Creating a website for your small business can be a daunting task, but with the help of a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, it can be a relatively straightforward process. In this post, we’ll walk you through the steps of using WordPress to create a small business website.
- Register a Domain: A domain name is the address people use to access your website, such as “www.example.com”. When you register a domain name, you are essentially reserving that specific name for your use on the internet. The process involves checking the availability of the domain name and then paying to register it for a certain period of time, typically one year. After that it must be renewed or it will become available for someone else to register. We recommend Namecheap.com for domain registrations.
- Choose a Content Management System: A website content management system (CMS) is a software that allows users to easily create, manage and publish content on a website. Popular options include WordPress, Joomla and Drupal as well as hosted solutions like SquareSpace and Wix. A website CMS offers a user-friendly interface, built-in tools for SEO and the ability to add various functionalities such as forms and e-commerce. They can save time and resources compared to developing a website from scratch and help you keep your website fresh and relevant. We use and recommend WordPress for a variety of reasons. This site is built with WordPress!
- Choose a hosting provider: There are many options available, but we recommend using a provider that specializes in WordPress hosting. This will ensure that your website is optimized for the hosting platform and that you have access to technical support if you need it. You won’t find a better managed WordPress host than Pressable.
- Install WordPress: Once you have chosen a hosting provider, you can install WordPress and then connect your domain. Most hosting providers offer a one-click installation process, so this step is relatively easy. If you have any trouble, your hosting provider will be able to assist you. If you host your site with Pressable, they’ll do more than just assist you, they’ll install WordPress for you and get you set up for success.
- Choose a WordPress theme: WordPress has thousands of themes available, both free and paid. These themes control the overall design and layout of your website. Take your time to choose a theme that is suitable for your business and that you like the look of. Several themes come with built in page builders that make designing and laying out a site much easier. The Divi theme by Elegant Themes is the best WordPress theme and page builder combination.
- Install a Child Theme (Optional but Recommended): Once you have chosen a theme, you can start customizing it to suit your needs. This may include changing the colors, fonts, and layout, as well as adding your own logo and images. WordPress has a built-in theme customizer that makes this process relatively easy.
- Install WordPress Plugins: Plugins are basically software extensions for WordPress that enable greater functionality. These small programs can be easily installed and activated from your WordPress dashboard. They can help you do everything from optimizing your site for search engines to creating contact forms and adding e-commerce functionality.
- Add Content: With your theme set up and customized, it’s time to add content to your website. This may include pages such as an about us page, a services page, and a contact page. WordPress and the Divi theme and page builder make it easy to add and edit pages, as well as to add images and other media.
- Optimize for SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO) is important for any website, and WordPress makes it easy to optimize your site for search engines. This may include adding meta tags, creating a sitemap, and setting up Google Analytics. We use the free Yoast SEO plugin to make search engine optimization in WordPress much simpler.
- Launch your website: Once you have added all of your content and optimized your site for SEO, it’s time to launch your website. Make sure to test your site thoroughly before launching, and take the time to make any final adjustments. Launching a site involves making some DNS changes to actually connect your domain to your site.
Creating a small business website with WordPress is a straightforward process, but it does require some time and effort. With the right hosting provider, theme, and content you can create a professional website that will help you connect with customers and grow your business.
Register a Domain
Domain name registration is the process of reserving a unique name for a website on the internet. This name, also known as a “domain”, acts as the address for users to access your website. In order for a website to be accessible to the public, the domain must be registered with a domain registrar, which is an organization that manages the reservation of domain names.
When registering a domain, the individual or organization must choose a name that is not already in use by another website. The domain name must also comply with certain rules and guidelines set forth by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization responsible for overseeing the management of domain names.
Once a domain name has been chosen and registered, it must be renewed on a regular basis in order to remain active. The length of time for which a domain can be registered varies, but it is typically between one and ten years.
There are many different domain registrars available, each with their own set of features and prices. Some popular registrars include GoDaddy, Namecheap, and Network Solutions. It’s important to do research and compare the services and prices offered by different registrars before choosing one to register your domain with. We have had great success with NameCheap.com. Even though GoDaddy and Network Solutions are older and better known registers our experiences with them have been horrible. We have “rescued” dozens of our clients from sticky situations involving both GoDaddy and Network Solutions. We always recommend NameCheap.com to our clients for domain registration.
