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Step 4 – Customizing Your WordPress Blog

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Welcome to Part 4 of our series, and if you’ve just joined us then I recommend going back to the previous parts before continuing. I have been following a step-by-step process so encourage all of you to start at the beginning. Today, we`ll be discussing WordPress customization because this is important since it’ll directly influence user engagement. I want to ensure when you guys are done that you`ll have a site which is engaging visitors, and building retention.

Here`s what we`ll be discussing today:

  • Choosing the right theme
  • Choosing right colors and layout (very important)

Your feedback will be greatly appreciated. Let’s get started.

Theme Selection

When you are done installing WordPress, and have setup the basics like tweaking permalinks, plugins, etc then it`s time to ensure you have installed the right theme which will become the ultimate design of your blog. Why is this important? It has been suggested the right theme will ensure you keep visitors on your website increasing retention going forward. I have been able to setup various websites for my clients and been in the business long enough to understand what works compared to which doesn’t. I have knowledge on statistics which I’ll like to share with you so you can implement what I’ve learned into your blog too.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the right theme:

First, your theme can be selected by going to Appearance then Themes. Click “Add New” then go through the FREE themes available. Next, you have the option to purchase a premium theme, however you have to make sure you look for the following which I’ll discuss below. I personally use MyThemeShop websites when searching for a custom made template. You can filter until you find one which meets your budget, and other requirements.

THEME-1

When choosing the right theme, you should make sure they come equipped with the following: This applies to any theme you are choosing – Free or Premium

  • Responsive – This will ensure your website is displayed correctly on all platforms. Your goal is to make sure your blog is optimized for all platforms. Google introduced a mobile update which gives preference to those websites which are mobile-ready.
  • Retina Ready – The theme will look great on displays higher than 300px. Many of the new displays have a resolution of 300px so it’s important you are ready for the shift going forward.
  • Easy to customize: This means to choose a theme which has a drag & drop interface so you can place things easily within the theme. This feature is also great for those with little coding experience.
  • Optional: Having a theme which allows you to change colors & fonts quickly. This just makes it easier because NOT everyone is good at changing the .CSS file.
  • I prefer a theme which is SEO ready so you can easily add your metadata into the correct slots.

The most important are: Responsive, SEO Ready, and Easy to Customize.

Once you have found the right theme, simply upload and click install. If you are choosing from the FREE themes then it’s as easy as clicking install & activate.

THEME-2

The Right Colors

Choosing the right colors for your theme is very important because you want it to be easy on the eye while being attractive. It’s stated that people usually know within a few seconds if they’ll remain on the site which normally depends on the color selection. Here’s the fundamentals of color selection:

Logo – The color of your site should depend on your brand & logo. This way it’ll match, and colors will look solid.

No Bright Colors – It’s important to stay away from bright colors because they are harsh on the eyes. This can be distracting while reading content lowering engagement & increasing bounce rate.

Use Primary Colors – What does this mean? You’ll notice while researching your competition that they all use certain colors. I always do my research before selecting my final colors. I would recommend you do the same so you have a better idea of direction, and can implement the same colors into your blog.

It’s important to understand that colors can be tweaked all the time. This means if you are NOT happy with the primary colors you can change them afterward. However, having a theme with a color drag & drop features will allow you to do this easily.

The Layout

The layout of your blog is very important because you need the menu and sidebars in the right place. There was much discussion over the right places however we have enormous data on what works over the years. Here’s what I recommend for your blog, and you’ll find this is normally the layout for all major blogs.

Menu – Always place menu at the top because this will be the first thing visitors will see. It’s always a good idea to have it above the fold. Next, the menu will increase the chances of them skimming through your website, and finding other content.

Sidebar – I recommend keeping sidebar on the right because people tend to read from the left. Even though this is up for discussing I’ve just noticed from experience the right sidebar is the popular way to go.

Final Thoughts

Now that we are done talking about theme selection and customization, I’ll like to discuss choosing the right topics, and creating your first actual post. Once you know how to write content and publish, you’ll be able to streamline the entire process going forward.

