This tutorial is part of a series on publishing a knowledge base on any topic with WordPress and the KnowHow theme. You can purchase this tutorial pre-configured for WPEngine and Digital Ocean.
Install the Necessary Plugins
- 1 Welcome
- 2 What You’ll Learn
- 3 What Does It Cost?
- 4 Getting Started
- 5 Register Your Domain Name
- 6 Purchase the KnowHow Theme
- 7 Building Your Website
- 8 Installing WordPress
- 9 Installing Key Plugins
- 10 Signup for Related Services
- 11 Configuring the Theme
- 12 Defining Categories
- 13 Authoring the Knowledge Base
- 14 Adding FAQs
- 15 Going Further
Let’s begin installing all WordPress plugins we’ll need to run our knowledge base website well. Note: If you purchased the readymade bundle from me, they’ll already be installed.
From the Dashboard, hover over the left sidebar Plugins menu and select Add New. Then, install each of these in any order by typing the name into the search bar:
- Contact Form 7
- Google Analytics
- My posts Order
- Really Simple CAPTCHA
- Social Media Feather or WP Social Share ($9)
- W3 Total Cache (not needed if using WPEngine)
- Yoast SEO
Note: Because I’m not using WordPress comments, I delete the Akismet plugin, installed by default. I also delete the Hello Dolly plugin.
The process looks like this:
When you’ve added all the plugins, you should see something like this:
Sign Up for Related Services (all free)
Next, let’s sign up for the handful of services we’ll use for these plugins and to optimize search engine awareness of our site.
Google Webmaster Tools
First, register for Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools). Then, add a property for your knowledge base:
As shown above, Google will request that you add a TXT record to your domain DNS to prove to Google that you own the website.
To optimize awareness of your site with search engines (generally called SEO), you’ll need to instruct the Yoast SEO plugin to generate a sitemap file and then register your sitemap with Google Search Console.
Integrating Yoast with Google Search Console
First, we’ll activate the YoastSEO plugin. Then, click the request to integrate the Google Search Console.
Then, authenticate Yoast with Google:
You’ll be asked by Google to verify access by Yoast:
Copy the Google Authenticator code:
Finally, paste the code into the Yoast plugin:
There continues to be a bug with the Yoast plugin that requires Site Maps be turned off and saved, then turned on again before they work properly. You can visit the sidebar’s SEO Sitemaps menu and toggle the checkbox off and save.
Then, turn it back on and click the XML Sitemap button:
Then, return to Google Search Console to add your Site Map:
Click No Sitemaps to get to the Add or Test a SiteMap button — type in sitemap_index.xml and click Submit Sitemap.
Statistical Tracking with Google Analytics and StatCounter
For statistical analysis on my websites, I prefer to use two different free services: Google Analytics and StatCounter. Again, you’ll need to register with each service and add sites for your knowledge base site with each.
First, add your site at Google Analytics:
Here’s an Analytics code like one you’ll be given:
Then, visit the sidebar Settings -> Google Analytics option for the plugin menu to configure your Analytics code:
Next, add your site at StatCounter. Just visit the StatCounter website and Add a Project:
Then, get the project installation code for StatCounter:
And, finally, visit the Plugins -> Statcounter Admin settings page in WordPress. Here, you’ll place the project and security code into the settings:
Installing Disqus Comments
First, you’ll need to register for an account at Disqus. Then, we’ll configure the Disqus Plugin within WordPress:
From the Dashboard sidebar, click Comments -> Disqus. There will be a series of steps to follow shown below:
First, upgrade your database. Then, choose register a new Disqus site. Fill out the green site creation dialog. Then, choose WordPress for instructions for site integration. Then, return to your WordPress Dashboard, sign in to Disqus and add the new site. Click Go to Disqus Moderation to see the comments moderation capabilities offsite. The sequence should look something like this:
Now, we’ll configure email services for your site.
Installing WordPress Mail Services
Many WordPress publishers struggle with overloading their server with email services (SMTP) and this can open their site to additional vectors of attack from hackers. Instead, I use the free Mailgun email service and plugin.
First, you’ll need to register at Mailgun. To prove to Mailgun that you own the domains they’ll be delivering your mail from, they will ask you to configure more TXT records as we did above with Google Search Console.
Then, you’ll need to visit the Mailgun Control panel to get your customized settings for your new domain name.
From here, return to your DNS control panel and configure settings for these like this. The TXT records verify for Mailgun that you own and can authenticate the domain:
The MX Records allow you to have your domain’s email delivered through Mailgun:
Once your DNS records are updated, you’ll see something like this in the Mailgun control panel:
Then, you’ll need to configure the Mailgun WordPress plugin in WordPress using the domain name and API key above. Once you fill these in on the Plugin settings form, click the Test Configuration button:
If you’d like to read more, I’ve written a couple of tutorials about this: Why I’m Using Mailgun with Geogram and Get a Fast Start With the Mailgun Plugin for WordPress.
With so many plugins and services configured, we’re ready to install our theme and bring our knowledge base to life.