Setup A Blog In 5 Simple Stages

It doesn’t matter what you’re doing online, marketing, graphics, programming, I think you should always create a blog. If anything, at least to showcase your work. Which is what I’m going to talk about today!

STAGE 1 – Before you think about hosting, we need to acquire our very own domain, of which I’d go for as I have mentioned before in another post.

In some cases it’s more appropriate to go with something else yes, sometimes a business name, even just using an existing domain!

STAGE 2 – Without any hosting, you’ll not get anywhere fast, although it’s not going to break the bank either. To start with, we just need some shared hosting. I’m sure you all know I use D9Hosting although another favourite is HostGator!

MySQL Database WizardSTAGE 3 – Now we need to go and create a MySQL Database, which stores ALL our information. So you first need to login to cPanel, or whatever your hosting service has, and make your way to MySQL Database Wizard.

You next just fill out the fields with whatever information suits best and continue onto the next screen. To which more details need filled in! On the screen after that you need to join the user to the database, before receiving a successful notice. And that’s that!

STAGE 4 – Download the latest version of WordPress from to your desktop (Easier to work with that way!), and extract! Using the information you used to create the database, we need to insert that into the wp-config-sample.php file!WordPress ConfigurationYou then save it as wp-config.php allowing WordPress to connect to the database!

Time now to upload all those files either to the root directory or a sub-folder such as /blog/ if you’re using an existing domain?

So using a FTP Client such as FileZilla, enter the details your host will provide, and connect! – This allows you to upload files and even download them too!

Visit the location of the files you just uploaded, and WordPress will present you with an installation screen. Enter all the required information, then click next. In fact, if there was a problem to start with, WordPress would tell you about it!

Carry on with the installation as normal, and you’ll receive some default admin login details. That’s when you know WordPress is successfully installed!

STAGE 5 – Login, and start posting to your hearts content!

And there we have it, a simple tutorial showing you how to setup a blog in 5 simple stages, I hope it helped? Keep your eyes peeled on a followup post telling you how to modify the look of your blog! :D

Why Do I Use To Host My Websites?

I’m sure you know when it comes to finding the right hosting company for the job, more often than not, it’s harder than you first thought. Because this is an important aspect of your business, I wouldn’t rush into it and join the first site I found!

Host Unlimited Domains

When I first started online, I was lucky enough to meet Dan Thompson and Paula Brett before they even started D9. So I guess that helped me slightly when making the decision to invest in their service.

The first and foremost reason for using D9Hosting is down to their customer service, you simply can’t fault it! When I say it’s out of this world I mean it, they go above and beyond to look after their current customers along with potential customers too!

All fair and well a hosting company hosting your site, I mean that’s their job isn’t it? But when you perhaps encounter a problem that could be server related, you instantly want to be able to contact them and KNOW you’ll get an answer back as soon as possible. With D9Hosting, you will never have a problem getting support!

If I had to rate their customer service out of 10, I’d give them 12! :D

On Monday (29th June) just past, Dan and Paula unveiled the new design they had been working on, which I’m a real fan of BTW! And with that brought a whole host of new additions, such as a VPS package, Hybrid package and Dedicated Server package. Before you had to ask about these kind of things, now you can order them straight off the site!

Unless you really need those packages, then I would stick to the normal shared hosting package until your business reaches that stage were upgrading would be a smart move.

Now I’m maybe straying slightly off the topic of this article, so we’ll get back on track by listing some of the main features over on D9Hosting!

  • Host Unlimited Domains
  • Unlimited Disk Space
  • Unlimited Bandwidth
  • Unlimited Email Accounts
  • Unlimited Databases
  • cPanel Control Panel
  • FREE Site Transfer
  • 99.9% Uptime

Being honest though, instead of listing what D9 has, it’d be easier listing what D9Hosting doesn’t have! And off the top of my head, I really can’t seem to think of anything at the moment!

