WordPress 101: Plugins & Themes

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Welcome to my second post in a series I am calling WordPress 101. In my first post I went over why to choose WordPress. Now I had thought about doing a post on how to install WordPress, but they have that covered quite well already. Also many hosting companies like BlueHost offer 1-click installs for WordPress. So with that we are going to move on to Plugins and Themes, which can add functionality to your blog and give it its own style. With the massive community that WordPress has you can easily find great plugins and themes.

Plugins
The basic install of WordPress has quite a lot of functionality, but there are many things that you might want to add. On this blog I have a plugin for my contact page, the Instagram and Newsletter section on the sidebar and more. If there is something you want to add to your blog there is probably a plugin for it. To add a plugin to your WordPress installation you can click on Plugins -> Add New.

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Here you will be able to search for plugins, and see some of the featured and recommended plugins. The best thing to do would be to research the functionality for the plugin you are looking for and if there is a plugin for it look at the reviews. You can do that by clicking the “More Details” link on the plugin page. You also want to look at the last time the plugin was updated. If a plugin has not been updated for over a year it might not be a good idea to use it on your site.

Most plugins are free and won’t cost you anything to run on your blog, but there are paid plugins and pro versions of plugins. Many of these can be found in the WordPress section on CodeCanyon.

Themes
Wordpress comes with the default themes of “Twenty Thirteen”, “Twenty Fourteen”, and “Twenty Fifteen”. While these themes are good and will work to get your blog started, I always suggest getting a different theme to really make your blog your own. To get into the themes section on your blog while in the admin section click on Appearance -> Themes.

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Then click on “Add New” to search for new themes and look at some of the popular and featured themes. If you have your own custom theme you can also upload it by clicking on “Upload Theme”.

There are many great free themes. You can just do a Google search like this to find some really great themes for free. Now if you want to spend a little bit of money Theme Forest is a great place to get premium themes. The theme for this blog as well as ThinkComputers was purchased there. Of course I took the time to customize the themes to make them my own, and I would suggest doing the same if you want your blog to look unique.

I hope you have a better understanding of what both Plugins and Themes can add to your WordPress blog. This is the second post in my WordPress 101 Series, you can check out all of the posts from the series here.

6 Tips to Be More Effective & Feel Better

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Running your own business is not an easy thing to do and it always feels like a constant grind. With this type of work style you can easily burn out, get stressed, and just not be happy at all. Here are six tips that I have integrated into my work routine that should help you be more effective and to feel better. These of course are not just for people who run their own business, they can be used in any type of situation really.

Wake up earlier – This is a big one! I used to be real lazy with this, I mean I make my own schedule, but waking up earlier has really helped me. For me I am more creative in the morning and I am more motivated. Waking up early allows me to do my morning routine and get many tasks out of the way fast. This way I am not stressed about getting certain things done. Later in the day I am more tired and I tend to push tasks off till the next day. Getting up early and completing these tasks first thing has really help me a lot!

Make a to-do list – This may seem like a simple thing to do, but you would be surprised at how easy this is to forget. If I don’t have a to-do list I really can’t organize my day and it is easy to get distracted by things like Facebook and YouTube. Having a to-do list gives me a clear direction of what I need to get done for that certain day and I can pick out the tasks I dread doing the most and get them done first. I typically make my to-do list the night before for the current day. That way it is sitting there ready to go when I wake up.

Exercise & Get to the gym – There have been times in my life where I wouldn’t go to the gym at all for like 6 months. Luckily because of my metabolism I didn’t turn into a fat slob, but getting exercise and going to the gym is very important. You would be surprised at how good you feel after going to the gym. Even if it’s a couple times a week it is much better than not going at all. When you feel better you are going to work so much better.

Eat Well – This goes hand in hand with going to the gym. You can eat garbage and expect to feel good. I used to eat fast food and really bad food all of the time, but eating foods like that is a real rarity these days. If you follow me on Instagram you know I eat quite well. Just like working out if you eat well, you are going to feel well. Skip the fast food and pack a healthy lunch or choose something better than fast food.

