Categories
Web/Tech

5 Things to Do With a Brand New WordPress Site

So, you want to get started in blogging? Awesome. If your intended audience is over the age of 18 you are going to want to use WordPress. (Under 18? Use Tumblr.) Also, if you are just getting started I’d recommend spending the first 12 months of blogging on a WordPress.com blog. You’ll have way less flexibility but spend way more time actually writing than fiddling with your site settings. Don’t spend money until you know you like blogging.

It starts with a foundation: If you are going the self-hosted route, I am currently recommending Hostgator’s baby plan. I put all my non-commerce clients there and have never had a problem with uptime or customer service. 100% recommend them.

Now, assuming you have your site all set-up. Here are the first 5 things I do with a brand new site.

  1. Get rid of stuff. In the upper right hand corner you’ll see a tab called “Screen Options.” Play with that on the dashboard and the post page. That will get lots of distracting, confusing options out of the way. If my client is a total newbie, I also install a plugin which actually disables everything they’ll never need called Selfish Fresh Start.
  2. Buy a theme. Yeah, I could spend hours looking for a free theme that will work. But I’m kind of over that. These days I’m buying very nice themes at Themeforest. Pick a popular one, one with lots of sales, you won’t go wrong.
  3. Get your free Google juice. Google juice is a weird term which implies that if you do things right, Google will bring search traffic to you. Set your site up on Google Webmaster tools so you can tell Google your new site is there and how frequently you update posts. It’ll look intimidating when you go there, but all you really need to do are the basic settings. Next, set up Feedburner to handle your RSS feed. It’s takes a couple of minutes but will pay dividends down the road. (Don’t worry about the other search engines. Google is 90%+ of all of my sites search referrals.)
  4. Add some plugins. Here’s what I add to all of my sites. I actually have these in a folder on my computer and just upload them all in bulk when setting up a new site. Google XML Sitemaps, (You’ll need this for #3) Jetpack, Askimet, (Comes installed automatically) Login Logo, Password Protected, and Gravity Forms. (Premium – Contact Form 7 is a decent, free alternative)
  5. Set-up 2 basic pages. Every blog should have these 2 pages. A Contact page (see the 2 form plugins above) and an About page. Why? Because as people come to your blog they might want to know more about you and / or might want to contact you. I look at a lot of blogs and you’d be surprised how hard it is to figure out how to contact the blogger or even to find a full name or where a person lives. Why write if people can’t connect with you? I don’t get it.
Full disclosure: There are 3 affiliate links in this post. Hostgator, Themeforest, and Gravity Forms. All are products I use every day. If you buy something after clicking on my links I will make a couple bucks. Upside? I’m giving you free advice.
Categories
Web/Tech

Revolve: Camera Dolly on Kickstarter

I love Kickstarter projects. And I especially dig the design stuff which brings great products to the market.

Why did I back this project? Well, I love video and want to take my skills to the next level. Plus, I’ve got some big trips planned for the next 12-18 months and I want to have right-sized gear to capture it all.

As someone who fancies himself a bit of an entrepreneur, I love the practical support and networking backing a project provides.

If you do video or know someone who does check out this project. This guy is right up the road in Orange County. I might just have to pick up my new dolly in person!

Categories
Web/Tech

Mini-Helicopters are Coming to a Nightmare Near You

[see the video]

First thought? Wow,  that is so flipping cool!

Second thought? I’m going to have nightmares about them.

Third thought? Alfred Hitchcock.

Fourth thought? How much?

Fifth thought? They need cameras like this.

Categories
Web/Tech

USB Typewriter

Feeling sentimental about the days when typing was a ridiculous chore complete with paper and corrective tape? Try this on.

Can you imagine bringing your iPad and the typewriter into a coffeeshop and setting up shop? It’d be awesome. 

The hipsters may declare you king. 

Price: $799

Categories
Web/Tech

iPad 2 vs. Kindle review & comparison

iPad 2

Pros:

  • Fun to play with.
  • Feel cool in coffee shops.
  • Lots of apps.
  • Perfect for consuming media.
  • Fun for taking short notes, like a giant iPhone.
  • Light, battery lasts a long time, shiny.
  • Lots of apps for kids to play with. (Or entertainment for bored adults on planes)

Cons:

  • Not going to pay AT&T more money for 3G service, so stuck finding wifi.
  • You can’t read books on this and keep your eyeballs happy.
  • Where did the SD card reader go?
  • You can’t write for a long time on this, need to buy the external keyboard.
  • It’s too heavy/awkward to hold for long periods of time.
  • The camera stinks compared to the iPhone 4.
  • Completely useless in bright light.

Kindle

Pros:

  • $139 or less, great entry price.
  • Almost all of the classics are free. And I adore the Kindle Single format.
  • Very light, easy to hold for a long time while reading.
  • Doesn’t feel fragile.
  • The screen is amazing, doesn’t hurt your eyes and you can read it in full sunlight.

Cons:

  • A lot more money for the 3G version. While doesn’t include a contract, it’s steep.
  • It would be nice to listen to music while you read, I can’t figure out how to do that.
  • Needs a backlight option so I can read in bed without turning on a light.