Hi everyone! My name is Rizvan Ullah and my blog Ranktactics provides internet marketers with tutorials on traffic generation, social media marketing, product reviews and case studies. Check out Top WebHosting Providers for bloggers, and CDL practice tests to follow another one of his passions.

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Blogging

Writing: Your Best Blogging Friend

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Writing helps you succeed with blogging. Because writing gives you credibility. Credible bloggers land clients, sell eBooks, place sponsored posts and drive steady traffic, too. Write your rear end off. Write 500-1000 words daily. Write to be confident. Write to be clear. Write to gain credibility in your blogging niche. Of course, most bloggers struggle because few bloggers practice writing offline, daily. Bloggers only write when they publish a blog post or guest post. BIG mistake. Most bloggers publish posts infrequently, meaning you get in little writing practice. Not good.

Why do you believe you can just show up, write and publish a post and become successful quickly? If blogger were this easy, guys like me could have gone pro within weeks of buying my domain and hosting. Alas, it took me thousands of hours and years to go full time because I had to practice writing, creating and connecting to be REALLY good at blogging. Skills, exposure and credibility flow to bloggers who tirelessly practice all aspects of blogging. Everybody else fails and quits.

All money you make through blogging flows to you because people trust you and your blog. Writing skillfully – with confidence and clarity – is the only way people trust you and your blog. The more you write, the more skilled a writer you become. The formula is genuinely simple. But quite uncomfortable to put into action, sometimes. Few bloggers want to practice writing with nobody watching. Some bloggers foolishly skip writing practice because they believe writing offline for practice wastes their time. This is like saying you waste your time practicing shooting hoops in a lonely, empty gym if you aspire to make it to the NBA. NBA stars practiced 10,000 hours or more, often times in quiet, lonely gyms, and always *in private, out of the public eye, with nobody watching*, to become skilled enough to go pro. Expect to take a similar journey in order to become a professional blogger.

Writing is your core skill. If you write well, you make money online. If you write poorly, you do not make money online.

Buy my eBook:

15 Ways to Make Money Blogging

Every way to profit – out of these 15 strategies – can work quite nicely if you practice writing offline daily. Practice to become confident. Practice to become clear on your writing. Confident, clear writers write with authority. Writing with authority inspires trust in your readers. Again; this is a simple process. But sometimes, this process feels uncomfortable. Nudge through discomfort. Write, write and write some more. People who trust you based on your writing skills tend to buy your eBooks, hire you to coach them, hire you to freelance write for them and buy sponsored posts on your blog. Be diligent in writing. The money flows to you based on how much you practice writing. Plus, practicing your writing makes you prolific. Being prolific increase your blog traffic and blogging profits, too. No downsides exist to writing offline daily. Only upsides. So….write!

Practice in private. Shine in public.

Any successful blogger you envy now practiced writing so diligently that you would never envy their writing practice. After having written millions of words both online and offline, nobody envies the work I put into going pro. But being free to circle the globe? Worth it!

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Blogging

Do You Assume too Much?

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One of the biggest problems in blogging; bloggers assume too much. Perfect example is someone emails looking for your best sponsored post price. Right away, most bloggers fear losing money to a cheapie because they ASSUMED someone looking for the best price is cheap. Based on past experience. NO! Do NOT do this. Because based on NOT assuming, but being open and in the moment, more than a handful of folks looking for the best price placed orders at my full price, when I shared it was my final price. I rarely if ever assume because assuming cuts you off from traffic and money, based on past experience and future expectations.

These days, I am more in the moment. I am open. Let’s say a blogger quotes their sponsored post price as being $100. A blogger outreach service pro asks for a lower, better price. In that moment, you can do one of two thing: make a foolish assumption that the individual cannot afford $100 or simply share how $100 is your flat, final price. Assuming they cannot afford $100 INSTANTLY robs you of $100. I mean, instantly. Labeling their email as spam or being nasty with them immediately robs you of $100, based on your ignorant assumption. Choosing not to assume anything opens you up to making a quick $100. Wealthy people with large budgets sometimes seek the best price. Rockefeller would be worth $280 billion today – by estimates – and he balanced his books to the penny. He sought the best price but had billions to invest and did invest billions to be the wealthiest person the world has ever known.