Get out of the house / office – I work from home and while it is great, it does have some downsides. One of the biggest is that I get tired of it easily and it is hard to be creative and on top of that it is easy to get distracted. You could feel the same about your office. At least once a week I try and get out of the house to work. I typically choose places like Starbucks, Panera, etc. A change of scenery can get those creative juices flowing for sure!

Take a break – As I said when you are working hard it feels like a constant grind. It is important to take a break. I typically don’t take many days off, but many times I will work a half-day where I’m out with my friends during the day and I come back home to work after. Taking a break from work and getting your mind off of it all really helps you recharge. Then you can go back to work recharged and ready to kick ass!

These are 6 things that have really helped me out, try and few and see if they can have the same effect on you!

Using Your Facebook Page Effectively

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Social Media has really transformed how we market our content, products and services online. Many companies have full-time social media managers and entire social media divisions so it is a real thing and can generate traffic to your website and even better generate revenue. Over the past few years it has been increasingly harder to get your content in front of people on all social media, especially on Facebook. I shouldn’t have to tell you that you should have a Facebook page for your business and I’ve already shown you how to build an engaging Facebook community. What I’m here to do today is to show you have to effectively use your Facebook page. Facebook actually gives you many tools to do this. So let’s get started.

Schedule Your Posts Out
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One thing that I see on social media a lot is people posting things one right after another. So they will have 5 posts in an hour. Not only is this annoying to the users more than likely not many people are going to see these posts after they have been posted. This is where scheduling comes in, it allows you to space out your posts this way they can go out throughout the day and be seen by more people. With ThinkComputers I typically space posts out an hour and a half apart.

Pin Important Posts

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Facebook pages give you the ability to pin a single post to the top of the page. This means if someone goes directly to your Facebook page that is the first thing that they will see. So if you had a certain post that you wanted to get the most exposure the best thing to do would be to pin it to the top of the page. For ThinkComputers we pin the daily review for the best exposure possible.

Frequently Repost Things
As I mentioned it is harder and harder to get your content in front of people on social media, especially Facebook. If you are releasing content on your website or blog and you post it on Facebook, within the hour it will be gone and the only way someone will see it is if they go to your page. This is why you should frequently repost things. Many people who “like” your page probably have not even seen the initial post. The way I work this with ThinkComputers is our daily content goes out on a schedule throughout the day, but at night we don’t have any new content. So during the “downtime” I will schedule out Facebook posts of the content that went out earlier that day. This way your content gets in front of more people.

See when your Fans are online
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Facebook page insights are great and give you quite a lot of information. Just click on the Insights tab at the top of your Facebook page to access them. One of the best pieces of information from insights is the ability to see when your fans are online. To do this once in insights click on the “Posts” tab to see when your fans are online. For ThinkComputers the peak time is right around noon. So now that I know when most of my fans are online I can publish my most important posts then. Typically with ThinkComputers that is our daily review. This type of information is very important for people who are only posting 1-2 things a day as you can totally miss your “window” and barely anyone will see your post.

See what posts and types of content performs best
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Now that you are in the Posts tab scroll down to see the latest posts that you have published. Here you can see which ones have performed the best. You are able to see the reach, post clicks, and likes, comments & shares. Now that you see what posts are performing the best you may want to market that type of content more. You can go even deeper by clicking on the “Post Types” tab at the top of the page and now you can see which type of content is performing best. So if photos are doing better than links than you might want to focus on that.

Have a Facebook Marketing Strategy
With all of these tips that I’ve given you, you should be able to develop a Facebook marketing strategy. Remember Facebook is free advertising so take advantage of it and it can really be powerful if you take the time to really do it. Many people just let WordPress auto-post to Facebook and wonder why their Facebook community is not growing and there is not that much engagement. Having a real Facebook strategy can really bring more traffic to your website or blog.

