Crissy Says, Managing Your Biz

Why WordPress?

When it comes to blogging, I highly recommend using WordPress. There are many choices out there – and I’ve tried many of them before I started using WordPress myself. I’ve been using it for four years, and I haven’t looked back. I use it on all of my sites.

WordPress is a free software, and it’s completely web-based. This means that you can blog from any computer – and even your smartphone (yes, there’s an app for that.)

Aside from being free and convenient, WordPress offers many other benefits.

Easy To Use

First of all, WordPress is very easy to use. If you can use a word processing program, you can use WordPress. There is a “What You See Is What You Get” editor (WYSIWYG), so you can easily write your posts – and see what they’ll look like  before you publish them.

If you want to get technical, you have access tot he HTML version of your post, but if you’re not a technical person (and most people aren’t) all you have to do is type what you want to write, and hit the “publish” button. Easy peasy!

Easy Design Changes

Changing the look of your blog is super easy with WordPress. There are many pre-made themes to choose from. These are like “outfits” for your blog. When you change your theme, you don’t lose any of your content (posts). You simply change the look of your theme. You can also alter the themes to suit your needs – from changing the colors, fonts, layout, and so forth.

Complete Control

When you use WordPress, you have complete control over your blog. As I said above, you can change the design of your blog quite easily, but you also have control over the functionality of your blog. There are many add-ons called “plugins” that you can add to your blog to change the way it behaves. We’ll go into that more tomorrow.
For blogging (and marketing) ideas, pick up a copy of The Year Long  Marketing And Blogging Guide. It is filled with 156 blogging ideas and 52 marketing tips! (enough for 3 blog posts per week and 1 new marketing strategy, each week — for a whole year!)

The Year Long Marketing And Blogging Guide is only $10 through December 11! Click Here To Purchase Now!

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General

Solostream Review

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you more than likely noticed I changed my WordPress theme a few weeks ago.  Changing your theme is super simple!

From your WordPress dashboard, you simply click on Appearance, then Themes, and then Install Themes at the top.You can then browse themes or upload a theme’s file and WordPress will do all the installation work for you! (In the olden days of WordPress, you would have had to do the work by yourself – with the help of an FTP program…)

But anyway – back to the point! The new theme that I am using is the WP-Glide theme from Solostream. This theme is very versatile – and super easy to use. I would recommend this theme to both experienced users and those new to WordPress.

Here are some of the reasons why:

Lots of Layout Options: You can choose to have your posts arranged in a variety of ways from the box style that I am using to a more standard blog layout or even have the posts arranged by category instead of by date.

If you look at the demo site, you will see the option of having the home page feature a few boxes of basic information displayed, with a rotating gallery preview of posts, versus the way I have it set up on my site with no gallery and simply my latest posts.

There are also lots of built-in ad spots! You can choose to display them or hide them. If you display them, you can put your own ads in them or you can sell these ad spots to others and earn some extra income from your blog.

Like I said, there are lots of possibilities with this one!

No Coding Needed: You do not need to know how to change the theme’s code to change the theme’s appearance. Whether it’s the background color, the font, or layout, all of the options are found in the theme’s setting menu. To get to this menu, just click on Appearance and you’ll see it on the left hand side. Click on the link and you’ll be able to control everything about your theme’s appearance! (great for beginners!)

Lots Of Help Available: Solostream provides premium themes . This means you have to pay for them. This also means that you will have access to a support forum where you can ask questions and receive answers from other people using the same theme, as well as the theme’s developers. You will also have access to written tutorials and videos to help you with the set up and customization process.

Lots of Little Extras: There are lots of little extras – like suggested plugins to make using this theme super easy. For example, there is a plugin that automatically resizes  the photo you use in your post to display a smaller thumbnail version on the home page. You can also choose to not display a thumbnail at all. The related post plugin helps keep your content in front of your readers, rather than having it lost in the archives. Sure – you can find all of these plugins yourself and use them on any blog, but isn’t it nice to have a list of recommend plugins that will help make your theme run better?

All in all, this is a great theme! Solostream has many themes to choose from – I’m sure there is one that will fit your needs and taste. And they will all be as easy to use!

