By Ronni: How does one TEST the WP themes without making it go live or taking the site down forever with maintenance mode?
I never ever use maintenance mode. I test themes one of two ways.
- I run WordPress on my Windows 7 laptop – How to Install WP on Win7
- After uploading the theme to your wp-content/themes folder, log into your WP dashboard and go to Appearance -> Themes. See where it says Preview? RIGHT CLICK that and have it open in a new tab/window (whatever you normally prefer). Then you can make changes in a semi-live state that only YOU the admin can see!
By Ronni: I am planning to use a very customizable theme… but do you have any tips for someone who is branching out?
Before starting to think about design, focus on the backend. Make sure you have your permalinks set up properly. Get Akismet set up properly (by default it’s uploaded with WP, but you need to activate it). Set up all the plugins you’ll need. I’ve written quite a few posts on plugins but here a couple good suggestions:
I also suggest finding a good SEO plugin and then focus on the design. Too many clashing colors or patterns are way too distracting for the reader. Not having enough white space between the content area and the sidebar makes it hard to define any one area.
Figure out what the purpose of your blog is. Generally I find people fall into one of two areas. Those who have it as a basic online diary or those who (like me) do it to help others and have a specific amount of traffic/subscribers/numbers in general. I’ve found that generally it’s hard to do both. Also finding a niche will help when it comes to traffic.
By Lise: Any general advice on running a blog? Etiquette? Ways to boost followers?
Yes! I’ve written about this a ton actually!