Woot! You’ve decided to install Blargo. Great choice. You’ll want to follow this installation guide very closely. The estimated setup time for Blargo is approximately 1 and 1/2 hours.
This should be enough time to set up the theme, get example some ads running, and get some initial pages and posts live on your site.
If you don’t already have a WordPress host, it’s very easy to get one. We recommend WPEngine for a number of reasons, including:
- Automated backups
- Hack protection (if you get hacked, they’ll fix it)
- Built in caching
- An auto-generated staging site based off your live site’s data, for development and tooling around with your site without affecting readers.
There are more reasons, but those are the most important. Not all WordPress hosts offer that level of service. And since this new business may be your livelihood soon, it’s a good idea to have them backign you up.
However, you can use Blargo with any host that supports WordPress.
Step 1: Install Largo and Blargo
Blargo is a child theme of Largo, a popular news theme built by the Investigative News Network. To use Blargo, you’ll need to install both Largo and Blargo. If you aren’t familiar with installing themes manually, you may want to read this how-to on WordPress.org.
Important: You’ll want to make sure that the “Largo” theme is in a folder named “largo” and the “Blargo” theme is in a folder named “blargo”.
Here are the download links to both themes:
Once you have them installed, you’ll want to activate the Blargo theme by going to Appearance -> Themes and activating Blargo.
Step 2: Install Required Plugins
Once the themes are installed, you’ll see a list of required plugins that need to be installed to get the full benefit of the Blargo theme. While these plugins are not required, they will provide a number of valuable add-ons that any good news website should have:
- Slideshow functionality for featured articles
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Page caching for optimal site performance
- Easy embedding of external news clips and images via Jiffy Post
- Tools for collaborative post creation and management via the Edit Flow plugin
Installing all of those plugins should only require a few clicks. WordPress will walk you through the process.
Step 3: Activate Your Ad Manager
Blargo comes with Broadstreet ad manager integration built in. In your WordPress admin menu, you’ll see an item toward the bottom named “Ad Manager.” When you click on that link, you’ll see that will tell you to sign up for a Broadstreet account.
If you already have a Broadstreet account, visit this page, and copy the link random text, called your “Access Token.” The ad manager needs this to talk to the adserver.
Paste that text in the Ad Manager options, like we’re doing below.
When you click save, a list of the publications that you have access to (which is probably one). In this example, we’re actually setting up the website you are reading right now. Select your publication and click save:
When you’re finished with that, you’ll see a button which, when clicked, will log into Broadstreet and set up all of the ad zones needed for your sites. If you aren’t familiar with what a “Zone” is, this video may be helpful.
Let’s click that “Get Set Up for Ads” button ..
If you get any errors in the process, let us know. Blargo is set up to report errors back to the home base, so we’ll have a pretty good idea of what the problem is in the (rare) event that anything goes wrong.
You should now wee a message saying that you are all set up:
If you see this message you’re all set! You’re now ready to begin placing Ad Zone widgets into your WordPress slots.
Step 4: Place an Ad Zone in Your Sidebar
Blargo has just created a number of ad zones on the Broadstreet platform:
- Sidebar Zones #1 – #5
- Right-of-logo Zone
- Monster Ad Zone
- 3 Auxialiary Zones
- In Story Ad Zone (view the Tips and Tricks page for details on this)
You can place these zones by using the new “Ad Zone” widget on the Appearance -> Widgets page. First, let’s go to that page:
Now, drag an Ad Zone (top of left column in the graphic below) widget to your Main Sidebar. You can drag it anywhere in the Main Sidebar, but the top might make the most sense. When the Widget is placed, select the “Sidebar Zone #1″ option and press save.
Note: If you have any widgets in the “Right of Logo Ad” area, delete them, or move them to the Main Sidebar area.
The ad has been successfully placed on your site. Now, let’s fill that ad zone with an actual ad.