In fact, going back a paragraph or two, another thing I like is the fact that they are ALWAYS improving the service making our overall experience much more pleasant!

Did I mention D9Hosting is reasonably priced too, if you take out the 24 month deal then that works out at $7.95 a month, now that’s a deal and a half in my books! Even if you could only afford the 12 month deal, it’s still working out cheaper than other hosting businesses!

Why not head on over to and have a good look around the new site, also checking out what current customers think of the hosting service. (If you look close enough, you might spot my ugly mug on the testimonials page!)

If you are interested and would like to signup today, tomorrow or in the future then you can get a 10% discount if you use MARKMCWILLIAMS as the coupon code during checkout that I have had setup for you! :D And that’s all from me, I’m sure you can see how much I enjoy the service!

So I’m 18 Years Old Today!

Almost half-way through the year and that can only mean one thing for me, I’m another year older! This isn’t just another birthday either, it is in fact my 18th and I plan on celebrating it in style later on tonight! (Think I’ll recover tomorrow! LOL)

So if you heard any rumors that I was getting old then it’s true! :P

Unless anyone has planned a surprise for me, I’m just going out for a meal tonight with the family. We’ll be sampling the delights at our local Chinese restaurant, and they know me quite well whenever we go in in for a takeaway, so it should be fun!

Most likely I’ll have a couple of drinks with my meal, you never know? What I do know is that quite number of people would love to buy me my first alcoholic drink! So when I visit the Bowling Club after, I can expect to see a few members all wanting to wish me a Happy Birthday!

I’m not going to go into detail here as it’s quite hard to explain, but turning 18 also brings some new and exciting changes to my business in the coming weeks and months! You’ll slowly start seeing things happen, but we’ll talk about that another day, it’s almost time to party!

Some birthday cake anyone…? :D

Your Questions Answered

I’m sure most of you reading have asked questions before, some that you feel may have been slightly daft and embarrassing, but others quite serious too?… At the end of the day though, a question is a question and we all ask them!

Taking earlier on today for example, I fired off an email to Robert Plank asking him how he manages to sell more than the 1 product through a single ClickBank account, when each product is on a separate salespage. Plus affiliates still being able to promote and earn a commission.

Fact is that I’d like to know the answer, if you don’t ask them you simply don’t get, and there’s no harm in asking! I mean does he use a script of some kind, or just some PHP code that everyone can get their hands on?

Which brings me onto the topic of this post being that I’d like to gather questions YOU, my readers, would like answered. So please do fire away with them in the comments section and I’ll write up a few posts relating to the different questions I get asked.

Depending on how many questions I’m asked overall, will ultimately depend on how many posts I decide to write!

The best thing of all though is that if I don’t happen to know the answer myself, then I’ll go and get someone who does know that they are talking about, to answer the question for me! – That way I know you’re going to get the best possible answer.

I need just 10 comments before I’ll start sharing my answers with you! ;)

Show Me Your Butterfly Sites

That’s what John Thornhill keeps saying anyway, and to be honest, the man has a point! Just take a look at your inbox and tell me you haven’t received ANY emails regarding Mike Filsaime’s BFM 2.0 launch?

In fact, how many have you received or think you’ll receive over the coming few days as we get closer and closer to Marth 24th launch day? I think it’d be safe enough to say quite a few, with loads more expected! – Off the top of my head, I think I have received something from at least 9 or 10 other marketers!

Anyway, let me explain!…

The reason behind the question ‘Show Me Your Butterfly Sites’ asked by John is quite simple, and I quote from one of his recent emails!

[...] but I am going to pre-warn you that your inbox will be flooded with hype from marketers who don’t even own the original Butterfly Marketing.

So if I were you when you receive these hyped up emails simple ask “SHOW ME YOUR BUTTERFLY SITES”

You see, I have built numerous butterfly sites and I am going to show you every single one. I am also going to show you how to make the most out of Butterfly Marketing 2.0 and how you can generate the most subscribers and the more earnings.

