This post continues the Get Your Non-Profit Online for under $125 series. Start here.
Step #1 Website (part 2)
Well, by now you have secured a domain name, set up hosting, and installed WordPress with one of those fancy one-click installs. Now to tackle WordPress.
WordPress is a pretty intuitive program to get started with, but let me point you to some of the important settings that will likely be needed to take your WordPress blog to the place where you can mange your web presence.
Start by clicking on Settings in the admin menu. You will want to make sure your Blog Title and Tagline are the name of your organization and a short mission statement. You’ll want to get these right because templates will reuse the information in multiple places.
Now click on your Reading settings. Tell is to display a Static Page as your front page so it feels more like a normal website than just a blog. Select the default About Page or any other page you feel is appropriate. Later on you will want to create a page called Blog or News and set this as your Posts Page.
Get Yourself a Nice Theme
Under Appearance, click on Add New Themes. Go searching for a nice theme that works for you. Try not to do a Google search for themes because you’ll just get confused. Go to wordpress.org/extend/themes and look at the most popular ones. They are popular for a reason! Also consider a premium theme from a developer like WooThemes. I make no money from this referral! I just think their themes rock.
Once you enable your new theme you will likely have some new options to control under Appearance or Settings. See the theme’s documentation for all the info.
Many organizations will get distracted at this point trying to make the site look the way they want. Your choices are paying for a designer to put the site together for you, or finding a volunteer to handle it. In my experience as a designer, many people will put off the easy part of creating their website, waiting for the complex part to be tackled by a volunteer. So, since this is a tutorial for an organization lacking that budget, just deal with the lack of logo for now. Come back and upgrade later!
Load Up On Plugins
Ok, choosing plugins can be like choosing a plumber. Just cus everyone else uses them doesn’t mean they are quality. Some are. I am recommending that you read comments at wordpress.com/extend/plugins before committing to any.
Under plugins, select Add New. Here is my list of recommendations. You’ll find plenty of varying opinions on these as well, so take it or leave it!
- Akismet: Included with WordPress. Filters spam comments. Worth it!
- All In One SEO Pack: Enables setting of meta data on pages, posts and site-wide. Very useful for making sure your site is visible to search engines and handles keywords automatically on posts.
- Google Analyticator: Handles placing your analytics code. I recommend it because it displays a snapshot of your site traffic on the dashboard.
- Gravity Forms: Forms! Everyone needs forms, especially a general contact form. Gravity Forms is the first plugin I ever paid for and I use it on every site. So flexible and the key for me is that it stores form data in your database for future use or export. This means you can use it in so many different ways.
- Google XML Sitemaps: Creates and updates an xml sitemap. This is another way to make your site more likely to be fully indexed by Google and other search engines. That makes you easier to find when people are looking for you.
- Sociable: Adds those social media icons for people to bookmark and republish your pages and posts on social networks.
- Twitter Tools: Whether you want to send your posts to Twitter or bring Twitter into your posts, this creates the link.
Once you have gotten all of your plugins set up, you’ll be ready for content! So start writing.
Next post: Driving Traffic to Your Website