Resources

Tools for WordPress Webmasters

There are many tools and techniques that can help to improve a website, some paid and some free. I have listed here the resources that I personally use and can recommend. I have provided a brief introduction to each one, but for full details of what the product or service can provide I urge you to visit their website and find out for yourself.

WordPress Web Hosting

The latest news is that SiteGround are now one of the few hosting companies that WordPress.org now actually recommend to their users. That’s a good enough reason for you to use them as your host!

What is important is that you get started and choose a hosting company that offers automatic installation of WordPress on your chosen domain. Once you have WordPress installed then that’s it: you can then build your website from your own computer (or tablet!) and the hosting company just sits in the background serving up your website to you and your visitors.

SiteGround offers a WordPress hosting package which includes automatic installation of the software. These guys know what they’re doing and I can fully recommend them.

Click here to see more: www.sitehost.online

WordPress Themes

In addition to the default theme of Twenty Sixteen, WordPress users can choose from hundreds and hundreds of free themes in a wide variety of colors and formats.  But if you want a more exclusive look to your website you can use a premium theme from one of the many companies specializing in WordPress designs.

One of the best-known companies is Elegant Themesor WordPress. For a small annual fee you get access to their whole portfolio of premium themes, including new ones which are released during the year. They have many happy customers and an awesome reputation for high quality designs.

The powerful Thesis Theme for WordPress by DIYThemes is the mother and daddy of all premium themes. It is actually a framework designed to enable you to customise each element of your theme and make your WordPress website unique. It requires no coding knowledge and delivers precision results via its revolutionary layout generator.

Artisteer

And, if you want to design your WordPress theme yourself, you can use Artisteer, a point and click theme generator that lets you design totally unique themes that look and behave like professionally designed themes. You don’t need any particular technical or artistic skills to use it. I have used Artisteer to design unique websites for many of my clients and I can report that it is easy (and fun!) to design your own WordPress theme.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is all about presenting your website to the search engines (Google in particular) so that your indexed site will attract your target audience. There is no point in having a whizz-bang website with every latest dingle-dangle if no-one every visits it. And, even if you do have thousands of visitors a day, it is a waste of everyone’s time and resources if they are not the right sort of visitors.

SEO begins with keyword research.  You need to know what phrase or question your ideal visitor would type into Google Search when they are looking for a website like yours. And you need to know what your competition is. How many websites are there already in existence that Google will list in preference to your website and what keywords are they optimized for?

Google SEO

As I say in my book, this is a huge topic and there are many self-appointed ‘experts’ out there who will tell you that they have the insider info on Google and that you need to spend megabucks to get their advice. Well, trust me, it just ain’t so.

Google supplies all you need to know for free. You can download their SEO Starter Guide here.

When your website is ready, download and read this guide and work your way through it. That’s all you need.

Any comments about my book?

  • Did WordPress To Go tell you what you wanted to know about building a WordPress website?
  • Is there anything missing from the book?
  • What should I include in future updates?

You are welcome to enter your comments at the bottom of this page. Thank you!

And finally, if you’re a happy bunny, why not review my book?

30 thoughts on “Resources

  1. PLEASE RESPOND… I bought your book “Word Press To Go” to solve and error that it appears to my webpage… when you enter to my webpage it appears the next message; “Warning: ksort() expects parameter 1 to be array, object given in /homepages/15/d578753550/htdocs/clickandbuilds/MissfitsHealthStudio1515/wp-content/plugins/bbpress/includes/core/template-functions.php on line 316” I have google around a lot and the best answer I found is the webpage “https://wordpress.org/support/topic/php-warning-ksort/page/2/” from the user Derick Hammer, however I have no idea how to fix it because when I enter to my webpage : http://missfitshs.com/wp-admin/ it appears the next message now… “Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at /homepages/15/d578753550/htdocs/clickandbuilds/MissfitsHealthStudio1515/wp-content/plugins/bbpress/includes/core/template-functions.php:316) in /homepages/15/d578753550/htdocs/clickandbuilds/MissfitsHealthStudio1515/wp-includes/pluggable.php on line 1179” I found in the web also “https://wordpress.org/support/topic/header-information-headers-already-sent-by-wp-configphp1/” I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO I AM A COMPLETE NOOB for this !

    Now when my visitor enter to my webpage is with an error and when I try to enter to wordpress is blocked 🙁

    1. Hi German,
      From the messages that you have given here it looks like the error comes from the bbPress plugin. If you updated WordPress and then the messages appeared then it’s likely that the plugin also needs updating. If you can’t do that then I would delete it and find an alternative. Or you could contact the bbPress technical support and see if they can supply an answer. Hope that helps 😉
      Sarah

  2. Hello,
    I had a professional build my word press web site; and I have taken the updating of it over and am pretty much clueless. I think that your book, which looks very specific and thorough, is above my skill level. What I would love to to do is to learn how to put up a page and then add pics and text to it; in remedial language. I would be very appreciative for your help.
    Many thanks,
    Steve R

    1. Hi Steve,
      I wrote my book for beginners and it really isn’t that difficult to add a page. Log into your website, go to Lesson 5 in my book, preferably in the paperback version, and follow it through, paragraph by paragraph. Just add any old page to practice – if you just save it as a draft then it won’t appear on the website. Once you have been through the lesson a couple of times it should all click into place. If you really can’t work out how to do it I suggest you contact the professional who designed it and ask them to sit down with you and show you how to do it. Good luck!
      Sarah

    1. Hello Carmel. Thanks for this enquiry. A favicon is the tiny image that appears in the very top left of your website and is a way for you to promote your brand. The image should be sized 512 pixels x 512 pixels.

