Week 2 – Improving the Blog’s Appearance

At this early stage my blog looks pretty bare and the pages look nothing like other people’s blogs that I read. Other people’s have great heading banners, social media links, graphics, search bars, post lists, categories, comments etc, so how do you get all that set up?

You can design a decent statics website and/or a blog site with WordPress as it comes straight from the basic installation, but most of the really cool stuff that you see comes from packaged Themes and Plug-ins that overlay the WordPress structure and there are literally thousands to choose from.

Without a steer from P2S, you could literally take days to try to work out which theme to choose and which are the best plug-ins to achieve what you want. In John’s experience, the OptimizePress theme is the best to use because it gives you all the features you’re going to need to make your own blog site look professional and can also be used to create the other types of pages that we’re going to need to develop market and support our new products, such as Landing Pages, Sales & Marketing Pages, Product Launch Funnels & Secure Membership Sites. And after trying all sorts of plug-ins, he also know which ones really do do what is needed. Many of them out there frankly don’t work properly, so being able to draw on that experience is invaluable.

So this week’s videos talked me through buying OptimizPress, installing it and making the necessary configuration changes to get things started. Again you could spend hours trying to figure out all the config options, but the videos just cut straight to the important bits.

As an aside, you’ve probably read somewhere that WordPress and OptimizePress (and most other themes) are ‘mobile ready’. That basically means that all the pages and features you build with them properly scale and reformat on tablets, iPads, phones etc, in both landscape and portrait, including all the fonts, graphics, forms etc.

I’ve tried building sites, coding them myself using HTML, CSS, PHP, etc and believe me, trying to write them in such a way that all the pages properly adjust is an absolute nightmare. Even when using Bootstrap, one of the best HTML/CSS/JS frameworks, it’s still quite a challenge, so unless you’re pretty technically minded and have a lot of time to spare, then I really wouldn’t recommend going down that route. Stick with WordPress and a good theme and all that is automatically taken care of.

By the time I’d finished this week’s videos, I had the header graphic loaded, the initial menus done and most of the other sections down the right side set up. Plus a bunch of other plug-ins installed which will later help with SEO, security, visitor logging and performance. Think my blog’s now starting to look like there’s some proper substance to it.

I can’t leave this week’s update though without a big shout to Steve at www.gfx-1.com who designed and put together my header graphic. I just don’t do graphic design so I showed him someone else’s that I liked the general look of, gave him a head-shot and asked him to design me something along those lines. Got his first draft back next day and after a couple of minor tweaks, ended up with what you see above.

Really pleased with it – what do you think?

If you ever need any graphics works, just get in touch with Steve.


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