Is it worth having your own website?

Why bother with a website?

Around 6 years ago, Shrewdies.net started to gain low traffic volumes.

I registered the domain name some time before that. I started posting in Mid 2007, as part of a trio of websites with the .net and .org equivalents. I was starting to make some part time cash on a hobby website. I thought websites were a great way to earn a living. I created the Shrewdies websites to help other people earn money on the Internet.

Over it’s life, I’ve changed my approach with Shrewdies several times. Somehow, it never really got going. There are many reasons I could suggest. There’s only one that matters – I never really focused on my audience.

And so, I’d pick up the Shrewdies project from time to time. I’d publish a few pages on website creation. I remember in the early days spending a lot of time doing keyword research and topic planning. And so, I got nothing exciting from a visitor perspective…

Is it worth having your own website?

Is it worth having your own website?

Clearly, from that chart, it is not worth creating your own website. Years of domain fees, and never more than a few hundred visitors. Yet, I’m quite excited about what happens next.

Over the years, I have proved that it definitely is worth having your own website. For the first time, last year, I became totally independent of income outside my websites. There’s more to that story another time. For now, it’s time to revitalize Shrewdies.net, and take it to the next level.

Shrewdies.net is now the Vocations leg of the Shrewdies trio. Shrewdies.com for facts. Shrewdies.org for learning. Learning and earning go together, but Shrewdies.net emphasizes the earning part.

I investigate different ways to make money online. Then, I provide opportunities for you to join in. Your contribution can be anything from a few shared comments, to your own website. It’s up to you.

Unlike other online money-making schemes, this is real. You say what you want, and I try to find ways to make it happen. I don’t charge you anything. Shrewdies is, and always will be, exploitation free.

There will be a few disruptions as I work my way through this website. I need to:

  • Delete old irrelevant content
  • Add appropriate links for getting extra help
  • Add more fresh and relevant content, including examples of website opportunities

What are you looking for from a website?

Please add your comments below, or in the Learning Forum.

Pods Custom WordPress Data Structure Choice

Custom WordPress with Pods

I have a new project to add structured content to WordPress for a client. I also need to update many of my own websites, especially this WordPress support website. I’m marking the relaunch of Shrewdies.net with a re-invigorated Pods CMS project.

Now re-branded as Pods Framework, this WordPress plugin is completely different from the Pods of my earlier articles.

Pods CMS (Content Management System) for WordPress is now called “Pods – Custom Content Types and Fields” and described as:

a framework for creating, managing, and deploying customized content types and fields.

I’ve continued to use Pods as a way to add custom fields to posts and taxonomies. Today, I’m configuring Pods to administer new content types.

Continue reading Custom WordPress with Pods

Shrewdies.net is moving

You can get support for any aspects of developing and running your website:

Let’s discuss How to Make a Website
An explanation of how Shrewdies Website Support works.
Shrewdies on Google+
My preferred social network, and the best format for detailed discussions. Please follow me on Google+ and share your questions, opinions, and experiences on any aspect of websites.
Shrewdies on Facebook
An alternative support platform. This is more suitable for sharing than discussion.

As I will not be posting here again, anyone who wants to keep updated by email should subscribe to my new update service:

Enter your email address:

Your email address is safe. I will never share it.

Read more about Shrewdies Update Service.

Simple:Press Forum Advertising

bbPress Update

I no longer support or recommend Simple:Press. If you want a forum for your hosted WordPress website, please ask for advice in Shrewdies Website Support Forum.


I mentioned AdSense in passing when I wrote about extending Simple:Press forum by adding code to the descriptions.

Hundreds of you have asked for more information about adding advertising to your forums, or more specifically about adding AdSense to Simple:Press.

I’d like to say “don’t bother!” but I think you deserve more than that.

Why “don’t bother?” Because forums are notoriously hard to monetize, though there are a couple of ways to get reasonable results.

Before I explain those, I’d like to look at some of the ways to add AdSense to Simple:Press forums. I mention AdSense, but of course any advertising scheme can be added in the same way.

Easy Ways To Add AdSense To Simple:Press

❶ Sidebar
It is usually better to disable sidebars on pages, so this option is a poor one. Also Sidebar click-thru rates are usually pretty poor, but this is an easy option – just paste your code into a text widget.
❷ Footer
Edit footer.php in your theme, or add one of the many plugins that let you drop code into your footer.
❸ Other Theme Files
You could edit the page template, or other files, but I cannot see the point.
❹ Forum Page
Simple:Press creates a blank page, usually called forum, though you should normally change this to your-site-topic-forum. You should enter some introductory text on this page, and it is also the best place to easily add AdSense code. If you wrap your text in <div id="sforum"><div class="sfloginstrip"> Your text & AdSense code <div><div>, the text will pick up your Simple:Press skin styling. You can also use div to wrap position styling round your AdSense code. If you do this, be sure to test thoroughly on forum lists, forum details, etc to make sure it is positioned OK on every type of forum page.

Harder Ways To Add AdSense To Simple:Press

№𝟙 Enzyme Descriptions
As previously mentioned.
№𝟚 Edit Simple:Press Files
This gives you the most flexibility, but be careful to thoroughly document your amendments, as you will have to reapply them if you upgrade. Also, change the description in sf-control.php to add a link to your documentation, as a reminder on the plugins admin page.