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Managing Your Biz

It Pays To Have Skills

In this world, you need some skills! Believe it or not, you have some natural ones already inside you. Unfortunately, not all of them are worth a paycheck. I mean, when is the last time you saw someone get paid to pat their head and rub their belly at the same time?

But there are some skills that can be LEARNED, and thankfully, once you learn them, they can put some food on your table.

Here are a few skills that I recommend you master (especially if you like this online business kind of stuff and want to earn a living with it)

WordPress: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I heart WordPress. It is what I build all of my websites in. First of all, it’s free. It’s easy to use, and you never have to worry about getting stuck because there are so many tutorials out there on the web. It’s also easy to customize. Trust me – I was a total WordPress newbie three years ago, but if I can learn it, you can, too! I cannot stress to you how much I recommend using it for your website.

To help you get over the learning curve, check out the Hot Summer Seminar Series . This year, it is all about WordPress! There is a seminar in a web room each Wednesday at 9pm Eastern, with a different guest and topic each week. Some of the topics include:

  • Securing your WordPress installation
  • Choosing a great theme
  • Great Plugins
  • Things WordPress Can Do That You May Not Know About
  • Getting More Blog Subscribers
  • Keeping Your Content In Front Of Your Readers
  • And More!

To learn more about these sessions and how to register, click here.

Copywriting: This is the “sales” writing — it’s the stuff that makes up your product descriptions, the blog posts and newsletter articles that promote your products and services… It’s the writing that makes people want to purchase your stuff. If your sales aren’t coming in as frequently as you’d like, definitely take a look at your copywriting.

There really is a method to writing good copy! When you are trying to sell a product, it’s natural to feel as though you should describe the features of the product. But guess what? That is not what sells a product! It’s the benefits that make people want something!

For example, if you were buying a new coffee maker, do you really site there and analyze each specification found in tiny print on the back of the packaging?

Or do you look at the front and see the big letters that emphasize “Easy To Use,” “No Wait Time,” “Enjoy a hot, steaming perfect cup of coffee in just thirty seconds. Simply plug it in and let it do the work for you! Your home will be filled with the aroma of fresh coffee in no time. Sit back and enjoy coffee house style coffee in your pajamas every morning.”

Seriously. What makes you want to buy that coffee maker more? The 12 cup carafe or the idea of fresh, hot coffee brewed to perfection?

For more tips on how to improve your copy, check out this audio and training guide — for only $10! But the $10 price is only good through July 23, so act fast!

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Crissy Says, Managing Your Biz

Upcoming WordPress Orientation Sessions: Are You Attending One?

My friend Kelly McCausey has some upcoming WordPress Orientation Sessions in the next week. If you are new to WordPress I highly recommend that you sign up for one of these sessions!

These sessions are done virtually, so you don’t need to worry about traveling anywhere. All you need to do is watch from your computer as Kelly shows you the following:

  • How to navigate the WordPress dashboard
  • What the difference between pages and posts are – and when to use each one
  • How to create great looking blog posts
  • The difference between categories and tags and the proper ways to use them
  • What Plugins are, and how they help you customize the functionality your blog
  • How to use widgets to customize the appearance of your blog
  • How to change your blog’s theme
  • How to back up your work, so you never have to worry about losing your work

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! You will also be able to ask Kelly all of your WordPress questions – and get immediate answers!

Oh, and by the way, Kelly knows her stuff. She is host of WAHM Talk Radio, owns lots of websites and blogs, and also installs & customizes blogs professionally.

The upcoming sessions are Thursday, May 20th and  Monday, May 24th from  8:00 to 10:00pm Eastern. And it is only $29 to for this awesome class!

Learn more about WordPress Orientation and how to sign up by clicking here!

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General

My Review of Blog Evangelists

I purchased Blog Evangelists when it first came out… which was in the fall of 2008, I do believe. It is comprised of 100 lessons to teach you how to create your own blog design business. But don’t be fooled – this isn’t just for people who want to be blog designers – it’s for anyone who wants to work  – and become really good – with WordPress.

