In this course you will learn how to setup your own blog from an award winning blogger Chris Christensen. We will use WordPress which is the most popular blogging software. You don't need to be a programmer, be technical or be good with math. You do need to be able to follow a set of instructions and you need to be able to get to the web... looks like you have that working.
Set aside and afternoon, and follow along while you actually setup your website. Whether you use a blog to change your life and get invited to the White House (I did) or just use it to collect your thoughts, you can start today.
This course is intended to get you up and running with a blog using WordPress even if you have never blogged nor heard of WordPress. If you can use a word processor like Microsoft Word then you can learn WordPress.
I am Chris Christensen. I will be your guide for this adventure.
I am the host of the Amateur Traveler. The Amateur Traveler is a popular online travel website that focuses primarily on travel destinations. It includes a weekly audio podcast, a video podcast, and a blog. The Amateur Traveler audio podcast had over a 1.3 million downloads in 2014. The Amateur Traveler is 10 years old and they use Amateur Traveler to teach English at Oxford University. In 2014 I won a Lowell Thomas Award from the SATW (Society of American Travel Writers) and won a SMITTY (Social Media in Travel and Tourism) award as the Best Independent Travel Journalist from Travel & Leisure. My blog and podcast also got me invited to the White House in 2014.
Together with Jen Leo and Gary Arndt I also produce the This Week in Travel podcast which has won 3 NATJA (North American Travel Journalism Association) awards.
By day I have worked for years in technology startups in Silicon Valley. I now own and run BloggerBridge which is a new startup connecting bloggers and industry contacts.
I was formerly the Director of Engineering for TripAdvisor's New Initiatives group, and the EVP of Engineering at LiveWorld where my team built and ran online communities and events for companies including eBay, HBO, TV Guide, Expedia, Marriott, A&E, History Channel, the NBA, NBC, ABC, Disney, Microsoft, WebTV and American Express.
Unlike Microsoft Word, Excel, Google Chrome and other pieces of software that run on your computer, WordPress needs to run on a computer that is a "host" computer. That means a computer that is always on and always connected to the internet, not like yours. So all you need on your computer is an internet browser like Google's Chrome, Firefox, Apple's Safari or Microsoft Internet Explorer.
WordPress makes creating websites including blogs easier than creating websites used to be. Chris looks back at the days when the web "was entirely steam driven". OK, he is kidding about the steam driven part but trust me things are easier now than you may have heard. But don't tell your neighbors if you still want them to be impressed after you setup your own website. That can be our little secret.
We will be using the WordPress software in this course. There are other solutions we could use instead of WordPress. I recommend WordPress because it is easy to use, popular and extensible. You can change the look of your website very simply unlike in the old days of website creation.
We will be using the WordPress software in this course. The WordPress software itself is free and easy to use. It is the most popular blogging software on the planet. Detail surveys of what is used on other planets are not yet available at this time.
Another advantage of WordPress is that if you want some feature to extend WordPress for some feature, someone else has probably already created what you need and you can often get what they have created for free.
We are going to skip ahead with this lesson. You don't have WordPress installed yet but we are going to look at how easy it will be to create a post in WordPress to give you some confidence that you can do it, before we get into all the details of setting up your site.
WordPress makes it easy to change the look of your website / blog by keeping the content of your posts separate from the look of your website / blog. To do this each WordPress site uses a "theme" which determines how the site will look.
WordPress can get smarter over time. You can add into your website setup software created by other people which adds new functionality to WordPress. You don't have to be a programmer to do this, which is pretty cool... except maybe for progarmmers like me.
This lecture will look at how to install WordPress on an "internet hosting" account. We will be using Hostgator and will show how to register for and pay for an account. The we will look at how to use the one click install option to get a WordPress site running.
Now that we have a working WordPress site, this lecture will look at some of the options for how to configure it and will make recommendations of how you should set things up for the best results.
In this lecture we will install the first extension, or "Plugin", for WordPress. We will walk through search for, downloading, installing and activating a plugin. There is no need to panic. You will be configuring software like a pro even if you don't know how to use your smartphone or your VCR is blinking 12:00, 12:00, 12:00... or you still have a VCR.
