Website Setup – General Instructions

Setting Up Your New Website

Congratulations on your new website. If you checked the live link already you’ll see it’s up, running and already has a number of great features and functions installed. The purpose of this page is to run you through a few of those features that need some further customization. It shouldn’t take long, so just start at the top, and once you’re done, you can delete this page (or make it private).

Finding Your Way Around

You’ll find all the links you need to manage your site in the left hand margin. If an item is a sub-menu item, we’ll write the direction as Menu Item => Sub Menu Item … so you might need to mouse-over or click the Menu Item before you can see the Sub Menu Item.

Support & FAQs

If you do have troubles with any part of the process, please check out the support section. If you can’t find an answer in the FAQs, please submit a ticket and we will get back to you ASAP.  We’ll be expanding on the support areas as people start to use the site more, so don’t be shy… your questions will help us improve the information available to everyone!

Complete Documentation

This page is intended as a starting point; a quick run through to get you up and running as quickly as possible. Once you’ve done that, you’ll find more comprehensive resources on our separate Documentation site. That includes extensive video tutorials on every aspect of your website, detailed theme-specific instructions, and detailed instructions for each of the features in the Premium Packages.

Access Documentation & Training Here


Basic Settings

Settings => General: Check your Site Title and enter a suitable Tagline. Both should use relevant keywords that someone might type into Google if they were looking for a photographer just like you, or photos of your subjects? You should also set the Timezone to your location. You can tweak and of the date format setting if you like.

Settings => Writing: This should be right to leave as-is. Later on you might create a different ‘post category’ that you can set as the default here.

Settings => Reading: You can tweak the number of posts to display if you like, but the rest should be left pretty much as-is, at least until you are more familiar with your website and the various features.

Settings => Discussion: The default settings should be suitable for most people. We have network-wide spam control measures in place, but if you notice comment-spam getting through, you can add relevant words and phrases to your blacklist.

Plugins => FS Contact Form: If this is NOT visible, it means your chosen theme has a built-in contact form template page.  You should open that in the Page Editor and check the settings and send-to email address. Otherwise, this is preset with your details, but you should check the details, in particular, the email details under E-mail: (form 1) should show your name and email address in the format: Your Name,Your Email

Plugins => Akismet:  This is a powerful tool for controlling Comment Spam. If it’s not already listed, you can enter our site license number: 7e683aa4799e to activate the software. Save changes to make sure everything is working.

Shareaholic: This adds Social Media sharing buttons below past and pages on your website. We recommend these are  used on all your posts and you can add them manually to ‘content’ pages when you create or edit a page. The default settings should be right for most people, but you may need to open the page and ‘Save Changes’ to fully activate it.

Subscriptions => Settings: This plugin allows visitors to subscribe to a mailing list to be notified any time you post new content to your website. It is a great way to develop a relationship with your visitors and keep them coming back. The settings should be OK, but check your details are entered correctly.

Editing Website Pages

We’ve pre-installed a number of utility pages to save you some time and show you how you can use them. Click on Pages in the menu and then open each of the following to personalize the content.

Contact Us: There’s a short code showing for the Contact Form we set up earlier. There’s also a Google Maps shortcode there. If you click on the Add Map icon, (beside the Add Media button above the editor window) you can follow the prompts to add a Google Map for your location. (You can delete our Yorkeys map when you’re done!)

Privacy Policy: Replace the highlighted text with your own details.  A valid Privacy Policy is required if you wish to apply for Google Adsense.

Terms & Conditions: Replace the highlighted text with your own details and save changes.

Your Photography Page: This is your home page and you will probably spend more time on this than any other. For now though, just give it a quick rewrite, to get your basic information published. You should plan on coming back later, so don’t get stuck on it now.

Sitemap: This is set up automatically and shouldn’t need any modifications.

Portfolio: This will be set up as an example. You’ll find theme-specific directions on the page

Gallery: This is set up as an example, using the built-in Gallery option. Instructions follow for changing/adding images.

