The first website I wrote was written in HotDog using HTML code.  What that means in everyday language is – it was written a long time ago and my knowledge and skills were very out of date.  So when I started an online business, I had the choice of learning a lot of programming or finding an alternative.  As I was still working two jobs and had a busy family life I decided on the second.  I had heard of WordPress, but didn’t think I had the time to learn it, so I used SiteBuilder.  What a mistake!  It was very limited in what I wanted to do, in was non-responsive (not mobile friendly)  but the main reason that I decided I needed to change was that the SEO was terrible.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

WordPress is a publishing platform, used by millions of websites,  that makes it easy for anyone to publish online. It comes in two flavors: the fully hosted WordPress.com, and the self-hosted version available at WordPress.org. There are many reasons why, I believe that as an online business you should look at self hosting your own WordPress site and not use WordPress.com.  By hosting your own WordPress:

  • You have complete control of your site.
  • No limitation on themes.
  • There are no limitations on including ads or affiliate inks (ads and affiliate links are not allowed on WordPress.com).
  • There are hundreds of plug-ins and widgets that you can download to extend the functionality of your site, including commerce related plug-ins such as shopping carts.
  • You are free to upload any files that you require (on WordPress.com you have no ftp access).

So while WordPress.com can be a good choice for the non-business blogger, for a business WordPress.org is much more suitable.  As this is a site for online businesses; this article will look at WordPress.org only.

There are several Content Management Platforms out there- So why WordPress?

Over 60 million people use WordPress for the websites.  What makes WordPress such a good choice? The best thing about WordPress to me is that, without any customization it has excellent SEO which can be further improved with plug-ins. Secondly, WordPress is highly customizable so that you can design your website just the way you want to, with the functionality you require.  There are literally hundreds of WordPress plugins available that extend its functionality and thousands of themes, many free, which change the look and feel of the site. WordPress is very simple to install.  Most web hosts have a one-click installer and some now have specific WordPress packages where WordPress comes pre-installed.   WordPress is very quick to get up and running.  This site was set up in only a couple of hours – and I had never developed a site in WordPress before.

The Dashboard

The Dashboard is the first screen that you can see when you log into your site.

You can always return to your dashboard by clicking “dashboard” on the top of the main navigation menu on the left.  The dashboard gives you an overview of your site and allows you quick and easy access to your sites contents.  The dashboard is highly customizable. The dashboard screen presents information in blocks called modules.  When first set up, the main dashboard screen contains five modules: At a Glance, Activity, Quick Draft, WordPress News, and Welcome.  All of these can be moved about using drag and drop, deleted and others added.  At a Glance tells you how many pages, posts and comments you have as well as what version of WordPress you are running and what theme you are using.  Activity includes the upcoming scheduled posts, recently published posts, and the most recent comments on your posts and allows you to accept, reject and reply to them.

WordPress Themes

The theme of the website affects not just how the website looks, but also the functionality of the site.  The theme, itself, is a collection of files, called template files. There are about 10 000 themes, of which nearly 2000 are free and the rest are premium.  How to choose the best theme for you can be bewinldering.  I talk more about, my choice of theme – in the article on the Genesis Framework.  Here I offer a few things to consider when choosing a theme.

  1. Graphical design.  Most inexperienced people will choose a theme entirely on how it looks – and this is important.  Your website is the “home” of you business on the internet and your is an integral part of your personal brand.  People really do judge books by their cover and businesses by the look of their website.  So, this is a primary consideration.
  2. Responsiveness.  That means that it displays well on a range of devices including a desk top computer, laptop, tablet and smartphone.  It is estimated that 40% of time spent online is done so on a mobile device (20% if you count only smartphones) and this number is growing.  Yet, less than half of all websites are responsive.
  3. Functionality.  A website must be able to do what you want it to.  If you want to set up a portfolio site, then a newspaper / information theme is probably not the best choice.
  4. Degree of Flexibility.  Some themes are highly customizable while others are very restrictive.  Often the more restrictive are easier to use, while the most flexible more suitable for a more advanced user.  Compromise may be the key.
  5. SEO (search engine optimization).  SEO allows you to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).  This is obviously pivtal in bringing traffic to your website.  While WordPress has great SEO, some themes are more SEO friendly than others.
  6. Navigation.  How does the menu system work and is it located where you want.
  7. Support.  Once bought, is there any support for the theme or are you left entirely on your own.  Is there documentation to help, a forum or training information provided?
  8. Regular updates.  This in one area where premium themes tend to do much better than free themes.  There are normally two main WordPress updates a year and so it is essential that themes are regularly update to ensure that they work with the latest edition of WordPress.

Once you have chosen your theme, you need to install it.  To do so go:

  1. Download your chosen theme, to your computer (unless you have chosen to use one that automatically comes with WordPress).
  2. In your WordPress site go to the main navigation panel on the left.
  3. Go to appearance > themes.
  4. Click “Add new”
  5. Click “upload”
  6. Click “choose file”
  7. Find the .zip file on your computer and click “open” (or double click file)
  8. Click “install now”

Now customize your theme to create the ideal website for your business.


Plugins and Widgets

A plugin is an application that extends the functionality of WordPress. It is a tool that is visible only to the site admin and does not interface with the public in any way.  The uses of plugins include: SEO optimization, custom form managers, site map generators, social media, stats, eCommerce and more.  Plugins can be added, activated or edited from the main navigation panel.

Widgets add content and features to your sidebars and other widget specified areas such as the footer.  Widgets include sign up forms, features pages, post archives, images, calendar, category list, search, arbitrary text or html and more.  Widgets can be accessed from a link on the main page of the dashboard or the “Appearance” tab of the main navigation panel.  Widgets can be added to the site by dragging and dropping to the desired widget area.


