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Starting a WordPress Outside Blog... What I Have Done So Far...

For several months I have been playing with a WordPress.com blog.  With all of the talk on Active Rain about having control over the content of our posts... and ever since the problems Active Rain had months ago with their Server Errors... I have been curious to see just what a WordPress.com outside blog would look like.

What I have done here in this blog post... is most definitely done to share information with you... but also to put together on one LONG page... all of the various "themes" that I kinda-sorta like.  I occasionally go to the WordPress.com site and switch the themes... just to play with them, see what they look like, and of course... see if they "grow" on me.

WordPress Theme #1 - Koi

                      

So... I started playing with them.  The WordPress blogs in general, and some of the "themes" in particular.  I went to WordPress.com... and just nosed around... trying to make heads or tails of what was there.  It is kind of funny to me... at least right now it is... but as I was muddling through all of this... I really downplayed what I had done... and just about asked myself... "just who do I think I'm fooling, here?"  I'll never learn this stuff.  Well... slowly but surely... I am picking it up.  What... a trudge... of... a... job !

WordPress Theme #2 - Paperpunch

                    

One of the things I found very frustrating, was that I am not... I repeat... I am NOT very "techie" oriented.  It has been a real struggle for me to even do what is shown in this blog post... as far as putting together these different "themes"... and actually inputting blog posts onto the blog.

What I have learned on Active Rain has been an incredible help.  Just the writing of posts, submitting them, adding pictures, adding links, doing wrap-around text, and even embedding YouTube music videos into my AR blog posts.

WordPress Theme #3 - Twenty Ten

                   

In view of my frustration at not really knowing what to do... I started searching for some sort of source... some kind of series of tutorials.  It was very much like groping around in the dark.  It is also a hard way to learn... but, then again... whatever I DO learn... I will have "earned"... and I also will "remember it."

WordPress Theme #4 - INove

                 

I looked all around the WordPress.com site, and really could not find any "tutorials" listed as such.  Again... more frustration.  There is an incredible amount of information on the WordPress.com website... lots of examples of the different "themes" that are available.  Also... there is no charge... no fees required to start and continue a WordPress.com blog.  But, as far as coming with some sort of "training"... this, like in anything... could show that "you get what you pay for." 

Well... not training... so that is a drawback... at least no training that I could find... but again... there is no cost to a WordPress.com blog.  The more complicated version... WordPress.org... does have a variety of fees and prices... but, then again...you get more... and more capabilities to do more whiz-bang'y stuff.

WordPress Theme #5 - Spring Loaded

                

I then went to the WordPress "Group" on Active Rain.  I had hoped that there might be a series of blog posts that went through setting up a very basic... an "extremely" basis WordPress blog theme.  Perhaps I was looking in the wrong places, but I could not find much to "sink my teeth into." 

What I probably need to do... is devote at least an entire day scanning all of the posts, and bookmarking a good twenty of them to really jump into at length.  That would probably be a great idea.

WordPress Theme #6 - The Journalist v 1.9

                  

Then... I thought of YouTube.  There is just about anything anyone could want... on YouTube... or so I thought.  And really, there IS a large "catalog" of YouTube WordPress videos... but because WordPress seems to come out with so many basic upgrades... each time they do... things get changed around a bit... as far as what to do and how to do it.

WordPress Theme #7 - Monotone

                  

I tried to follow a few of the "How To" videos on YouTube... and really didn't do all that badly with them.  At least I was able to follow along well enough to actually "get" myself to "launch" a WordPress.com blog.  Then, I finally had something there that I could play with, and something that if I "messed it up"... it really didn't matter.

One of the shortcomings of all of the WordPress videos on YouTube... is that there are so many of them... and they are not very well "dated."  Which means, of course, that many of them are out-dated.  I worried that so many of them being being so outdated might confuse me even more.

WordPress Theme #8 - Cutline

                

So... I named this WordPress.com blog... MyOlderSister'sBlog.  If you are wondering just who "My Older Sister" is... it is ME.  One of the first blog posts I wrote on MyOlderSister... was the story about why I named it that... and some personal things that made that name important to me.  It can be accessed at www.myoldersister.wordpress.com

Basically... I am the oldest in my family.  All my life I wished I had an older sister.  Then somewhere in the recent past... I decided that the only way that was going to happen... was for ME... to become my own "older sister."  But... I digress.  Back to this WordPress stuff.

WordPress Theme #9 - PressRow

                

I also thought of Active Rain as a possible source of either some actual tutorials, or perhaps I could find someone who could either direct me as to where to go, or someone who themselves could be a source of "how to" stuff.

Over the Labor Day weekend... I just happened to stumble upon an Active Rainer who said he was a WordPress blog builder.  We exchanged comments back and forth inside the blog post where I stumbled upon him. 

Because it was the Labor Day weekend... he asked if I could wait until the Tuesday after the holiday for him to get back to me... with what he said, or seemed to imply... would be lots and lots of information.  I have yet to hear back from him.  It's been three weeks since we "talked."  I will NOT use his name, here.  I am sure something must have come up.

WordPress Theme #10 -Andreas04

                 

Somewhere after that, I again stumbled upon marti garaughty's Group... The Art of Marketing You.  I exchanged emails with marti that night and the next day.  He told me he was going to be starting a very basic "non-techie" series of posts about WordPress... which, although I have not yet had the chance to read any of them... being in this "30 in 30 Challenge" has taken up so much time... I DO know that yes... marti has started the series... and is calling it "WordPress in Plain English."

