A common question I get from new WordPress users (twice in the past week as a matter of fact), typically arriving in a panic-stricken email, is “Why am I getting notices of new user registrations on my site?” The follow-up questions are along the lines of “Have I been hacked??” “Is this spam?” “How do I make the madness stop?”
The answer is thankfully simple. There’s one little setting in your WordPress dashboard which is needlessly (at least in most cases) allowing people to register for your site. Unless you’ve deliberately customized it, the registration screen is at the same url on most WordPress sites:
I’ve talked before on this blog about the need for us to focus on active creation rather than passive consumption. But once you’ve made that mental switch, you can still face the dreaded blogger’s block. Do you ever sit down to write a blog post and are at a loss for where to start? Read on and you’ll never face the blank white screen again.
First, a few basic concepts that have become evident to me through blogging:
1) Ideas are not finite, you’ll never run out….
… even if you post every day….
I find that a lot of new bloggers worry that by posting a lot, one day their stockpile of ideas will run out. So it becomes counter-intuitive for them to write a lot. Given that more content = more traffic, this is quite problematic ;)
2) The more you write, the more new ideas you’ll generate.
There seems to be a flow in the way ideas come into your brain. So the more you write the more room you allow for new ideas to come in. If you stop the flow by not clearing them out of your head, you may end up mentally constipated!
The more regularly you write, the more ideas will come to you. Not only does the flow improve, but you learn to look at the world from a blogger’s perspective, meaning that you frequently see the inspiration for a blog post in interactions you have and events that occur.
3) Inspiration happens at inopportune moments
Your brain has a great capacity for generating ideas at unexpected moments, not just when faced with the white screen. Inspiration rarely strikes when you are sitting in front of a blank blog post, that’s a lot of pressure. Ideas tend to come in random ways, when you’re browsing other websites, when you’re having dinner, brushing your teeth, driving on the freeway etc.
The MOST important factor in being able to keep a steady flow ideas coming into your grey matter, is having a solid system in place for capturing and acting upon the ideas that strike you, no matter when or where that happens.
As soon as you own your own website you will quickly amass a large number of online accounts – your web hosting account, FTP access, WordPress access, Google, Twitter, Facebook etc etc. This leads to 2 main problems for bloggers. Firstly most people end up losing track of their information, forgetting passwords, always having to reset their info, and generally being disorganized and frustrated. This results in problem #2 which is security. For many people, keeping track of all these usernames and passwords is a real challenge and most resort to very insecure methods such as using “weak” passwords over and over again because it’s easy to remember.
We really can’t afford to be so cavalier with our account info. I always liken such pieces of info to the keys to your house or car. Most people guard those things pretty closely,but when it comes to online info, they take more risks. For consultants and developers like myself it’s extra important that we have ways to keep info securely because we are privy to the accounts of all our clients.
Whatever your situation, here are some free and cheap tools that will help you. You only need to pick one of them and I highly recommend you don’t put this off any longer!! For some background reading on the importance of secure passwords and more, check out this post from web security expert Tony Perez of Sucuri.
Ah, I thought that might get your attention…..
Yes, what blogger does NOT want to make money from their hard work? Oh what’s that? You’re independently wealthy and just doing this for kicks n’ giggles? That’s nice for you. Now go sit in the corner with my other imaginary friends.
But for those of you that would at least like to make a little cupcake money….
The most important thing you can do is ACTUALLY HAVE SOMETHING PEOPLE CAN CLICK ON THAT WILL EARN YOU MONEY!
‘Duh?’ You say? Perhaps not. Most of the people that I talk to who would like to make money from their blog, are not offering anything that actually enables that to happen. Take a look at your blog. Is there anything that can be clicked on that results in money in your bank? I’m talking about something glaringly obvious, not a tiny paragraph of text hidden on your ‘About’ page that says you accept advertising.
The first step in any new project is often the hardest. At the beginning, the idea exists only in your mind with no tangible manifestations of it, and therefore no “proof” that it can be achieved. Our human nature is vulnerable to self doubt and fear, making our seedling idea susceptible to “it’ll never happen” or “it won’t be successful” types of thought patterns.
This is what makes our first steps so important. The first step marks a decision, a new direction; it declares that we will go forward despite our fears or self-doubt. The first step gives us momentum and belief in our project, whether its starting a personal hobby blog or an entire new business. I work with a lot of new bloggers and hopeful online entrepreneurs who come to me because they have a gap in their technical knowledge and that is preventing them moving forward. For some people the act of contacting me and setting up an appointment is an important step for them in signifying their commitment to their idea, and getting the knowledge they need in order to implement it. The lack of technical knowledge is often one of the first blocks people come up against and fortunately it’s one of the easiest blocks to remove, but often lurking behind it are mental blocks that are more entrenched.
Although WordPress allows for some image editing capabilities, it’s not ideal to upload large images into your WordPress admin and use that for re-sizing or cropping images. You’ll end up storing a lot of extra images on your server and over time it could affect the performance of your site.
It’s much cleaner to do your image editing outside of WordPress and upload images at the size you need them. This is especially true if your theme features a slider, or uses featured images that need to be very specific dimensions.
When dealing with images for the web there’s a few concepts you should become familiar with.