Lesson #10: Polishing Off Your Awesome Site
As we begin lesson 10 of the ToMakeMoneyWeb.com Course I hope you 1) have become a little more familiar with how WordPress works and 2) have your design mostly setup and (almost) working properly. If you ordered graphics and havenʼt received and installed them yet, donʼt sweat it. In this quick lesson we are going to preform a few final miscellaneous tasks that will get your site in tip-top shape – then it will be ready for the boatloads of visitors soon to be coming!
So once you have those boatloads of visitors to your website…how will you even know that they visited? Good question. This is an area the beginners often overlook until they realize that they have absolutely no way of checking who visited their website. This is a simple problem to solve.
We are going to install something called a hit counter or stat tracker. To do this, we need to visit a new place within the WP admin area: Plugins. Plugins are simply little optional features that you can install into WordPress to make it do something more than it did before. There is one such plugin that will track the number of visitors to our site.
Letʼs login to the WP admin panel and go to Plugins > Add new. Now search for the word “Wassup”. When you see it (should be the first one) click on the install link, then the orange install button (again), and once complete, check “activate this plugin”. Voila! On the very bottom of the left menu you now have a stat tracker to see who visits your website. There are tons of features here that I will not get into, but if you want to learn about what it does (extra credit!) please do so. How easy was that? Are you starting to love WordPress as much as I do?
Setting a Homepage
You may have noticed by now that WordPress will automatically show a listing of all your most recent posts on the homepage of your site. But this is just the default setting. For the purpose of our site, we would like to have a welcome/intro message that always displays on the homepage. So letʼs set that up now.
First, on the left menu go to the Pages > Add New. Call this whatever you like for now, maybe “Welcome to (SITENAME).” And add a sentence or two of sample content for now (you can update all this later). Click publish.
Next, on the left menu go to Settings > Reading. Change the first option to Front page displays A static page. Also, right below that where it says front page next to the drop down menu select the page title that you just created and click save.
Now when you visit yoursite.com it will show that welcome page that you created rather than a messy list of all your articles.
Permalinks (i.e. Pretty URLs)
You may notice that when you view a page on your site, it shows up as yoursite.com? p=2 or something like that. We donʼt want that. What we want is yoursite.com/page-title. This has a number of benefits that we will see later on.
To change this, go to Settings > Permalinks on the left menu. Select the last option “Custom Structure and paste this into the box: /%postname%/. Click save changes and you are done.
Now if you go view a page, look at the top address bar and see how much nicer your URLʼs look.
Once you have chosen and installed your theme, uploaded your logo/header (if applicable), edited the sidebar widgets, installed your hit counter and setup your homepage, it is time to do one final run through of the design. Check out every page that you have so far and see how it looks. Make sure that every page has the sidebar elements, the design works well, and nothing is out of place. If you need to, this is the time to make changes or fixes to anything.
This would be a good time to bring in your partner (remember from lesson 1, youʼre supposed to be taking this course with a partner!) or friend to take a look at the site and get suggestions. Once you are done, rest assured that it is totally complete and move on.
Here I want to reiterate a point that I mentioned earlier. Once you have done this final review and everything checks out, LEAVE IT ALONE. The site does not have to win a design award or be totally perfect. As long as there are no glaring problems or weaknesses with your siteʼs design, it will work just fine.
This is the final lesson in the development section of this course. It was by far the most technical section. In terms of the learning curve, everything is downhill from here.
We are way out in the middle of the course now (almost half way!) and it is important not to lose focus on our goal. I hope you have continued to do your visualizations and left the notecards up. There has been a lot of information over the last few weeks and I want you to take a moment now to recognize how much progress you have made towards your goal of earning $200 per week. Take a moment to look back at the site YOU have created and notice how much progress you have made in just a few short weeks. Congratulations.
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