From the little I have seen of the beginnings of this series... I think it will be a great help to me.  However, I DO also know... that the learning involved in all of this will definitely be a type of "patchwork quilt" as far as knowledge is concerned.

WordPress Theme #11 - Quentin

                    

What I have assembled here in this post... is a sampling of thirteen examples of some of the over one-hundred "themes" that WordPress.com users have available to them... if they choose to go with the WordPress.com mode. 

Also... as you can see... if any of these thirteen samples of themes are "readable"... it is possible to write a series of blog posts as one is learning... and then experiment with the different looks of different themes... to find one that you like... by changing back and forth between them... and making comparisons.

What I have also found EXTREMELY helpful... is that the monitor on my computer is very wide.  23 inches wide.  What that allows me to do is pull up TWO of these themes at a time... and compare them side-by-side... as a help in trying to choose the eventual theme I will go with.

WordPress Theme #12 - Misty Look

                   

The "theme" that I've been using on my WordPress blog right now... is the one right above this paragraph.  It is called Mistylook... by Sadish.  Here is a link to that blog.  MyOlderSister's Blog

Now, if you click on it, and take a peek... please remember that I do NOT have much of a clue as to just what the heck I am doing... so please "go easy" on me. 

There are so many different kinds and looks to the available WordPress.com "themes."  Some like the ones I have chosen... are more "traditional" in style.  Others, are much more "jazzed up"... probably giving them a much "younger" or "current" look.

WordPress Theme #13 - INove

                    

Here above... is the thirteenth "theme" I have selected to share with you.  If you look closely, you will see that it is NOT MyOlderSistersBlog... but something called "Nice Catholic Girl from Cleveland."  I started that... again, just to play around with a WordPress.com blog to try and learn... but also... this "Nice Catholic Girl" blog gives me a place to stretch my Liberal Progressive Catholic viewpoint.  But... once more... I digress.  Back to this WordPress stuff !

WordPress Theme #14 - Coraline

    

This is another... the fourteenth WordPress Theme I have just added to this post.  It is a new theme for WordPress... and has replaced another theme called Cutline.

It is fairly crisp, kind of set up as a "news" blog, and has two of the "widgets" on the right side that I like... one in "bullets" listing some of the recent posts, and below it, another "bullet" listing the links to other blogs.

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What I would love to do in the comments section of this post... is to really hear your ideas on what I have presented here so far.

For you "newbies" to WordPress... which I consider myself one of... what do you think of this stuff ?  Too basic ?  Too "baby'ish ?"

When I first saw these... especially # 12... Misty Look... I thought it was pretty cool.  Now, I am tending on thinking it is fine for just a personal blog/diary/journal... but wonder how far I can go with it ?  Just thinking out loud, here ?

Have any of you done anything with WordPress yourself ?  Perhaps have you even STARTED your own WordPress blog ?  If so, did you choose WordPress.com or WordPress.org ?  And, if you have started a WordPress blog... could you put a LINK to it in your comment... puhleeze ?

Also... if anyone has a SOURCE of WordPress training videos... if you would share that information... that would be great !

And... as is always the case on my posts... please, if you have questions... ASK them.  There is a great probability that someone else... reading this post... already HAS the answer for your question.  And, I invite them to just "jump in" with that answer.

By the way... I am closing in on the end of the "30 in 30 Challenge."  This is post #28.  It is also the most extensive one I have done.  I hope it isn't too long.  And... if you have got this far... thanks so much for reading all this stuff.  I very much look forward to your comments, questions and answers, and suggestions !

Comment balloon 67 commentsKaren Anne Stone • September 24 2010 12:30AM

Comments

I have a WordPress theme.  I have built one from scratch, but not this one.  You are going to settle down and pick a good RE theme.  I happen to like Thesis and would probably have that but I have spent so much money on what I have I am not going to mess around with it.  Another thing you should consider is getting someone to build you a nice banner, like Inna Hardison here, who has done mine, Debe Maxwell and others.  Any questions, don't hesitate to ask.  I have been through this mill the hard way.

Posted by Jane Peters, Los Angeles real estate concierge services (Home Jane Realty) about 8 years ago

Jane:  If you would... could you give me a link to your WordPress blog ?  And... is it WordPress.com or WordPress.org ?  And, what theme did you decide on ?  Thanks in advance.

And... you mentioned you spent "so much money."  What parts cost the most money?  Curious, here.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

Am watching and taking all this in from the sidelines.  A Wordpress-powered website is an upcoming Winter project!

Posted by Eric Kodner, Wayzata Lakes Realty: Twin Cities, Madeline Island (Wayzata Lakes Realty: Eric Kodner Sells Twin Cities Homes) about 8 years ago

Eric:  Obviously, so am I.  There is just so much to learn.  I just got so frustrated trying to find someone to help me... I just jumped in... and am trying simply to keep my head above water.  Hope you are well...

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

Karen Anne,

I have two wordpress blogs...one I feed into my website to look different than my outside blog...and one that I use to put up some of my better stuff that I like to send to clients..I did all my graphics myself...cost for both...just time and for the better one a dedicated domain...

 

 

Posted by Lori Churchill Cofer, Realtor - 509-330-0086 - Pullman, WA (Beasley Realty) about 8 years ago

I like the theme you are using and the title of both.  I don't think it is babyish at all and you have even loaded widgets!  Pretty techie of you. :)

I started a wordpress.com blog (http://mainebusinessesilove.wordpress.com/) but haven't gotten that far with it yet.   It is on my to do list.  I'm spending more time working on a wordpress.org one, but that is taking me a while - I'm still trying to wrap my head around some of the start up issues I'm having with the supposed "one click" installation - and I am a bit techie.