First of all, the ladies (Kelly McCausey and Lynette Chandler) who wrote the lessons are amazing. I joined their forum Mom Masterminds back in 2006 and I learned how to work with and do basic customizations to WordPress through the how-to videos that Lynette posted there.

Blog Evangelists goes several steps further than those videos, though. With these lessons, you will learn how to completely customize a WordPress blog. There’s a lesson on each part of the blog – from footer.php to sidebar.php to header.php.

Kelly writes the lessons on the business building part of things, and for good reason. She started her own blog design business and she used her real-life experience to put together the Blog Evangelists lessons.

I was not new to blogging, WordPress, or building a business when I purchased this program. But I still learned a lot of new stuff. And like I said – it’s 100 lessons. You’d be hard-pressed to NOT learn something new!

Unfortunately, the business portion and the design portion are going to be split up soon. This is your last chance to get both of them – all in one piece.

This is priced at $197, so I know it is not cheap. But if you want to learn WordPress, it’s worth it. Hiring someone to customize your blog – once – will be about the same price. If you want more customizations done down the road, you just spent more money on that than you would if you had purchased this program.

And with this program, you’ll have the skills you need to customize blogs as a business. If you simply get one job, you’ll have paid for this program!

Click here to read more about Blog Evangelists and to purchase the program

* Have questions? Lynette and Kelly are offering a free webinar tonight at 9pm. Click here to register

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General

** Free Webinar ** On Starting Your Own Blog Design Business

Have you ever thought about starting your own blog design business? Most of the local businesses in your area are probably not taking full advantage of the web. Many of they may not even have a website, and those that do may have an old-fashioned static HTML page.

As you know, that kind of website isn’t going to impress people. Worse – the site may not be optimized or user-friendly. Do you see why people need your help? Many business owners simply do not know that affordable, great-looking, easy-to-maintain websites can easily be created with WordPress.

This is where you step in! You can help small business owners create a web presence and market their businesses online.

If you are interested in learning how to do this, Blog Evangelists is the program you are looking for. It will teach you, step-by-step, how to create your own blog design business. You will receive 100 lessons such as:

  • How to customize WordPress and the basics of  PHP
  • How to build a portfolio and market your business
  • What to charge for your work
  • And More!

You do not need any prior WordPress experience. You will be receiving lessons on how to create and manage your business PLUS lessons on how to work with WordPress… But only for a limited time! The program will be splitting into two; one part for business, one part for design. This is your last chance to receive both sections for one low price!

If this sounds interesting to you, you’ll want to attend the FREE Seminar from the Blog Evangelists founders. This will be held on Tuesday, January 19 at 9pm.

Click here to sign up for the free seminar now!

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General

Get To Know WordPress!

I wanted to give you a quick heads up about two upcoming WordPress Orientation Sessions that my friend Kelly McCausey is holding.

The first one is tomorrow at 10am EST and the second is January 24 at 7pm EST.

If you are new to WordPress, these sessions will teach you the basics, including a tour of the WP Dashboard, how to use categories and tags, how to create great looking posts, how to import posts from previous blogs, how to back-up your WP blog, and MORE!

For more info and to register, click here

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Crissy Says

We’re Talking WordPress on #indiebizchat January 11

The Indie Biz Chicks Twitter Party (#indiebizchat) will be on Monday, January 11 from 9-10pm Eastern time. Our topic will be : Using WordPress!

Learn why WordPress is such an awesome tool for building websites (hint: it’s FREE), find out which plugins you should be using, and share your WordPress tips and tricks!

If you are new to WordPress, I recommend checking out Kelly McCausey’s WordPress Orientation webinar classes to learn even more about this tool! (We’ll be giving away 2 spots in an upcoming session; leave a comment below for a chance to win! The winners will be chosen at random during tonight’s #indiebizchat!)

I recommend using TweetGrid to keep track of the discussion. You can log in by clicking here.

Remember to use the hashtag #indiebizchat when you enter in your tweets.

RSVP below by posting a comment! That way, you can start following the other attendees on Twitter in advance of #indiebizchat

** Not sure how to join the Twitter Party? Click Here to watch the Twitter Party Video for instructions.

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