WordPress for FREE – my top tips

I’ve been using WordPress for three weeks now.  For free*!!  Getting my voice out into the world.  Writing and reading and exploring in my spare time.

* OK, not quite free, as I’ve paid an optional £15 to have my own site sixtypublishing.com, rather than sixtypublishing.wordpress.com.  You can do this in the DOMAINS section of the MySite menu – I felt this was a bit hidden away compared to the “Plans” option.  You can possibly do this cheaper, registering your own domain and then paying WordPress £11 to use it

 

I wanted to share with you the lessons I’ve learned so far, so that you can get a richer experience on your Blog.  By trade, I am a Web Developer, but I haven’t particularly utilised those skills yet, I’ve just slowly discovered the tricks …

  1. I only found this out yesterday!  When I usually log in, I go via Google and get presented with this page (see picture below).  Now, you can do things from here, but by no means everything …

StandardHomeScreen

However, instead go to this in the address bar, replacing “SIXTYPUBLISHING” with your site’s name:

https://sixtypublishing.wordpress.com/wp-admin/

Now, you get a huge menu, that looks like this (see picture below).  You can still get back to the other menu above, simply by clicking on the MySite area top left of the screen.  There are loads of things to do in here, I’d recommend clicking through all the options.  I’ll detail some of them …

AdvancedHomeScreen

 

2. Customise your theme.  Do it!  Again, click through all the menus and play about.  You can mess up your site completely to see what it will look like, but as long as you don’t press Save/Publish, it won’t go live.  Closing out of this screen will lose any unsaved changes.  I particularly like the Widgets …

CustomiseTheme

 

3. I think this is my favourite tip, purely cos it’s so gratifying.  First, go into WhatsApp (I only know it works with this, but might do with other messaging apps?).  Start a new message to somebody, and type in your site address, e.g. sixtypublishing.com OR sixtypublishing.wordpress.com

WhatsApp_Screenshot

Did it pop up with something?  Cool, huh!  That’s YOU!

You can add all your details for this in that secret menu I showed you.  You want Settings -> General Settings.  Here you can set Site Title, Tagline and Blog Picture.

4. Use those Categories well.  Have levels and sublevels – it all helps for Navigation.  Also, you can amend these in that secret menu, via Posts -> Categories.  This came in useful for me, because I’d called one “climbing” instead of “Climbing”, but in the Standard menu you can’t change them.

Categories

5. Shortcodes: This is a line of HTML style code that you can add to your pages, that should enhance your features, and give you manageable content (rather than relying purely on the Widget features in the SideBar menu).  Here’s a list of them.

  • The ones I have used so far are:
    • Blog Subscription Code – promote yourself better with a Follow option.  I add this at the bottom of my posts, just one line of ‘code’ …

BlogSubscriptionCode

    • Display Posts Shortcode – this one would be REALLY brilliant if it worked properly.  It doesn’t seem to update properly.  I find I have to go back into my pages, and mess about with the code to get it to pull through everything.  Here’s an example, where I am displaying all posts from a sub_category on my blog page to direct people to further reading (I’ve also added a thumbnail, it comes out MASSIVE and looks silly on MOBILE, but again in that secret menu, go to Settings -> Media and you can amend this.  I’ve set mine to be 75×75)

DisplayPosts

    • Twitter Timeline Widget – this link gives you all the details rather than me go through it all.  If you get stuck, just ask me and I’ll help you through it.  Looks cool though, and you can style it from a list to fit your theme

TwitterTimeline

 

That’s it for now, I hope you find it useful.  Feel free to share …

Stay tuned and follow my Blog, as once I get my Developer hat on we should find out all sorts of cool stuff.  And all for FREE!!!  Any questions, please ask …

 

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Author of the Sixty Minute Reads series. 60 minutes, 60 chapters. AMAZON UK AMAZON USA

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