I too found more wordpress.org tutorials and found the wordpress.com ones to be outdated.  I previously had a blog for my former employer on wordpress.com and thought it was much easier to use before they "improved" it.

My 7 year old son is getting ready to launch his own blog soon and something tells me that he will have a much easier time than I did with it.  It took me days to get used to the little touch pad for my laptop and it took him about a minute.  Maybe I'll put him in charge of mine.  Of course his "creative" use of spelling should make it interesting.   He is home-educated and we thought it might be a better way to complete his portfolio than trying to keep folders and notebooks of his projects and ideas.

Now I'm off to further check out your blogs and see if I can subscribe to them too. :)

Posted by Kristen Wheatley, Supporting Success - Best Job in the World! (Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group) about 8 years ago

Jane~ I have been dabbling with some word press sites myself.  You can also find themes online that you can download to your computer and then upload to use in your blog.  I did that with this one http://myfayettevillenchomefinder.com

Posted by Melissa McKinney, Realtor, www.LivingFayetteville.com (McKinney Realty Group) about 8 years ago

I have to say...I really think Melissa has a really nice one...

Posted by Lori Churchill Cofer, Realtor - 509-330-0086 - Pullman, WA (Beasley Realty) about 8 years ago

Karen - for someone who's not "techie" you sure seem to be doing pretty well.  I don't have any experience with wordpress but I did recently start an outside blog on blogger.com aka blogspot (I believe they're one in the same).  I feel your pain in trying to figure this stuff out.  It is soooooooo time consuming - and I'm not a techie at all!  I put a utube video on a post once but can't remember how I did it - that's about as advanced as I've ever gotten! Thanks for sharing what  you learned.  Inspiration is all around us isn't it, even on a day we don't think we have it in us!!

Posted by Karen Bernetti about 8 years ago

Karen - here's a link to my outside blog that I did all by myself - its nothing great really because I'm pretty bad at this stuff.  Still a work in progress.  What do you think?  http://homesalesuccesswithkarenandann.blogspot.com/

 

Posted by Karen Bernetti about 8 years ago

Lori:  I saw your MyPullmanHome blog when I talked to Agent Image about what they had to offer.  How did you find them to work with ?  Would you use them again if you had it all to do over again.

Your website looks just gorgeous.  How is it as far as being functional ?  And... do you find that people even notice that you have a blog on there ?

Also... on your blog... I notice that the last entry was July 19th.  Do you have a problem with keeping it up to date?  And... does it pull much traffic?

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

I have a wordpress blog and created my own banner at the top to be unique.  I have not mastered the widgets and plug ins yet,  I mean there is only so many hours in the day and I have to Blog on Active Rain, update my website and manage to squeeze in real estate time LOL.....I do alot of copying and pasting between the two blogs because I feed to different sites with different material sometimes.  I think NAR is going to have an entire WordPress session at convention

Posted by Marilyn Boudreaux, Lake Charles LA Century 21 Realtor (Marilyn Boudreaux, Century 21 Mike D. Bono & Co.'s) about 8 years ago

Kristen:  The links to both of them are on my Active Rain blog page... right about the "Archive" links on the right side.. about six inches below my picture.

Yeah... one click installation.  The only "one click installation" that I know about... is getting pregnant... <crinkly smile>.

Do the WordPress.org tutorials also kinda/sorta work for WordPress.com stuff ? 

By the way... I have NOT added any widgets to either blog.  I would not have a clue how to do it, or why I would even needed one... whatever the heck a widget is..  Isn't a widget something that you hit the ball through when you play croquet ?

Seriously... whatever you see that you think I added... came that way when I got it.  And... aren't these seven-year-old kids just something ?

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

Melissa:  I looked at your My Fayetteville NC Homefinder.com site... and did not see any sort of a blog there.  Did you just start this ?  Or did I miss the blog ?  It is beautiful... but where is the blog.  Or... are you still developing it ?

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

Lori:  Yours is TOPS so far.  Melissa's is very pretty... but yours has so many options.  It appears that Agent Image did a good job.  Are you happy with them ?  And, again, would you use them again if you had it all to do over ?

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

I need to get busy with mine, I know I tell myself JUST DO IT. This is good information and a good push to get me going. Thanks,

Posted by Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®, Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate (Vision Quest Realty, Martha Hilton, Broker) about 8 years ago

Karen... in # 9:  It only appears like I know what I am doing.  Mostly, the blog themes that you see in my post... pretty-much came that way.  I just write in them, edit, add categories, and learned how to insert pictures and videos.  For me, that is quite a bit... but it is only WordPress.com.  From what I know... in order to get anywhere... I need to do WordPress.org.

And... I TOTALLY understand what you mean about putting a YouTube video on a post... but now cannot remember how you did it.  That exact thing happened to me with the first YouTube video I put on one of my AR blog posts.  Then, two weeks later, I had no clue what I did.  Uh huh... <rolling eyes>

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

Karen~ Yes I did just start this blog site.  You will find the blogs under Categories on the left side.  I want this to highlight thing to do in and around Fayetteville and then link them back to my web site for further information.  When you make a Word press blog you can choose what people see when they land there I just chose a welcome page for me.  I used a domain name I had so when I started the blog I used that and deleted the word press tag out of the address.

It is just getting started glad you liked it, free theme download.

Lori~ Thanks! I like your too very homey feeling when you get there, very nice!!

Posted by Melissa McKinney, Realtor, www.LivingFayetteville.com (McKinney Realty Group) about 8 years ago

Karen in # 10:  Your HomeSalesSuccessWithKarenAndAnn... is awesome.  I really like it.  For me... it's a whole lot of GREEN... LOL... but other than that, it is just fabulous.

