After creating your brand you’ve chosen the free WordPress.com as your platform but you have no idea what to do next? No worries, I have got your back with a quick overview on how to get using WordPress.com.

Get registered

  1. Register your account at WordPress
  2. Create your URL as domainname.wordpress.com (Remember your branding!)
  3. Choose a plan, at this stage I would recommend a free plan – you can always upgrade later
  4. Set up Gravatar to include your personal details, your photo/logo (It’s up to you what you choose) and a link to your site.
  5. Set your blog name under site identity and get started on designing your site to fit your brand.

Designing your blog

WordPress has hundreds of themes to choose from. This will create the layout and the aesthetic of your blog. You can preview how the themes will look before selecting one and you can also customise these to fit your needs even more.

Upload your header that you thought about when branding to make your blog cohesive. You can do this under the customise option.

 

You can add and move widgets around to allow you to add features such as social sharing buttons. You can also change your fonts and colours to match your colour palette.

Post your content

In the top right corner there’s the Write button to write your first blog post! If you caught my WordPress Org guide earlier in the week, you’ll notice there’s really similar options for WordPress.com. Post settings is where you can post or schedule you blog posts. You can also save your blog posts as drafts and keep them for later.

Categories and tags are really important to try and get your content read. Categories is more for your website’s index and keywords of ‘Beauty’ and ‘Books’ etc. and it’s also good for yourself as you can see how many posts you have in each category.  Tags are super important for readers to find your content in WordPress reader. You can search for keywords and posts using that tag will show up. This is one of the best ways for you to find new readers as a new blogger.

Now you’re all set up to continue posting!

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You’ve created your brand and chosen WordPress.org as your platform but you have no idea how to use WordPress? No worries, I have got your back with a quick overview on how to install and get using WordPress software for blogging.

How is WordPress.org different to WordPress.com?

WordPress.org provides the WordPress software to download and install onto the server space that you rent from a web host. WordPress.com offers free hosting but is restrictive in many ways due to being free.

Installing WordPress

In order to easily install WordPress you need to find a web host that has PHP and MySQL/MariaDB and ensure it has cPanel or something similar. The web host I use, Bluehost, has an easy auto-installer which will install WordPress for you. You can install WordPress on web hosts which don’t have these, but it is a lot more complicated and takes more time. If you do want to manually install I recommend following WordPress’s instructions.

'Install WordPress' on Bluehost's cPanel

‘Install WordPress’ on Bluehost’s cPanel

  1. Sign up for a web host plan
  2. Log into cPanel by going to http://domainname.com/cPanel
  3. Find the install WordPress feature
  4. Install WordPress

Using WordPress

In order to use WordPress you need to log in by going to http://domainname.com/wp-admin and logging in with your web host details.

Dashboard

The WordPress dashboard comes already loaded with the Welcome at the top, and the At a Glance and Activity widgets. As you can see I have added my own widgets for ease of access. I can now see my site stats, my followers and the Yoast SEO overview tool.

Create a New Post

From the dashboard you can either go up to the top and press new or you could go to the side menu and press add newYou can also go into the posts page and there’s an add new button there as well.

It’s important to get to know the different widgets surrounded the add new post page. The main one is the publish widget which is where you can post or schedule you blog posts. You can also save your blog posts as drafts or under pending review if you’re working alongside an editor.

My publish widget has additional items in it such as the Yoast readability and SEO scores. It also has Publicize as I have the free version of Jetpack installed as well. Publicize is great for sharing to  social accounts.

Categories and tags are really important to try and get your content read. Categories is more for your website’s index and keywords of ‘Beauty’ and ‘Books’ etc. and it’s also good for yourself as you can see how many posts you have in each category. For example, I really need to tidy up my categories as I don’t utilise the recipes or film category very often, if at all!

Tags are super important for readers to find your content in WordPress reader. You can search for keywords and posts using that tag will show up. This is one of the best ways for you to find new readers as a new blogger. Popular tags are ‘Book blogger’ ‘Beauty’ etc.

As I use Yoast SEO I have the Yoast widget at the bottom of my page which directs me as to how to improve the SEO optimisation of my post. The Yoast widget also tells you about the ‘readability’ of your post.  I always aim to turn the buttons in the publish widget green before posting.

Plugins

There’s so many plugins you can get that make running your blog that little bit easier. Here’s some that I find help me the most.

  • I love Yoast SEO as it works really well to remind me to concentrate on SEO. It also helps me write better as I struggle with writing sentences that are too long.
  • I also use Akismet Antispam to reduce spam comments on my blog.
  • I use All Meta Tags to create meta data for my blog. This also helps optimise my SEO.
  • I use Monster Insights Google Analytics plug in to get analytics up and running.
  • WP Smush helps to reduce the size of my images and makes my blog run faster.