Domain name registration is only the first step in establishing a presence on the internet. By choosing a unique and memorable domain name, and ensuring that it is properly registered and maintained, individuals and organizations can ensure that their website is easily accessible to users.
Choose a Content Management System
A Content Management System (CMS) is a software application that allows individuals and organizations to manage the content of their website without the need for extensive technical knowledge. A CMS provides a user-friendly interface that allows users to easily create, edit, and publish content on their website.
One of the main advantages of using a CMS is that it allows non-technical users to easily update and manage the content of their website without the need for coding or web development skills. This can save a significant amount of time and money, as it eliminates the need to hire a web developer to make simple updates to the website.
Another advantage of using a CMS is that it allows for easy organization and management of website content. Most CMSs provide features such as categories and tags that allow for easy organization of content and make it easy for users to find the information they are looking for.
There are many different CMS options available, each with their own set of features and capabilities. Some popular CMS options include WordPress, Wix, and SquareSpace. Each of these CMSs has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it is important to research and compare the options before choosing one to use for your website.
When choosing a CMS, it’s also important to consider the scalability of the platform. As your website grows and evolves, it’s important to choose a CMS that can grow with you and handle the increased traffic and content.
In addition, you should also consider the security features provided by the CMS. As many CMSs are open-source, it’s important to ensure that your chosen CMS is kept up to date with the latest security patches and updates.
WordPress as a Content Management System
WordPress is the most popular and widely-used content management systems (CMS) in the world, and for good reason. WordPress is a great option for individuals and organizations looking to create and manage a website without the need for extensive technical knowledge.
One of the main reasons WordPress is so popular is its ease of use. The platform is designed to be user-friendly, with a simple and intuitive interface that makes it easy for users to create, edit, and publish content on their website. This means that even those without coding or web development skills can easily create and manage a website using WordPress.
Another reason WordPress is so great is its flexibility. The platform has a wide range of features and capabilities, making it suitable for a variety of different types of websites, from small personal blogs to large e-commerce sites. Additionally, WordPress also has a large community of developers and users, which means that there are thousands of free and paid themes and plugins available to enhance the functionality of your website.
WordPress is also highly customizable and scalable. As your website grows and evolves, WordPress can easily adapt to handle the increased traffic and content. This is a great feature for businesses that are looking to scale their website as they grow.
In addition, WordPress is an open-source platform, which means that it is free to use and constantly updated by a community of developers. This means that the platform is always up-to-date with the latest security patches and updates, making it a secure option for managing your website.
Lastly, WordPress is great for SEO. It is built with SEO best practices in mind, and there are many plugins available that can help you optimize your website for search engines. Our favorite SEO plugin is Yoast SEO.
Negatives of Using WordPress
While WordPress has many positive features and benefits, it also has a few drawbacks. One of the main negatives of WordPress is that it can be less secure than other platforms, particularly if not kept up-to-date with the latest security patches and updates. Additionally, WordPress is a popular platform, which means that it is more likely to be targeted by hackers.
Another negative of WordPress is that it can be slower than other platforms, particularly if it is not properly optimized. This can be caused by a number of factors, such as a large number of plugins or high-resolution images.
Another downside of WordPress is that it requires regular maintenance, it means that you need to keep your themes and plugins up-to-date, and also to take care of backups and security.
In addition, if you are not familiar with the platform or don’t have web development skills, you may find it difficult to create advanced customizations on your site or to troubleshoot issues that may arise.
Lastly, depending on the hosting provider you choose, you may also experience frequent downtimes which could affect your website’s availability.
It is important to note that these negatives can be mitigated with proper maintenance and management of your website. It’s important to keep WordPress up-to-date, optimize your website, use quality hosting, and choose a good security plugin to keep your website safe from hackers. In fact this is exactly why WP Site Mason was started – to help small businesses create and maintain WordPress websites. Our systems and approach to managing WordPress was created specifically to handle the “negatives” mentioned above.
Pressable WordPress Hosting
Pressable is a managed WordPress hosting service that provides a wide range of features and tools to help you improve your website’s performance and security. This hosting service is designed to make it easy for WordPress users of all skill levels to get their sites up and running quickly and easily, without having to worry about the technical details of hosting.
