control your menu. Keep pages organized. - Letting all pages get added to your menu can make things confusing for your site visitors. - Create custom menus for sidebar widgets, e. g. links to your social media accounts or projects.
  13. 13. Working with Widgets - Tons of widgets available. Don’t overdo it. - Consider priority: What is the most important thing for your visitors to see? - Consider Calls to Action: What are you asking your visitors to do? View your profile? Contact you? - Some widgets from other sites won’t work. WordPress.com strips out <script></script> code. - Your widgets may not be visible on mobile devices. It depends on the theme that you’re using.
  14. 14. Upgrading Your Site’s Features Upgrades available at http://store.wordpress.com Best bang for the buck: Premium Plan ($110-ish per year), includes the following upgrades: - No Ads & Free Domain Registration* *Or mapping if you already own a domain. - Custom Design Upgrade (Colours, Fonts, CSS) - Upload Audio & Video directly to your blog Not interested in the Premium Plan? Highly recommended: No Ads, Custom Domain and Custom Design.
  15. 15. Why Custom Domain & Design? Custom Domain (Register a new one or map a current one) - A non-.wordpress.com domain is much more professional and shows that you’re willing to make some investment in your website and brand. - You can use this domain for the entirety of your career, establishing control over your online identity and authority. Custom Design - Don’t be “just another site” with an out-of-the-box theme. Customizing fonts, colours, and using a bit of CSS to adjust your layout can help define your brand and make a good first impression. Great way to make the most of a free theme!
  16. 16. WordPress.com Doesn’t Host Email! WordPress.com does not provide email hosting. You’ll need to get email hosting from another provider. More information: ● Forwarding email from your custom domain. ● Hooking up a 3rd party email host.
  17. 17. Monitoring Your Site Performance WordPress.com doesn’t support Google Analytics. Instead, we use WordPress.com Stats. Shows: - Visitors & Views - Visitor Locations, Views by Country - Top Posts & Pages, Categories & Tags - Referring Sites, Search Terms - Clicks - Subscribers, Commenters, Followers http://wordpress.com/my-stats/
  18. 18. Resources WordPress.com Support Section http://en.support.wordpress.com/ WordPress.com Forums http://en.forums.wordpress.com/
  19. 19. Any Questions? Get In Touch! http://wpuniversity.com http://twitter.com/wpuni http://facebook.com/wpuni
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