Here we go again.  She says... "Oh, I'm not a techie..." and then you show me THAT !  Again... very nicely done.  Do you get any traffic from it ?  Any leads, any anything ?  Or is it too soon ?

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

Marilyn:  I liked your WordPress.com blog.  I also watched your video on investment property that you made while you were going to get the info for your CMA.  What's with the big sunglasses ?  LOL.  You some big fancy Hollywood type... ? <silly smile>

Also... what is the name of the theme on your wordpress.com blog ?

If it were mine... the only thing I would change... would be to make the blog part of it... just a tad wider... and the sidebars... just a smidge less wide.  Your posts take up a lot of vertical space when one reads them... which makes for a lot of "scrolling."  Just my first thought, here.  Hope you are not offended.

Also... if it were a tad wider... the words at the top...

Investor      Opportunity:Road      Home     Real

Estate Auction

Would all fit on one line... again... just a thought.  Otherwise... I REALLY like it.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

Karen Anne, you're a techie in disguise.  I especially like number 11. What's the difference in WordPress.com and WordPress.org?

Posted by Sun City Grand Homes Surprise AZ Real Estate Leolinda Bowers Designated Broker Leolinda Realty, Sun City Grand in Surprise Arizona (Leolinda Realty) about 8 years ago

Rebecca in # 16:  I have been rolling this around in my head for a very long time.  Then, in May... I just jumped in.  Although I am barely past beginner stage, and reeeeally just past beginner... at least I feel more comfortable with the little bit I do know.

Perhaps it is time for me to start a third one... besides the two "more personal" ones I mentioned in the post.  Maybe it's time for me to do an honest-to-goodness real estate WordPress.com blog. 

I am just torn between doing something like Lori did with Agent Image... but that looks like it should easily be about a thousand dollars.  Then, there is StudioPress... and several others... with ready-made templates that really look good.  I have trouble starting... if I do not find the "perfect" way to do it.  And, since there IS no perfect way... I have painted myself into a corner, and may never start... if that makes sense.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

Leolinda:  I like # 11 as well.  Nice, old-timey or kinda-sorta western look to it.  Like it a lot.  I am currently using # 12 with my MyOlderSister blog.  Click on the link underneath #12... and tell me what you think.  It has such a "friendly" feel to it, yet is nicely organized.  I will perhaps put my other one... NiceCatholicGirl blog... in # 11... just to play with it.

In fact... I will go and do that right now... just so see what it looks like all bright and shiny.  Give me a little bit of time, then click on the link for NiceCatholicGirl... under the "links" at the upper-right of this page.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

Leolinda... ok, take a look now.  I have activated # 11... which is called Quentin.  Nice Catholic Girl from Cleveland.  See if you still like it ?

Everything you are seeing here is in WordPress.com and is much easier to work with, but lots of the doo-dads cannot be added... like they can be in WordPress.org.

NOTE:  It is Friday afternoon.  I just switched the "Nice Catholic Girl" blog over to this new # 14 WordPress.com Theme... called Coraline.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

I like it; professional and easy to read!

BTW, we have a bit in common, nice Catholic girl from Hawaii, mom died same year, big band etc.

Posted by Sun City Grand Homes Surprise AZ Real Estate Leolinda Bowers Designated Broker Leolinda Realty, Sun City Grand in Surprise Arizona (Leolinda Realty) about 8 years ago

I have a wordpress blog also. http://debbieatwood.wordpress.com/  I've had it for about a year and like you I feel it has been difficult to learn but I have muddled around with it.  I also found the Art of marketing you that has info on wordpress but the 30/30 kept me too busy to follow it.  I hope to start reading it now that I've finished my challenge.   

Posted by Debbie Atwood, Real Estate Broker (Century 21 Real Estate Center Everett, WA) about 8 years ago

Leolinda:  I am going to switch #11 Quentin, to another one I just found right now... called Notepad.   I may add another Theme to this post... the Notepad Theme.  It is crisp, and easy to read, as well.

Nice Catholic Girl from hawaii... did you read all the posts on that ?  I am a "Progressive" Nice Catholic Girl.  Just wonder if you are going to "picket" me now... LOL.  And, isn't it sad... our Moms died in the same year.  It's a very long time to be without Mom.  Let's talk some more.  <smile>

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

Debbie:  Your Making A Splash blog is excellent.  Love the water at the top.  It leaked out of my monitor, and onto the table.  Mollie T Cat got all wet... and says "Thanks a lot !"

Seriously... very nice.  It may have been difficult for YOU to learn... but after looking at your blog... it looks like you have learned very well.  And... you have been consistent in your posting.  Keep up the great work.

And yes... after the 30/30... there will be more time to read marti's WordPress series of posts in the Art of Marketing You.  This post is day 28... two more to go.  I hope this consistency that I have developed will stick with me.

By the way... do you get any traffic or measurable leads from your Making a Splace WordPress blog ?  Just curious... because we all know what drawing power Active Rain has.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

Karen-Anne - Congratulations. I too am at the tail end of the 30 in 30 challenge and it's starting to wear on me. LOL. Anyway, have you considered getting some 1-on-1 tutoring on Wordpress. Despite the many protestations to the contrary it IS a complicated site. Good luck!

Posted by Jackie - computer-training-atlanta.com, Learn to leverage technology to get more done. (770.498.7333) about 8 years ago

Karen Anne - I like #3 Twenty Ten....Just looks like the kind of place I'd like to be!  I have seen your actual wordpress blog and thought it looked great!  I also enjoyed reading your story about Why You are your Older Sister...