As always if you need help with your Facebook marketing or anything else you can always drop me a line or shoot me a message on Twitter.

WordPress 101: Why Choose WordPress

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WordPress is quite known by now. If you don’t know what WordPress is it is powering this blog! It is a content management system that was first released in 2003 and makes it extremely easy for anyone to start a website, manage content and more. Many of my previous websites were made using flat file systems or were hand-coded and that just takes a lot of time! Now every one of my websites are based off of WordPress! So why should you use WordPress? Here are a few reasons…

Easy to Install & 1-click Installs
Wordpress is quite easy to install! Even if you are not that technically inclined the step-by-step instructions from WordPress are very easy to follow. On top of that many major hosting companies now have 1-click installations for WordPress. Bluehost, which I use to host this blog has one and it is so simple! It takes 5 minutes or less to have a WordPress website completely set up and ready to go!

No Coding Necessary
Setting up your own website can seem like a daunting task, but with WordPress it is really easy. You really don’t need to know any coding at all. When you are creating your posts and pages there is a nice interface and visual editor. You can add images, video, links and more without any HTML or coding experience at all.

It’s all in the database
One of the biggest issues I had with ThinkComputers before it was on WordPress is that I always had to back up things in fear of losing it all. It was on a flat-file system, so if I lost any of the files or something happened to the server it would be gone forever. With WordPress all of your posts, pages, etc are stored in the database. You can set your server to make frequent backups and many hosting companies always backup your data. Bluehost backs up your data for free and allows you to easily restore it.

Multiple users & roles
If you have a website you might not be the only person who is writing for it. With ThinkComputers I have multiple writers. Before I was on WordPress they would submit their articles to me by either Google Docs or just written in Word and they would e-mail it to me. I would then have to edit it, and then format it for the site. Now my writers have their own logins for the site and they can write and format their reviews. This makes it easier for me as I can go in and make changes and it definitely saves me time. Also you can define different roles on WordPress. I am an Administrator so I have access to everything on the site, while my writers are Editor’s who only have access to their posts.

Massive community
Wordpress is the most popular blogging platform out there powering over 60 million websites. With that you have a massive community people of people using the product. This means you know problems are going to be addressed quickly, there will be plugins for pretty much everything, the platform will be secure, and there will be tons of themes to customize your site.

This is the first post in a new series called WordPress 101, you can check out all of the posts in the series here.

How Doing Meal Prep Has Helped Me Out

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If you happen to follow me on Instagram you will see every once a while I post about doing meal prep. What is meal prep exactly? It is pre-making my meals ahead of time so I can heat them up later. Meal prep is very popular among people who are on a diet. Meal prep is has helped me out in many different ways, which I’ll explain.

I typically do meal prep on a Sunday to prepare for the week. My meals typically include a protein (fish or chicken), a vegetable (asparagus or broccoli) and usually quinoa or rice. With that I have a healthy balanced meal. Usually I keep most meals the same with not much variation. This is good if you are on a diet, such as the slow carb diet as most of your meals have to be the same. Once you get used to eating the same thing day after day you really curb your cravings for bad food, at least in my experience I have.

Another reason I do mean prep is to save time. I work from home so for the most part I am going to eat all of my meals there too. So each day I am going to have to cook my food, then eat it. This ends up being an hour or longer depending on what I make. Doing meal prep means I just throw the container in the microwave and just heat it up. This way I cut my lunch down to 30 minutes, which is ideal for being more productive.

Doing meal prep gives me no excuse to eat unhealthy too. If I have a busy day and I’m running behind there is no way that I’m going to take the time to make a full meal. So I’ll go grab something, which is typically unhealthy fast food. If I’ve done meal prep there is no excuse because I have containers full of healthy food being ready to be heated up.

If you are looking at trying to eat more healthy and save time meal prep might be a good thing to try. I has really helped me out! If you have any questions about how I do meal prep go ahead and leave them in the comments or shoot me a message on twitter.