RSS

Monthly Archives: April 2014

WordPress 8 – setting a static Home page

This post and the next one will walk you through setting a static Home page for your WordPress blog or website, and then creating a Menu item to allow people to access your blog posts.

Why would I want to set a static Home or landing page?

If you’re writing a blog, the content will update regularly, and the first page that any viewer will come across by default will be your latest blog post. This may not necessarily get across who you are and what the blog / website is for – especially if you’re using it to publicise a company, books, products or whatever else, rather than just using it as a private diary.

We’ve already learned how to add pages to a blog, It’s generally considered a good idea to have a single “static” (i.e. unchanging) page for people to “land on” when they type in your URL or search for your website. For example, the Home page for this website is the one you will reach if you type http://www.libroediting.com into your address line or search for Libroediting.

How do I set a static page to be my landing page?

As I mentioned above, by default, WordPress will show visitors to your page your latest blog post. For example, if I enter the URL http://www.lyzzybee.wordpress.com, the first thing that I will encounter is the latest blog post on my blog. It’s particularly important in this case NOT to have this showing first, as I only post test and illustrative messages on this blog!

default WordPress view - blog posts

Instead of this long list of blog posts, I want to display a static page when people visit the site (remember – pages are static, unchanging pages like you find on any website; posts are constantly updating, dated diary entries).

Let’s remind ourselves of how to view what pages we have set up. In the Dashboard, select Pages then All Pages:

Pages menu in WordPress

Now you will be able to have a look at what pages you have set up. In this case, I’ve just got one page, called “About”. I might want to set up a Home page in the future, as I have on the blog you’re reading right now, but for now, I know I’ve got at least one page I can use as a landing page.

List of pages

To set one of these pages as the landing or Home page, go into Dashboard, then Settings and Reading:

 

Setting home screen

Once in the Reading Settings screen, you can choose what the Front page (or landing / home page) displays. Here, the default is currently set, so “Your latest posts” is selected, meaning that the first page your viewers see will be those blog posts.

Setting home screen

Select “A static page”, then drop down the list of pages. In this case, we only have one, but if you have more than one page, a list of all of them will appear here:

Choose a static page

Click on the page you wish to select and then the Save Changes button at the bottom of the screen. When viewing my website now, people will see my About page first of all.

Public view of landing page

But how do people find my blog posts now?

Read my next post for instructions on how to make your blog posts more visible … Don’t panic, though – as you can see on the screenshot above, WordPress defaults to showing your recent posts in the sidebar, so your readers can click there to navigate to your blog.

I hope you’ve found this post useful. Please do share it using the buttons below so that other people can find it and benefit from the instructions! Thank you!

Related posts on this website

You can find all of the social media and blogging posts, including WordPress, in my Resource Guide

Adding pages to WordPress blogs

 
3 Comments

Posted by on April 30, 2014 in Blogging, WordPress

 

Tags: , ,

How to Set up a WordPress blog 7: Adding your profile picture or avatar

In this post about WordPress I’m going to tell you how to add your image to your blog, so that it appears on your comments and replies to comments. This gives a human face to your blog (if you choose to use an image of a human face, of course!) and makes it nice and tidy and complete.

To add or change your user image, go to the Dashboard and choose Settings then General:

12 setup

The General Settings are where you do things like changing the title and tagline for your blog – and over to the right, you can change your blog picture or icon. Click on Choose File:

14 setup

This will take you into your standard File Explorer, where you can navigate to find the picture file you want to use. Once you’ve clicked on the image and OK, you need to click Upload Image:

15 setup

Once the image has uploaded, you’ll have the opportunity to crop it. The image will be quite small on the page, so it’s important to have your face (or the main part of whatever image you use) filling the little square. Move the dotted lines around the square until you’re happy that you have a big, central image:

16 setup

Then click Crop image and you will return to the main screen. Once there, click on Save Changes:

14.5 setup

You will be shown what your image will look like in various places on your blog. Go Back to blog options anyway, but you can always go back around the loop and change or upload a new picture.

