How to Choose and Install a WordPress Theme

Meetup notes from August 18, 2014 Meetup Session.

To access the slide deck (that includes the various check lists and site tester) for “How to Choose and Install a WordPress Theme” please go to:  For the complete notes for “How to Choose and Install a WordPress Theme” go to:

 Additional information requested in last night’s Q&A

There a number of questions at last night’s meet up about Membership site themes and plugins. As Nick and I mentioned, the setting up and management membership sites is a topic worthy of a meet-up session of it’s own. In order to best answer the questions and give our members the best resources available I am including links to a series of Blogs and a POD-cast by Chris Lema. Chris has made a study of membership sites. In the spirit of full disclosure Nick and I sought Chris Lema expertise in planning and setting up a membership site we are currently building.

Lema’s blogs are well organized, well researched and carefully sited, and honestly the best body of work you are likely to find on the subjects of membership sites and eCommerce.

Yes, it is a lot of reading. Yes, for a while it might seem like information overload.

But this type of reading, and subject matter acquisition is what successful business owners / managers do every day — find a subject that is critical to your business process and learn from other people’s experience. Start-up capital burns too quickly to learn from your own mistakes. If you are thinking about building a membership site, read as much as you can from the folks who have successfully gone down that path.

 I want to start with the link to an April 2014 POD CAST produced by WPSessions. It is still available as a $24 download.

Learn about WordPress Membership Sites — POD-Cast produced by WPSessions

The session features Chris Lema, Shawn Hesketh (WP101 Videos) and Drew Stojny. This is POD cast is a couple of hours that ANYONE who is contemplating building and managing a membership site NEEDS to see. Nick and I had already done a considerable bit of research on our own, and we still came away with tons of new information and a list of additional points to take into consideration before moving forward with our site design. If you are completely new to the idea of membership sites, listening to this POD-cast might help you get a better idea of how to structure your requirements and let you know about some of the pitfalls of membership sites in general.

The following is a list of Chris Lema blogs that Nick and I have found to be very helpful in designing and building our own membership blog.

Comparing WordPress Membership Plugins – April 6 2014

The Best WordPress Membership Plugin in 2014 — July 30, 2014

Building a membership site with iThemes Exchange

 How the Lines at the DMV will help you choose a Membership Plugin —April 6, 2014

WordPress Membership Plugins & Payment Gateways — April 6, 2014

What if you don’t need a WordPress LMS plugin for your online course?

What is content dripping? —April 6 2014

What is the best WordPress membership plugin for me? — July 29, 2014

Can one WordPress membership site account have multiple logins?

WordPress membership sites take work – the myth of passive income

Managing a High Performance WordPress Membership Site

These are blogs concerning setting up eCommerce sites…

E-commerce plugins – choosing the right WordPress shopping cart plugin — April 6, 2014

Building a membership site with WooCommerce — April 6, 2014

 Easy eCommerce & Membership Sites using WordPress –April 2014

As you can see I have Chris Lema’s Blog Posts on the Internet equivalent of speed-dial – I subscribe to his Blog. If you are seriously considering building and maintaining a membership or eCommerce site I strongly suggest you do the same.

As to the questions about How to design and build a directory site using WordPress please read:

Create a Paid Directory using WordPress – June 27, 2013

We have also had good reports about Connections Business Directory

Nick is a fan of all things wpmudev. They offer premium plugins on their membership site and their support is superb.
His choice for a Directory site is wpmudev’s DIRECTORY plugin. Which will turn your site into a fully-featured, listings directory complete with ratings, reviews, payments and more.

As to questions about Downloading PDF’s from a site…

If you are charging for the download, see this Chris Lema Blog:
Selling Pay Per View Documents with WordPress

Forcing PDF Downloads

If you just want your site visitor to be able to download information like a product spec Nick has posted a blog with detailed directions at:

Hopefully that addresses all of the Q&A in detail. As this is a WordPress for beginner’s series we try to keep the main presentation “on-topic and at the beginner’s level.” Thanks to all those who were patient with their questions and were willing to stay after the main session to deal with special topic questions.

We hope to see you all again at next month’s WordPress for Beginner’s session: Best Practices for Effective Content Creation. We would also like to invite those of you who attended the beginners session who are interested in learning more to join us at Build a Sign on August 26th for “Hooks and Filters.” It is an intermediate topic, but one that will help you understand how plugins work with WordPress.

Content, Content, Content!

Our September 9th Meetup at Posh CoWorking Lounge was a Deep Dive discussion that focused on Content, Content Content.

It was an open-ended, fast moving discussion about all aspects of content development strategies and management.  Our attendees ranged from writers who produced their own site content, Content Flow Chart Blackboardto site managers and owners who had content produced in-house or contracted-out to professional writers here and abroad. We concluded that successful site owners and managers have a clearly defined content plan, based on keywords, identified through on-going research. Several attendees brought up points from Tony Tovar’s August SEO Presentation: how content drives a successful link campaigns, that site content has to accurately address customer queries, and provide a clear call to action. Content controlled why customers came to the site and it can be why customers quickly bounce of the site.

As promised here are some of the links we discussed during the meeting. Here’s hoping the steps provided will help you get all those words and phases out of your head and organized into a site that does what you need it to do.

Developing a Content Strategy

 Content, Content, Content — Continued!

Here are the links for the various plugins and services we discussed during the meeting

The Organize Series WordPress Plugin helps with the organization and presentation of articles/posts you write as part of a series. It helps make it easier for readers of your blog to discover all the series you’ve written and also to easily find post that are part of the same series.

 Yoast SEO Optimize your WordPress site with just one plugin
The most complete SEO plugin for WordPress available today offers you everything you need to optimize your site.

ShopTalk  is a podcast about front end web design, development and UX. Each week Dave & Chris will be joined by a special guest who is there to talk shop and help answer listener submitted questions.  This is a great POD CAST model to emulate.

Editorial Calendar gives you an overview of your blog and when each post will be published. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts right in the calendar, and manage your entire blog.

KeyWordSpy Realtime tracking to monitor keyword performance.

Add rel=nofollow Plugin is a wordpress plugin that inserts the HTML tag rel=nofollow on every <a> tag mentioned in the post.

Tag: nofollow Improves your blog’s search engine optimization by “noindexing” pages you choose. Now also for page-based (as opposed to date-based)

Get the Image is a plugin that grabs images for you. It was designed to make the process of things such as adding thumbnails, feature images, and/or other images to your blog much easier, but it’s so much more than that. It is an image-based representation of your WordPress posts.

Contextual Related Posts is a powerful plugin for WordPress that allows you to display a list of related posts on your website and in your feed. The list is based on the content of the title and/or content of the posts which makes them more relevant and more likely to be of interest to your readers. This allows you to retain visitors, reduce bounce rates and refresh old entries.

Thomas Umstattd Jr. is the CEO of Castle Media Group the parent company of Author Media. You can follow him on Twitter @ThomasUmstattd and on Google+ He loves helping people use technology to change the world. Great newsletter to model and a profession writer’s best friend.