Media

 

The media library is where you can upload all your images and documents that you want on your blog. It’s a really easy drag and drop to upload. Plus you can search the library if you need an older image.

Customising your blog

Under appearance, you can find different themes to download and add different widgets. You can also use customise to input your own html theme that you’ve made, downloaded or bought. I would spend some time just playing around with different settings and finding the blog design that is exactly what you want before setting your site as live.

Upload your header that you thought about when branding to make your blog cohesive. You can add and move widgets around to allow you to add features such as social sharing buttons. You can also change your fonts and colours to match your colour palette.

Settings

If you’re planning on scheduling your posts, remember to change your time zone under general settings. I’d also recommend you set your other options up to how you prefer them as then you can have an easier user experience. 

You should also set up your permalink settings to show as post name as this is the best one for SEO purposes. Using plain or numeric will have no benefit as it lacks keywords and using the date will make URL’s that are a bit long. If you haven’t already done this, and you also haven’t had your website indexed by google I would change it now! If you’ve already got an older site that’s been indexed, shared etc then leave it or all your links will need to change.

Another setting is follower settings under reading settings. For months I didn’t realise I was sending out automatic emails saying howdy. Go change your email response to something more on brand as soon as possible!

 

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So you’ve decided to start a blog and you’ve thought about your branding. Now it’s time to find your little area on the internet and I am here to tell you the pros and cons of all the places I know you can go to to start hosting a blog.

Blogger

Image result for blogger logo

 

Years ago pre-teen me decided that I wanted to start a blog. Of course back then I only really knew about blogspot (now known as blogger) and started a very small and not very good blog which I deleted after 6 months and only writing 6 posts.

Pros

+ Easy to use

+ Quick set up

+ Free hosting

Cons

– Blogspot.com domain

– Limited options to customise

– Sometimes lacks credibility

– Blog is owned by Google and not you

WordPress.org

Image result for wordpress logo

 

There’s a WordPress.com and a WordPress.org and it can get a little bit confusing at times. I personally use WordPress.org because of the following:

Pros

+ Customisable and complete control

+ Thousands of plugins available

+ Thousands of themes available

+ SEO features available

+ Can add own code

Cons

– Need to self-host through another site

– Need to pay for self hosting

 

WordPress.com

Image result for wordpress.com logo

 

The free version of WordPress is also a viable option, especially for those just starting out. It’s also so easy to migrate over to a WordPress.org site when you want to purchase a domain and self host.

Pros

+ Easy to use

+ Quick set up

+ Free hosting

+ Easily upgrade-able to self hosted

 

Cons

– Can’t control ads

– Limited themes

– No plugins available

– WordPress.com domain

– WordPress owns the blog, not you

Squarespace

Image result for squarespace logo

 

Squarespace is actually made to create websites and not just blogs. If you want a broader experience and want to create a website rather than a simple blogging platform, then Squarespace, Wix and Weebly are probably what you’re looking for.

Pros

+ Easy to use

+ Good choice of themes

+ SEO help

+ E-commerce optimised

+ Free domain

+ Customer support

Cons

– Expensive plans

– Limited free account

– Limited themes on free account

– No back-up capability

 

Wix

Image result for wix logo

I’m sure you’ve seen the adverts all over the TV and internet for Wix before. It’s been around for so long and hosts over 90million sites with its easy to use drag and drop tools. Again, this is a website creator with blog function capabilities.

Pros

+ Can use templates and 3rd party apps

+ Easy to use

+ Quick set up

Cons

– Limited free account with Wix branding

– Limited 3rd party apps

– Cant change template once chosen

– Limited e-commerce to paid plans

 

Weebly

Image result for weebly logo

 

Similar to Wix, Weebly is a drag and drop website creator.

Pros

+ Easy to Use

+ Up to date and on trend templates

+ Pre-designed page layouts

Cons

– Limited customisation

– Lacks updates and new innovations

– Limited blog functions

Medium

Image result for medium logo

Medium is a community of writers, bloggers, journalists and experts. It’s blogging platform has limited social networking features and is easy to use.

Pros

+ Easy to use

+ Reach of similar audience

+ Focus is on writing and not design

Cons

– Limited features for design and branding

– Medium owns the audience

– Can’t monetise

 

Tumblr

Image result for tumblr logo

Tumblr is for microblogging and so many people have created accounts over the years. It’s also more like a social site than a website, but there’s many blogging features.

