Small business hoping to get up to speed quickly

My two websites are http://www.silver100.com and http://www.silversafety.com. I have gone as far as installing the WordPress framework with the default theme on each site: http://www.silver100.com/blog and http://www.silversafety.com/blog

Now, to get up and running as quickly as possible.

I have zero experience with WP and first I need to decide if it's even practical for me to do this myself with the help of the forum, or if I’ll need to hire someone to do it. Tough decision since my budget today is next to zero and so is my time availability.

FWIW, I created those two websites myself, though it took a good six months to learn Dreamweaver and get them built. I only have maybe six to twelve hours to dedicate to this blog project right now. (Okay, I realize it will inevitably be more than twelve.)

Yet I need to get it done. I have a huge marketing opportunity at hand. A key news site in my field has offered to direct attention to us if we produce an informative piece we're working on (Silver Safety site). It will be a one-time shot as far as the media push. It will be a bit controversial due to the subject matter. From all I'm told, a blog is more conducive to seeing that proliferate on the web than just putting it on a web page.

FWIW, we have substantial funding likely coming in in the coming weeks or months, at which time I can and will hire a professional to take over the blog design and implementation. But today is today.

So, here we go.

What I have to decide on first:

1. Whether to tackle it myself for now. I only need it to be "good enough" for now.

2. Whether to keep it on our current web hosting company's server like is it now (http://www.futurequest.com -- great company we've been with for years) or have it hosted on a specialized server (I suppose the URL will still look like our domain -- I'm a little more comfortable with keeping it all on our current hosting company's server).

3. Picking a theme. Something clean, business-like, not too difficult to get up and running with quickly. Yet something we can growth with as we raise funds and hire an expert to take over managing it. (I have a superb graphic designer on-hand to create a banner or two if needed, and I can do a little bit myself.)

4. Picking any plug-ins we might initially want. (I don’t even know what I’m getting into in this area.)

What I want it to do:

1. General standard format of posts that have their own full page each but that are also organized on a main page that shows the first paragraph or so with a link to read more.

2. Side-column item with links to prior posts. I don't think we care to put dates. I don't see any point in categories for now, thought that might become relevant pretty quickly.

3. Other links. And certainly a prominent way to get to the home page of the main site (TLD).

4. Facilitate social networking. For now, all we have is a Facebook fan page (“Silver 100” – yet to update it) and I suppose we’ll make a Twitter page ASAP as well. I think for now we just want simple linking to go to our Facebook and Twitter pages, Like, and whatever is most common and practical to facilitate the online conversation without getting too involved at this point.

Key decision is Comments:

Our field has been overrun by charlatans (what I call circus clowns and cowboys) and we’ll be bringing genuine information to the field. It will inevitably entail some degree of revealing the farce of others, which will in turn inevitably incur attempts to sabotage our efforts.

On the one hand, I’d like to just avoid the mess of Comments. On the other, I’m told that Comments is really a key aspect of facilitating the “conversation” and helping us get known at the authority in the field.

I’d appreciate advice on whether to allow Comments or not, if that’s realistic with what I’ve explained.

Naturally, assuming I do, I’ll want to moderate the Comments – assuming it’s as practical to manage as I’m led to believe.

I’m seeing that there’s Comments Plus and there’s Facebook Comments. Choosing a format now seems to be a good idea since changing is probably not so easy, I would assume.

On other topics:

Before I do the media event, I figure I’ll first create about half-a-dozen posts so there’s some history there when the boost in traffic arrives (another reason not to have dates, I would think).

I’d like to be able to add a graphic along with the blog posts here and there. Though maybe that’s unnecessary and not so common with more professional business-like blogs.

We’re planning on using some video on our site. We have a full-blown in-house video production studio and full production capabilities, with a great animator we’ll be utilizing when we raise some money. I don’t know how much it’s appropriate to put a video on the blog itself, though, vs just linking to it on a page on the main site.

I’ve been using JW Player and h.264/mp4 format. (I’m wondering if Vimeo is worth learning sometime soon.)

I expect we should think in terms of avoiding video on the blog, and just link to videos on the site itself.

I’m only mentioning video now in case it has a bearing on what theme to choose.

I suppose that’s enough for now.

Thanks so much for the help!

Jay

  • PC

    Hello FastWhisper1, Greeting and welcome to the forums. Now to summarize your queries, I will break them up.

    @jon : Nice share for the theme :slight_smile: I liked it.

    @FW1

    Firstly I checked both your websites, and that is a neat work. Cheers!

    I have zero experience with WP and first I need to decide if it's even practical for me to do this myself with the help of the forum, or if I’ll need to hire someone to do it.

    As an answer to it I would say that when I started working on wordpress I too had 0 experience and as you go along, you keep on learning. as you are now a member of our family, you will be getting all the support you need in the forums using which you can fix the issues you might face with your website. Lemme remind you, we have a great team here :slight_smile:

    Tough decision since my budget today is next to zero and so is my time availability.