17 setup

This article has told you how to add and update your image on WordPress. If you found it useful, please add a comment and share using the sharing buttons below. Thank you!

Related posts on this blog:

WordPress 1 – the basics

WordPress 2 – adding pages to create a website

WordPress 3 – adding images to your post or page

WordPress 4 – adding slideshows and galleries of images

WordPress 5 – linking your blog to your social media

WordPress 6 – sharing buttons

 

 

 
12 Comments

Posted by on April 24, 2014 in Blogging, WordPress

 

Tags: , ,

Formally or formerly?

DictionariesOne of my readers, Graham, suggested this troublesome pair – I always l like to receive suggestions of pairs to write about, so do drop me a line if you’ve checked the index first and I haven’t written about your favourite!

Formally is an adverb formed from the adjective formal, and means being done by the rules of convention or etiquette, officially recognised, with a conventional structure, form or set of rules. “He replied formally to her gilt-edged invitation”, “I was dressed formally as it was a high-class event run by the establishment!.

Formerly is an adverb that means in the past; before whatever is being discussed now.

“Formerly, for example in the 19th century, social visits were done much more formally, according to established rules and customs. Now everything is much more relaxed and informal, with people dropping in to see each other without having to leave a card in the hall first.”

You can find more troublesome pairs here and the index to them all so far is here.

 

Tags: , , ,

Small business chat update – Al Hunter

mugs It’s Small Business Chat time again, and today we’re saying a warm hello to Al Hunter from Mobile Remaps, a man who does something I’ll admit that I’ve never fully understood about cars (this is OK: I don’t have a car, I don’t drive, I don’t plan to drive or have a car, and if anyone asks me about this stuff I’ll point them Al’s way …). Al started off with us in January 2012, and at that point he’d been running his company for a couple of years and had big plans. By our next chat in March 2013, things had changed and evolved, and Al was into the mobile remapping side of things. He’s always shared lots of information and advice in these interviews, and with typical detail, this was his plan for the year ahead, this time last year: “By the end of Q1 2014, we’d like to see Mobile Remaps fully funding itself. By this we mean the business it turns over being 100% profitable rather than using funds from Auto Evolution. I say this as although throughout this update we’ve focused on Mobile Remaps, it does not mean we’ll stop doing the bumper scuff repairs, windscreen chip repairs (this what Auto Evolution will focus on once we’ve got Mobile Remaps fully profitable) … but we want those services to be add-on services to cross-sell to our customers for additional profit rather than relying on that to boost Mobile Remaps’ profit. Achieving this will also mean I can give up the part-time job I took up as well … thus freeing up time and money to drive Mobile Remaps forward. Fortunately, I think we have the team behind us now to achieve that. So that’s encouraging. It means, though, a long hard year ahead, often working from 6am to 8pm, just as we did in January.” 

So, let’s see how Al is doing!

Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Without sounding cocky in any shape or form… No. I’m where I planned to be. And as such, I’m where I expected to be. Which is good but not great. But it now means that as a business, it should be possible to move ‘onwards and upwards’, as they say. Twelve months ago I said I wanted at the end of Q1 in 2014 for Mobile Remaps to be able to stand on its own two feet as far as profitability goes. And that goal has been met. It’s been a jolly hard slog for a cash-restricted company (i.e. one that doesn’t have thousands of pounds to spend on advertising each month), but slowly and surely we have been developing a solid reputation for both a quality product and service whenever customers have had a question or a concern. And now we actually receive calls and emails stating the reason for contacting Mobile Remaps is because of the reviews that these individuals have read about us online!

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

In our last annual update, I mentioned that as I felt it important for a business to do what it says on the tin, and because as a business we were introducing a mobile remapping service, we introduced our trading name as Mobile Remaps as well as our website www.mobileremaps.co.uk. At the time, I said I expected the small car body repairs to run alongside the new remapping arm. As it turns out, with the exception of performing car body and alloy wheel repairs for existing customers, we have struck up a partnership with another local company for this service for all new customers that has allowed Mobile Remaps to focus on providing its mobile ecu remapping service. This has been of tremendous benefit, as our mobile remapping business is not weather dependent. As such, the first website I built for auto-evolution.co.uk that featured our car body repairs has remained very static, whilst our mobileremaps website has been very dynamic and is constantly being updated.

