When I first met Eunice Flynn I was immediately impressed with her energy. She’s a mum of five kids and a smart business owner. She also supports her local 4N groups as an area leader. Kevin, my husband, is the 4N regional leader in her area, and that’s how we met. Over the years we’ve talked blogging and social media to death.
Eunice has a Facebook page for her chocolate business that she’s built up by hand – no like ladders, or like swaps. Every like has been earned. Through creative use of visual marketing, Eunice has built a strong fanbase and following. As I said earlier, she’s smart, and she knew that she couldn’t build her business using Facebook alone, that she had to diversify her digital assets.
So we set up a VIP day. This is a day where we set up a blog from scratch and get it operational and tackle future content updates.
The Purpose Of Eunice’s Blog
Eunice has a strong interest in domestic violence. Like many women, she’s experienced it and now that she’s safe, she wants to help other women. Eunice has also a touch of the crazies; she’s going to do the West London Tough Mudder. This is a military-style assault course that’s 12 miles long and can take 6+ hours to complete, the obstacles are covered in cold, wet mud, there’s electrified sections and sections that you’d have to swim through. Yes, you can see why I said crazy now, can’t you!
So the blog has to contain Eunice’s race diary, and her updates and resources relating to Domestic Violence. Ideally it would help raise funds for Eunice’s charities and those that read her training updates would also share them, so that she could also reach women who might need her help, but would be too embarrassed to visit a specialist domestic violence site.
The Blog’s Design
After some discussion we decided that we’d work with the Genesis Framework. We looked through the StudioPress site and narrowed down theme choices to just two:
Eunice loved both, Lifestyle Pro for the design simplicity and Agency Pro for the background options and layout. She’d looked at Appetize Social Media (Lifestyle Pro) and The IT Training Surgery (Agency Pro) and could see how they both looked when customised. We decided to give Agency Pro a go first.
Choosing a background image
We decided to go for an image of a road as the background to the site. The road would be winding and would signify life’s journey.
It’s important that the image is gender neutral, and not overly masculine or feminine. Eunice is well aware that domestic violence affects men as well as women, but she wanted a site that wasn’t suffocatingly pink. After going through 160 different images, we selected an image with a sunrise in the background.
The image was uploaded to the background, placed in the centre and set in a fixed position. When the reader scrolls through the front page the sunrise disappears, and the road comes into view, as the content areas move up you eventually see the sunrise again. Just scrolling down the page is a metaphor for the journey!
The next step was to set up the menu in the header. We went for the simple A-B-C format of About, Blog, Contact and created those pages. We then created a header menu and added that to the navigation, with the About, Blog and Contact pages in place.
The site is starting to take shape visually now. So we added a quick post about Tough Mudder, and then looked at the sharing options for the site. We selected Really Simple Facebook Twitter Share buttons. This gives Eunice the flexibility of choosing location and which social sharing sites she wishes to use.
We went back to the settings. Here’s were we tweaked the Permalinks to be more SEO friendly. I discussed on-page SEO with Eunice and we then selected WordPress SEO by Yoast and some security plugins. The settings were adjusted so that 10 blog posts were on display and that her site shows content excerpts rather than an entire page.
We also added a stats plugin, and discussed how to read them before stopping for bacon butties…
In the afternoon we went through how to add a post, a page and how to use WordPress SEO by Yoast and using Comment Luv Premium. We customised the CLP notifications to a lovely purple colour and then we changed the links and hover colours to the same purple… everything in Genesis is customisable, and I did recommend Eunice didn’t try this herself just yet.
Spam is a big topic and a lot of time was spent discussing comment spam, what type of comment is spam, what to look for in a comment and how a Gravatar makes things easier to find a comment in the spam filter. Comment Luv Premium does a lot to keep spam out, but you still need to check for real people from time to time.
And then we talked strategy and content types.
We walked through headlines and how a great one can captivate the attention of her ideal reader, her reader personas and walked through what widgets are, and what you can do with them. I then handed over the “keys” to the site and gave Eunice instructions to start writing… and get a Gravatar.
Of course the blog isn’t completed – 90% of it’s in place. Over the next few days we’ll add and tweak things to the site, and Eunice will no doubt be in touch once she’s familiarised herself with how WordPress and her site works.
In the mean time, please stop by and leave her a comment
PS If you’d like a VIP day, get in touch. I can’t always promise bacon butties for lunch though, sometimes I prefer just chocolate