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WordPress Setup Checklist

I installed 4 WordPress sites today and coached a friend on his blog setup. I realized I have a definitive checklist for the process and thought I would share it for future first-time blog implementers.

First, for those of you who are struggling with a manual WordPress installation- stop, take a deep breath, and scurry on over to Go Daddy () or another web host that offers WordPress installation. Go Daddy will install this in a matter of a few clicks and the naming of a database- it’s that easy. (They also offer a number of other free installations in their “Hosting Connection” section, including Gallery, Joomla, and Drupal.)

Once your WordPress platform is installed, double back to GoDaddy and check your installation settings. At the bottom of the setup notes, there may be an option to update WordPress. If the version is stable, I opt to update at this point, to avoid having to do it later.

Next, I upload my themes and plugins- I keep a file of favorite WordPress plugins and themes on my computer, categorized and updated as I try out new things and see what’s worthy. I immediately load all of these onto the web server (wordpress themes should be dropped into: wp-content/themes folder.) I usually have in mind what I’ll need specifically for that site. Nevertheless, 9 out of 10 times, I need the “extras” at some point or another and this saves me the time in the future.

After logging into the new WordPress site (at “www.yourdomain.com”):

WordPress > SETTINGS- I review and make appropriate changes to my profile first, and decide which editor I will need to work with. If the site will be using the AdSense Deluxe plugin regularly, then I opt not to use the visual editor.

WordPress > OPTIONS – Next, under “Options” I double check the website and blog addresses. Incidentally, if you find yourself having permalink issues later, try adding or removing the “www” in this section. Often this fixes the issue. I check the “anyone can register” option as well as the “users must be registered to comment” box. Nevermind increasing registered users, this helps to cut back on spam comments by a large portion. For “Discussion options” these tend to vary for me, but I generally check all except “administer must approve all comments” because, well, that would just be a little too much micro-management for my taste.

WordPress > OPTIONS > Privacy You would be surprised how many times I’m asked about SEO-ing a blog only to find out the blogger never switched their Blog Visibility option. Hard to raise those search engine rankings when you’ve got them blocked.

Permalinks- Make them pretty! This makes a huge difference in SEO efforts in my experience. For pretty permalinks in WordPress, you will want to check the option that says: Date and name based.

Example: http://brilliantjeni.com/2007/12/10/sample-post

Next, I target the blogroll. This task always seems tedious to me, so I prefer to import from another blog and then change according to what’s most relevant to the new site.

Next, I install various plugins depending on the purpose of the site.

At this point, I will begin a few drafts for articles and pages. Great for getting started, but really helpful for creating categories. If you’re starting a blog, chances are you have a number of articles in your head already. Try using the draft feature to keep these ideas fresh in your head and go ahead and start growing that category list.

These are just a few of my own get started quick tips. Since the majority of my setup includes themes and plugins, I’ll be posting a follow-up covering these in the near future. In the meantime, I hope this saves you all some time and effort, and helps you start your own WordPress checklists.

Top Torrent Sites – The Best Torrent Sites Still Standing

Most of you know that I currently live in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Because of this, I have no problems downloading from the torrent sites who have been forced to discontinue access for American residents. However, since the majority of my readers are Americans, I thought I would share some great torrent sites that are not (or at least not yet) restricting US access.

  • Mininova.org has 190,000 torrents indexed as of April, 2007. Created by the same brilliant folks that started Suprnova, Mininova continues to be one of the largest torrent databases of the Web. http://www.mininova.org

Prior to the state vs. torrent sites, Torrent Spy was my all-time favorite. Not only did they have the best selection of torrents, but the traffic was so high, there wasn’t much of a wait for comments to clear torrents of virus and trojan potential. Unfortunately, even while I still have access to Torrent Spy here in good ol’ Mexico, the site has not managed to keep up the same quality. Comments are no longer available, downloads are available only through 3rd party sites, and good god- the porn advertisements are just out of control. For years of great service, I bid them a tearful farewell and head toward torrent sites the courts have not yet targeted and wait for the next generation of p2p file sharing.

I blocked my advertiser…. and made more money


A few days ago, I noticed a dramatic dip in my AdSense income from one of my health sites. I did the usual- checked to make sure the ads were working correctly (no public service ads, etc) and re-evaluated my competitive ad filter list. Nothing out of sorts… and then I noticed it as I started clicking through the pages of my site. A single advertiser had purchased so much ad space on my site, they were almost my only advertiser. Not only did they purchase various ad units, but multiple ads with only slightly varying titles.

Well, great for them, but really bad for me. Who’s going to click on the same advertiser throughout a 200 page health site? While I always appreciate advertisers who specifically choose to advertise on my pages, I had to block this one. Within a few hours, my CTR was back up, and more importantly- my revenues were back on track!

It's official- AdSense Video Ads

The good folks at Google AdSense have just sent out their official notice to web publishers about the new video ad units. After a few months of testing, it looks like they’ll be sticking around. I for one am thrilled- I’ve noticed these on a number of my sites, and they have done particularly well on my travel site, with videos on hotels and other accommodations. They’ve had very high CTR’s, sometimes as high as 50%.

Here is the email sent out to web publishers earlier today:

“We’re excited to announce video units, a new way to enrich your site with quality, relevant video content on an embedded, customizable YouTube player. With video units, you embed a snippet of code and have relevant YouTube partner content streamed to your site. You can choose categories of video to target to your site, choose individual YouTube partners, or have video units automatically target your site with relevant video. Companion and text overlay ads displayed in the video unit are relevant and non-intrusive. If you have video content of your own, you may even be able to sign up as a YouTube partner to have your content distributed to other AdSense publishers’ video units.

Video units are currently available to all publishers in the United States with English as their designated language. If you want to learn more, you can click here to visit our AdSense blog post and view some fun and educational videos to show you video units work. You can also visit our frequently asked questions.

To set up video units on your site, log in to your AdSense account today and visit the Setup page.”

Bravo AdSense folks! Brilliant Idea!