Around the 3rd quarter of last year, it was anticipated that our van would get a new livery for Mobile Remaps. As chance would have it (and you do need a bit of luck from time to time!) a former Saatchi executive ‘liked’ Mobile Remaps on Facebook. Having left the corporate world, David responded to a question I put on FB regarding the look and feel of our website at that time. His words were not overly complimentary. They weren’t rude, either. It was his comments stating that our website was ‘not sexy’ from an advertising professional’s perspective that caught my attention. The last thing I wanted was a sexy website as a) I’m not a spotty teenager looking at the back pages of a Max Power magazine and b) I didn’t want to alienate our potential female customers. So, without being precious about our website or brand in any shape or form, I found out David’s number, spoke with him and engaged his own newly started business to provide a marketing strategy for Mobile Remaps. And it’s been this strategy that slowly and surely I’ve been saving towards and implementing when funds allow.

Part of David’s observations were that the original Mobile Remaps Logo was not in keeping with the professional, corporate image I wanted for our company to portray. As the first part of his report, it was the branding image that has taken up my energies when I’ve had the time. It’s taken a while to get our logo and image as I wanted it. Partly I suppose because of my own failure to get across the image I had in my head to professional designers (despite writing what I considered a detailed brief – perhaps too detailed?) and partly because some professional designers simply didn’t come up to scratch and so I went from designer to designer…  But sure as night follows day, my determination to work towards my goal has meant that in February the corporate image started to come to life as we collected our Mobile Remaps van in its new corporate livery. I also commissioned a new corporate uniform with our logo and colour scheme which should be delivered to us by the end of March.

Now that we both have our brand and are building a solid reputation, we can actually start advertising (aside from my own SEO work) to truly move the business forward. And this advertising will be done through online paid-for advertising, social media (our Facebook site is growing all the time) as well as email shots and flyers.

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

Communicate, don’t dump… My wife is very much a part of my business, even though she has absolutely nothing to do with it. Sounds like an oxymoron, I know. But it’s not. My stress in working part time as well as full time on my business has meant time for the two of us has been limited at best. And it’s meant that meaningful communication has often been more like social media sound bites. But in seeing both our reputation grow and as recently as this week [at the time of writing] the realisation of Mobile Remaps’ branding come to life… my wife mentioned that I should be proud of the hard work that has led to where we are at today.

But if there is a learning point here it is this…. I need to include my family more. Seeing my stress and tiredness  has led to my wife and others being stressed more than they would otherwise have been if I had improved my own communication with them about all that has gone on in the background. Due to my lack of communication regarding all the balls I’ve been juggling over this last year, I have appeared distant from my loved ones when nothing was further from my mind. If I had realised this a year ago, I would have changed my behaviour at home instantly. But it only came to a head this January and since then, not only has my stress reduced but I also have a sounding board that I respect and trust which, without dumping all of the world’s business concerns on my wife and family, allows me to obtain an unbiased, unprejudiced and alternative opinion to my own on certain business aspects.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Keep clear and accurate records. It’s difficult to know a good business from a bad business at times, as we found out with a less than satisfactory service from a bookkeeping company. But due to our own clear and accurate records, Mobile Remaps were able to document dates, times, phone records and fees paid for all services (or lack thereof) provided by this third party. Such records enabled Mobile Remaps to not only put an unsatisfactory experience behind them but also focus on the future, which is equally if not more important.

Keeping clear and accurate records has also been beneficial when scouting out new suppliers for products and services and in negotiating better deals… so there are potentially many benefits from this tip!

