Author's posts

Jan 16

How To Start A WordPress Blog -Checklist

Many of my clients have asked for a WordPress checklist.  It makes creating a blog so much more efficient if you have  a list made of all the things to successfully launch a WordPress blog. The customization section is where the real things start to happen. Things like permalinks, categories, plugins and doing this all with SEO in mind.

So here is the list. Start checking items off your list!


1and11. Register a Domain Name
Do this step first, as you’ll need to enter your domain name when you set up your hosting account.

I use to locate available domain names and over the past 10 years they have given exceptional service and kept my domain registration secure.  You always want to set up your hosting separately from your domain.

The main reason I advocate for keeping your domain name(s) separate from web hosting is because things are far more likely to go wrong with your web hosting before your domain name. Domain registrars are at least partially regulated, by ICANN. . Domain registrars serve one purpose: managing a domain name for a small fee.

Web hosts have full control of what your website can do. Almost all of them have restrictions in their terms of service (especially shared hosting) which limit what you can and can’t do. If they have your domain name too, you can’t simply change web hosts in the event of a problem or dispute. Your domain can be held hostage or as a bargaining chip to make sure you renew or pay them.

There is potentially a secondary problem with a web host registering a domain name for you. The ownership of the domain name comes into question. Do they register it in your name making you the legal owner or their company’s name, making them the de facto owner.

So to summarize. domain name registration with one company web hosting on an other.

2. Set up your Hosting Account
I use HostGator to host my WordPress blogs because they make it easy to install, and they have great online & phone support. They are also very inexpensive at less than $10/month for unlimited domains, sites and/or blogs on that one account.

click on the image above, and use the coupon code “wordpresschecklist”. That will give you the first month free (or, for a penny – which is about as close to free as you can get).

3. Update Nameservers
Check your email for the account details for your new hosting account. Inside this email you’ll find 2 nameservers. Keep the email open and go back Log in to your account, find your new domain name, and edit the nameservers to the two shown in your HostGator email. Contact me if you need help.

It can take up to 72 hours for your domain name to point to your new hosting account, so you want to do these steps right away.

4. Install WordPress
You don’t have to download WordPress and then try to manually install it yourself – that’s doing things the hard way. Instead, go back to your HostGator welcome message and find the link to your control panel. You will have to use the temporary IP Address link since your domain hasn’t propagated yet. Log in to your control panel with the username and password in that same email.

Once you log in, scroll down and look for the Quickinstall button. It’s towards the bottom, under Software/Services. Under the navigation on the left, choose WordPress and follow the instructions to install your WordPress blog.

5. Choose a WordPress Theme
While you’re waiting for the domain to propagate, do a search for “free wordpress themes”. Pick one (or pick a few) and download the zip files. Do not Unzip or extract the files.

Your wordpress install comes with a free theme which is exceptionally functional. Has all the bells and whistles that you will need..just need to activate it.

6. Still Waiting?
At this point you are probably still waiting for your domain name to propagate (meaning the nameserver update hasn’t taken effect yet so you still can’t see your new WordPress blog when you type your domain name into a browser).

There isn’t much you can do at this point since most of your links – including your WordPress admin login – depend on the domain name. So while you are waiting, decide what your first few blog posts will be about.

Write a few blog posts, based on the keyword phrases you selected. It’s a great starting point because you know people are searching those phrases, and are specifically interested in those topics.

7. WordPress Customization
Once your domain is working, you’ll be able to log in to the WordPress dashboard. Just go to yourdomain/wp-admin/ in a browser, and put in the username and password you chose when you installed WordPress on your hosting account.

Now that you’re logged in – Welcome to WordPress!! – follow these steps:

activate your new theme (under appearance > themes)
change permalink structure help
edit/delete the default post (Hello World) and delete the test comment
fill out About Me page  About page is one of the most important pillars of your blog.Often I’ll visit blogs and want to know more information about the author – either so I can   contact them, or quote them in a reference – and have zero luck finding anything at all.
Can you answer this one basic question: Who are you?
Ideally you have a photo and a basic introduction to “who you are and what you do”.. you   should have a visible hyperlink to an About Me page.
Remember to tell viewer how you can help them not give a long list of all your credentials.

edit/add categories

Now you’re all set and ready to blog! 😀

If you need more instruction you can purchase a set of 23 videos explaining in depth how to install and customize your new wordpress site. go here


Jan 06

7 Marketing Tips For Fiction

fictionmarketingmistakesThere’s no question that it’s harder to promote fiction than it is nonfiction (and let’s not even talk about poetry).

Be open to the possibilities

Promoting and publicizing fiction requires more thought, creativity, and effort.

Give one or two of these seven suggestions a try and evaluate the results. You have nothing to lose, and much to gain.
1.Support your book with a good website designed by a professional. Your website has to be as good as your writing. Use your site to help us connect with you as an individual, not as a silent author. Help us  know you better by including video interviews and links to other media exposure.