    Though we have a area where you can post your jobs https://premium.wpmudev.org/wpmu-jobs/, however as you have already said that you have a low budget, I would suggest you to go ahead and give it a try.. :slight_smile:

    --------------------------------------------------

    1 Whether to tackle it myself for now. I only need it to be "good enough" for now.

    Remember, to create a great and successful site, you must have a good plan and strategy in mind. So, you should know what you need from it so that we can suggest you the plugins you might require to get it working.

    2 Whether to keep it on our current web hosting company's server like is it now (http://www.futurequest.com -- great company we've been with for years) or have it hosted on a specialized server (I suppose the URL will still look like our domain -- I'm a little more comfortable with keeping it all on our current hosting company's server).

    That depends on the traffic your site would be getting, once you start getting good traffic, and site performance might go down, you can anytime switch to a different host for which you will get good suggestions here.

    3. Picking a theme. Something clean, business-like, not too difficult to get up and running with quickly. Yet something we can growth with as we raise funds and hire an expert to take over managing it. (I have a superb graphic designer on-hand to create a banner or two if needed, and I can do a little bit myself.)

    We have 31 themes projects and you may experiment with them by changing them and see how they fit your website and your needs, just start with https://premium.wpmudev.org/project/buddypress-daily-theme and see if you like it. its simple to start with. and we any time have our Farms 133 themes pack https://premium.wpmudev.org/project/farms-133-theme-pack

    General standard format of posts that have their own full page each but that are also organized on a main page that shows the first paragraph or so with a link to read more.

    That you can easily set on your Settings >> Reading page on which you can select how many posts would be listed on that page and whether to show a full text or a summary with a link. you do not necessarily need a plugin for it.

    facilitate social networking. For now, all we have is a Facebook fan page (“Silver 100” – yet to update it) and I suppose we’ll make a Twitter page ASAP as well. I think for now we just want simple linking to go to our Facebook and Twitter pages, Like, and whatever is most common and practical to facilitate the online conversation without getting too involved at this point.

    For this we have our Ultimate Facebook Plugin

    I’d appreciate advice on whether to allow Comments or not, if that’s realistic with what I’ve explained.

    That indeed is the most important part of your website, whether or not to enable comments, what I would suggest you to do is if at all you wanna allow comments, allow them only for the registered users and for user registration you can use a WP-autocaptcha like plugin. And for comment spam Akismet is always there to help you and the key to that is free too :slight_smile:

    I’m only mentioning video now in case it has a bearing on what theme to choose.

    That does increase your efforts to customize the video embed size, but that is very easy to achieve using the post editor (HTML mode) and resize the video according to your page style. and to keep the space usage low, I personally recommend uploading video on you tube and then simply embed the link on your blog. that way, you get video exposure at 2 places instead of 1.

    Please lemme know if that helps.

    Cheers
    PC
    goobindia (at) gmail (dot) com

  • 3SixtyEvolve

    Hi Jay

    Thank you for posting to the forum.

    I have great respect for what you are trying to build. I read through your post and I think you're honestly on the right track :slight_smile:

    For starters, choose a theme that would work well with your website. It doesn't need to be anything fancy, something that will have the same look and feel as the main sites, to have some consistency and flow.

    Have a look at the themes we offer here on WPMU DEV, or alternatively read through some of the amazing posts on WPMU.org. Just one very good article springs to mind: https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/16-beautiful-and-free-responsive-wordpress-themes/

    Now that the theme topic is completed, lets move on to the functionality. Most themes have the functionality you're after, so I wouldn't worry too much about that.

    Nowadays there are some really cool plugins where you can integrate social media. A very good tool that I use on my own websites is this one: http://wibiya.conduit.com/. This integrates your social media and updates, and people can also like your site etc.

    As far as video media is concerned. Vimeo is a great tool and you can actually integrate the videos on your site, so you won't have people leaving your site. YouTube is another option, although I personally prefer Vimeo.

    Let me know if you have more questions. I would be happy to assist and to help you grow your business and sites :slight_smile:

    Have a good weekend.

    Gina

  • FastWhisper1

    @PC:

    Thank you so much for the in-depth and supportive advice!

    The Daily Theme looks really cool, but with my novice level of understanding at present, it looks like a bit more than I might need. I'm thinking a little more "business-like". I notice a lot of major companies have simple looks to their blogs that are more informational in nature. Also, I can't tell but it seems that one is great for being a whole website, which I don't at present think I'm planning to use a blog for.

    I may be wrong, though. It's intriguing to things that images can be incorporated for all posts. I'm in the boring area of chemistry, but my challenge is to make it interesting and accessible. Images could help!

    As to video, I tend to lean away from sending people to YouTube (or having a YouTube plug-in on the page?) -- based on what I see most other advanced companies/sites doing and the advice of my video guru (who used to run the Adobe tech support forum for their video production community). He suggested we maybe put a link below or above the video that goes to a video on YouTube, though, for compatibility (though the more we get away from Adobe Flash Player and go to h.264/mp4, that matters less – and I have yet to learn what Vimeo does to change that).

