This page contains a selection of resources and brief tutorials i’ve pulled together, as well as a quick display of some of the other features you have at your disposal in the WordPress.com arsenal. Feel free to contact me directly as well, using the form below, with any WordPress questions or presentation comments you may have.
If you decide to expand out to a full WordPress.org self-hosted setup, you’re going to need an account with a web hosting company. This is where you’ll be able to install the self-hosted version of the WordPress software, and have full control over all aspects of your site. Your hosting account will have it’s own control panel where you can create and configure email accounts and databases, among other things. You can typically register your domain name during the process as well, and assign it to your new hosting account.
All the hosting accounts listed below have an option to auto-install WordPress once you create an account, which makes things super simple. After that, you login to your site as you would on WordPress.com, except yournewdomain.com/wp-login.php will be your new login page.
Modwest is the web hosting company that i’ve used for over a decade. I just picked them from a list of hosts, tried them out, and have been a happy customer ever since. I’ve never had any noted downtime, and they are always fast and helpful with their tech support. Since they’re the only company i’ve ever used, they’re the only one that i can properly endorse. They have an autoinstall common applications tool in their control panel that will take care of your WordPress setup.
I’ve heard good things about Bluehost and HostGator, and they appear on most of the top WordPress hosting lists i’ve come across, so they must be doing something right. I have no affiliation with either company – i’m simply pointing them out so you can look into a few different companies and their hosting packages and make your own decision.
Domain Name Registration
Most web hosting companies are affiliated with a certain domain name registrar that can be used when creating a hosting account. Most big domain name registrars offer web hosting packages. They’re pretty much one in the same these days. But, if you’re looking to register domain names outside of a hosting company (for example, register a domain name and have it set to forward to your wordpress.com URL) here are a few you can check out.
Domainsatcost.ca is one that i’ve been using recently for good pricing on .ca domains, among others. I have a couple longstanding domains with Register.com, one of the originals, but they’re fairly expensive compared to most others these days. If you like ads with hot girls, you’re probably aware that GoDaddy.com is one of the most popular domain registrars out there, but i can’t vouch for them personally. 101domain.com offers a large selection of exotic international domain name extensions, if you’re looking for something unique.
Moving Your Blog to WordPress.org
Here are a couple helpful links if you’re looking to transfer your hosted WordPress.com blog over to a more robust, self-hosted WordPress.org site.
- Moving to WordPress.org – WordPress.com support
- How to move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org – ProBlogger
Email Newsletters & List Management
MailChimp is an awesome email newsletter service and list management platform. You can integrate MailChimp with almost any platform, such as a WordPress site or Facebook, to collect email subscriptions to your newsletter. Choose from many email newsletter templates, send to all or parts of your list, and track the results. The best part is they offer it as a free service for lists of up to 2000 subscribers. Once your newsletter subscription reaches those heights, i’m sure you’ll gladly start paying a bit for this fantastic service.
Infographics are nifty additions to any site as a visual means of explaining connected topics, feature lists, or graphs and charts. Here are several of the more popular infographic generator sites with at least a few decent free template options to get you started.
Free Stock Photos
Check out the post i wrote called Free Stock Photo Love for Blogging & Beyond for detailed information.
Free Graphic & Web Design Resources
Check out another post i wrote called The Top 13 Resources for Insanely Good Design Freebies for detailed information.
Embedding a video in a post or page is as simple as copying the URL to the video clip, from sites such as YouTube or Vimeo, and pasting the link into your post wherever you’d like the clip to appear. That’s it! The free version of WordPress.com doesn’t allow you to upload videos to your own media library, so if you have created a video you’d like to share, upload it to your YouTube or Vimeo account first, then copy the link from there. If you’d like to host and play back videos directly from your blog, a paid VideoPress upgrade is available through the store menu option.
Create a Gallery
To insert a gallery into your post or page, click the add media button, then select create gallery from the upper left corner. You can then select the images from your media library that you’d like to include in your gallery, then select create a new gallery in the lower right corner. On the next page, in your gallery settings, you can select options such as image order, image links, image title and caption, and number of gallery columns. The gallery type menu will determine the look of your gallery. Display options include thumbnail grid, tiled mosaic, square tiles, circles, and slideshow. Hit insert gallery when you’re ready and your gallery will then display once you’ve published your page.
This form was created using the add a custom form button above your post formatting tools. A pop-up window will open with some default form fields you can use. They’ll work just fine for a standard contact form, but you can customize your form further by adding or deleting fields, re-naming existing fields, adding dropdown menu options, radio buttons, textboxes, and more. You can then drag and drop your fields into any order you like. When you have all your preferences set, click add this form to my post to insert the form’s code into your page. The active form will appear once you publish your page, and is automatically spam protected.
When a form is sent, the default settings will email the author of the post/page, but you can also set a custom email recipient and subject line using the email notifications tab. Editing the form can be done by either clicking the add form button again, or by editing the shortcode directly. Along with receiving an emailed version of a submitted contact form, you can click the feedbacks menu option to monitor any form activity on your site.