2.Use your content to identify promotion allies. This could be your secret weapon because honestly, not enough novelists are doing this. Camille Noe Pagán’s novel, The Art of Forgetting, tells the story of what happens to a friendship when one of the friends suffers a traumatic brain injury, so Pagán partnered with the Bob Woodruff Foundation (Woodruff suffered a brain injury while covering the Iraq war for ABC-TV). Look, too, at your characters’ professions – there’s an association for just about every occupation. Send a copy of the book with a letter outlining promotional possibilities and what’s in it for them. You might offer to speak at their national meeting, write for their member publication, or offer a discount to members.

3.Think beyond book reviews. Book reviews are valuable and securing them should be on any author or publisher’s book promotion to-do list, but your novel deserves more widespread, long-term, and ongoing exposure than it can get through reviews alone. Send out press releases. You want the press to talk about your book for as long as it’s available for purchase.

4.Use the nonfiction nuggets in your manuscript to create newsworthy material for media outlets. Is your protagonist a radio jock? The morning drive time personalities would love to interview you by phone. Is she a jilted wife starting over in the workforce as – let’s say – an account executive at a high-flying packaging design firm who finds love with her client at a consumer products company? You’ve got publicity opportunities with the packaging and marketing trade magazines. What about locations, products, or services in your novel? And a brand name product that plays a key role could get your book into that brand’s employee newsletter. If you’re writing your novel now, work in some nonfiction nuggets you can capitalize on later.

5.Take advantage of holidays, special occasions, annual events, and seasonal stories. You want to constantly look for special days or occasions you can connect your book to.  There’s a holiday for just about everything. Hitch your book to one of them and use it to get into the news. (Use the monthly calendars at Holiday Insights for inspiration.)

6.Leverage what you uncovered while writing your book. Did you learn about a period in history or a specific region? Use this knowledge as a springboard for publicity. The author of a historical romance novel set in South Carolina, for example, can write and distribute a news release announcing the top romantic attractions in that state or pitch local newspapers or regional magazines on an article about the state’s most romantic date destinations. Your goal is to be quoted as an expert source because this requires using your book title as one of your credentials.

7.Get social. Focus on one or two social networking sites and master the most effective and appropriate ways to use them to promote your book.

And this is just the beginning. But I’m wondering: What has been your most successful tactic for promoting fiction? Please tell us about it.

Oct 07

Can’t Log Into My WordPress Site

Not being able to access your admin area because you can’t remember your password or username is really frustrating.

Fortunately, with WordPress, there is always a way to get back into your website or blog. You can recover a lost or forgotten password or username and get access to your website again.

Wrong Username/Password

If you use a wrong username or password WordPress will let you know: Error: Invalid Username

If you are using a wrong password WordPress will let you know: Error: The password you entered for this username ——(will tell you the username you used) is incorrect.

If you know your username or email address, then click on the “Lost your password?” link in the error message …

You can also access the lost password feature by clicking on the link below the login box …












A new window will appear type in your username or email and click “Get New Password”

You will receive a system notification via email with a password reset link. Click on the link to reset your password.

Enter a new password into the “Password reset” field. Make sure to choose a strong password containing upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols, like “$, ^, %, #, @” etc …

After your password has been reset, log in using your new password

What To Do If You Can’t Remember Your Username And Password

How can you log in if you can’t remember both your username and password?

You can still access your WordPress site, but this is where things start to get a little technical.

The easiest way is to contact your hosting company and ask them to reset your wordPress password and username  from phpMyAdmin

To reset your username and password  you will  need an encryption tool that lets you generate an MD5 hash function. Your hosting company can do this for you.

For security purposes, never set up WordPress sites with the username admin.

This is the default installation username for WordPress and one of the leading causes of brute force attacks on WordPress sites.

Oct 05

How To Add Your Instagram Photos To Your Website

Increase engagement between you and your Instagram followers by displaying your Instagram content directly on your site.
You can customize your Instagram feeds to look exactly the way you want, so that they blend seamlessly into your site and pop out at your visitors.

Use the Instagram Feed plugin

It is simple to set up.

You can display photos from multiple Instagram accounts in the same feed or in separate feeds.

It is Completely responsive and mobile ready – layout looks great on any screen size and in any container width.

Remember that any future photos that you post to Instagram will automatically appear on your website.


Install and activate the Instagram Feed plugin.

Go to your Dashboard and find Instagram Feed click on it to get started.

Log into your Instagram account by clicking on the Log in and get my Access Token and User ID button

The Access Token and User ID fields will be filled in automatically in the white box. Copy and paste these fields into the box below and click save changes.

You can use the second tab (2.Customize) to personalize your Instagram widget.