    I'm seeing Vimeo used more and more on sites that seem to be the most advanced. (And BrightCove?)

    Please still hang in there for advice as you’re able, even if I end up deferring to GinaB on some things! My challenge is not having time to compare much myself and therefore needing to defer to the opinions of someone who I mostly defer to for the time being – unless of course I get a consensus and life gets easy.

    @GinaB:

    Thank you for being there! Unless something else changes, I’m going to semi-blindly follow your advice for now.

    Having said that, and assuming you’ve looked at my sites and read what I just wrote above @PC…

    Can you please do me a huge favor and suggest “one” theme and “one” solution path to my other basic goals for now?

    Video can wait.

    Also, maybe share whatever opinions are relevant, such as pictures with the posts.

    One thing I’m confused by is the use of big huge images in these themes. Why is the heading and text not prominent, like in a lot of the blogs I see that seem to be major companies and news/web entities?

    For instance:

    http://www.benjaminfulford.net (former editor-in-chief of Forbes of Japan)

    http://www.wordpress.org/news (well, we know who these guys are; it’s obviously more of a “techie” world here)

    http://blogs.amd.com (major maker of computer CPUs)

    Even the WPMU site doesn’t fill up a big portion of the pages with graphics just to have pretty pictures. There’s enough graphics to look professional, but the space is efficiently used to make the information clear and accessible.

    Now, I certainly don’t want to discount the virtues of images! I’m open to advice. What do you think?

    And having said all that, can you again please help me pick a theme? Well, I'm fine with going with my own preference on the look and layout, with my only concern being that if I choose what looks nice to me I may be missing some key dimensions that you would know about in terms of things like the Daily Theme being so advanced and tested for things like full browser compatibility, etc, etc.

    Thanks so much!

  • Jon Pedlow

    Sorry for the short answer earlier, the theme I refered to really is very easy to use, extremily flexible, has amaizing support and works great with the plugins here!

    If you wished I could let you test the theme to check it out?

    Here is a link to their showcase so you can see some of the results people have achieved.

    http://dreamthemedesign.com/u-design-support/discussion/14/showcase-your-site

    Andon who owns the theme is like having your own team member, he supports great and like I said this theme works great with the plugins on wpmudev.

    Hope this helps?

  • FastWhisper1

    If I go with this one -- "Business Blog" -- do I forfeit any meaningful leading-edge capabilities (like the ones mentioned for Daily Theme)?

    https://premium.wpmudev.org/project/business-blog-theme

    Anything with a similar look that you might want to recommend instead?

    (Note that I don’t mind paying for a theme if necessary to get what will be appropriate for us, but I want to stay with what’s offered from WPMU so that’s where I’m getting my core support.)

    Thanks!

  • FastWhisper1

    I know you mentioned to me that you might put this project on hold for a while,

    Part of why I told you that offline was that I was a little discouraged that my most recent post, asking for opinions about a particular theme I was focused on, got no responses at all after about five days.

    Even with you tied up for a few days with personal things as you told me you were. I would've hoped for "some" comments to my questions.

    So, I resigned myself to the fact that this may take longer of a learning curve and more research time than I have time for right now.

    But thank again for offering. Even with you there to help at this time, I'm still guessing it will take longer than I have time for right now. (Especially if I want second opinions on anything!)

    Oh, well.

    Thanks again!

  • FastWhisper1

    I'm totally bummed. I was expecting a small army of experts falling over their shoelaces to help me on this forum.

    I think I'm going to ask for a refund and for triple damages for all my hopes and dreams being destroyed... not to mention all the therapy I'm going to need as a result.

    Okay, just kidding.

    But maybe someone can just please respond to my inquiry of May 6th? :slight_smile:

    If I go with this one -- "Business Blog" -- do I forfeit any meaningful leading-edge capabilities (like the ones mentioned for Daily Theme)?

    https://premium.wpmudev.org/project/business-blog-theme

    Anything with a similar look that you might want to recommend instead?

    (Note that I don’t mind paying for a theme if necessary to get what will be appropriate for us, but I want to stay with what’s offered from WPMU so that’s where I’m getting my core support.)

    Thanks!

    When I ask if I'd forfeit any meaningful leading-edge capabilities, I'm not sure what the scope of that subject even entails but I'm thinking of things like support for mobile devices, the newest video formats, social plug-ins and so on.

    Thanks!

  • FastWhisper1

    @GinaB:

    I'm totally thrilled that you're offering to help offline and I most certainly will be taking you up on that, now that you're again able to make some time for it.

    How much I keep the project on hold vs how much I can continue to progress with it will partly be a function of the learning curve, which is obviously partly depending on the support I can be lucky enough to get.

    I was hoping to still do a little with the forum, in addition to what we do offline together, so I'm not burdening you more than necessary, and so I have a backup when you're unavailable.

    Thank you for offering to help! I consider it a gift from Heaven and I will be taking you up on it!

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