      The latest version of WordPress lets you easily add a favicon. From the dashboard, go to Appearance, Customize, Site Identity. From there you can upload your favicon image and it will then become an integral part of your website.

      Good luck!

      Sarah

  3. Hi Sarah,

    I am using the Artisteer and it is fabulous! Very intuitive and easy to learn an use.
    As an Artisteer user, maybe you can help me with a question .
    Ho to add a Contact Form in a page of Artisteer 4.3?
    Thanks

    1. Hi Paulo. Sorry for the delay in replying. Adding a contact form in an Artisteer site is no different from adding one in any other theme. Create a new page called ‘Contact’ (or something) and add a contact form using the Jetpack plugin. I cover this in Lesson 12. Hope this helps.
      Sarah

  4. Hi Sarah,
    Greetings from Brazil!
    I was fine up to page 44 of your eBook but you mention a “Image (jetpack) and I as unable to find it.
    I am a beginner and the WordPress in Portuguese has some diferences in layout from your eBook.
    Nice bees! In Brazil we have a lot!
    Thanks
    Paulo

    1. Hi Paulo,

      Thanks for this message from far-away Brazil! The image widget is usually installed by default in Jetpack in USA and Europe but maybe you have a different version. I can only suggest that you go to the Jetpack settings page and see whether the image widget needs activating. Please let me know if that works, otherwise I’ll give you some HTML to display images.

      Cheers, Sarah

      1. Hi Sarah,
        Thanks for the help!
        Yes, Jetpack didn´t come in our Portuguese edition.
        I installed it and everything is ok now.
        Thanks, Paulo

  5. Awesome book! I knew NOTHING of WP and within a week of having WP2GO I was able to take over several WP installations, recover a 30 page ecom site owned by a friend which had been sabotaged by another developer and create an online consultancy for another friend in the health and wellness sector. Where do I go from here Miss Sarah?! Interested in Divi and MySQL. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Shaun. Thanks for your comments and thanks for the review that you posted on Amazon. Divi is a wonderful theme created by Elegant Themes and they provide a good description of it if you search on their site. MySQL is the database software that WordPress uses. I don’t cover it in my book because users don’t really have to access it. But if you’re a real geek 😉 then you’ll find a lot of info about it if you Google the term. Good luck with your websites!
      Sarah

  6. Your little book certainly delivers the goods. I purchased three WordPress books and am so glad I read yours first. I can keep the others as reference. I am up to Lesson 19 and am having a little break and looking at ‘featured content’ and also perusing this website.

    When I am up to speed I will be purchasing a theme for my client and I found a minimalist theme I like at Studio Press (I chose them because my illustrator tutor used a theme from them). Do you think Studio Press themes and framework will be easy to use for a beginner?

    I am practicing WP on a page on my own website, using the Motif theme. You can take a look if you like. I am so happy that I have actually achieved a website, and I credit your little, well written, book for making it so. I followed all your instructions, instead of reading the whole book and then forgetting it all, feeling overwhelmed and bamboozled as I would normally would.

    1. Hi Kathy,
      Thanks for your kind words about my book – I’m glad you found it helpful. I haven’t used Studio Press themes but I know they have a good reputation. Third party themes are not always easy for beginners but the only way to find out is to go for it 🙂 If you find it tricky at first then that will be a good motivator to get learning!

      I had a look at your website and it looks great. You’re doing well and I wish you the best of luck with your client.

      Sarah

  7. Thank you, Sarah. I have my very first website up and running. I have a logo on the left side of the header picture. I want to add a picture to the header like your chickens with the logo over the top on one side. How can I do that?

    I would like to read about creating a child theme in your book. All the Word Press sites say it is most important in order to make format changes. But I cannot create one that works!

    Since you no longer recommend Hostgator, what are your suggestions for someone like me who purchased a year’s worth of service? Shall I just hang in there and change it when it expires?

    1. Hi Vicki,
      If you want a logo over the top of a header image the best way of doing this is to create the image via some layering software like PhotoShop Elements or Paint or any software that lets you manipulate graphics. Create and crop the flattened image and upload it as described in lesson 4. Another idea that I often use is to upload a header image and then put the logo at the top of either the left or right sidebar. This can look more effective than combining two images.

      Creating a child theme requires a knowledge of CSS which is why I haven’t included this topic in my book. But I might write another book to include this if enough people are interested. In the meantime, if you want to change the format of your theme you could use a plugin like Simple Custom CSS which lets you make changes to the style sheet without needing to create a child theme. Try it!

      Hostgator is fine if you’re already signed up. If you’re happy with their service then stay with them because it can be a hassle to change hosts.