This lecture gives you a homework assignment of a series of additional plugins you can install by yourself now that you are a pro.
This lecture looks in more detail at two specific and very useful plugins: Jetpack and Akismet. Akismet is great for keeping spam out of your comments and JetPack is a Swiss army knife, jack of all trades useful plugin.
There is an alternative to installing WordPress on your own account and that is WordPress.com. The lecture looks at setting up an account on that system instead. You won't have as much flexibility but you will have someone else to do some of the hard parts and if you don't need as much flexibility, this might be a good option for you.
Now that you have your blog setup we will walk through some of the settings you can change and makes some recommendations how to set them so that you get the most out of your blog.
You have your first blog post up on your site. Now we look at how to add a photo from your computer to that blog post.
WordPress has a couple tricks up its sleeves with photos. This lecture looks at how you can manipulate photos to have them left aligned, etc. It will also look at how to add photo captions.
In the same way that we added photos to an article, we look at how easy it is to add a youtube video to a blog post.
OK, you have a blog. It looks nice. It has some great functionality. You know how to write a blog post, add pictures, add videos and even let the search engines know about it. Now let's take about some things that will make your blog post better for your readers. If we make our readers happy... we can get more.
Your blog does not have to look boring. This lecture will look at how to change the look of your blog, even if you have been blogging for a while. We will look for and install a "theme" on your blog which will change the way it looks. You don't have to be an artist or designer to do this. Even if they mocked your drawing in kindergarden, you can show them with a well designed blog.
Blogging does not have to be a solo effort. You can add other people to your WordPress blog as contributors, editors, administrators. This lectures looks at why you might want to and how you would do it.
When you are a world famous blogger... and even before then... you will get comments on your blog. This lecture looks at how to respond to the great ones, and delete the bad ones.
Once your blog has more than one post you might want to organize the content into different categories or indicate what different posts are about with different tags. This lecture teaches you why you should think about organizing your content.
Once your blog has more than one post you might want to organize the content into different categories or indicate what different posts are about with different tags. This lecture teaches you how to use categories and tags to organize your content so that it is in better shape than your junk drawer at home. You know you have one.
Not everything on your blog needs to be a post. You might want to add a page like an about page that tells them something about you. This lecture will show you how to do that.
You can add menus to your blog to make it easier for your users to find things or you can use them to link to other blogs or websites where you want to take them. This lecture looks at how to add menus to your blog.
WordPress makes it easy to add some new fangled fancy thingamajigs to your website call widgets. This lecture tells you what a widget is, how you can add one and why you might want to.
Someday your site will be huge, right? Google will help you track how many people are coming to your website, where they are coming from and what they are doing when they get there. This lecture looks at adding the free Google Analytics tracking to your website.
There is a prince in Nigeria who wants your help getting his treasure into the country... or perhaps he is trying to cheat you. The internet has bad guys and this lecture looks at how to try and protect your website from them.
Google will send people to your blog and won't even charge you any money, but if you understand a bit more about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) you can learn how to make it easier for Google to connect you with the users who are searching for just what you are offering.
Now that you know something about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) we will look at how to use the Wordpress SEO plugin to improve the ability of the search engines to find your posts.
There are a few legal things you should know about content and this lecture gives you a taste of that. In addition there are rules that sites like Google have that can cause all of your search traffic to go away all at once if you don't follow them. Not to scare you, but that seemed to me something you might want to know.
Chris is the owner of BloggerBridge which is a new startup connecting bloggers and industry contacts.
He is the host of the Amateur Traveler which is an award winning online travel show that focuses primarily on travel destinations. It includes a weekly audio podcast, a video podcast, and a blog. In 2015, Chris won a Lowell Thomas Award for Travel Journalism from the Society of American Travel Writers and was called the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel & Leisure Magazine in their annual SMITTY Awards.
He has worked for years in technology startups in Silicon Valley. He was formerly the Director of Engineering for TripAdvisor's New Initiatives group and was the EVP Engineering at LiveWorld where his team built and ran online communities and events for companies including eBay, HBO, TV Guide, Expedia, Marriott, A&E, History Channel, the NBA, NBC, ABC, Disney, Microsoft, WebTV and American Express.