I started a wordpress blog months ago, and am ashamed to say that I posted one or two times and haven't been back.  You have just inspired me to go back and try again.  I'll let you know if I learn anything worth sharing and I'll be watching this post for tips and ideas.

Posted by Amy Hahn, Realtor/Broker - Crystal Coast, NC (Pine Knoll Shores Realty) about 8 years ago

Hi Karen Anne - I am thinking about starting up a WordPress blog once I have some time.  I'm glad you have discovered Marti's current WordPress tutorials.  He is still discussing how to configure it and he has some excellent points so be sure to read it.

Posted by FN LN about 8 years ago

Karen Anne, I am in the same boat as you when it comes to all of this techology and where to focus our attention for self promotion.  I admire you for finding alternate ways to get the word out on you. 

Posted by Don Spera, Serving York and Adams County, PA (CR Property Group, LLC) about 8 years ago

I highly recommend wordpress.org over wordpress.com. Much more functionality and you control the hosting. The other advantage is having it on your own domain which, to me, looks much more professional. But it can be daunting to get it set up. I've done about 20 now so I can get one set up within just a few minutes.

I started working on mine in January, bought the AgentPress theme for $100, and then spent dozens (hundreds?) of hours learning it and tweaking it. That isn't really necessary, I'm just a freak about making things exactly the way I want them. I still spend a few hours a week making improvements and changing things up. It's much more fun and satisfying than trying to do that with a static site.

Domain purchase: $10/yr  Hosting: $36/yr  Theme: $100/one time (and I can use it over and over again - I have about 16 sites all using the same theme and hosting, doesn't cost me anything extra besides the time to do it)  IDX: $100/one time set up + $39/mo.

My main site is JuliaOdom.com it's both a blog and my flagship web presence. Compare it to my old wordpress.com blog. I think it's well worth the time and money I've spent on it.

Posted by Julia Odom, Chattanooga Homes for Sale (Select Realty Professionals) about 8 years ago

Karen Anne - Thanks for putting this out there and also the effort in presenting your theme picks.  The comments are illuminating!  I think we'll all be learning from your efforts ... thanks...again!

Posted by Jack Mossman - The Nines Team at Keller Williams in Stockton, The Nines Team at Keller Williams in Stockton (The Nines Team At Keller Williams) about 8 years ago

Karen Anne, starting a wordpress blog is on the top of our lists. I may actually hire someone to set it up for me so I'd be interested in hearing your experience ( in a private email of course ). I totally agree that owning your own blog is a nice thing to have and makes good business sense.

Posted by Dan and Amy Schuman, Luxury Home Specialists (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) about 8 years ago

I've been trying to get on the Wordpress bandwagon for a long time - now that I've finished the 30/30, I am going to read Marti's posts to get started.  Thanks for sharing all this information. 

Posted by Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate (Baird & Warner Real Estate) about 8 years ago

Karen Anne - You're further along in the process than I am that's for sure and so far your WordPress blog looks great.  I've been wanting to set up one up for a while now and haven't really had the time.  When I did find time I turned to AR and didn't find much.  I'll have to check out Marti's series, I'll also keep checking this comment thread.

Posted by Michelle Gibson, REALTOR (Hansen Real Estate Group Inc. ) about 8 years ago

Karen - Thank you.  Nothing has come of it yet - too soon.  We just started doing a by-weekly e-newsletter - it's intent is to drive our list of subscribers to our blog posts.  It takes time.  Like Jackie I've heard that Wordpress can be very complicated so I steered clear of it.  If I can figure out blogger/blogspot ANYONE can. 

Posted by Karen Bernetti about 8 years ago

Karen Anne, Wow what a lot of information you have provided here.  I have bookmarked this and I am going to be referencing it to start a Wordpress Blog.  I have been thinking of doing it for quite a while. 

Posted by Lesley Wagstaff, For Real Estate and Mortgages (Re/Max Results Realty in Vancouver, BC) about 8 years ago

Jackie in # 29:  The "30 in 30 Challenge" has mainly taught me about consistency.  If you, or I am going to DO this... I want to do it well.  And that appears to entail being as consistent as possible.

I just about CHOKE on the comments of those who have completed the "30 in 30 Challenge" when they say that the first thing they are going to do... after post #30... is take a few days off from blogging and posting.  Duh !

That, at least to me, would be the same as saying I am on a diet to lose thirty pounds, and once I reach my goal... I am going to go out and buy two whole lemon meringue pies... and eat them until my eyeballs pop out.  I mean... what's the point of the diet, and, comparatively... what is the point of LEARNING to be consistent... and then celebrating... by being UN-consistent ?  I mean... <dorky smile... eyes rolling>

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

Amy in # 30:  I also really like the overall look of #3... Twenty Ten, but I like some of the side features (are those the things that are called widgets)... like where some of the titles of some of the posts are listed... as links.

I also like the way those latest posts are termed and listed as "recent entries" as in # 9 Press Row.

I probably like #4 INove even more... as far as the thingies listed on the right side.  I like the way the "random entries" are listed with bullets and links, and also like the way categories, blogroll and archives are listed... all with bullets and links.

So... it all gets confusing.  It also just tells me that unless you can take some things from several different Themes and put them together... swap out stuff... that this is one of the reasons that WordPress.org is better.  I have not tried it, and techie-wise I fear that it is WAY over my head... but it appears that this "swapping out stuff" is much more possible there.

But... then again... I don't really KNOW any of this for sure.  Whew !