Develop a strategy for yourself. That old saying ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ is true here. Having the strategy developed by David for Mobile Remaps gave a focus that was lacking previously. That’s not to say we’ve followed the strategy religiously. We couldn’t. Restricted funds saw to that. But what it did to was provide a goal (working towards being able to afford a complete rebranding exercise) that we could work towards and then once achieved, understand what the next step would be.

Keep an open mind. One of the best things we’ve done this year has been to join the networking group BNI. Originally I visited BNI 3 years ago and was not impressed. But at an alternative networking group an attendee said ‘have you heard of BNI? Why not visit my chapter and see if it’s any different to the one you experienced before?’ Every bone in my body said don’t go but I fought my own prejudice and went thinking… what have a I got to lose except for a couple of hours and perhaps a wrong impression?!  Well for I have found BNI beneficial for the business as well as me personally. It’s improved my communication and presentation skills as well as confidence. I’ve also found it to be a brilliant resource for finding other reputable companies who can help Mobile Remaps grow.

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?

As I said in last year’s review, I expect from the end of Q1 in 2014 to be a year of growth. And this is still my goal and expectation. Without going into too much detail on goal specifics, the aim for the end of Q1 in 2015 is to be in a situation where Mobile Remaps cannot serve all customers who would like our service. And, by this I mean that we are too busy to travel too far away to see our customers. This situation would lead to Mobile Remaps considering training an employee or franchising the business so that we can provide national coverage with local reach, which I think is the ultimate goal. But before we can do that, Mobile Remaps must first perfect as best it can both its local advertising strategy and service. For after all, the best national companies and franchises are just local business repeating themselves.

Wow – such a lot of useful information which can really benefit other businesses as they think about their growth and branding. Al has a very sensible approach to spending money on marketing which I really echo – only spending when you’ve got the money to spend is good and sensible way to go about things, and can lead to a healthy and growing business, as we can see. I wonder what Al will have to report this time next year!

Al adds: If anyone wants to keep in touch with what we do they are most welcome to keep in touch with Mobile Remaps on Facebook and Twitter and we’ll be happy to answer any and all questions that may be raised for our attention. If anyone wishes to learn more about remapping, please do feel free to also visit our website at www.mobileremaps.co.uk.

f you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources. 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on April 19, 2014 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

Tags: ,

How to allow comments on your WordPress blog posts

I recently had a cry for help from a friend: she’d posted her first blog post but it wasn’t letting anyone post comments. I told her about the standard way to allow / disallow commenting on blog posts, but that wasn’t helping, and I ended up rolling up my sleeves and ferreting around in her blog Dashboard myself before discovering the answer to our dilemma. So here I’m going to share the correct way to allow comments, and then the way to change your preferences on individual posts – which I have to say is not obvious.

Please note that this works for WordPress.com blogs and not for self-hosted blggs and their themes – you will need to look at the widgets you can download for that.

How do I allow comments to be made on blog posts?

We all want people to be able to interact and make comments on our blog posts (well, most of us). The way to set this up is in the Dashboard, Settings, Discussion. I’ve talked about this at length in another post, so have a look here if you want all the details, but basically you can choose to allow comments on blog posts here:

18 setup

As I said above, have a look at my basic WordPress article for all of the information about how this page works: for now, just make sure that Allow people to post comments on new articles is ticked.

allow comments

How do I allow / disallow comments to be made on individual blog posts?

So now we know how to allow comments in general. But what if you’ve created a post and people can’t comment on it? Here we have a post with no place to add a reply or a comment:

no comments

I want to encourage people to post comments – so how do I do that? You might think that this is done in the Edit screen for your post. But it isn’t.

To enable or disable comments on an individual post, you need to go to Dashboard, then Posts, then All Posts, until you get this view of all of your posts in a table:

all posts

Now, hover with the cursor over the post that you want to edit – in this case the top one, and a list of options will appear. Click on Quick Edit:

quick edit

Now you will see the Quick Edit screen, where you can change things like tags and categories, the blog title and … the comments. Here the Allow comments box is unticked:

allow comments option

Tick Allow Comments:

allow comments option ticked

Press the Update button. When we view the page, now anyone can add a comment:

comments

This post has sorted out the problem of how to enable comments on an individual blog post. If you found it useful, please do let me know in a comment, and click on the sharing buttons below. You might want to explore the related WordPress articles on this blog, too.