Pros

+ Free

+ Easy to use

+ Integrated social media aspect

+ Accepts all content formats

Cons

– Limited features

– No additional features

– Struggle to back up or import to other platforms

– Lacks credibility

– Use tumblr.com domain

 

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In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying Halliday’s past to unlock the puzzles and win the ultimate prize. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

Ready Player One

Amazon Waterstones |
Ready Player One
Ernest Cline

Ready Player One was a welcome surprise after hearing so much hype about it. Between the world building and the mass of interesting characters I agree that it’s a fantastic read although it does have some issues. I’m usually hesitant about hyped books because what if I don’t like it? but Ready Player One is the kind of book you don’t have to think too much about if you don’t want to and it’s enjoyable to read.

For the first chapter, we’re introduced to Halliday’s Easter Egg Hunt. I especially loved the footnotes here explaining how the gunters were finding hints in each section of the video. The annotations immediately showed me that this quest has been really thought out by Halliday, the gunters and of course Cline himself. The whole set up was extremely detailed and I enjoyed how in depth it went.

All of the references to the 80’s obviously set up this book full of nostalgia. But it did feel slightly overwhelming at times. I was only born in the 90’s so a lot of the references I didn’t understand fully, although some are very prevalent and so I do know. This means that this book is going to age like crazy. It’s already slightly outdated now for the YA audience it’s supposed to be targeting. Ehich is why the film has less references than the book (please correct me if I’m wrong, I haven’t seen the film yet).

The world building is impressive. We have the real world but also a thorough understanding of the OASIS which is a digital world. The OASIS is made up of multiple places from multiple other video games, books, shows etc. So the world building sometimes isn’t Cline, but the way he stitches them all together to create the digital universe for players is brilliant.

The characters are okay. I found that the main focus was the world and quest, so the characters to me weren’t that memorable. I didn’t like the romance at all because Wade seems to be chasing the girl too much even when she tells him no. This is just too reminiscent of guys who often harass and follow you online and you can’t fully get rid of them. Which made the whole thing a little bit darker than what it was meant to be like.

POSITIVES

+ World Building

+ Nostalgia

NEGATIVES

– Overwhelming references

– Romantic plot felt creepy

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Javan has been at school for 10 years and is only just returning to his kingdom and father. Before he has the chance however, he miraculously survives assassination attempts only to find that an impostor is posing as him. When he tries to let the palace guards know, his uncle betrays him and he’s sent to Maqbara, the kingdom’s most dangerous prison. He must find a way out to save his father, out the impostor and save Akram from his uncles rule.

The Traitor Prince (Ravenspire, #3)

Amazon |
The Traitor Prince
C. J. Redwine

The Traitor Prince read like a romance placed into a fantasy world. The main plot was so entwined with the romance plot that I am really surprised that it isn’t a main genre on goodreads for this book. I was disappointed. This is also the third book in a series that can be read as standalones. I have actually heard so many good things about the first two books, but if they are anything like this one, I probably wouldn’t be interested.

There were many magical creatures and fantasy elements within the book, but I felt like it didn’t merge with the plot as well as it could. This could have been a gladiator style arena with real world animals, and all humans and it would have read the exact same. There’s plenty of magical creatures but they’re literally fodder to be killed off after a paragraph. There’s mention of dark elves and fae, but we only meet one elf. And we rarely see actual magic happening. For a fantasy book this is so completely disappointing.

One of the good things is that the characters each have very individual motivations and reasons for what they do. Even the antagonist Rahim thinks through his plans in depth, and has a clear motivation to being the bad guy. There were however some secondary characters who were placed in the book purely to be part of our main characters motivations. There were a few deaths throughout, and I think too much emphasis was put on one death to push the story forward when it wasn’t necessary. I also think the main character, Javan, was a little bit too naive to not understand that something was wrong with his father. But that could also be because as a reader we are told he’s being poisoned and manipulated.

As a whole I found the book really dragged on. We spend approximately 80% off this book stuck in a prison. It’s not that interesting and that’s where all the romance stuff comes into play to make it interesting. We do see Javan ride across the dessert from his school at the beginning, and I was really disappointed that we didn’t get any adventure style road trip time. We literally got a ‘few weeks later he arrives’ and then he’s stuck. There’s clearly a lot of world building in the series of books, which was just hidden so much behind the dull and boring walls of the prison.

Overall the book just didn’t sit right for me, although I know it’s anticipated by a lot of people. Maybe the previous two books were a lot better settings and characters, but I did not enjoy this story for multiple reasons.

POSITIVES

+ Character motivations

+ Clear world building

NEGATIVES

– Naive MC

– Dragged on a bit

– Romance too much of a focus

– Lack of actual magic

I received The Traitor Prince by C. J. Redwine from the publisher via Edelweiss. This is an unbiased and honest review

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