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

Marc in # 31:  I probably need to just go and SIT on marti's current WordPress tutorials series... and stuff myself as full of his knowledge as possible.

So... I will do that, and respond to these comments as they appear, and also continue to plop whatever ideas I get... into this blog post.

In looking down a few comments... I think it may just become very obvious that the best answer may be found in what Julia Odom has to say in comment # 33.  Just two clicks... one each on her first and second links... shows an amazing difference.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

Jack in # 34:  Following me for knowledge... is kind of like holding the hand of an old, overweight blind chick as she gropes around, and bumps into walls, poles and what-not. 

I appreciate your attempt at a compliment... but wow... do I have a lot to learn.  Your attitude toward what I am trying to do here... is very sweet.  I am so glad you're here... you make a nice cheerleader.  Your skirt could be a little shorter, though, and your "pom-poms"... well... what can I say ?  <very silly smile>

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

Don in # 32:  I am trying, believe me, I am trying.  But, it is very frustrating.  I wish I had someone like ME to go to for help... who already KNEW all this stuff.

So, you are in the same "boat" as I am, huh ?  Jeez... I hope we have enough life preservers... LOL.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

Julia in # 33:  First, I want to thank you for commenting.  I have had your JuliaOdom.com blog/website on my list of WordPress/Blog sites that I have been admiring... for quite some time.  I think your JuliaOdom.com site is just awesome.

When I started with these WordPress.com sites and blogs, I thought they were way cool.  But, then again, I really had no points of comparison to study to help me.

Now... in looking at your wordpress.comblog... which I think is cool... and then going to your JuliaOdom.com site... I am just blown away by the difference.

I have looked at AgentPress... and really liked them, but again, had nothing to really compare them to... until when I talked to the dude at Agent Press (who sounded like a damn health-club sales guy on the phone).  It was all I could do to get rid of him.  I told him finally to call me in six months.

But... AgentPress is one place I find myself very interested in... if I cannot get what I want in a WordPress.org blog.

But... then again... not to sound like I am pooh-poohing WordPress... but I looked at some of the Real Estate Tomato blogs, many of which I liked... but they cost about $3,000... when I looked closer, I saw that they... the Tomato blogs... are BUILT on WordPress Theme platforms.  Sheesh.  More confusion.

So, Julia, I appreciate you coming into this bunch of Newbie WordPress folks here... and sharing the stuff that you obviously had to sweat over... in putting together.

One QUESTION:  While doing these comments here today... a great domain name for my blog/site/whatever... came into my head.  How do I protect it ?  Get it "registered" so nobody else can have it.  I think it is so clever... I don't even want to mention it, here... until I get it "protected."

How do I do that ?  And... must I have my blog/site/whatever already in place before I DO get the domain name ?  I... am so confused.

Thanks again...

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

Dan and Amy in # 35:  Ahhh... my Cleveland friends... nice to see you.  Actually, my Solon friends... sorry.

I very well may hire someone as well to do this.  I am really just groping around in the dark... here.  About eighteen months ago... I actually STARTED with Real Estate Tomato... in hiring them to put together a blog/website for me.  A "Tomato Blog."  I love some of their designs.

But... in the "design" stage... they kept asking me for "preferences" that I wanted, and what kinds of things I wanted my Tomato Blog to have.  I had no (want to say "friggin" here, but won't)... I had NO clue how to answer what I wanted... cuz I had no idea what was possible.

It was almost like someone asking me what my favorite Chinese word was ?  How the heck to I know.  I did not know anything about what they were asking... to even attempt an answer.  So, I am guessing that what I am doing now... will at least equip me with enough knowledge to ask an intelligent question.

Hiring someone may be the best... then then again... how do I tell them what I want ?  And then... once I HAVE it set up... how the heck do I learn what to do with it, and how to make it work?

ALSO... I have looked at SO MANY really nice blogs/website combinations... that look absolutely great... and found that the person who PAID to have it done... GAVE UP on posting on it.  How incredibly DUMB !  Spending all that money, and then this beautiful creation just SITS there.  Am I making any sense, here.

But, then again, with your Number1Expert site... you have at least been doing some things that require creativity.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

I do declare, I believe I'm blushing...

To answer a couple of questions. NO, you don't have to have your site set up before you get your domain name. There are a few domain registrars you can use. Most of my sites are registered at GoDaddy but hosted at BlueHost. I started at GoDaddy because I didn't know any better but they are kind of the wal-mart of web hosting/registration so I'm slowly moving things over to BlueHost as they expire.

In Marti's series he recommends that you use a hosting company that utilizes cPanel. And I couldn't agree more. GoDaddy doesn't, BlueHost does. There are plenty of other registrars/hosts but those are the two that I know.

Go to your registrar of choice and 'claim' the URL you want. You can let it sit for years if you want. Forward it to another site until your new blog is ready to go live. Costs ~$10/yr

One tip when choosing a domain name: build your site on a domain name that is keyword rich (e.g. FortWorthHomesforSale.com, preferably in that order and without any other extraneous words if you can keep from it), that will help your SEO enormously. You can get your cute or clever domain name and then point it to the keyword rich domain. That way you've got the SEO benefit of the keyword domain but you can use the clever domain name to put on business cards, make people remember it, etc.

One word about my wordpress.org vs wordpress.com sites. My wordpress.com site certainly isn't the be all end all of what you can do on wordpress.com. I'm sure there's more functionality on that platform that I just never found. BUT, all other things being equal, you'll never be able to get the same results with wordpress.com that you can with wordpress.org.