Related posts on this blog:

WordPress 1 – the basics

WordPress 2 – adding pages to create a website

WordPress 3 – adding images to your post or page

WordPress 4 – adding slideshows and galleries of images

WordPress 5 – linking your blog to your social media

WordPress 6 – sharing buttons

 
34 Comments

Posted by on April 16, 2014 in Blogging, WordPress

 

Tags: , ,

Phase or faze?

DictionariesI find these two words being mixed up quite commonly, and it’s one of those ones that … I won’t say it annoys me, because I try to remain calm and focused on the sense of the writing in the face of errors, but it sometimes makes me a bit tense.

The incorrect usage is always in one direction of the confusion. I’ll show you what I mean …

A phase is a distinct period of time or stage (“we are doing the building work in three phases: foundations, walls and roof, with gaps to raise money in between”) and it has some complicated scientific meanings which are related to this idea of separateness and which we probably don’t need to go into here.* The verb to phase (in/out) means to carry out a process gradually (“We are phasing in the new hires so everybody doesn’t arrive at once”) and is used in those scientific contexts I talk about below.

What phased does not mean is confused or discombobulated.

To faze is to confuse, disturb or discombobulate – so the past tense is fazed. “I was fazed by the information he was bombarding me with and had to take a break”.

Faze – confuse. Phase – time period or other separate thing.

“I was not fazed when the phases of the traffic lights were altered, because I had read the notices and knew it was about to happen.”

*Oh, alright then, if you insist: in physics, it’s the relationship in time between the cycles of a system and a fixed point in time; in chemistry it’s a distinct form of matter that is separate from other forms in terms of its surface; and in zoology, it’s the variations in an animal’s colouring depending on the seasons or genetics.

You can find more troublesome pairs here and the index to them all so far is here.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Errors, Language use, Troublesome pairs, Writing

 

Tags: , , ,

Using LinkedIn for your business

Using LinkedIn for your business

LinkedIn is seen primarily as a networking tool for the more corporate end of the market. However, you can set up your own business page on LinkedIn now, and there is a lot more interactivity and ‘social’ activity than there used to be – or than you might think.

Setting up a LinkedIn profile

Once on www.linkedin.com you can join up and set up your profile.

1 profile

It’s a good idea to include as much information as you can on here – and in a professional way. While it’s never a good idea to allow typos and grammatical errors on any professional profile, it’s vitally important here, as people tend to make more of an effort, and so any errors will be very glaring.

There are various sections to fill in on the profile; including past jobs allows your ‘network’ to grow, as LinkedIn, unlike other social media, will not let you even request to connect to just anyone. For example, I’ve added my experience in here:

2 profile

… and I’ve added information about the books I’ve written in the Publications section:

3 profile

Find your way around LinkedIn

Your home page will contain a feed a little like your Facebook timeline, with updates from people to whom you’re linked. To find people to link to, you can search in the search box at the top of the screen. Once you’re linked to someone, they will appear in your Connections list, which you can access by clicking the [number] connections icon to the bottom right of your profile picture area.

Your profile also includes a link to People You May Know. This will give you people in networks connected to you by other connections, workplaces or interest groups to whom you might want to link.

4 connections

Click on People you may know and you’ll be given a list of possible connections (I’ve blanked out names and obscured photographs because this is my own LinkedIn profile):

10 people you may know

You can see your invitations and notifications at the top right.

Invitations allow you to see who has invited you to connect and any messages they’ve sent you via LinkedIn:

11invitations

Notifications show you who has liked your updates or shared your profile:

12 notifications

Linking to people on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is different from other social media networks, in that you have to have a tangible connection to a person in order to ‘Link’ to them. If you find someone you want to link to and press Connect, you’ll be asked how you know that person. If you say that they’re a colleague, or that you’ve done business with them, you’ll be asked which of your jobs they are a colleague from – that’s why it’s important to list all of the companies that you have worked for on your profile. If you say that they’re a friend, you’ll be asked to prove you know them by providing their email address.