John really cares about his subscribers, and he wants to help each and everyone of them out the best he can! Which most of you already know if you’re subscribed to his list!

Which explains the reasoning behind the type of bonus he is creating for anyone who grabs the package through his affiliate link, it’s a nice addition, and he’ll leave no stone unturned!

For the record I’m not actually promoting BFM, but rather sending anyone in John Thornhill’s direction! – Yes I have mentioned about it on Twitter, but I still say if you’re after some help and advice to get your first Butterfly Marketing site up and running, then this bonus can’t go wrong!

Want to see his BFM sites? Video 1 • Video 2 • Video 3Video 4

I have a prediction for you anyway. If you noticed the URL for the videos above, you can see that John has bought himself a domain relating to the product! (That in itself is a valuable bit of information!)

The bonus we’d receive first-hand, shows us how to get the site running through videos, but also via a report!

Now this prediction comes in, and if I know John well enough, I don’t think this will be far off! (Wait and see as they usually say!) - So what he is showing us, is really a live case study for a new site

  • The report we receive as part of the bonus, will be given away in BFM style on the new site, and people optin meaning more subscribers for John.
  • The videos that he is also creating as part of our valuable bonus, will become the one-time offer (OTO) for the new site being created. Depending on how many videos John creates, they could be some from anywhere between $27 and $97!

So if you’re reading John, how close did I get? Or was I miles away, spot on, or just muttering a loads of rubbish and making a fool of myself?

That’s my prediction anyway, although on reading back through his blog post, I bumped into the word ‘exclusive’ which might just send my prediction down the gutter already! :D

If you are thinking about being one of the lucky 5,000 people, then PLEASE go through John’s link and take huge advantage of the bonus on offer today! (Just too good to be missed out on!)

Setup A Google Custom Search On Your Blog

And it’s nowhere near as hard as you may think!

Now as much as I love WordPress, there is one element that needs worked on. And that’s the built in search feature, which is why I decided to change the way a visitor could search my blog.

1 – What we do first is create a new page, giving it a title something like ‘Search’ but it’s completely up to yourself. I decided just to go along with that as I liked the clean look of /search/ as the directory! Yes I know it’s just as easy to change the permalink structure, but I still like it better.

Moving on!… Deactivate the comments along with pings, and publish. I know we’ve not added anything to it just yet, so don’t worry about that! Grab the URL for the new page, and save it somewhere for later.

2 – Visit Google’s Custom Search Engine and click on the ‘Create a Custom Search Engine’ button to get the configuration started. Like everything else with Google, you’re required to login to your Google Account, and if you’ve not got one then just signup. It won’t cost you a penny, as it’s free! :D

Once you’re in, just fill in the required details needed for your Search Engine.

  • Give the Search Engine a Name
  • Along with a Description
  • Insert some Keywords for your Search Engine
  • Choose which Language you’d like
  • Select ‘Only Sites I Select’ option
  • Insert your website URL
  • Select ‘Standard Edition’
  • Check the ‘Terms Of Service’ (If  you agree!)
  • Click Next

A new page will open and you can try out your new custom search engine.

So give it a bash, then click Finish when you are ready!

The following page will then appear!…

Google Custom Search Control Panel

Click on ‘Control Panel’.

3 – We’re going to style the Search Box that appears on our blog by visiting the ‘Look And Feel’ tab up the top. For the search results that are displayed, you can pick the colour scheme for that too. Choose the colour wisely though, and try to pick the same colours as you have on your site.

4 – If you feel like earning a little from your custom search, then everything you’ll need can be found under the ‘Make Money’ menu tab.

I don’t have an AdSense Account myself, and while my search page still shows the odd ad, I don’t get a thing or mind either. This option is still better than the built in WordPress search function!

5 – We now need to put it all together, by inserting the Search Box and the Search Results code. In the menu at the top of your screen, there should be a ‘Code’ link, so head over to that page. Select the iFrame option when the page loads, and you’ll see a couple of extra things appear!