One of the key features of Pressable is its performance optimization tools. These tools include a built-in content delivery network (CDN) that can help speed up your site by caching your content and delivering it to users from servers that are closer to them. Pressable also offers a variety of caching options, including page caching, object caching, and browser caching, which can help to reduce the load on your server and improve the overall speed of your site.
Pressable also offers a range of security features to help keep your website safe and secure. These features include automatic security updates, daily malware scanning, and a firewall that can help to protect your site from hackers and other security threats. Additionally, Pressable’s team of security experts are available 24/7 to assist with any security issues that may arise.
Another feature of Pressable is its scalability. Pressable offers a variety of plans to suit different needs, from small personal blogs to large e-commerce sites. This means that you can easily upgrade your plan as your site grows, without having to worry about outgrowing your hosting.
Pressable also offers a wide range of features to make it easy to manage your website. For example, it includes a built-in staging environment that allows you to test out changes to your site before making it live, and it also includes a variety of tools for managing your site’s performance and security. Additionally, Pressable’s team of WordPress experts are available 24/7 to assist with any questions or issues that may arise.
Installing WordPress manually is a more advanced process than using a 1-click installer that most hosts provide, but it gives you more control over the setup process and is a great option if you have technical expertise or like accomplishing technical tasks.
Once you have a web hosting account and a domain name, you need to download the latest version of WordPress from the WordPress.org website. You can download the files to your computer.
Next, you need to upload the WordPress files to your web hosting account. You can do this using a FTP client like FileZilla or using the file manager in your web hosting control panel. Simply connect to your web hosting account using the FTP client or file manager and upload the WordPress files to the root directory of your website.
Before you can complete the installation process, you need to create a MySQL database for your WordPress site. You can do this in the web hosting control panel. Look for the option to create a new database and follow the instructions to create a database and a user with full permissions.
Once the WordPress files are uploaded and the database is created, you can run the WordPress installation script. Simply go to www.yourwebsite.com/wp-admin/install.php in your web browser and follow the instructions to complete the installation process. You will need to enter the database name, user name, and password that you created.
Installing WordPress for the first time may seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually quite simple, especially with the help of a 1-click installation option offered by many web hosting providers. If you’re using Pressable, the process is even easier. All you have to do is “Add a Site” and WordPress will be automatically installed. You’ll receive an email with your username and password reset link, and you’re ready to start fully configuring WordPress. The process is as straightforward as that.
One of the great things about WordPress is the wide variety of themes available for users to choose from. These themes can greatly change the look and feel of a website, and can be used to create anything from a simple blog to a complex e-commerce site.
There are two main types of WordPress themes: free and paid. Free themes are available for download from the WordPress repository and can be used without any cost. Paid themes, on the other hand, are purchased from third-party websites and often come with additional features and support.
When choosing a theme, it’s important to consider the overall design and layout of the theme, as well as its compatibility with the plugins and features you want to use on your website. Additionally, many themes come with customization options that allow you to change the color scheme, fonts, and other elements of the design to better match your brand.
Another important factor to consider when choosing a theme is its responsiveness, or its ability to adapt to different screen sizes and devices. With the increasing use of mobile devices to access the internet, it’s essential to ensure that your website looks and works well on smartphones and tablets.
One of the great things about WordPress themes is the ability to change them at any time. This means that you can experiment with different designs and layouts to find the one that best suits your needs and goals. Be cautious when choosing themes that box you in to a design. Many themes offer dozens of layout options but they force you into designs that are often difficult to implement. They’re even more difficult to edit later on. Even if you find a theme that looks amazing in the demo, keep in mind that you may have to also download and install several plugins and a page builder to get all of the features you see in the demo to work. For these and other reasons, we have chose to develop sites exclusively with the Divi Theme and page builder by Elegant Themes.
The Divi Theme
Divi is a popular WordPress theme that is known for its versatility and ease of use. It is a multipurpose theme that can be used to create a wide variety of different types of websites.
One of the standout features of Divi is its visual page builder. This allows users to easily create custom layouts and designs for their pages and posts without having to write any code. The page builder is intuitive and user-friendly, making it accessible to users of all skill levels. Additionally, Divi comes with hundreds of pre-designed layouts and modules that can be used as a starting point for your own designs.
