Mar 152014

Simple websites can easily be on-line in an hour using website creation sites. But if you want the next level of sophistication without going into coding, it is hard to beat WordPress. The key factor which allows you to get complex functions deployed quickly is the plugin facility built into WordPress. Examples of the functionality includes social buttons, contact/sign-up forms, membership sites, security, spam rejection, light boxes, SEO optimisation and much, much more. In fact it is hard to find something that the right WordPress plugin cannot do. This plethora of functions does have a downsides. This is that some plugins do not play well together. But due to multiple choice availability, if some plugin does not work well with your favourite one, you can likely find an alternative one that does.

The disadvantage of the immense popularity WordPress has gained means that more cyber criminals are targeting this ever growing platform. Once they manage to penetrate your site, they will use it as a base to infect your visitors with malware. Or use your site as part of thousands of other infected sites to attack other sites. So to prevent this, the video suggest ways in which you can use security plugins thwart the cyber robot from securing a foothold. However, the most important security measure is actually very simple. Don't use "admin" as your username and make sure that your password has more than 10 characters and include upper and lower cases, numbers and non-alphanumeric symbols.


May 102013

Because one of the many uses of your WordPress might be to earn money with it, I'm providing this special resource of Internet Marketing basics for Silver and Gold Tier members. I acquired these videos rather than making them because I am not an expert in this field and found respectable marketers who were willing to provide their course for reuse as an adjunct to my main one.

As always, any money making course carries a disclaimer that it is not guaranteed to make anyone money - you have to take action and put in inspired work consistently too! Here's the first-steps video.

Video: Internet Marketing Basics

First steps for getting into Internet Marketing

Recommendations - Domain Registrar

Bluehost will do a deal where if you buy hosting from them, the domain name is also thrown in. If you take advantage of this, life will be incredibly simple as you won't have to deal with nameservers. Look at the Web Hosting  video to guide you through it.

Namecheap.com is used in my video above because I use them extensively and  find them solid and reliable. They are also active in campaigning against restrictive legislation being applied to the internet. Using the link will earn me a little commission!

123-reg.co.uk is a well-established UK company with an easy user interface. They also supply hosting but I've not tried it. Shame all their links are animated!

Godaddy.com is of course the granddaddy(!) of them all. So I cannot miss them out. They are good enough as a registrar and occasionally have deep discounts. Perhaps a little gaudy and brash?

Recommendations - Hosting

Bluehost   So again, highest recommendation for Bluehost for being reasonably priced, with good customer support.

Studyhost This small  UK based company is one of the first ones that compete with the US ones for performance, features and ease of setting up. I use their top level package yet it is only £30 per year!

Surpass Hosting Their prices are competitive and to keep it so, their support is through a quick response ticketing system and the excellent forum that is constantly patrolled by their staff, ready to sort out any problems.

Aweber The most popular autoresponder used by internet marketers.

May 092013

youtube_pileChoosing a streaming method for your video presentation on your site is not a straightforward decision. I will be looking at three free/low cost options as this will help narrow down the vast choice available. Starting with the ubiquitous YouTube, the video explores the Amazon S3/Cloudfront solution and the little known Google drive method. Below the video is a comparison chart to summarise the three solutions though please note that not all the salient point from the video could be fitted on the chart.

Video: YouTube vs Amazon AWS vs Google Drive

Comparing video streaming methods

Feature YouTube AWS S3-Cloudfront Google Drive
Costs Free Minimal for small usage Free for small usage
Ease of Setting Up Trivial Moderate-Difficult Easy
Other's Adverts Yes No No
Branding YouTube Own Own
Ease of Download Easy Moderate Moderate
Customer Support No Yes No
Mar 272013
Now that you've got your domain and web hosting, you automatically have another email address based on your domain name. For example if your name is "Fred" and your URL is "yourdomain.com" you already reserved fred@yourdomain.com. In fact [anything]@yourdomain.com is yours to activate. However, if you've also got a gmail account that is your main account this video shows how you can connect [anything]@yourdomain.com to your gmail account.

