Week 4 – add plug-ins, add widgets, and adjusting theme

56 hours into the Niche Site Journal and the website is done. It has been a busy 4 weeks with a lot of technical mistakes and learning involved.

This week we found it really hard to work in time to work on the niche site. Leah had her baby shower and had some other baby related things going on, which left me to take up the slack.

Plug-ins

In case you are new to wordpress, “Plugins are tools used to extend the functionality of the WordPress platform. However, they are only applicable to self-hosted blogs and web sites using the WordPress.org software” (from http://en.support.wordpress.com/plugins/).

I am not going to explain how to install since this is not that kind of post. Instead here is a list of the ones I am currently using for my niche site.

  • Contact Form 7:  for my contact page I am using this form so that people can contact me without having to give out my email address.
  • Disable Comments:  I didn’t want people to be able to comment on my pages because it isn’t that kind of website. Also, I get enough spam comments on jasonloveslife.com and my other sites. I would hate to have to clean out another site from comment spam.
  • Google Analyticator:  This is how I am connecting the website to my Analytics account for tracking visitors.
  • WordPress SEO:  A plug-in that is allowing me to optimize my pages for Search Engines and hopefully getting me ranked higher.

Week #4 Results

Fine Tuning the website

Leah has had a busy week, so all the work fell on my shoulders. Which has been rough. I did 10 hours Sunday and about an hour a day Monday through Thursday.  The results of which could have been better, but the site is ready to start promoting.  The only issues I see right now are that a few of the pages need another 100 words to be optimal for the search engines and we will probably do a little more tweeking with the Theme and adding more content.

Income: $0

No Income yet.

iStock photo

image from iStock

Costs: $47.99

We ended up putting spending a little more money this week than we wanted to, but we spent $47.99 on 30 credits with istockphoto.com.  We could have bought less, but I do enjoy using images in my posts, it helps with SEO, and it makes the site look better.  The truth is I bought 30 credits with the knowledge that if I have any extra I can use them for other blogs.

This image to the right was purchased from istockphoto.com and represents the internal struggle I had with
spending $47.99 on images.  Just to let you know, this image was originally bought for a post on a different blog of mine… So, I am recycling the images I already purchased.

Time Breakdown: 14 Hours

Leah’s Time (0 hours):

  • 0 Leah was busy and didn’t have time this week to help out.

Jason’s Time (14 hours):

  • 1 hour Adjusted theme to make the google adsense links look somewhat like the links for the rest of the page.  Making it look more uniform and better designed.
  • 1 hour looking for a new theme.  While adjusting the website and trying to get it to look like I want I was so annoyed I took time to look for a theme that I could use instead that had a similar look to the one I was using.  After the hour I gave up and decided I will stick with what I got until further down the road.
  • 3 hours finding and setting up plug ins.
  • 1 hour looking at widgets.  I ended up only using the search bar, but will add more down the road.
  • 3 hour researching the topic and adding content to pages.  The SEO plug-in was saying we need about 50 – 100 more words for a few pages, so I was trying to write more but wanted to ensure it was relevant and helpful.
  • 3 hours messing with SEO plug in settings inside the pages and posts.  Some needed a higher density of key words and they all needed meta descriptions.
  • 2 hours finding, purchasing, adding, and optimizing images.

Plan

Here is an update list of our plans.  The difference is that we worked out more details of what we want to do for each week.

  • Week 5: Create and implement Article Marketing plan.
  • Week 6: Continue to do article marketing, while improving sites share ability via social media and social bookmarking sites.
  • Week 7: Adjust marketing campaign towards what is giving us the most traffic.
  • Week 8: optimize the wordpress site, google adsense, and the marketing.

Lessons

I learned several lessons this week while working on the niche site journal.  It has been a rough week because of Leah not being able to help.

-Taking breaks

On Saturday I put in a 10 hour day working on the blog.  I figure it would be fine.  During my Undergraduate work and Masters Degree it was common to spend days on end working on projects and papers. I thought it would be no problem to sit down and working for the day. It was a lot harder than I remember.

The thing that saved me was the five to fifteen minute breaks every few hours.  I kept finding myself trying to work and my brain wondering off. It took me about half a day to realize that without a break I was being unproductive and unable to focus.

-Perfection can hold you back

I can’t seem to get the WordPress theme to do exactly what I want and it drives me crazy. I have also realized that I could keep adjusting the theme for another 2 weeks before I would be close to happy with it.  Instead of doing that, I will just launch as is and when it starts making me money I will fix, adjust, and optimize the websites.

My Niche Site Journal:

Jason Love

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