      Your website looks good. Keep it going!

      Sarah

  8. Hello there! I have read your book and found it a good start to build a website. But every individual’s needs vary and mine are instructional – reaching out to those interested in learning physics. One of the issues I am facing is how to upload a PDF file on the website. Reason for this is that I would like to post brief technical notes (with mathematical equations and graphs etc.). Is it possible to do this and if so how?

    Best wishes.

    1. Hi Subhash,

      Uploading PDF files is just like uploading any other media. The easiest way to do this is to name your PDF file as the title text you would like to display on your post/page. Then add a post or page from where you want your visitor to download the PDF. Add whatever text you want on the page and place the cursor where you want the PDF download link to appear. Then click ‘Add Media’ and upload the PDF as if it were an image. Then click Insert Into Page. You’ll see that a link appears with the text of the title of the PDF. Then Publish your page. When a visitor clicks on the link the PDF will appear on the screen and they can read it, print it, download it, etc.

      Hope this helps. Good luck!
      Sarah

      1. Thanks Sarah, for these tips. I followed through on them but the upload was not successful. Does it depend on file size? PDF file I am trying to upload is 919 kB.

        May I invite you to visit and comment on my website: http://PhysicsNow321.com at your convenience. I shall be grateful for your feedback.

  9. Hi, I am currently working on my website. My problem is very basic. I want no theme at all. I want a blank page with a image box at the top to put an image in an then be able to write on the image in a clear space. My other problem is i just want to write a sales page with the ability to highligh words and use various fonts and sizes. I am just creating an affiliate site so only need one page to give info, create excitement, and call to action. I couldn’t find what I needed. Did I miss these in your book? what pages please.

    1. Hi Teresa,
      WordPress is designed to make it easy to create a website with a number of pages of different page formats. A website with only one page is not really what it was built for. However, you can just make a single-page site if you have a very minimalist theme. Have a look at Twenty Sixteen https://wordpress.org/themes/twentysixteen/. That should let you build a page with no headings and a white background. Delete all the junk, as in my lesson, and leave the site title and tagline blank. Then you can add a page and use the formatting icons on the toolbar to insert an image and to use different fonts and colours.

      But do consider having ‘About’ and ‘Contact’ pages and perhaps a bit more puff because you want to attract the attention not only of human eyeballs but also the search engines.

      Thanks for your query and good luck with your website!

      Sarah

  10. Sarah,
    I just finished the 2013 WordPress To Go, I truly enjoyed it, and have already begun my first ever website. I wrote a review on Amazon, so I’ll use this space for a question and couple of minor corrections which you have probably already found.
    My question is about something on page 39. You suggest clicking on one of the “two little ‘T’ or ‘W’ icons in the toolbar.” My version of WordPress (latest) only shows the ‘T’. How can I get WordPress to reproduce the MS WORD text I have prepared?
    A couple of small typos; one is on page 41, next to last line: “Whatever changes what you want.” I think you meant “That” you want. On page 60, 3rd paragraph: “I will cover how get the image” You should add “to” as in how to get the image. The top of page 71 starts with “one of things that…” I believe you meant to have it read, “One of THE things that…”
    These are very small errors, and not related to the real content at all. See my review on Amazon to see how helpful I’ve found your book to be. It is the first Amazon review I’ve ever written. Thanks for helping me to overcome my fears, and get started on my first web site.

    John

    1. John, thanks for your comments here and thanks for the review – much appreciated. I’ll take note of the typos and make sure they’re fixed in the next update of my book ;-(

      The T icon works a bit differently now. When you click it WordPress then treats anything you paste as pure text. So, copy the text in MS Word, click the T icon and then paste in the text. If you want any formatting you’ll have to do it yourself in WordPress: Word formatting is messy and incompatible with WP.

      Thanks again and good luck with your website!

      Sarah

  11. I saw many similar books on Amazon that were anything but step-by-step.

    Your book on the other hand was really good and helped me a lot, but I thought that Google Analytics desevered it’s own chapter.

    Thanks!

    1. Thanks Sacha. I understand your comment about Google Analytics but my problem is that this is a huge topic in its own right. My book is about WordPress and there is a lot of info about Analytics available online. See Google Analytics. However, if my readers ask for info then I take note and I’ll consider including more in the next version of my book.

      Thanks for your response and good luck with your website.

      Sarah

  12. Hi Sarah,

    Your book was a wonderful resource on WordPress. I was struggling to build my website before as most of the resources available on the net are not comprehensive. After reading your book, I could complete my website without much difficulty. I also felt relieved that I have made a right choice by selecting WordPress CMS for my website.

    I did not find anything missing from the book but some tips on how to improve your ranking would have helped the new players.

    I would love to see more information on plug-ins in your future updates as I feel plug-ins are indispensible and they can really help you build a great website.

    Best Regards,

    Milind

    1. Thanks for your comment, Milind.

      I’m in the process of updating my book and I will be including some later recommendations for plugins, including those that help improve website rankings. When the updates have been published I’ll include some information in this section that will help readers who have already purchased the book.

      Good luck with your website!

      Sarah

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