This is why I wrote Creating the Mindset of a Successful Blogger for you. How you choose to think and feel dictates how you act. How you act dictates your success. Failures cling to the past and wander into the future by assuming future scenarios based on past experience. But wise bloggers remain grounded in the present, never assuming. Of course, many cheap bloggers willing to pay only $5 for a $100 sponsored post emailed you with “the best price” reply, in the past. But never rob yourself of $100 by assuming these folks do not have $100 to invest in your guest post. I leave no stones unturned. The way I see it, spending 1 second to read a “Give me a sponsored post for $5” email here and there is worth the “OK, let’s place it for $100” email I see more often these days. Assuming cuts you off from abundance. Being open-minded tunes you in to abundance. Make more money. Be open-minded. Stop assuming.

A few moments ago, our Uber driver told us he originally hailed from Jordan. He has been in the USA for 20 years. My silly mind made a quick assumption; he must live in NYC, like many folks do who immigrated to the USA over the past few decades. He still had a heavy accent. But I refused to assume this and asked him where he lived in the USA. He said in the same New Jersey suburban development where we lived. Small world! Not assuming opens you up to fun, fascinating experiences. Stop assuming online. You’ll make more money, too, and will enjoy your blogging journey.

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Blogging

Blogging Success Is YOUR Choice

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Blogging success is your choice. Blogging failure is your choice. YOU choose. Never blame anyone or anything for your blogging failure. Everything in life begins and ends with you because life follows your thoughts and feelings. People or things may *appear* to slow you down or get in your way. But all appearances are illusions. Illusions are not real, not true. You and you alone choose to succeed based on your chosen thoughts and feelings, independent of situations or circumstances around you.

For example, I had a tough time falling to sleep last night. Didn’t pass out until after 6 AM and only slept to 9:30 AM. Tossing and turning, my mind raced with fears. I feared being exhausted and getting sick. I feared work I’d be behind on, today. I also feared simply sitting with my racing thoughts and feelings, being in bed for hours, since I lay down in bed at midnight. I could choose to lay in bed to observe the fears or I could watch Netflix. I chose to observe fears. Eventually, I chose to get up and write my first blog post of the day at 5 AM. I feared waking to work due to fatigue. But nudging into the fear allowed me to create content, positioning myself to expand my success.

I also chose to wake at 9:30 AM after limited sleep to do 20 minutes of intense Kriya yoga, to meditate for 30 minutes and to spend 30 seconds in an icy cold shower. Heck yeah I feared doing each on 3 hours of sleep. But successes CHOOSE to BE the people that succeed. Life unfolds as a series of personal choices. Either you make comfortable choices based on fear, struggle, fail and quit blogging. Or you make uncomfortable, freeing and usually fun choices based on love, leading to your blogging success. You choose. No one can choose for you. No one can wade through fear for you. No blogger can glide through the discomfort for you. This is an intimately personal experience that you need to face, embrace and live, to succeed in blogging, all based on your choices.

Check out my eBook:

10 Reasons Why Fijian Fruit Bats Would Be Absurdly Successful Bloggers

I observed these cute little – actually big – guys during my 4 month trip to Savusavu, Fiji. The little dog men swooped in every night like clockwork, working the papaya trees on the front lawn on dusk. The fruit bats never missed a night; their survival depended on feasting at sundown every single evening. Develop the same attitude with your blog to guarantee success. Be like clockwork. Show up daily. Work. Shine bright in a world of blogging failures who choose to work in fits and starts before choosing to quit. Blogging feels uncomfortable but the journey gets easier success-wise by choosing to wade through scary, unpleasant periods. You have a personal choice to make: generously help people for hours daily over years to succeed online. Or choose not to, guaranteeing your failure. You choose. I believe in you. I know you can choose success. Choose not to fear burnout. Choose to be happy about your future blogging success.

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