Divi is also fully responsive, meaning that it will look and work well on all types of devices, from desktops to smartphones. This is an essential feature for any modern website, as more and more people are using mobile devices to access the internet.
In addition to its versatility and ease of use, Divi is also well-supported. The developers of Divi provide detailed documentation and tutorials, as well as a community forum where users can ask questions and share tips. This makes it easy to get help if you run into any issues while building your site.
If you’re looking for a theme that can be used to create any type of website, Divi is definitely worth considering.
Install a Child Theme (Optional but Recommended)
WordPress child themes are a powerful way to customize and extend the functionality of a parent theme without risking losing any modifications during future updates. Child themes allow you to inherit the features and styles of a parent theme while making your own changes to the design, functionality, or layout.
What is a WordPress Child Theme?
A child theme is a sub-theme of a parent theme. It inherits all the features and styles of the parent theme, but allows you to make your own changes and additions without modifying the parent theme’s files directly. This means that when the parent theme is updated, your customizations will be preserved. Child themes are ideal for those who want to modify a theme’s appearance or functionality, but want to maintain the original theme’s features.
How Do WordPress Child Themes Work?
When WordPress loads a theme, it checks to see if there is a child theme associated with it. If there is, it loads the child theme’s files first, and then loads the parent theme’s files. This means that any modifications made in the child theme will override those in the parent theme, while still keeping the parent theme’s functionality intact.
To create a child theme, you’ll need to create a new folder in your WordPress themes directory with a unique name that includes “-child” at the end. Inside the folder, you’ll need to create a style.css file that includes a reference to the parent theme’s stylesheet. You’ll also need to create a functions.php file that can include additional functions, hooks, or filters.
There is, however, no need to create a child theme for Divi as there are hundreds of them already available for download including “blank” child themes that you can install just in case you want to make advanced customizations in the future.
Using a child theme has many benefits, including:
Preserving Customizations: When a parent theme is updated, any modifications made directly to the theme’s files will be lost. However, if you use a child theme, your customizations will remain intact, even after an update.
Customization Flexibility: A child theme allows you to modify the appearance and functionality of a parent theme without affecting its core features. You can also create multiple child themes for a single parent theme, each with its own set of customizations.
Time and Cost Saving: A child theme can save you time and money by allowing you to create customizations without starting from scratch. You can use the parent theme’s code as a starting point and modify it to your needs.
Easy Maintenance: When using a child theme, you can update the parent theme without worrying about losing your customizations. This makes maintenance and updating your site easier and faster.
WordPress child themes are a useful tool for customizing and extending a parent theme without affecting its core features. By creating a child theme, you can preserve customizations, increase customization flexibility, save time and costs, and make site maintenance easier. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced WordPress user, child themes are a powerful way to take your site to the next level.
Divi Child Themes and Layouts
The Divi theme is known for its versatility and ease of use. However, one of the best ways to take your Divi website to the next level is by using a child theme and pre-designed layouts.
Divi child themes are widely available from third-party providers and can be easily installed and activated from your WordPress dashboard. Some popular options include Divi Child Theme by Divi Space, Divi Children by Divi Children, and Divi Cake by Divi Cake.
Another way to enhance your Divi website is by using pre-designed layouts. Divi provides a wide range of pre-designed layouts and modules that can be used as a starting point for your own designs. These layouts are available in the Divi library, and can be easily imported and customized to fit your needs. Additionally, there are many third-party providers that offer pre-designed layouts and modules, such as Divi Layouts by Divi Space, Divi Layout Cloud by Divi Engine, and MarkHendricksen.com (our favorite resource for Divi Child Themes).
Install WordPress Plugins
WordPress plugins are a powerful tool that can help you add new functionality to your website. These small programs can be easily installed and activated from your WordPress dashboard, and they can help you do everything from optimizing your site for search engines to creating contact forms and adding e-commerce functionality.
One of the most popular types of WordPress plugins are SEO plugins. These plugins can help you optimize your site for search engines by allowing you to easily add meta tags, create XML sitemaps, and control how your site appears in search results. Some popular SEO plugins include Yoast SEO, All in One SEO Pack, and The SEO Framework.