About XYZ Photography: This is your About Us page… check the information on that page for detailed instructions and suggestions for best results.

Watch out for the banner short code towards the bottom  … [ wpbanners-show id=”1″ ] … we”ll be modifying the settings on the banners plugin shortly so that it makes you money, so don’t delete that by mistake.

Leave that page open in the edit-window while you complete the next step…

Publishing Your Photos

The template website has a number of images inserted for demonstration purposes. You should replace those with some of your own as soon as possible. There are a few different ways you can do this…. but first, get a few images ready to go, so you can try each of these options in on go.

  1. 1-2 attention-grabbing images to put in the body of your Home Page.
  2. 4 images for Home Page Slider resized to 640px x 320px.
  3. 12-15 ‘portfolio’ images to show a cross-section of your work.
  4. 10-12 images on one specific subject for a gallery page.

A Few Recommendations:

  • Resize your images to about 600px longest edge. Any larger is only going to slow things down and make them more attractive for image-thieves.
  • Save them as JPG files to reduce file size and speed page load times.
  • Consider adding a semi-transparent copyright watermark to your images before you upload them.
  • Keep your file-names short and descriptive, and avoid spaces or special characters.
  • Upload all of these to your Media Library before you start the next steps.

Inserting Images Into Pages & Posts: This is the most simple option. Simply click in the Editor where you want the image to appear, click the Add Media button above the editor, and either select an image from your library, or drag an image from your computer onto the window to upload it to the server.

You can do that now on the ‘Your Photography Page’. Just click on the existing image and delete it, and then click Add Media. Select an image fro myour ‘Media library’, set it to align left or right if you want the text to wrap around it, or center if you don’t., and click Insert. That’s it!

You can click on the image to highlight it, and then, holding the shift key down, you can drag any corner to resize the image as required. When it’s selected you’ll also see an ‘edit’ icon in the top left corner… click that if you need to make changes.

Adding Your Images to The Homepage Slider: The Slider is set up using it’s own admin panel in the Dashboard.  Click on ‘Slideshows’ then edit the Home page Slider. On the next page you’ll be able to delete our images and replace them with your own. You can change the slider settings and transitions there as well.

Adding Images To Your Portfolio Page: This is done using a simple Gallery feature. Go to Pages => Portfolio => Edit. Click on the Camera/Photo Icon top select the Gallery, and then the Edit icon in the top left corner.

Delete the existing images and then add your own images from your Media library. Rearrange them as required and enter caption information as you go. (Check one of the existing iamges to see where the different details appear on the web page). Update gallery to save.

Adding Images To a Gallery Page: This is the same process, but you’ll probably want to create a new page for each subject. Use the existing Gallery page as a demo, and then create a new page for your new content. Go to Pages => Add New and give it a short descriptive title and then click the Add Media button to create and insert a new Gallery.

Remember to add plenty of relevant written information as well… that’s what gets you found in the search engines and without it, your photos are virtually invisible!

Theme Options

Now that you’ve got a few photos in place, we’ll have a look at the Theme settings and a few ways you can customize the design of your website.

Appearance => Theme Options: This will vary depending on which theme you have installed.You’ll find detailed theme specific instructions in our Members Documentation section.

For starters, you should find the default settings with the template install are good for that theme. If you decide to change themes later on, you will usually need to refer to the documentation to tweak the settings and layouts, and get al lthe right content appearing in all the right places.

If you are new to this, we recommend you DO NOT change themes until you are more familiar with the publishing platform!

A couple of points to look out for…

Somewhere in the Theme options you’ll usually find a Custom CSS Styles option. This is where you can add small tweaks to the layout and design of your site… if you know CSS. Even if you don’t know CSS, make a note of where this is, because if you ask for help with your layout, we may give you some CSS Styles info to paste in here.

If the theme has Social Options, you should update our links with your own. Remember to save your changes.