Further Training Videos

Clearly WordPress is much more complex than the brief introduction given here.  In the article on the Genesis Framework there is a generous offer to gain access to further WordPress Training Videos.





Scapple is a mind-map and note taking software.  It is made by Literature & Latte, the people who made the highly respected Scrivener.  Both Scapple and Scrivener can be downloaded for a free trial.

I have never been someone that finds mind mapping useful and originally looked at the software as a useful program for making resources for my students. Scapple is both incredibly simple and flexible.  It is this flexibility that makes it so useful for a whole array of applications.

Scapple has been compared to a blank sheet of paper or a whiteboard.  Scapple allows the user to put notes, images and connections on this paper and arrange as they find helpful.  To give you an idea, I used Scapple to outline the features of the Internet Business Handbook.  This is what I came up with:


Scapple works by:

  • double clicking anywhere to insert a note.  This can be repeated and the notes arranged by dragging and dropping.  Some people use Scapple, in this way as a virtual brainstorming platform.
  • drag one note to another to make a connection.  The note will spring back, to the original position and a connection, with a dotted line, made between them.
  • hold down the alt key (option and command keys on a Mac) while you drag to create an arrow between the notes.
  • images and external text can be pasted in.
  • double click a link to add a note between the two linked notes.
  • borders can be added to notes, as well as colors.  Custom note-styles in the format menu are easy to make and delete.  If you have a number of notes that you want formatted in the same way, then select all of them before formatting.
  • URLs  in Scapple are clickable.

Once finished the Scapple document can be exported in .pdf or .jpg forms.  

So, Scapple is a quick, powerful tool to organize your ideas.  However, care must be taken not to spend too much time making your mind-map a masterpiece.  Your masterpiece should be your product not the mind-map you used along the way.

Why not leave a comment about how you use Scapple or any tips that you have found helpful?




Fiverr, is the cheapest of the Outsourcing options.  Fiverr has over 3 000 000 jobs, called ‘gigs.’  There are an amazing range of gigs available.  Many of them are a little crazy such as, writing your name on a piece of rice.  Gigs start at $5 but many have upgrades. While the buyer pays $5, the seller only receives $4, fiverr taking a whopping 20% commission.  The price makes it affordable, but the quality is highly variable.

However, the likelihood of a successful gig with fiverr can be enhanced with the following steps:

  1. Look at the sellers stats and feedback, noting both the percentage positive and the number of votes.FiverrRatings
    The stats come from the buyer feedback.  Most have quite a high rating, so the comments further down the page can be more revealing.
    Level 1 – Sellers are automatically promoted to level one when they have been active on the site for 30 days and completed at least 10 orders while maintaining excellent ratings and a great track record.
    Level 2 – Sellers are automatically promoted to level one when they have made over 50 orders in the past two months while maintaining excellent ratings and a solid track record.
    Top rated sellers are manually chosen by Fiverr editors. Promotion is based on the following criteria: Seniority, volume of sales, extremely high rating, exceptional customer care, and community leadership.
  2. Notice the cancellation ratio.FiverrCancellation
    While the feedback stats may be high, a high cancellation ratio should be cause for concern.  Not all sellers have a cancellation ratio, and a small one is probably not relevant.  However, a high cancellation ratio can mean either that the seller is canceling any problematic orders or that this percentage of people are unhappy enough to demand a refund. If there is a high cancellation ratio then my advice wold be to not buy.
  3. Check out the samples.
    Their portfolio of previous work is your best indicator of whether they are suitable for your job.
  4. Read the gig details carefully.
    For example, make sure that you understand what you are buying and what is an extra.
  5. If you are not sure if they can / will do what you want, then contact the seller.
    The seller does not want an unsuitable job that will lead to negative feedback, so are likely to be honest with you.  A lot of sellers like this as communication helps then too.
  6. Put effort into answering their questions.  Often when you make an order, you will be asked a number of questions about what you want.  The more information you can give, the better able the seller is to provide what you want.
  7. Consider buying two gigs.  I did this when I ordered gigs for a public domain book I published in Kindle format.  At $5 each two still does not cost very much and then if one is not at a level you would want to use, there is still another option.  Below are the two results for my Kindle book cover.
    Montessori2       Montessori1
  8. If you want some changes let the seller know.  The seller does not want negative feedback, so will do what they can to rectify any issues you may have.  So, talk to them and give them a chance to make alterations before leaving negative feedback.
  9. Remember, the seller is only getting $4, do don’t expect that every ‘gig’ you order will be wonderful.  Think of it as a $5 gamble.  If it works out well, great, if it doesn’t there is not much lost.
  10. I would suggest that content creation not be outsourced to Fiverr.  I did try and get some content writers on Fiverr to write articles, that I could use for comprehension exercises, for some practice exam papers that I was writing.  The results were diabolical and I used none of them.


In conclusion, buyers like Fiverr because it enables small tasks to be completed cheaply with minimum risk and over time they can find dependable freelancers that they are able to use for repeat work. Sellers are able to build their portfolio, accumulate reviews and  grow their business by offering basic gigs for $5 and providing extras for additional revenue.

I have bought gigs on Fiverr that have been unusable, such as this diagram of a cell, where it is drawn on paper and scanned with the creases of the paper cutting through the diagram.


However, other gigs have been great, such as this book cover I used.


If you are new to outsourcing, fiverr can be a good place to start as it allows you to outsource with minimum risk.  For some jobs, such as transcription of audio, it can be an efficient way to better utilize your time and resources.  However, being the cheapest of the outsourcing methods, for more complicated jobs or to hire more experienced people, then other platforms such as Upwork may better serve your needs.

Resource Link:  Fiverr