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WordPress Tutorial (video) – Getting Started

Posted by Computer Friendly Associates, Inc. (CFA) on April 21st, 2010 — in Blog, Tutorials, WordPress Customization

We produced this tutorial to help people get started using WordPress blog software. The tutorial demonstrates how you can easily add and edit posts using WordPress software.

Make sure to have your speakers turned on.

You may also want to view this in full screen (click on the Full Screen button at the bottom of the video player below).   fullscreen = Full Screen button. Press Esc on the keyboard to exit full screen mode.

WordPress Customization and using WordPress as a Content Management System (CMS)

Posted by Computer Friendly Associates, Inc. (CFA) on April 15th, 2010 — in Blog, Website Design + Development, WordPress Customization

Introduction
WordPress is the most popular blog software in use today.  I think of WordPress primarily as a user-friendly content management system (CMS), with blogging as only its most obvious application. WordPress is online software that enables website owners to easily write and post articles to their website. Website developers and designers can customize WordPress to have any desired look, feel, and functionality available on the web today.

The flexibility of WordPress makes it a great tool for a variety of scenarios. Our company has customized WordPress to provide content management for several projects. In some cases, someone simply wants a basic blog website to post articles. We create a simple customized design and the blog website is ready to go.  Sometimes we use WordPress as a content management system in which the public website does not appear to be a blog, but the site owner can update the content of the site using the WordPress editing tools. We also integrate WordPress into existing websites so that a website can have a separate blog page that is consistent with the design of the whole website.

Getting Started
WordPress is free. You have a choice of using the WordPress hosting server (go to www.wordpress.com for more information) or installing and using WordPress on your own hosting server (go to www.wordpress.org for more information). We strongly recommend that you have WordPress installed on your server because this enables you (and/or your web developer) to have maximum flexibility to customize WordPress for your needs. If blogging is just a hobby and you want to post a few articles, using the WordPress server is fine. However, if you want more options and flexibility, work with a web developer/designer who will set up WordPress on your server and work with you to customize it.

Once WordPress is set up, you simply login to the WordPress administration page using your login name and password. Once you login, you have access to the WordPress tools.

Update Content Easily
At the heart of WordPress is a set of tools that enable you (the website owner) to add/edit/delete posts (articles). You may also add/edit/delete separate web pages. The tools include a basic online word processor in which you can easily type in and edit text. You can do basic formatting and even insert hyper-links and images. You do not need to know anything about programming or HTML. If you do know some HTML basics, you can do even more.

If your website has multiple authors, WordPress allows you to have a separate login for each author, and the author’s name can appear with the article.

You can assign “categories” and/or  “tags” to each post to help organize your blog or website content. WordPress also automatically organizes your posts by date so that you can easily display an “Archive” listing on your website.

WordPress also enables you to select whether or not you want to allow website visitors to post comments. If you allow comments, you can easily edit or delete comments as you see fit.

Extending WordPress using Plug-ins
Many free third-party “plug-ins” are  available. These plug-ins are little tools that easily install and integrate with WordPress.

On this blog page you can see two examples: ShareThis and Tweet-this. These plug-ins enable site visitors to easily share information about articles on this site.

Other plug-ins we have used for client projects include: a newsletter tool, opinion polls, tag clouds, Amazon.com Affiliate Program. Many other plug-ins are available and we hope to continue to find useful ones.

Sometimes we find that it’s just as easy to program a function ourselves. For example, it’s easy to include Google Ads in a WordPress site (or any website). Other examples are: Pay Pal e-commerce, Google maps, and Google calendars.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Friendly
WordPress pages generally perform quite well in search engines. Pages with links to categories, tags, archives, plug-ins, and RSS feeds are rich in keyword links and phrases. Having a site that is updated frequently also improves search rankings. Enabling site visitors to post comments makes a website more interactive, interesting, and popular.

On the Technical Side (for programmers)
WordPress is a set of open-source PHP files combined with a mySQL database. Generally, you do not need to modify the basic software, although occasionally I have made little tweaks. WordPress enables you to select a “theme” and/or create and customize your own theme. The theme includes several PHP files and a CSS file. You can add PHP and CSS files as needed. With some practice and experience, customizing WordPress becomes easier and faster. You can even develop your own plug-ins to provide custom administrative tools for the website owner.