Insert the URL of the page you’d like the search results to appear, you know that one I told you to save at the beginning of this post? Just copy it from wherever it was noted, and paste it into the text field.

Decide on the place you’d like the AdSense ads to appear and select the option you prefer. Personally I went for Top and Bottom, but again, it’s your decision!

If you scroll down, you’ll find the relevant codes you need to place on your blog. Talking of which, they can also be placed on your site too, you’re not just limited to the custom searches for a blog!

Copy the first code, and paste it were you’d like the search box to appear. Most of the time it’s the sidebar, you can see mine to the right of this post! – Under your Theme Editor, just add the code to the sidebar.php file, remembering to save the changes.

The second piece of code Google has provided you with needs to be added to the page we published earlier, so go into your admin area and find the particular page created. Click on the ‘Edit’ button, and switch over to the HTML View before you do anything else. (Top-Right of the page editor!)

Paste the code in and hit the ‘Update Post’ button to save the changes!

With that it all done, you can take it for a test-run. If you did everything correctly, then there shouldn’t be any problems, and everything works just fine!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and found it interesting. Don’t forget to comment! :D

How Far Do You Take Blog Security?

When it comes to blogging, more and more of us are doing it. Not only is it a great way to communicate with your readers, but search engines love them! And if everyone else can do it, then why shouldn’t you be able to join them too? – Keeping it updated regularly with new content is one thing though!

The other?… Security!

Because WordPress is Open Source, it means that the script is available to everyone to download for free, and this includes hackers! The developers work hard to provide a script with many benefits for people like ourselves. During the time I’ve used WP, there have been numerous security fixes, and also updates.

Just how many people think about how secure their blog is? Chances are that it slipped our mind, or we just don’t know what to do to make it secure?!

So here’s a few things that you can easily do, that will hopefully prevent any potential hacker from wanting to hack your blog. Don’t give them an easy way in!

1 – Remove The WordPress Generator Tag

If you’ve never taken a look at the source code of your blog, then why not go and do that now? Depending on what theme you are using, this could vary, but around line 10 you should see something like this?…

WordPress Generator Tag

Talk about making it easy for a hacker to see if you’re running on the latest version or not. However it’s easier than you thought to solve! – Just delete it!

In the header.php file of your Theme Editor just find the code, remove it, and hit save. Nothing will happen with the result of you deleting the code, as it says, it’s only there for some kind of stats?!

You’d think that was it, but you would be wrong. Go have another look at your source code and see if you can spot it? Now this IS going to vary, but for me at the time of writing, on line 34 I could see the same thing. The only difference this time was the fact it didn’t display the bit about stats!

Over in your themes functions.php file, we just need to add one line of code. At the end of the file, just hit return (enter) twice and paste the code in, remembering to save the changes.

<?php add_filter('the_generator', create_function('', 'return "";')); ?>

Go back to your blog homepage and view the source again. If you’ve done everything correct, then you should spot the fact that the generator tag has been completely removed. That can also be confirmed by doing a search in the file too!

While I know there are plugins out there, many in fact, that do the same job. What’s the point of having more active plugins and those extra files uploaded to your server. For example, a hacker might find a exploit in the plugin? It also means you have to remember and update it, if you ever find out it needs to be.

Yes, if you decide you want to change your theme, then you will need to make sure the new themes files have this code inserted. But what’s that if it takes you an extra 30 seconds?

2 – Change The Default Admin User

Unless you’ve used Fantastico to install WordPress, there’s a good chance you’ll need to modify the database. At least that what most would think. There are in fact a couple of other ways you can achieve the same result, or a similar one.

The easiest option by far is to create another user from within the admin area, and make sure you assign it with administrators privileges too. With that done, logout, and then log back in again with the new details.