You can find people just outside your network by clicking on the People You May Know link. This will give you a list of either friends of friends or people who have said that they work or have worked at the same organisations that you’ve worked at. You can connect to these people in the same way. You can also search for people using the search box at the top of the screen (Note; I asked Janet’s permission to use her profile in these images):

5 search

However you access them, click on the person’s name to see their profile and then use the Connect button to ask them to link to you:

6 connect

It will then ask you how you know that person: when you click on one of the radio buttons, you will be asked for more detail.

7 connect

Here, I’ve clicked Colleague, so then it will ask me which company that I’ve worked at relates to this:

8 connect

Setting up a company page

You can set up a company page on LinkedIn for your business – this will give people another way to find you and will provide another link to your website and other social media.

To set up a company page, click on Interests at the top, then Companies from the drop-down.

13 add a companyAt the top right of the next page you’ll find a link for Add Company.

14 add a companyYou will first need to confirm that you’re eligible to create and moderate this page, so there will be an email sent to you to confirm, and you must have a personal LinkedIn account to create a company page.

14.5 add a company

Fill in all of your company’s details and save – and there you go.

To edit your company information, go and find the company page and click on Edit.

15 add a company

Getting social

This section is about social media – so how do you get social on LinkedIn?

Updates

You can post updates, just like on Facebook – do this from the Home page. Your updates will appear on your connections’ home pages, just as theirs do on yours. You can like and share updates in a very similar way to Facebook.

17 updates

You can direct most blogging platforms to automatically post links on LinkedIn – all of my WordPress blog posts do this. You can also link your Twitter account to LinkedIn by going to your account settings (click on the small photo in the top right of the screen), clicking on your name and choosing Manage Twitter Accounts.

18 link to twitterClick on Add your Twitter account:

19 link to twitter

20 link to twitter

If you’re logged in to Twitter you will see this Authorize app message, if you’re not logged in, you will be asked to log in first. And there you go:

21 link to twitter

Recommendations

If someone has done a good job for you, you can click on Recommend in their profile and type in a recommendation. They will be emailed this and will have the option as to whether to publish it or not (this prevents people posting negative comments without the member knowing).

16 recommendations

Groups

There are thousands of interest groups on LinkedIn and these can be a good way to meet new people, spread the word about what you’re doing, and find out what other people are up to.

Access Groups by searching in the top search bar (you can click on the icon to the left of the search area and select only Groups to search) or by clicking on Interests then Groups. Once you’ve joined some Groups, you will find them listed on your Groups page, and then some suggestions underneath.

22 search for groups

When you look at the Groups screen, you can see all of the groups you have joined, and you can also create a group if you wish to.

23 groups page

You will also find suggested groups at the bottom of the page:

24 groups page

Groups work very simply – you can post a new message or reply to another one, just like in other social media like Facebook and Google+. You can choose whether you are updated by email for all posts and replies in the group, or whether you want to just access them via the LinkedIn website.

I have found that some groups do become clogged with too many adverts and not enough discussion, but others can be really useful. The usual rules apply about reciprocity and kindness when using LinkedIn for social media communications.

Golden rules for using LinkedIn

Be professional. LinkedIn is known as a professional and careers-orientated site, although there is certainly room for the self-employed. But you do need to be extra professional and not very personal on here.

Reciprocate – if people like and share your updates and group posts, say thank you and like and share theirs.

Similarly, if people recommend you, or if they use the Endorse buttons that appear at the top of the screen when you log in to say that you’re knowledgeable about a certain topic, do try to recommend and endorse them back.

Useful related posts on this blog

Using Twitter for your business

 
2 Comments

Posted by on April 9, 2014 in Business, Social media

 

Tags: ,