Conclusion
This article is a broad overview about WordPress as a platform for content management and blogging.  Many online resources are available that provide in-depth instructions for both WordPress authors and developers. WordPress has become a key tool for our business and development work. We are interested in doing more WordPress projects, so please contact us if you want to start a blog website or incorporate a blog and/or content management into your website.

What color is your website?

Posted by Computer Friendly Associates, Inc. (CFA) on April 9th, 2010 — in Blog, Website Design + Development

Colors inspire feelings. Human beings instinctively respond to different colors in specific ways. There are some basic color rules that everyone who runs a businss should be aware of.

What color is your website?

ROYGBIV is the classic rundown of the rainbow – Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.

These are the most notable colors in the visible light spectrum. In other words, these are the most clearly defined colors for us that are found in nature. Many of these colors are also commonly used in feng shui, a styling system commonly used to bring balance and life to indoor spaces.

These are all accent colors. What that means is, to have an “all (any color)” site would be visually exhausting and unattractive. The accent colors listed below are all meant to be used together with more neutral colors to give a pop” of color. Neutral colors are: black, white, all grays, and all browns. On a backdrop of neutrals, accent colors will give a site energy, personality, and life.

Red - for more energy and stimulation, choose red. It shows confidence, courage, and fearlessness. Too much can seem overly “salesy”, aggressive, or agitating. In feng shui firey red stands for fame, reputation, and ego. A little goes a long way so it is best used in websites as an accent color. Target, Overstock.com, news organizations, political groups, and sports teams have sites that use red very effectively to pound out their message.

Orange - for more creativity and friendliness use orange. It shows expressiveness, an open mind, and a fun youthful attitude. It’s a happy party color appropriate for sites that celebrate youth and creativity. Maybe not such a good choice for institutions dealing with “more serious” issues like banking or law. In feng shui, orange is used with pink to encourage strong and loving relationships. Oprah, Blogger.com, Home Depot, sites for kids merchandise, and some relationship-building sites use a lot of orange.

Yellow - increase focus and expand mental clarity with yellow. Maybe it’s related to the aromatherapy studies that show lemon oil increasing productivity, but even just the color seems to cleanse and refresh. This would be a wonderful accent color choice for many organizations. Sites that use yellow as a main color seem to use more of a gold version of the color. In feng shui, earthy yellow stands in the center for health.

Green - to inspire trust, heal, and increase prosperity… try green. It is traditionally the most common color in nature. We are comforted, soothed, and renewed by the natural world so it is no surprise that green has abundant applications online. In feng shui, green is the color of family and foundations. Numerous financial, environmental, and health-related businesses center around green.

Blue - for a calming sense of peace, relaxation, and consistency… blue is a natural choice. It is associated with logical reasoning and excellence. The colors of sky and water inspire solidarity with the everlasting things in our world. In feng shui, blue represents skills, knowledge, and wisdom. Light blue seems to help take the sting out of hot issues or aggitated feelings. Microsoft and many legal, political, and educational institutions utilize blue.

Indigo - cut through the visual clutter with indigo. Many people consider navy a neutral, but in my opinion, they really mean indigo… who doesn’t love deep blue denim and think of it as an essential part of modern style? Indigo has a deep energy of it’s own and encourages efficiency because it helps you focus on the big picture. This is a good color for meditation and the resulting action that comes from good meditation. Indigo or navy is not just the color of the essential suit for all white-collar professionals and many of our most trusted emergency responders. Open Office, artists and spiritual healers tend to use this color a lot too.

Violet - to help connect with a higher plane, touch your inner humanity, and inspire compassion… violet is your color. In nature it is relatively very rare and of course, anything rare usually becomes precious and regal. In feng shui, purple is the richest color of prosperity and abundance. In some studies, children were consistently drawn to violet more than any other color. Violet is romantic, unique, and spiritual. It is drama without aggression, it implies compassion that takes peaceful action, it reminds us to improve humanity while not losing our own.

We use a gentle mix of several colors but because our main focus for the website is inspiring trust in our skills… our main color is blue. Let us know what you think, we would love to hear from you.