Video: Set up email on @yourdomain.com

Set up email on @yourdomain.com

Transcript of Video

There are many advantages to get your Google or Hotmail or whatever account to handle your domain name email. It consolidates your email to one access point, sending mail from your domain address validates ownership of your domain and it looks better for your site visitor to send mail to a domain email. First go and set up your chosen email by clicking on "Email Accounts". Here you can create your chosen account. I will create one called vic@mygreaturl.com. You type this in and then choose a password to go with this account and type it in twice. I'm choosing the storage space to be the default 250 megabytes. If you are expecting to receive large files or photo attachments, choose a larger amount of storage. Then go an create account by hitting the button. Next is if you want to receive your email at your most use Hotmail or Gmail account, you have to set up the forwarding. Scroll down to the Mail sub-category and click on the forwarders. Then on the next page, click on the Add Forwarder. If you have more than one domain on your hosting, choose ti from the dropdown. Type the previously created email address. Mine's the vic@mygreaturl.com. Then type in the email address you want mail to be forwarded to in the next box, then go ahead and click the add forwarder button. My suggestion is now to test it out by sending an email to the domain email that you have just set up and it should arrive at your favourite webmail account. Sending email to specifically come from our domain will need you to go to the cpanel again and search for the Webmail icon under the Mail subcategory. You will have to login again. The next screen presents you with a choice of three webmail readers. They are very much the same as each other, and I will choose the middle one - Roundcube. Clicking on it brings you to the web mail page with your domain email address on the top right corner. From this page, you can compose and send emails or read them and get all the mail management functions.
Mar 232013

This is one of the longer tutorials and usefully splits into two videos. The first video is about setting up the S3 storage and the Cloudfront distribution on the Amazon Web Services and loading your video, setting it up to stream. If you already use S3 and know how to set up a Cloudfront, you can jump to the next video. The next video show how to set up your WordPress site with JW Player to pull your videos off the Amazon CDN. Please note that your videos need to be in the MP4 format to make for a simple life! Otherwise, various format converters are readily available for your video format.

Video: Pt.1 Setting up Amazon's S3 and Cloudfront

Step by step setting up S3 storage and Cloudfront Distribution
The costs involved in using AWS splits into two:

Note that below 5GB of S3 usage, you are in the free usage tier and will not be charged. This includes 20,000 GET requests and 2000 PUT requests. However, free usage tier does not cover Cloudfront use, where for Europe and USA, you'll get charged 12 cents per month for the first 10 tetrabytes of data transfer.

Video: Pt.2 Setting up your WordPress site to stream videos

Setting up the streaming player on your WordPress page/post

The free JW Player is used which means that there is a branding logo on the top right of the video. A paid-for version is available without the branding if that's what you need. The script template used on the video is given below. The parameters that need replacing are shown in BOLD ITALICS

<div id="player_2219"></div>
 <script type="text/javascript">// <![CDATA[
 jwplayer('player_2219').setup({ file: "rtmp://CLOUDFRONT_ID/cfx/st/mp4:VIDEO_NAME",
 width: "560", height: "320", image: "IMAGE_URL", });
 // ]]></script>

Please be very careful not to delete other parts of the script as they are essential for the streaming to work! If you have more than one video, change the "player_2219" (appears twice on the script) to another ID like "player_1234". Anything as long as each video has a different ID.

Mar 192013

(For the full video tutorial, become a Silver Member by clicking here)

