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Need Some WordPress / HubPages Advice

  1. EricDockett profile image96
    EricDockettposted 3 years ago

    I started building a WordPpress site for the first time the other day and I'm all kinds of frustrated. I have this vision of what I want the site to be, and I'm having trouble finding the right pieces.  I plan to build a clean, magazine-like site (not blog) where I can basically publish the same kind of articles I do here, except on my own turf. 

    I'd like to find a (free) theme or plugin with an editor that allows the kind of capsule-based page building like here on HP and other article submission sites.  I found a few plugins to add to the basic editor that makes it a little better, but it's still tough, for me anyway.

    Anybody have some suggestions on plugins or themes (free) that would give a WordPress site a similar look and feel as sites like HP, Wizzley, Zujava,etc.  I'm not talking about building a clone or anything weird like that.  I would just like a clean layout and an editor that's easy to work with.

    I really hope this is the right move.  I like HubPages.  I do okay and plan to keep writing here.  I don't see the difference between making money here or my own site, except that I like the idea of having total control.  Then again, honestly, now that I'm trying to figure out all this backend stuff HubPages is looking better than ever. smile

    I guess you never know unless you try.

    1. Nitin Pillai profile image60
      Nitin Pillaiposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Check out the Wordpress Revolution Theme.

      1. Nitin Pillai profile image60
        Nitin Pillaiposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Better still, check out this link http:// blog.b4ucode.com/2012/05/30/how-to-make-a-squidoohubpages-clone-in-wordpress/
        Hope this helped.

        1. WriteAngled profile image91
          WriteAngledposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          The plug-ins mentioned in that article cost $25 or $30 for use PER SINGLE SITE! I think I will pass.

      2. EricDockett profile image96
        EricDockettposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Thanks, but I'm not looking for free ideas.  I hope it's not unrealistic to think I can find something decent without spending more money.

    2. The Examiner-1 profile image83
      The Examiner-1posted 3 years ago in reply to this

      When I was starting a blog, not a magazine, I compared blog starters. Wordpress and Blogspot seemed to be the top two. I saw that Wordpress had two versions from which you were able to choose. I chose Blogspot instead of either version of Wordpress and I have heard of so many people having trouble understanding the directions for Wordpress.

      1. EricDockett profile image96
        EricDockettposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        I started out building a site with Blogger and it looked nice.  Blogger is very easy to use and doesn't cost anything.  But you're still working on someone else's platform, so ultimately I decided to go the self-hosted route. 

        I'm not finding WordPress hard to understand so much as I'm struggling to find a way to produce the images I have in my mind of what I'm trying to build.

        1. rb11 profile image86
          rb11posted 3 years ago in reply to this

          You're on track wanting the control and ownership of your own site. Another thing to keep in mind is, it's much easier to sell a self-hosted site - you never know down the road.

          I've used a few of the free themes from this source  http://www.magpress.com/page/4 and they are pretty clean too. Here's the thing with free themes. Most source don't keep up with code changes and you will occasionally hear said that some free themes have "hidden coding." This can be anything from hidden backlinks to code that steals your affiliate links. I'm not a coder, so I have no way of uncovering these problems. These are some of the things you need to be aware of when going free.

          If you buy a theme - like headway - I've read that you can drag and drop; this allows a non-programmer a lot of flexibility to customize their website. If you learn basic HTML and CSS, and there are sites that offer basics lessons for free, you can take a free template and customize it - to a degree.

          When I first started I bought hosting, a domain, and then installed a simple template and begin playing around with it. You can make all the mistakes you want; mistakes are great learning tools, and with no significant content, no worries if you really mes things up.

          Good luck with your adventure...

          1. Marisa Wright profile image91
            Marisa Wrightposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            I couldn't disagree more about free vs paid themes.

            An awful lot of paid themes are rubbish, as explained in this article:

            http://foliovision.com/2011/03/paid-wor … gantthemes

            I think the reason is fairly simple:  there's a lot of money to be made from newbies who want all the bells and whistles, without having to learn any coding.  So the developers load their themes with extensive customisations, because that's what sells - and they know most newbies will be oblivious to the consequences.

            Google places a LOT of value on speed these days.  I've tested a lot of themes on my own sites as I searched for the ideal solution, and I've found many paid themes to be slower than my Artisteer-designed themes - which have a reputation for bloat!   I now use Hybrid themes, which are free (though you pay a small annual fee for support).


            1. EricDockett profile image96
              EricDockettposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              Interesting article. So, based on that, I'm better off choosing a basic free theme, finding the indivual plug ins I want and learning a little about coding?

              1. Marisa Wright profile image91
                Marisa Wrightposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                Yes, that's what I'd recommend.  You'll find you can do most things with plugins. If you're just creating a site to showcase articles, you shouldn't need to know anything about coding!

    3. Marisa Wright profile image91
      Marisa Wrightposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Honestly, I'd advise against following your plan.

      Ask any internet guru and they'll tell you that the key to success for any website is FOCUS.   You need to pick a subject area and stick to it.  Otherwise you're wasting your time.  It should be a broad subject area so you won't run out of material, but it does need to be focussed. 

      These days Google is looking for "authority".   Typically, that doesn't mean what you might expect - it doesn't necessarily want experts, it just wants to see that the site contains a respectable body of articles on the subject.   So articles on a site like Wizzley can still get ranked - because although individual authors might write only one article on a topic, the site as a whole has a substantial body of other articles to back it up.   How long would it take you to build up that kind of authority, unless you focus? 

