Summary: Practical hands on material delivered in
a clear presentation
Rating: Content 4.5/5, Presentation 4.5/5.
The program contains 5 lessons, about 2 hours worth of videos, which are recorded onscreen presentation snapshots -- you can't see Jon, but only hear his commentary while he shows what he does on his computer. You will need to have a macromedia flash player 9 or higher to play it. The lessons are:
The punchline of this tutorial is the fact that you really want to own your blog and the data if you ever want to monetise it. So it helps to own your own domain, site and the blog. Jon teaches you how to accomplish that and hows that it's not that complicated to get your blog running independently
Jon starts by teaching you how to find good domain names based on the keyword research, suggesting overture as a research tool. He then shows services that help you to find relevant domain names, if you are planning to monetize your website.
He then explains how to register a new domain with a step by step fashion. Jon in fact registers a new domain which he will then use to demonstrate a blog setup. He shows how to enable privacy protection, which also helps to minimize spam. Jon warns you about the culprits of purchasing hosting services from domain reseller companies.
Next you learn how to sign up for the hosting service. Several good choices of hosting companies are suggested and demoed. You will even save money with the secret coupon that Jon will share with you. Jon also explains the differences between various hosting options offered. Once you get the hosting setup, he then shows how to update the registrar to find your new site. Then initialize and test a new domain's email address.
Next a popular WordPress blogging application is used to demonstrate how to setup a blog. In his case the application was already installed by the hosting service, so Jon only needed to setup a blog. If your ISP doesn't already have it installed, you may need to install it by yourself or ask your ISP to do that (which Jon explains later in the bonus video). If you want to customise the blog's theme, Jon shows where to find them and how to install them, on the way demonstrating how to use ftp to add and change files on your hosted service.
Once the blog is setup, Jon shows you how to get royalty free images to be used in your blog. Followed by a detailed explanation on how to add new stories, setup up a delayed publishing. Jon encounters some minor layout problems with the chosen theme, and he suggests to use a different theme to resolve the issues.
The final video concentrates on blog configuration and customization. First, WordPress plugins are presented. Jon covers several very essential plugins, such as an anti-blog-spam plugin, dives into categories and comments management. Backup plugin, which you really want to have, unless your ISP backs up your data for you. Then a blogroll is covered, where you insert links to favorite sites. And the video concludes with explanation on how to setup the rest of the blog, such as a profile, accounts for co-authors, permalinks, etc.
In general this is a well thought out tutorial, though during its course Jon encounters some problems, but not always resolves them immediately (but resolved later in the bonus video). I suppose he could have redone it, but on the other hand I suppose it just shows that everybody is going to encounter problems while managing their own blogs. So it's good not to be illusional that everything will just work right away, because it won't.
To conclude, if you are just starting in the blogging world and you want to run your blog independently and have a complete control over your data, you'd find Jon Symons' videos to be of a great value.
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