Posted by Julia Odom, Chattanooga Homes for Sale (Select Realty Professionals) about 8 years ago

One other thing, AgentPress IS a wordpress.org blog, it's just a premium (ie. it costs some cash) theme on a self-hosted wordpress platform, self-hosted wordpress is actually the more precise term for wordpress.org.

In the same way that you picked out different themes for the wordpress.com blog that you are doing, AgentPress is just another theme that you can apply to self-hosted wordpress blogs. Not sure if you were clear on that from your comment so I thought I'd clarify.

When you pay someone, like Real Estate Tomato, to set up a self-hosted wordpress blog for you, unless it costs less than $50, you're really paying them to create or customize an existing theme for you. 

If you need any help with the very basic stuff, feel free to email or call me.

Posted by Julia Odom, Chattanooga Homes for Sale (Select Realty Professionals) about 8 years ago

Karen Anne, I am simply amazed at 14 themes. I think you are doing fantastic!!

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) about 8 years ago

Gary in # 49:  Those 14 Themes are not MY themes.  They are WordPress.com "already constructed" themes that I can change between with just a click of a mouse... and without any charge.

For you, it's like having fourteen golf shirts in your closet that you can choose from.  Again... I did not BUILD those fourteen WordPress.com Themes. 

Anyone can have them, and then, if you know what you're doing... you can modify them.  Some of the Themes are able to be modified more than others.

I wanted to "catch" your "praise" very quickly.  I do not, or I barely know what I am doing.  But... thanks for even "thinking" I was that adept.  <smile>

By the way... if you go to WordPress.com... you can see over One Hundred of these various themes.  The ones I picked are more "touchy-feely..." or in some way, they fit or suit my personality.

I am sure many of the other Themes that are available, might suit you better.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

Margaret in # 36:  There is lots of room on this bandwagon.  How great that you have finished your 30/30.  I will finish mine tomorrow... late Saturday night... just after midnight... <smile>  And... you are welcome.  It's the teacher in me.

Michelle in # 37:  I may have gone further than you have... but I am still taking "baby steps."  As I see more and more of these WordPress.COM blogs and Themes... I realize that how far I have gone... is just GREAT... if all I want is a personal blog to jabber on. 

But... although I obviously enjoy jabbering... I want it to be much more than that.  So... THIS TIME... I think I am more determined than ever to figure this crazy stuff out.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

Karen in # 38:  One your new blog gets rolling, and you start to work on your SEO... (however the heck you do that...) I am sure traffic will pick up.  One of the major things about Active Rain is the exposure it gets from having over 192,000 Active Rainers on board.

As far as being complicated... WordPress surely is.  BUT... although it takes me... and WILL take me a long time to pick this stuff up... once I "get it"... I will be able to "teach it" to anybody.  So many of the "techies" on these so-called WordPress and other "tech" tutorials may know their techie stuff... but they're surely NOT teachers.   Two totally different skill-sets.  I am determined to end up having both of those skill sets.

Lesley in # 39:  The only way I have been able to get anywhere... is to read some of this stuff... like FIVE or SIX times.  It takes that long, and more, for it to sink in to MY brain.  So hard for a touchy-feely brain and personality to soak up all this techie stuff.

Sure... I know that I can write... but... what to do with that ability, and how and where to do it... is another matter entirely.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

Julia in # 47:  Well woman... happy blushing.  When someone does such a great job, and works so hard at it... they SHOULD be recognized for it.

That is good to know about getting a domain name registgered.  And excellent ideas as far as how the domain name, AND the SEO are connected.  That makes sense.

Question:  Just what is "cPanel" ?  Also... excellent suggestions about the domain name, and using cute, clever or catchy domain names.

And... as I continue to dig and delve into all that one can do with WordPress.com... I AM finding, as you say, that there is much more that one can do WITH the .COM stuff... depending on which Theme you pick.

Julia in # 48:  Wow... I didn't know that about AgentPress... but now that you mention it... that makes sense.  After all... the word PRESS is the last half of AgentPress.

The Tomato... charges a "healthy fee"... as do many others... to put together a custom blog-site.  But... fees keep people in business.  We as Realtors get paid some pretty "healthy" fees, as well.

But... a large part of their fee goes for one-on-one tutorials and classes.  From what I know... they go through extensive pains to make sure you know how to USE their Tomato blog.

And, from many I have spoken to, and also from what they told me... (they were very "considerate" of my "Newbie'ness" when we talked) I know that their product appearance and capabilities... is just amazing. 

Jim Cronin is just awesome !  BUT... it was just so way over my head at the time... and I felt under such pressure... and mostly pressure that was self-induced... that I just could not continue with it.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

Everyone:  It appears we are slowing down here.  What I am going to do is go over to marti's WordPress series... and see how much of it I can soak up.  I will return here to share what I learn... in the simplified way that I do just about everything.

If anyone else goes over to marti's "The Art of Marketing You" site... and reads and plays with his WP series... please come back and share what you learned... or at least anything that you found either surprising, or extremely helpful.  Thanks so much !

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

cPanel (aka control panel) is just a sort of generic, standardized way of uploading your information and controlling your stuff behind the scenes. Some hosting companies use their own proprietary way of doing things which makes it a little harder because you have to learn their individual software instead of it being 'the way everyone does it.'

Posted by Julia Odom, Chattanooga Homes for Sale (Select Realty Professionals) about 8 years ago

Julia in #55:  Thank you, Ma'am for the answer.  And, thank you again for continuing to follow this post... and for adding so much to it.  Have an absolutely great weekend.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

I answered you via email Karen.