Note: In the future, you can place additional ad slots on your site using the exact same method above:
Step 5: Run an Ad on Your Website
Now it’s time to run an ad on your site with the Broadstreet ad manager, which you signed up for earlier. If you aren’t familiar with ad managers, they’re handy for a number of reasons:
- Managing advertisers and their ad files
- Running ads for a certain period of time
- Creative ad setups where you shuffle ad positioning
- Gathering statistics like views, clicks, and more
Using Broadstreet has an additional benefit: Since the heavy lifting of serving ads is offloaded from your website, your site remains speedy no matter how many ads are running on it.
Click on the “Ad Manager” link in the admin menu bar once again. Click on the link “Visit the Broadstreet Dashboard,” which will open up a new browser tab displaying your Broadstreet account.
If you click on “Zones” in the left menu, you’ll see the list of zones that are now available to you:
This is the list of zones that are available on your account. “Sidebar #1″ is the zone that you just placed in the Main Sidebar widget area.
Now click on the Advertisers menu item. You’ll see:
Click “Create one” to create a new advertiser. You might not have any advertisers yet, so we’ll name this one something similar to “House,” which most publishers use for ads promoting the site and its content.
We don’t have any advertisements set up yet. Let’s now create a banner ad. Start by clicking “Create one now.”
This will take you to a page where you select which type of advertisement you want to create. The basic ad types include:
- Banner Ad — A standard ad. Basically an image, which when clicked, will send you off to an advertisers website, Facebook page, or any URL they’d like.
- HTML / Third Party — This is used when you get an ad code for something like Google Adsense, which is a service that pays you (albeit, not very much) to display their ads on your site.
Click “Create a Banner Ad.”
When you click that button, you’ll be given a form where you can name the advertisement. You can name it anything you’d like, but an unofficial standard is something like “Example Ad – 300×250.” “Example Ad” in this case is some name you gave it which describes the ad, and “300×250″ is the ad size. In this example, upload a 300×250.
If you don’t have a 300×250 on hand, you can use this one (right click, “Save As …”:
Upload that ad in the form, and add a destination link (where the user should go when the ad is clicked), and then click “Create Advertisement” at the bottom. You’ll be shown the ad you just uploaded.
Now that we’ve created the ad, we’ll want to stick it in a zone. This process is called “Creating a Campaign.” Campaigns simply link an ad to one or more zones, with some additional rules, like how long the ad should run for.
Now scroll down to the campaigns section:
Name the campaign. In the future, you might pick something to describe it, along the lines of “Kenny’s Pub — Holiday Campaign.”
Finally, select the zone where the ad should run. In the future, you can pick multiple zones if an ad should run in more than one place. But for this example, let’s pick “Sidebar Zone #1″ and click “Create Campaign”:
When that’s done, you’ll have run your first ad! Visit your website’s front page and make sure everything looks good.
You can now add additional ads by placing more Ad Zone widgets in your sidebar, site header, or anywhere else.
To see how you can have multiple ad zones shuffling ads, or a single ad zone with multiple ads in it, visit the Tips and Tricks page.
Step 6: Finish Setting Up Your Site
It may seem like Step 6 encapsulates “everything else” you need to get up and going. But the rest of the work is really just the standard process you would use to set up any WordPress site.
Don’t forget to hit these important area when creating your site:
- Visiting Appearance -> Theme Options to view and configure all of the different options for your theme. This includes social media settings, page layout options, and more.
- Visiting Appearance -> Theme Options -> Broadstreet Add-ons to view the “extras” you get by using the Broadstreet theme. This might include modifying the theme layout, choosing a color scheme, enabling the “Monster Ad” zone, are uploading a background image.
- Setting up pages: Nearly every publisher has pages like “Contact,” “Advertise,” “About,” and other informational pages. Create any pages you need, and don’t forget to add them to the navigation bars of your site in Appearance -> Menus.
- Adding posts: Posts are the news articles that you’ll be creating. Why not set up a test post and explore with different options on the post pages, like Setting a custom byline, setting the featured image for the post, adding the post to a new category, tagging the post, etc.
Those are the basics of getting set up with Blargo. Don’t forget that you also get the full power of the Largo theme that Blargo is built on, so any features you read about on their project page are also available to you.