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