      Also, think of the competition for the kind of site you envisage.   Do you truly imagine you can compete with established magazines and news sites, and all the revenue-sharing sites (HubPages, Squidoo, Wizzley, Seekyt, Infobarrel, About...)?

      If you want to write long articles about a wide variety of subjects, then stick to revenue-sharing sites.  Don't waste your time building a blog until you've found a subject you feel driven to write about.

      1. EricDockett profile image96
        EricDockettposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Oh, I think maybe I wasn't clear. I do plan to stick to a single topic. I just meant I want my site be article-based, not like a blog. That is what I meant by doing the same thing I do here.

        1. Marisa Wright profile image91
          Marisa Wrightposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          Oops sorry, I've been off the air.

          Most blogs these days aren't blogs, they're a collection of articles around a single topic.  If you Google "magazine-style" themes, you'll find plenty that display your posts in a magazine-style layout on the front page.

          I'm still not sure why you'd want a capsule-based set-up, and I don't know of any themes that offer such a thing.  It's really not necessary on Wordpress anyway.   Choose a theme with widgets, and you can place most things in the sidebars or at the end of posts using those widgets.

          My current favourite, though it's not strictly a magazine-style theme, is Path from Theme Hybrid.  You can have different layouts on different pages, and one of them is a "Slider" page which has a slider of "sticky" posts at the top, then your other articles laid out in columns underneath.  It makes a great front page.

          Other good ones are Sukelius or Magazine Basic.  Search for themes from your dashboard and you'll find them.  It's easy to install one, activate it and take a look - then change back if you don't like it. 

          If you want to put Amazon or eBay ads in your posts, install a plugin that displays them for you - there are several, if you search the Wordpress.org repository.

          1. EricDockett profile image96
            EricDockettposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            Thanks Marisa.  I think I'm getting better with the WordPress editor and I have an Amazon plugin that's okay (though not as pretty as the Amazon capsule here).  Maybe the capsule thing isn't necessary. It just seemed easier, especially since my experience with building web pages so far is on sites like HP, Squidoo, Wizzley, etc.

            1. Marisa Wright profile image91
              Marisa Wrightposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              This is really odd, I posted here yesterday and the post has disappeared!

              What I wanted to say was, do post a link to your blog on your profile (there's a section where you paste links to your website, Facebook etc).  That way we can go and take a look.  It's an important thing to do for promotional purposes, too. 

              BTW I hope you're also linking to your blog from your related Hubs.

            2. GA Anderson profile image86
              GA Andersonposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              Marissa always gives solid advice, but.....

              I would be careful with plugins as in don't use anymore than you absolutely need. They add a lot of overhead to your page load time.

              Also, re. Amazon, You can add Amazons product and widget's code directly into your post without using a plugin. I do it all the time - but I only use it for single products, so maybe it's not a solution for what you want.


              1. Marisa Wright profile image91
                Marisa Wrightposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                A bit late to respond but I just noticed this post.

                The reason for using a plugin is that Wordpress does funny things to Amazon code.  it will work fine when you paste it into a post, but if you go back and edit the post again, Wordpress will 'clean up' the code and your affiliate link will be broken (probably unbeknownst to you).  Most plugins are designed to ensure that doesn't happen.

                1. EricDockett profile image96
                  EricDockettposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  I've been using the Amazon Widgets Shortcodes plugin to place Amazon product links in my posts.  It seems to work okay, though I'm using the iframe ads and not completely clear if there is any way they can harm me SEO-wise.  Based on my research they seem okay.

      2. Thomas Swan profile image94
        Thomas Swanposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        I heard this about google too, and it makes me wonder if they apply the same criteria to hubpages subdomains. Google loved my early sports articles, but since I started writing about other things, it's dropped those sports ones a bit. Google likes many of my new hubs too, but overall, my earnings haven't gone up or down in 6 months, even though I've written another 40 hubs in that time.

        However, Paul Edmondson said it doesn't make a difference if my subdomain is focused on one subject or many. Perhaps having half of my hubs made editor's choice (moving them to the hubpages domain) will help. I hope so.

        1. Marisa Wright profile image91
          Marisa Wrightposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          There has been a lot of debate about this issue.  HubPages is unique in that our sub-domains are all heavily inter-connected, and that seems to make a difference.

  2. SpectatemeAlso profile image60
    SpectatemeAlsoposted 3 years ago

    If you want to attract more readers, you could try to add interesting words to your headline!

  3. brianlokker profile image89
    brianlokkerposted 3 years ago


    I've done what you're considering, assuming I'm correctly understanding your intention. I recently set up a website about coffee (there's a link to it in my HP profile) using WordPress in a self-hosted environment. If you look at the front page, it's pretty much a magazine-style format.

    For my coffee site I am using the Catalyst theme framework with the Dynamik child theme. However, the developer of Catalyst recently discontinued that framework and has ported the Dynamik child theme over to the Genesis framework, so I am now using that for new sites. Genesis (like Catalyst) is a paid framework, but I think the quality of the framework, the support, the large user community, and the availability of numerous child themes (including some "out of the box" magazine style themes) make it well worth the cost.

    Since I develop other sites for myself as well as for clients, using Genesis with a developer license makes sense for me. If you only have one site in mind, maybe the cost won't be justifiable for you. But I'd encourage you to at least check it out. I'm not saying paid themes are always better than free, but they (and specifically Genesis) are worth a look.