Presented at the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach
By Rick Zullo
Sessions – Fall 2017
Oct. 23 – Website Set Up and Design Basics
Oct. 30 – Blog Writing and Content Marketing
Nov. 6 – Social Media and Email Marketing
Nov. 13 – Connecting All the Dots
*All classes are from 6 – 8 p.m. in the Third Floor “Clematis Room,” just next to the auditorium.
Here is my quick checklist that you can use as a step-by-step road map to take you from no Internet presence to a simple but robust platform that will serve as your content marketing hub.
The Ultimate WordPress Checklist
23 simple steps to get a robust website up and running. Building a website is not difficult, but if you've never done it, the task might seem overwhelming. Here is everything you need to know in one easy to follow list.
West Palm Beach Blogging and Social Media
I have created this page as a resource related to the material that we’ll cover in class, with added content and links to supplement the lectures. It will be updated from time to time, as needed, so please check back often.
Please feel free to leave your comments and questions below.
Also, join our Facebook Group for a more interactive “group” discussion.
OK, let’s get started!
For domain names, I’ve always used GoDaddy, mostly because they.ve been around the longest and occasionally have great price offers. But I do NOT recommend them for hosting.
For hosting, I LOVE SiteGround because their service is reliable and their customer support is prompt and efficient. And their prices are just as low as anybody’s. As a bonus, if you already have a site on a different platform, they will take care of the transfer process for free.
The class slides are included below. And hopefully you were in class to watch my live demonstration of how to set up your WordPress site.
If not, check out SiteGround’s video tutorial for an even better walk-through.
Click on the image to download a PDF version of our class slides from Week 1:
We then got into the details of website design with a focus on maximizing the user experience, and always remembering that the web is increasingly mobile, nowadays approaching 2/3 of all webpage views.
I’m not a professional designer, so I “cheat” by using a suite of premium themes called Thrive that make it quick and easy to create nice-looking webpages from templates. They also integrate most of the plugins that you need into the themes, which makes for a “cleaner,” faster site. The package includes a visual editor with TONS of pre-made templates that you can easily customize to make into something 100% original. *Important* This a fully customizable WordPress platform and NOT one of those third-party platforms (Wix, SquareSpace, Weebly, etc).
This is consistent with my desire for simplicity, as I then talked about the various elements of website design and how they affect the user experience (UX). The mantra is “don’t make your audience think about what you’re offering.” Don’t force them to figure things out, and certainly don’t make them feel stupid if they can’t. When you’ve simplified everything as much as possible, go back and simplify it one more time.
I also tried to emphasize that when designing a site, always be thinking about what your reader wants, and not your personal/business agenda. At least not in a visible way.
Next we discussed content, with an emphasis on sharp, engaging written words. Everybody gets excited about images and videos and the next “hot” platform. But nothing will ever replace the well-crafted copy that will entice and entertain your audience. There simply is no replacement.
Click on the image to download a PDF version of our class slides from Week 2:
During Week 3, we started talking about how to actually USE your website/blog as a hub for your content marketing efforts. We mentioned the “loop of engagement,” and traditional sales funnels.
Note that I use “sales” as the most basic example of how a website is used for content marketing. But the principal is the same whether or not your actually “selling” something, trying to increase attendance at an event, getting more support for your charity or civic cause, or just sharing your thoughts with the world. If you don’t do a bit of “selling,” nobody will EVER read, or even find, your website content.
Click on the image to download a PDF version of our class slides from Week 3:
For the final class we try to pull it all together and see the whole picture; the whole audience “journey” from first contact on social media, to well-written blog posts, to opt-in offers, to engagement via email autoresponders (or automation).
Each part of cycle is important, but by far the most important thing is that they are all delivering a cohesive message. Every Tweet, blog post, Facebook ad, email, etc. has a purpose. Random content with no thought to an overall strategy simply wastes time. I hope I’ve made this point very clear throughout the class.
Click on the image to download a PDF version of our class slides from Week 4:
I hope you enjoyed the class. See you again in the spring!