Appearance => Themes => Lightbox:  The Lightbox options simply display any images on a post or page, such as your portfolio or gallery pages, as a pop-up slideshow. The default settings should be OK for most people, but you can check those here and fine fine them is you want.

Working With Widgets

Appearance => Widgets: Widgets are used to add specific content to various places holders that appear on all your pages. So you add a Widget to a widget placeholder, such as the sidebar, and it appears in the sidebar on every page of your website.Different themes use different placeholders, so if you ever change themes, you’ll usually have to check and rearrange your widgets.

We’ve set a few useful Widgets up for you to get you started. In msot cases we’ve added some content to your sidebar, and some additional content to your website footer. It’s all ‘drag-and-drop’ so you can have a look at what’s there and what else is available, and then move a few around to get a feel for how it works.

Widgets – Google Adsense: One widget you should check now is the first Text widget in the Sidebar area. That has a Google Adsense code that displays new relevant ads on every page of the website. These are Pay-Per-Click, meaning you get paid a small amount every time someone clicks on the links.

You should register with Google Adsense and then either create a new Adsense code block, or simple change that my Publisher ID — ca-pub-2054060629584380  — to your own publisher ID.

Widgets – Amazon: You’ll see another text widget in one of the  Footer Area placeholdesr. That is set to show a top-selling amazon product from their range of DSLR Cameras. You’ll see my affiliate code in the text — apnozimagesonlin — you can replace that with your own ID to make sure you get credit for any referred sales.

If you aren’t signed up with Amazon, you can do that here. Once you’re registered, you can create any kinds of links you like and add them to posts or pages, or put the code in any of the widget locations. We’ve used a simple ‘recommended product’ widget, but there are many other options you can choose from.

Appearance => Menus: Nothing to do at this stage, but have a quick look at this page for future reference. You’ll see there are a number of preset menus. You can select any of them and add new pages or links, as required, and then drag-and-drop them into position. If you publish a new page you can find it in the list in the left hand column, and add it to any existing menu.

A Word On Security uses an enterprise level security suite to protect the entire network. We run constant scans of the network and we’ll always endeavor to update all software and themes within 12 hours of a new version being released.

For all that, our system is only as strong as the weakest link, so it’s important that your adopt some best-practices as well.

  • Use strong passwords for you own account.
  • Enforce strong passwords for any users you give access to.
  • Change your passwords regularly.
  • Do not stay logged in on any shared computer.
  • Activate Akismet for spam prevention.

We run a full daily backup plus we have incremental backups in place on the database, but these backups are intended for system wide restorations in the event of catastrophic failure or a serious security breach.

We may not have the ability to restore individual websites so you should always export a copy of your website content after you make changes…

Tools => Export: Select ‘everything’ and save. This will save a copy of your XML file on your computer, which we can use to restore your website if you ever have major problem. This doesn’t save settings, so there is still some work required to get things back up and running, but at least this let’s you get your content back.

Most internal issues come from  compatibility issues with plugins and/or themes. We have attempted to pre-check as many different combinations as we can, but these items are being updated and modified constantly, so some issues are inevitable.

Your best protection is to only every activate one new plugin at a time.

Check your site carefully and if there is any problem wit hit’s operation, try de-activating the plugin. If everything then goes back to normal, let us know and we’ll see if there’s a work-around available.

If you decide to install a new theme, we suggest you de-activate all your plugins first.

Then activate the theme, customise it, and then restart your plugins one by one. Start with those that are most important to you first, so you can get as much functionality restored as possible.

Please note: we cannot guarantee all plugins will work with all themes, so while we will try to assist, and will will look to see if there are alternate options in the event of compatibility issues, we cannot make any promises in this regard.

Monetizing Your Website

The final step of the set up is to create your affiliate accounts and update the links so you get paid for your referrals. We’ve put that on a separate page that you can access below…

Set Up Affiliate Accounts & Banner Links