Video Transcript

Okay, the world wide web is a great resource for images, and what we would like to do really is on our website have as many relevant images as possible, and as you can see this is a WordPress page using the weaver theme as I've shown you before with our covered posts and pages. This is actually a post that I've added something text to. Now just imagine that you would like to add an image to your post here. How would we do that? Okay, let's get back to the administration dashboard! Which is here. And I've loaded the page, or post actually, that will have the image that we want. So let's now put the cursor at the beginning of the text. My plan is to have an image on the left-hand side, and this text here would then wrap around the image. So, let's add media. I will, at the moment, show you how to upload media from your hard disk. So you clicked "add media" and you go to "select files", and as you can see, I've got quite a few pictures here to get to the website, so let's choose one of them... And just open it... And it loads it up. If you want the text that I've added to wrap around this picture you have to actually go over to the right-hand side. It's always a good idea actually to have an alt text. So I'll just go ahead and copy the title and add it to the alt text. It's good for SEO, it's good for people with impaired vision, and so it's well worth putting in an alt text. And alignment now if you want the image to be on the left-hand side just align it to the left, and you can actually add a link to that image, but generally you probably don't need a link. So you can set it to none, and then the size. You can have the original size, which is a fairly large size, or a medium one, which is 300 pixels by 193 pixels. Which is probably about right, so you'll have a look in a minute so we'll insert that into the post. And there we are! Shows us an image with our text on the right hand side of the image. Now let's update this and go have a look at the website to see what it looks like. Alright, so we move over now. I've already loaded the website on another tab, so we click on the tab and refresh. And here we are. You can see that the text is actually on the right hand side of the image. If there were more text there you would actually have this wrap around underneath as well. Let me show you that as well, and you can see how simply the text just wraps around the actual image. And it does leave the right amount of margins that looks quite good. Now you might say, "Okay, the actual image looks good on the left hand side, but I'd like to change it to the right hand side." So, it's fairly simple, all you do is go over to the image that you've entered in the dash board editing page and then just click on the image and you get these two little symbols at the top of the image. It sort of goes a little bit blue, and so what you do is click on "edit image", which is the left hand side. Click on it and then you have the choice now to actually put this image on the right hand side instead. So go to this radio button and click right hand side and then update it. Now it shows the image on the right hand side. You then update the website. We have to reload the website. And it has moved to the right hand side! So that is quite simple, adding an image. There are other possibilities as well. You might like to add an image right below this, but not wrapping any text around it. Just below the text. So we will go and add another media. So scroll down to the bottom and you will put the cursor at the end of the text. If you type in "return" cursor is now on another paragraph. And go and add media again, and again you can load files into the media library. Perhaps you have a new picture, so we go to upload files, select, and let's choose another picture. What about this one? Let's go with that one and load that one as well. Now this time we're not really interested in aligning the actual image anyway. So we'll have it in the center. So go to alignment, center, and as usual it's always a good idea to copy the title into the alt text to make sure everybody understands what this image is about. And perhaps this time we will still not have any links associated with it, but we will go with the full fize one because we have a lot more room. We're going to go for the whole span of the post. There we are. That is a full size image and you can now go up to see that we still have the original text and image and then we update. As soon as this is updated we can shoot over to our actual web page and then reload the page. And as you can see now, we have our original image with text and we can actually scroll down to see the full picture that we added. And as you can see, it's all about cats and pets. Which is a great theme anyways. So perhaps your theme for your wordpress website would be about your pet. And you can take pictures and load it up. Now while I'm on the subject of taking pictures... Most phones and camera phones and cameras these days have an incredible size photographs. The photograph taken with them will be quite large. It'll be probably in the megabytes of actual digital size, which will slow down your image loading on your website. So if you're using your camera to take pictures for the web, my suggestion is first to actually see if you can turn down the resolution of your camera. And also if you can reduce the actual size of the photographs, that will help. Secondly, down below the video I will list some software that you can download and you can use the software to reduce the size of the image files that you end up with from your camera. So the combination of the two, you should end up with an image file that's below 200 kilobytes. My suggestion is below 100 kilobytes is even better. And it won't keep your visitors hanging around if they have to hang around too much, they'll go and look at another site. So that is a little trick that you can do is to use software to reduce the size of your web photographs.
Mar 192013
After setting the WordPress theme, you would obviously want to add content to your site. The two basic types of content are posts and pages. The following video explains how to do this.

Video: WordPress Posts and Pages

WordPress posts and pages
Mar 182013

Nameserver Mysteries Explained

The welcome letter/email from your new web host will have among other things, a pair of "nameservers" codes. If you have trouble finding the nameserver pair, contact the web host or put in a support ticket. Below is the explanation of how it all works.

Video: Understanding Nameservers

Understanding Nameservers

Changing Nameservers

Below here is the video on setting up the nameservers on namecheap. As mentioned previously, first obtain the two nameserver codes from your web host (in your welcome email or by logging in to the web host), before going in to change them on your registrar. These typically look like this: ns1.BlueHost.com, ns2.BlueHost.com (if Bluehost is providing the hosting)

Video: Changing Nameservers

Changing Nameservers
Mar 132013
Here we will first look at changing the theme of your WordPress site and a few basic adjustments including headers, plugins, users and settings. To get to your administration area, just type in in your browser address box, your URL (domain name) and add /wp-admin to it eg. www.myurl.com/wp-admin and then hit return. Then log in with your username and password. Your username would be "admin" unless you've changed it during install. Similarly your password will be determined during install. Then just follow the steps in the video below.

Video: WordPress Basics and Themes

Basic WordPress and theme installation

The theme featured on the video is the Weaver theme. Since the video was published, Weaver itself has been discontinued but an even better Weaver II can be used. Of course you can choose a different theme but Weaver is simple to use and is pleasant in appearance as installed. Paid for themes are also available but you will have to use the cPanel or FTP to install (as supposed to using the WordPress admin dashboard as shown).

To clarify, the Akismet spam filter plugin can be free but you still need to go their website and sign up to get an API Key. Then come back to your WordPress administration plugin page and click "Akismet Settings" to enter your API Key. This is well worth it as otherwise spammers will target your comments area and fill it up! Typically, just after setting up, I got over 30 spam comments within a week and then the spam voulume built up from that pretty fast.