Go to tab 3  (3.Display Your Feed)  to get the shortcode to display in your page, post or widget. [instagaram-feed]

Enjoy your photos!

Oct 05

How To Add Twitter Feed To Your Website

Adding a Twitter Fee to you website allows your readers to see your latest Tweets and get the chance to follow you.

Go to your Twitter account ( and log in

Click your profile picture top right side

Select Settings

On left side click on Widgets.

Click on Create new

Here you can configure what your widget will look like, the default settings usually are OK

Click Create Widget to generate the code. Copy this code.

In WordPress Dashboard go to Appearance – Widgets

Drag a text widget over to your widget area.

Add a title and in the text area paste the code you just copied. Click save.

Your Twitter Feed should now be live on your website.

Oct 05

What are Share Buttons

Share Buttons are plugins that let your blog readers share your content.

Sharing buttons help you to increase your audience by engaging with people who are not on your site, as well as distribute content across multiple social networks and platforms helping to drive traffic to your site.

The one I use is SumoMe WordPress Plugin. After you install the plugin there are very easy to follow instructions to customize where you want to place the plugin.

The best place to put your share buttons is at the bottom of your content.  This way you will be keeping the page tidy

and the user can share straight after they have read your content.

Oct 03

How to Build An Online Store On Your Website

You can build your own store using the WooCommerce free plugin.

WooCommerce is a free eCommerce plugin that allows you to sell anything, easily. Built to integrate seamlessly with WordPress, WooCommerce is the world’s favorite eCommerce solution that gives store owners complete control.

With WooCommerce, you can sell both physical and digital goods in all shapes and sizes, offer product variations, multiple configurations, and instant downloads to shoppers, and even sell affiliate goods from online marketplaces.

Offer free shipping, flat rate shipping, or make real-time calculations. Limit your shipments to specific countries, or open your store up to the world. Shipping is highly configurable, and WooCommerce even supports drop shipping.

WooCommerce comes bundled with the ability to accept major credit cards, PayPal, BACS (bank transfers), and cash on delivery. Need additional options? More than 140 region-specific gateways integrate with WooCommerce, including popular choices like Stripe, Authorize.Net, and Amazon Payments.

Too Install:

Navigate to Plugins in WordPress dashboard

Click add New

In search box type in WooCommerce

Install now.and activate. It comes with a handy how to guide that will guide you through the set-up


Oct 02

How To Add A Buy Now Button

You can add a Buy Now Button to your website to accept payment for your product or book

PayPal is a popular choice for online payments and it is safe and secure to use.

Set up your account and log in to PayPal.

Choose Merchant Services Tab

Click on Create Buy Now Button

The rest is very straight forward . just follow the instructions

Click yes to encrypt your button as you do not want peepers to see your download page or other information.

Use default settings for Shipping and tax options.

Click the More Options button

Under the heading Customize Your Buyers Experience insert the url for the page that contains the download of your product or book.

Use the default settings for next section except for tick no shipping address (unless you plan on sending out a physical book then you would need their address but for a digital download an address is not needed.)

Click Create Button Now

You will be given some html code which you need to copy and then paste in your website where you want your Buy Now Button to go.

Click Done and your payment button is ready to use.

Oct 02

How To Add Audio To Your Website

How to add audio to your website:

Adding audio to a page or post is as simple as adding an image.

Place cursor where you want the audio to be , click add media. Select the music file you want to upload from your computer.

Add a title and description (this helps with SEO rankings)

Select Embed Media Player

Click insert into Post.

To create an audio file you can use the Sound Recorder that comes with Windows to capture the audio stream and save it as a WAV . It also allows you to edit the file. This is what it sounds like:

Audacity is a free audio software. Audacity is an open source, cross-platform audio editor and recorder. Audacity can record and play sounds and import and export WAV, AIFF, MP3, and OGG files.

Oct 02

Adding sliders

Homepage sliders can give a professional look to you website.

Sliders are usually found at the top of the homepage, and they come in various sizes. They use a slideshow style format.

One important point to remember is that your images are the correct size  for the slider so they are not blurry.

One easy slider to use is Soliloquy Lite

To add Slider:

From the Dashboard click Plugins>Add New

In the search box type Soliloquy Lite

Install now and activate – the Soliloquy will appear in your Dashboard  links

Click on the link Add new Soliloquy slider to begin building your slider

Add a title for slider, this will not appear on the slider itself but used by you to distinguish your slider is you choose to install more than one.

Add images to slider – the default dimensions for Soliloquy lite slider is 960 x 300 pixels.

Upload images they will appear at the bottom ready to publish. Click publish which gets your slider ready for your website.

When you click Publish, the shortcode will pop up ie: [soliloquy id=”77″]

Where ever you want the slider to appear (posts, pages, widgets, header etc ) just type in the shortcode.

And your slider is live.