There are lots of options for placing your adverts. Simple:Press has many files, so finding the exact point can occasionally be difficult. However the Simple:Press support forum is second to none, so if you need to know exactly which file to edit for a particular location, ask in their forum. To start you off, I have placed advertising easily just above the statistics block. Simply edit forum/sf-pagecomponents.php, and search for function sf_render_stats(). Paste your code immediately after the { and your advert will appear above the statistics. As the statistics block outputs an HTML table, you have many other options for exactly where you position your code.

Getting AdSense Revenue From Simple:Press

Continue reading

Simple Website Move

Though there are utilities that can drive a simple website move, they are often too complicated, or end up moving bad parts of your website that you want to lose.

It is important to plan carefully before you move any website to a new web-server, but there is one simple procedure that works in almost every case. I use it as my fallback procedure, amending where necessary, or replacing if the website move has unusual needs.

This is an instantaneous move that overcomes the biggest problem when moving to a new web-server – DNS propagation.

Read about simple website DNS propagation

Web Hosting For Dummies Soon

I’ve been a fan of the For Dummies franchise for many years.

Though I initially hesitated at the name – who wants to class themselves as a dummy? – I soon realized the books were for smart people who were being made to feel like dummies. I’ve met several successful businessmen who swear by these books. These are intelligent people who know how to make money. They do not want to spend hours learning about the technical intricacies of rarely touched aspects of web hosting.

They want to understand enough about web hosting to make sure it contributes to their business, not detracts from it. They want to know enough to manage web hosting effectively. That means knowing when to get involved, and when to leave it to experts.

When I started this site, there was no Web Hosting For Dummies book. That is about to change.

Read about the Web Hosting For Dummies Launch

WordPress Theme Change: Style Element Gotchas Screenshot

How to Change WordPress Theme Styling

I have given an overview of why to use child themes for your WordPress website, and now I will cover more detail about changing styling.

WordPress Theme Styling: Warning To Creative People

If you are artistic and creative, you are probably interested, more than most, in getting your WordPress theme looking just right.

Be careful before you commit yourself to changing CSS. It is the equivalent of telling your paint which color it should be, or your notes what frequency they should vibrate. It is technical. Some changes are quite easy, but do not let that simplicity fool you. When you tamper with an established WordPress theme, you are changing the way it was designed to look. Minor tweaks will not hurt, but what seems minor to you, such as moving the position of an element can impact on the whole structure of the page. I have seen grown designers cry when they swap brush and canvas for keypad and CSS stylesheet. One who thought he had avoided breakdown fell on his sword when he realized his efforts looked terrible in a different browser. Shrewdies are happy to help you fix your broken CSS – we are also happy to take your orders, and a little cash, and fix it for you.

Change WordPress Theme Styling: Preparation

First make sure you are using Firefox, Chrome, or better still – both. Once you have attracted some traffic, your Analytics software will tell you which other browsers you need to check your website with. However, for development, you need Chrome, and Firefox with the Firebug and FireFTP add-ons.

  1. Install One-Click Child Theme plugin
  2. Install your chosen theme
  3. Create a child theme

You also need to prepare your child theme from my explanation in the previous article about choosing your WordPress Theme (summary on the right). There are other ways to do this, so if you want to search the WordPress documentation for Child themes, that is fine.

Either way, once your site is running a child theme that is properly configured with links to the parent theme then you are ready to go.

See how to change the right CSS in your WordPress theme

Table of contents graphic

TOC Even When No Content

Table Of Contents

Introducing In-Page Table Of Contents (TOC)

Creating a good Table Of Contents (TOC) is vital to any website that needs long reference pages. I will show you how to make long pages easier to navigate for your visitors. This is vital for good visitor experience, but it also helps search engines understand your page, because a TOC has to have structure.

Before I go on to describe the structure and advantages of a TOC, I should stress that the following techniques apply to all websites, not just WordPress.

See how TOC improves visitor experience and search engine performance

Never Edit Your WordPress Theme

Editing WordPress themes is dangerous. You won’t kill yourself, but you might kill your website. So how do you get your website formatted the way you want? You could do it the shrewd way, but here is how to format your website the Shrewdies Way.

You have 2 choices: create your own WP Theme, or modify someone an existing one.

The third option of using an existing theme untouched rarely works. Besides which, it makes for very boring articles. Appearance – Theme – Install Themes. That’s it.

That is also the starting point when you want to modify an existing WordPress theme, but first let me discuss creating your own.

See how to edit WP themes shrewdly

Improve WordPress The Shrewd Way

You might think that once you’ve deployed WordPress, your webmaster duties are over. Nothing could be further from the truth – it’s time to improve WordPress the shrewd way.

Let’s not settle for mere shrewdness. Let’s improve WordPress the Shrewdies Way.

If you follow the flock, you’ll react to visitors, react to downtime, and react to everything else that affects the smooth running of your website. Be shrewd, and anticipate what you need to do today so that you do not have fires to fight next week.

You’ve already made a start if you’ve followed my preparation and deployment guidelines. Now we start a cycle of growth by turning the deployment plan into an improvement plan. Just as the deployment plan made installation and launch easy, our improvement plan makes managing growth easy. If not easy, at least less challenging than it would be without plans.

Specifics of improvement plans vary enormously from one website to the next. The common approach is to be flexible – change routines as soon as you realize that they are not providing more value than they cost. The easiest way to do this is to vary the interval between improvement cycles. If you check something once a day, but consistently change whatever you are checking 4 or 5 times a month, move to weekly testing.

Read more specific ways to improve your website