List of Site Creation Steps

This post on my website website is a copy of the frontpage of the newer site about content management with WordPress, which exists partly to help others and partly to remind myself of what I do.  I need to keep a list of steps around somewhere, for my own benefit, so why not put it up on the web?

This is a website about websites. I have created so many of them, it seems a good idea to share some of my experiences and list the steps I take. These are exactly the steps which I take myself. You may or may not find them useful. Some of the reasons I do it this way are listed elsewhere.

I use a self-hosted site, which costs me a couple of hundred dollars a year. Much of what follows still applies if you have a free installation on WordPress.com, but I use a hosted site on A2 Hosting, which I can personally recommend based on my own experiences. They may not be good for some people, and may change for the worse, but right now they seem pretty good to me. I use one of their premium plans, so my sites will load faster. My hosting plan comes with an interface called cPanel. It takes some getting used to, but is quite powerful. The first few steps depend on it.

  • I put each if my WordPress websites on a separate subdomain. It is easy to create one after finding the subdomains icon and clicking on it. All you need to do is provide a subdomain name. I have created this subdomain, contentmanagement, which is therefore accessed by http://contentmanagement.socialtechnology.ca/ — though you won’t get anything until you have installed a website on the subdomain.
  • The cPanel control panel provides the Softaculous software installer. It will install WordPress on the subdomain chosen. I choose a name for the site, which may be similar to the subdomain name but doesn’t have to be. These can be changed later. The rest of the installation form is fairly straightforward, mostly involving a name and password. It is important to provide an administration name that is easy to remember and not too obvious. Don’t use admin or your own name. I use the same one for each of my sites, and have a password pattern that produces a unique memorable password. I is important to provide an administration e-mail address. The default is no good. I just use my own personal one. Make sure you use your own address for the very last line on the form, which asks where to mail details of the installation.
  • The reply from the Softaculous installer includes the administration URL for the new site. It is the full site URL plus a randomly generated set of letters. I click on that URL and it takes me immediately to the “dashboard”, from which the website is controlled. I immediately add two pages and a post. By default, the first page I create is called About and includes a few sentences about the new site. This allows me to remove the idiotic sample page. The second page I create has only a title, no actual content. I use the word Posts as a page title, but you may prefer Blog. Next I create new post, which simply records the creation of the site, with perhaps a word about its purpose. This allows me to delete the idiotic sample post. I go the All Pages and remove the offending sample page, and All Posts, to remove the offending sample post. Now there is a website which is not an embarrassment. Someone stumbling across it will not think it a joke.
  • The next step is to go through the settings. Under general settings, I click the “anybody may subscribe” box, then choose Vancouver as a city in my timezone. That’s all for the General settings. I ignore Writing for now, and move on to reading. You may want the Posts or Blog to display when someone reaches your site. That’s the default. I choose the option to display a static page. In my case, About is the one I temporarily select as a Front page, and Posts the one I permanently select for my blog posts. Someone wanting to see those will click on the Posts menu item.
  • The next step is to come up with a theme. To see what WordPress installs as a default, look at the top left hand corner of you dashboard, and if you hover your cursor over the site name, you will be given the opportunity to visit the site. What you see is even more plain-vanilla than I like. Back on the dashboard, I go down to the word Appearance, and within it the Themes choice. WordPress will have installed at least two themes, probably four of them. You may select one, but I prefer something simple which I know well. I always chose Add New and install Twenty Ten. Boring.
  • Almost all themes have a image associated with them. Many expect an image of a fixed size, while others permit a variety of sizes. Twenty Ten expects a header image which is 198 pixels high and 940 pixels wide. I create a simple header quickly by using an image editor to create a 940 by 198 blank image, then pasting in a small picture. Often those are 198 pixels square, but for this site I grabbed a snapshot of one my other websites. After pasting in the image, I use the same image editor to add a website title, which may or may not be the name WordPress knows the site as.
  • Back on the dashboard, the next step is to look at plugins. Some come pre-installed. Let me focus on the ones I want. Most of these I add, but some come are already there. Here’s a list of the one’s I want:
    • Wordfence Security — I have to turn off Live Traffic View to use with A2 Optimized Hosting
    • WP-Spamshield
    • Jetpack
    • Yoast
    • Fantastic Copyright Free — not available on WordPress.com, has to be download from publisher’s site
    • WP-realtime-sitemap
    • W3 Total Cache — installed by A2, can be used on any host
    • EWWW Image Optimizer — installed by A2, can be used on any host
    • A2 Optimized WordPress — I don’t know if this works with other hosts, but I don’t see why not. I’ve never had a chance to try that.
  • Having added WP-realtime-sitemap, I create a page called Sitemap and add (only) the shortcode wp-realtime-sitemap (in square bracket) to it. When I first wrote this entry, I specified the shortcode itself rather than just saying to put it in square brackets, and so, of course, instead of displaying the shortcode for your inspection, it inserted the sitemap here, right in the middle of this page. Oops.
  • The next steps involve the use of the Yoast plugin.
    • The first of them is for the Google Search Console, which is a useful way of making sure Google knows about my sites and will report crawl errors. The first step is to use this search console, click Add Property, and enter the URL of the site. You will be immediately asked to verify your ownership of it. Under Alternative Methods, choose meta-tag and save the code Google generates.
    • Selecting Webmaster Tools from the Yoast dashboard, I copy that code, save the entry, then go back to the Google Search Console and hit Verify.
    • If that works (it does if I got the sites URL right) then the search console will accept an XML sitemap, which Yoast will generate. I seem to have to disable sitemaps, save that setting, then re-enable them and save, before the sitemap is generated.
    • Next, the Yoast dashboard will suggest connecting with the Google Search Console as an improvement. No error message is produced, but note that this accomplished nothing unless the site has been verified.
    • One last thing to do with Yoast. They have a Social setting, in which one can enter social media addresses. I only do Twitter, because my Twitter and Facebook accounts are already interconnected and the rest don’t seem worth the trouble, but a social media fanatic might want to use the half-dozen or so others as well.
  • Now comes the hard part, adding content. Lots of content, regularly. That’s where I have always fallen down in the past, but WordPress.com is making it easier. One should always have a WordPress.com account and connect your site to it through Jetpack. If you do this, and select the option to manage multiple sites through WordPress.com — which you can do even if you only have one, then you can easily write posts by simply going to a single editing page at WordPress.com and that makes it much easier, especially if you stay logged on to that site.