Posted by Jane Peters, Los Angeles real estate concierge services (Home Jane Realty) about 8 years ago

wordpress guru Karen Anne thanks for the compliment on my blog but I did not know I could change width on the blog template!  silly me where do I find how to do that I can't see because of my shades!  LOL  Don't you wear sunglasses when you drive?  hmmm I think that is a topic of a blog brewing!

Posted by Marilyn Boudreaux, Lake Charles LA Century 21 Realtor (Marilyn Boudreaux, Century 21 Mike D. Bono & Co.'s) about 8 years ago

Karen Anne,

With resepct to my actual website.  I too thought it was pretty.  But I have had to piece tons of things together to get that.  I imported the blog...and you are right.  I do have a hard time keeping it up to date.  It is more of a side issue for the site which thanks to SEO ranks very well in my area.  But that was my work...not agent images. 

Would I use the again....yes.  But they aren't cheap for sure!

My outside blog is what really rocks.

I did put the Word press Blog that I do like very well.  And it is doing well.

For me...yes I get lots of traffic.  And people like my site.  I use both my website, outside blog and 2 word press blogs to spread out exposure in most key terms for my area...

Posted by Lori Churchill Cofer, Realtor - 509-330-0086 - Pullman, WA (Beasley Realty) about 8 years ago

Karen.  You are a techie.

Posted by Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR, Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS (ERA - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale) about 8 years ago

Virginia:  Yeah, I'm a techie, and you are Lindsey Lohan.  Any other delusions you are laboring under ?  You... silly... goose !

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

Karen Anne-Thank you for starting this post!  I have just started playing around with a Word Press blog and left it alone because I don't have any idea what I am doing :)!  Anyway, there is a wealth of information in this blog and I plan to keep coming back for more!  Thanks again!

Posted by Brenda Mullen, Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!! (RE/MAX Access) about 8 years ago

Brenda:  You are quite welcome.  From the response to this post, I think it is obvious that there are quite a few of us who are "lost" as far as not knowing what we are doing with WordPress. 

It is funny, but I think with WordPress... as far as most who are commenting here... we don't measure our knowledge about WP by saying that one of us knows MORE than another... but that one of us... whomever it may be... may simply be "not quite as lost" as the others.

WordPress... from an outsider's point of view... presents quite a challenge to many of us who are NOT of the "techie" persuasion.  Keep on working on this, Brenda.  Sooner or later, it WILL get better.

What really IS funny here... is that some of those who have commented on THIS post... have referred to ME as a "techie."  Little do they know how far from the truth that is.  What I have figured out so far... is just a result of my bumping into so many walls during my search.  Whew !

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

Karen - thank you for the nice comments on my wordpress blog.  I've been sick for a few days so I haven't check back until now.  You asked if anything has come from my wordpress blog.  Yes, it has.  When you go to your dashboard there is a statistics page that shows you who has been to your blog how many, where they originated from etc.  (twitter, facebook, other blogs)  it's pretty interesting.  I did actually list a home from that blog and I have had a few people contact me via email from that blog.  However, I get a lot more attention on the activerain platform.  Wordpress takes a lot more work.  I did learn a trick to get more hits on the wordpress blog.  I learned that if I post on AR first (original post) and then link to wordpress it gives my wordpress a lot more hits.  

Posted by Debbie Atwood, Real Estate Broker (Century 21 Real Estate Center Everett, WA) about 8 years ago

There are not alot of options on AR, no font changes, or size, or colors, it's pretty basic which surprises me.  The photos seem to move around on there on as well. I've seen other sites that are much more updated with many more options.

Posted by Cindy Bryant, "Houston Home Staging Pros" (Redesign Etc. Home Staging) about 8 years ago

Hi Karen Anne. You are off to a great start. I opted for a wordpress.com self hosted one so that I can have total control over the content. I use a plug in to back up my data which is sent to my email. When I learned I read parts of the Codex. I think a major problem is that some people hesitate in jumping in and unfortunately with Wordpress it's the only way to learn.

 

As for the template that I chose I chose one that other people do not have. I do not want it to look like others' out there without spending too much money which I use for other things. That's why I chose the one that I did. Far too many agents have AgentPress so there is little to differentiate that the agent is "different." Kudos to you for jumping in.

Posted by Lana Robbins Realtor ® Licensed Real Estate Broker, Licensed in Florida and Washington (Aloha Kai Real Estate) about 8 years ago

I tinkered with .com over the years and have been itching to go .org for a long time but was time restricted by the first time buyer tax credit.

When AR began having the proxy issue errors was my real kick in the pants to start my own self hosted site to gain more control.  I love my AR blog but dislike the way the outside blog is organized - very limited.  My static site is very outdated also.

Anyhoo, I pay $25/month for hosting (I am on a virtual private server - not a shared server.)  I just had to switch this week otherwise it would only be less than $10/month.  My traffic is higher than I had anticipated is pretty much the reason for the switch and when I was "bursting" my site was giving proxy errors.  This is a "good problem" to have :)

I also pay $39/month for an IDX solution which is indexable (and a large reason why I have been successful with getting traffic to my site almost immediately!)

If you are afraid of the learning curve of .org - pay someone to build your site and then hire a coach.  The learning curve is NOT fun and this is why I waited until I had more time to play.  If I could do it all over again I would not hesitate to spend upwards to $2000 to have someone put the nuts and bolts up there for me and give me some insight.

My website is www.lasvegas-realestate-communities-homesforsale.com.  It is run on thesis via dreamhost lightpd vps

 

Posted by Renée Donohue~Home Photography, Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer (Savvy Home Pix) about 8 years ago

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