Start a Local Blog or Website
Would you like to start a local blog or website? This ifs a great little way to do good for your local community, as most generic village, town or city website are pretty boring and uninspiring. You could create a tiny website for a parish, a town website, a niche town website (focusing on one thing: say sustainable fashion) or even bigger city website.
If you are interested in earning a living from the site, the smaller and more niche you go, the easier it is, as your blog or website will reach the top of google search queries faster, and more traffic means more income. For instance, if you live in London, a blog about London would be competing with hundreds or even thousands more. But if you start a blog about walking routes in London, or veggie eating places or dog walks or created a local litter-clean-up campaign site, it will likely find visitors much faster, and also get mentioned in the press.
Which Platform to Use?
You could use a standalone WordPress theme or a Genesis theme. We recently switched to Pix & Hue that uses Elementor (no Genesis needed). It was a bit nerve-racking but once you get the hang of it, the themes are quick and easy to use, and you can get rid of many plugins as the themes have in-built social shares, social media icons, related posts etc.
You also get a back page preview as you write the main pages, so you can view before you publish (we just create normal posts in the WordPress editor, for speed and simplicity), but it was useful for the main page layouts to use the preview, when setting the site up.
How to Set Up Your WordPress Site
WordPress uses plugins but most are unnecessary and could slow down (or even crash) your site. Just search the Plugins menu. We recommend:
- Classic Editor – if you don’t like Gutenberg Blocks.
- Jetpack – this is worth installing for free stats, a popular posts widget for your sidebar and ‘related posts’ widget at the end of posts. You don’t need all the other bells and whistles.
- SEO Framework is a simple SEO plugin, much easier than others and just as effective.
- Really Simple SSL is to secure your site so you get a padlock in the browser (above).
- WooCommerce is a free software if your theme has an online shop
- Open external links in next window keeps people on your site, if they visit another page.
- Link Checker informs you if links are out of date.
- Google XML Site Map Generator sends a site map to Google, to help indexing.
Keep It Simple!
Keep your blog/site design simple, so many sites are packed with clutter and ads. This will help your site stand out from the crowd. For instance, most ‘Visit this place’ tourism sites in England are abysmal. They are so cluttered it’s difficult to find anything, and most only focus on all the ‘corporate entertainment’ anyway (big shops, shopping centres, expensive places to visit when you’re not shopping, unkind zoos and aquariums etc’. If you create a simple local grassroots blog and keep things interesting and inspiring, you’ll be well on your way.
Use a readable font and easy-to-see link colour, and lots of light space around the text, for people to read easily. Use H2 headings for longer articles (Google recognises these) and use bulleted lists for instructions. If you write a lot of text, choose a theme with a narrow content area (save the pretty large content area themes for photography sites).