What we are going to do is delete the other account with the username ‘admin’ that WordPress always seems to use by default?! I don’t know how they can’t just have a field in the setup, for the user to pick their own username. There must be a logical reason that I’m not aware of.

Moving on!… When you delete the old user, you’ll be asked what you want to do with the post(s) currently assigned to the user you are planning to delete. There is an option where you can say that you’d like them moved over to the other admin. Select that, and confirm that you wish the user be removed!

If you’d rather not create a new user then you can always use a plugin. As with any other plugin, you upload it to your /wp-content/plugins/ directory and activate it withing your admin area. When you go in to edit the user, there will be another field that allows you to change the username to whatever you like! – Once the changes have been made, you can deactivate the plugin and delete it from the plugins folder again.

3 – Overloading Your Blog With Too Many Plugins

I’m not going to dispute that having plugins on your blog can be great. Most of the time they are around to solve a feature that the script currently doesn’t have. I use plugins here on which can sort SPAM out (Akismet) and also one for managing my Top Commentators you can see in the sidebar.

Some plugins owners decide they aren’t going to update it anymore, which is just asking for trouble. Hackers look for all kinds of ways to ‘get in’ and having an old plugin is just what they are looking for. There might be an exploit, and absolutely anything could happen to your site.

The point I’m trying to make is, if there’s any plugins you aren’t using at the moment, then WHY are they still on your server? While I know you might want to keep then for later use, what’s wrong with taking a note of it’s name, so that when you need it you can download the latest copy? – Just a thought! ;)

4 – Upgrade WordPress When A New Version Becomes Available

Whenever I see the notice in my dashboard informing me of a new release, I always make sure about upgrading as soon as I can. But before I do, I’ll read the post that is normally posted on the WordPress Development blog which tells us whats new and what’s not.

If I think there could be a problem with the new version working with my theme, then I’ll get the updates for it first, before I think about updating the blogging software. Sometimes I’ve waited a couple of days, but at least it’s done, and the earliest I could make it too.

Hackers are going to find ways in through things in older versions, and they’ll go searching for blogs that still run on that particular version. Then perform whatever they do, and move onto the next one.

5 – Install The WordPress Database Backup Plugin

As with other things in life, if a hacker is going to come and hack your blog then they will. (They will try their hardest to get what they are after!) This plugin is brilliant, as it can be setup to email you a copy of the database every day at a specific time.

Say for example something did happen to and it couldn’t be sorted by re-uploading the WordPress core files, or just deleting the index.html file which they have uploaded, then at least I can resort back to the last backup of the blog.

This saves me all the hassle, and I don’t have to remember about doing it all myself. Just imagine how long it could take you to do it yourself, and how long it takes the plugin. I prefer the plugin, and find it very handy! :)

With this post, I hope it’s given you a little insight into thinking about your blog security. And how changing/editing some of the smaller things could just be what you need to deter a potential hacker from targeting you blog!… If you’ve got anything else to add, then please do in the comments section below!

The Jing Project Goes PRO

I’m well aware that some of you may or may not already know about this, but on January 6th 2009, TechSmith released a PRO version of Jing. (Yes I’m a whole 12 days late in telling you!)

The original version of this software, which is still available, can be downloaded for FREE from the website. But for just $14.95 per year, you can grab the PRO version. And for anyone who wants to know, it boils down to 28.8 cents a week!

If Camtasia Studio is out of your budget, then Jing would be a great solution for you. Now I’ll admit it, Jing does come with limitations. I’m pretty sure that TechSmith only set Jing up as a little project, don’t know where I get that idea from, and it’s really taken off! – A good chance there will be more information over on their blog.

Check out the full list of features along with screenshots and descriptions!

Because the Jing Project seems to be going from strength to strength, and with many users requesting some new features, it would seem appropriate for TechSmith to release another version. And while there is a PRO version out, I still believe that both versions will still be updated over time. :D

Are you a Jing user?… Let me know in the commets section below!

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