That’s a lot of steps. I can’t always find the energy to go through them all at once, but the ones which create a site with no sample pages or posts, add the plugins, and use Yoast are three separate steps which are not hard to manage at one sitting. I often find myself doing or updating the plugins on pre-existing sites, and doing the Yoast stuff on sites I neglected to do earlier. It is taking a long, long time to make sure I’ve done it all for the many sites I have going.

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Updated version of websites.socialtechnology.ca

I have many interrelated websites.   My former websites site has now been updated to be more useful.  Soon it will have an explanation of those relationships.  For now, this post is just a test of the post-by-mail facility for that site.

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Former About Page — changed to post, August 18 2016

This post was formerly the front page of this website, which will now serve a more important purpose.

This website exists to record my experiences creating and maintaining websites.  My first websites were created by hand.  I wrote my own HTML and uploaded it to a web host.  Later I tried various content management systems , but was not at all happy with them.  Then I found that WordPress was not only a blog, but is a good CMS.  I highly recommend it.  Most of what I have to say here will be about my experiences with WordPress.  I have found that I prefer to create several different sites.  The header image above is a composite made from the individual headers of four of these sites.

On this site I will discuss my multi-site approach, explaining why and how I use it. There are certainly problems with it, but until something better comes along, it’s what I do.  Since I have many sites, setting up one now seems easy.  I’ll give you a list of the steps.

Here are clickable images of four more sites:

Finally, there is my main Social Technology website:

I hold up none of these sites as good examples.  They are just examples, and adequate for my purposes.  Creating and maintaining them has not been easy.  They have been receiving cleverly disguised spam, have been hacked, and worse, have attracted almost no attention from anybody.  But that is the way of things these days.  It is hard to get noticed.  The best thing one can do is add a lot of interesting content, and I’ve not worked hard enough to do that.

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Blogs as Social Technology

Blogs are an example of what I call social technology.  In discussing that subject, I have compared what we have now to the state of medicine before the role of microbes and the need to sterilize tools and operating places was known.  In those days, medicine usually did more harm than good.  One might ask for a similar analogy for blogging.  One that I use is to compare it to the revolutions in travel.  Boats were first, then railways, then automobiles, and now airplanes.  Each development has increased the probability that a disease which develops in one part of the world will spread to another.

Blogging makes it too easy to communicate.  E-mail did this first, and before the days of blogs I used an e-mail mailing list for somewhat the same purpose. Blogs are worse. I have also used web pages, of course, beginning with my first hand-coded ones.

But how can e-mail, web pages and blogs be harmful?  Well, they make it just as easy to communicate harmful ideas as good ones.  It’s not just easier, its more effective.  People engaged in socially harmful behaviour develop a cult following, spreading their ideas like diseases.  It is much harder to spread a good idea than a bad one.

Believe this: interest in a blog travels by word of mouth, or by person-to-person e-mail more than through the use of web search engines.  You will have trouble getting people interested in your blog unless it contains the sort of trash which most interests people.  There are, for example, few successful anti-pornography blogs, while those which feature sexual excess or direct people to such site are common.  This encourages and helps to spread pedophilia, for example.  There are blogs about making and using homemade bombs.  They are highly successful, since they attract a specific kind of person.  I know of none which try to cure an unhealthy interest in explosive devices.

 

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Other Header Images

I have a few examples of header images on the page with that name, on the menu above.  This post is just to provide a few more examples, for your amusement.  I don’t claim they have any artistic merit at all.  They are just given here to illustrate what can be done with a simple image editor.  I usually use the freeware PhotoFilter application.  All of these are cut to fit the Twenty Ten theme header image size of 940 by 198.  Other themes want different sizes or are flexible enough to accept various sizes, but I like Twenty Ten.  You may click upon any of these images to see them full size.

Social Tech R & D Header

poor social tech rich

BanffSpringsCompressionExampleBlackSidebars

Social Tech Test Site Banner

social tech high header

languages header 940 198

Different Views WordPress Header

DPW wordpress header

green family corporation

connected college header

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Problems creating new site.

I’ve created over a dozen “websites”, by which I mean WordPress installations, as well as several real websites in the original meaning of the term. The most recent WordPress installation did not go well.  It was barely possible at all, and I can’t explain why.

I wrote at the time, “Today I’ve been completely frustrated by my attempts to recover, revive or create a new test site.  My old one was hacked in the famous botnet attacks.  I did all the right things in the SQL database to fix that, but nothing worked.  I deleted the installation and tried to create a new one.  I seemed to have been created OK, but wouldn’t let me login.  It didn’t reject my user name or password, they just vanished from the screen.  What is going on?”

I had tried deleting and recreating the subdomain in which the test site existed, but was still unable to get a usable WordPress installation created.  The software installer reported success, but I was unable to log on.

Since then I not just deleted and recreated the subdomain on which the site existed, but created a subdomain with a new name, http://Test3.SocialTechnology.ca/.  I haven’t tried again, but my attempts to put up a test site on a subdomain with the same name as the old one had been futile, as had been my attempts to recover the original site.

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