One of the mixed blessings of using WordPress as a web presence/blogging platform is the frequency of updates to the core WordPress platform. WordPress adds new features on an accelerated basis, sometimes replicating functionality previously available only through one or more plug-ins. They also release “bug fixes” to fix code that doesn’t work quite as expected at least some of the time. In addition, because WordPress is currently used by millions of websites the world over (well over 20% of all websites use 1 version of WordPress or another), there is a constant “arms race” between hackers and the WordPress development community. On the plus side, this means there are always new features to make life easier or more interesting, and bugs get fixed pretty quickly. On the down side, sometimes the hackers win a battle, and a lot of WordPress sites get hacked, which can be a real challenge to recover from. Also, it means you (or someone you hire) has to constantly monitor your website(s) and decide which updates to accept and which to hold off on. In general, I accept the WordPress updates as soon as they’re available, and this sometimes necessitates updating themes and plugins as well.
Since socialselling.link is a brand new site, I just upgraded to WordPress 4.0 “Benny” (named after Benny Goodman, the famous jazz clarinetest). Here’s a link to the WordPress Codex regarding “Benny”: http://codex.wordpress.org/Version_4.0. I also updated the 3 themes included with the core package (we’reusing the 2013 Theme for this site).
So, Emile Paradis of the Referral Institute Atlanta and Vishay Singh of AVAX Consulting have been collaborating on a series of seminars about Social Selling and Referral Marketing. Today’s presentation was about the business value of blogging; one of the points that Vishay emphasized is that hosted blogging (e.g., WordPress.com), while easy, isn’t good for branding/SEO purposes, since the primary domain is wordpress.com, not yourbusiness.com. He noted that, while setting up WordPress is relatively simple, it would be best for most small businesses to hire a WordPress consultant to get them started. From there, we got the idea to set up a WordPress blog and let anyone in the course use it for practice and discussion. Herewith, a brief outline of how I got here:
1) I logged into Hover.com to search for a domain name. Vishay mentioned GoDaddy, but I like Hover for the simplicity of their user interface. I entered “social selling” in the search box and got a list of available domains (of course, socialselling.com is taken, but NOT being used – go figure). I reviewed the list of available domains – as an aside, the number of top-level domains (the letters to the right of the last “.”) has exploded over the last 6 months. Anyway, socialselling.link was available for only $5/year – since this is an experiment, I didn’t see any reason to overspend. For a company, I definitely recommend getting the “.com” address if possible; if you have extra money lying about, you can look at other domains like “.guru” or “.rocks”.
2)Next, I logged into my hosting account at FluidHosting. FH is my shared hosting provider; again, there are lots of hosting providers around, but since I have a prepaid account at FH, adding another domain is pretty much free. I do like ClickHost.com – they specialize in WordPress hosting and their pricing is very reasonable. At FH, I added the new domain name to my list of domains.
3) Back at Hover, I edited the settings for my new domain to set the “nameservers” to the addresses provided by FluidHosting. This means that all of the Internet address information (DNS) for my new domain will be stored at my web host rather than at Hover. Hover does provide full nameserver support; it’s just more convenient to have the DNS settings at the web hosting service. It can take up to 24 hours for the whole Internet to learn about these changes (a process called “propagation”) – usually, I see the changes much quicker than that.
4) Next, I went to wordpress.org (note – NOT wordpress.com) to download the latest version of WordPress – it’s about 1300 files in a .zip archive. I extracted the files to a folder on my computer, then I opened FileZilla, a free FTP (File Transfer Protocol) manager. I connected to FluidHosting in FileZilla by entering the server address and my userid and password for my hosting account – I could have set up separate FTP credentials but didn’t need to. I transferred all of the files to the folder on the server that was created when I setup the domain in step 2.
5)Back at FluidHosting, I had to setup a “MySQL” database – WordPress uses MySQL to store all of its content, so each site should have its own database. This was simply a matter of providing a name for the database and a name and password for the administrative user. I then copied this information into the wp-config.php file on my PC and uploaded it to the site folder on the server.
6)With the WordPress files uploaded and the database setup and the connection information saved in wp-config.php, I visited the site (socialselling.link). This started the famous WordPress setup process, which basically involves setting up the administrator of the site with a user name and password. Once this information was entered, WordPress setup the database tables in MySQL and took me to the login screen and we were up and running.