Another popular type of plugin is the contact form plugin. These plugins allow you to easily create contact forms for your website, which can be used for things like collecting customer feedback, receiving job applications, and more. Some popular contact form plugins include Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms, and Formidable Forms.
E-commerce plugins are also widely used to create an online store on a WordPress website. They allow you to easily sell products and services on your site, and they come with a wide variety of features, such as the ability to accept payments, create product pages, and manage orders. Some popular e-commerce plugins include WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads.
Social media plugins are also widely used to connect your website with social media platforms. They allow users to share your content on social media, follow your social media profiles, and more. Some popular social media plugins include Social Media Share Buttons & Social Sharing Icons, Simple Share Buttons Adder, and Social Media Feather.
For the majority of the site we create and mange we include the following plugins. These plugins provide our clients with the most important tools for ensuring their business success.
Gravity Forms is a popular WordPress plugin that allows you to easily create and manage forms on your website. This plugin is packed with features that make it easy to create a wide variety of forms, including contact forms, surveys, polls, and more. It also offers a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to customize your forms to match the look and feel of your site.
One of the most powerful features of Gravity Forms is its drag-and-drop form builder. This feature allows you to easily add and arrange form fields, including text fields, radio buttons, checkboxes, and more. It also allows you to create complex forms with multiple pages and conditional logic. With this feature, you can create forms that are tailored to your specific needs and that work seamlessly with your website.
Another great feature of Gravity Forms is its support for a wide variety of form inputs. The plugin offers a wide range of form fields, including text fields, email fields, drop-down menus, and more. It also allows you to create custom form fields, such as date pickers, time pickers, and file upload fields. This makes it easy to collect all the information you need from your users.
Gravity Forms also offers a wide range of advanced features that make it easy to create forms that are tailored to your specific needs. For example, the plugin allows you to create forms with multiple pages, which is useful for creating long forms or for breaking up forms into sections. It also allows you to create forms with conditional logic, which allows you to show or hide form fields based on the user’s input. Additionally, it supports a wide range of third-party services, such as MailChimp, Salesforce, and more, allowing you to easily integrate your forms with other tools.
If you’re looking for a powerful form builder plugin for your WordPress site, then Gravity Forms is definitely worth considering.
Jetpack is a popular WordPress plugin that provides a wide range of features and tools to help you improve your website. Developed by the team at WordPress.com, Jetpack is designed to make it easy for WordPress users to add new functionality to their sites without having to install multiple plugins.
One of the most popular features of Jetpack is its security and backup tools. These tools allow you to easily back up your site and protect it from hackers and other security threats. The plugin also includes a security scanner that checks your site for potential vulnerabilities, and it can notify you if any issues are found.
Another popular feature of Jetpack is its performance optimization tools. These tools allow you to speed up your site by optimizing your images, minifying your code, and more. The plugin also includes a built-in content delivery network (CDN) that can help speed up your site by caching your content and delivering it to users from servers that are closer to them.
Jetpack also includes a wide range of features for improving your website’s appearance and functionality. For example, the plugin includes a variety of customization options that allow you to change the look and feel of your site without having to write any code. Additionally, it includes a set of social media tools that allow you to easily share your content on social networks, and it includes tools for improving your site’s search engine optimization (SEO).
Jetpack includes a built-in analytics system that provides detailed statistics about your site’s traffic, including the number of visitors, the number of views, and the number of likes and shares. This helps you to understand your audience and make data-driven decisions about your content and marketing strategies.
Whether you’re looking for security and backup tools, performance optimization tools, or tools for improving your site’s appearance and functionality, Jetpack has you covered. It’s a great option for WordPress users of all skill levels, and it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re looking to take your site to the next level.
BackWPup is a powerful WordPress plugin that allows you to easily create and manage backups of your website. It is a must-have plugin for any website, as it ensures that your website data is safe and can be easily restored in case of any issues.
One of the key features of BackWPup is its ability to create complete backups of your website. This includes all of your files, as well as your database, which contains all of your website’s content and settings. This means that if anything were to happen to your site, you would be able to restore it to its previous state with just a few clicks.
Another great feature of BackWPup is its flexibility. The plugin allows you to choose where to save your backups, including on your server, on a remote server via FTP or SFTP, or on a cloud-based service like Dropbox, Google Drive, or Amazon S3. This flexibility means that you can choose the backup option that best suits your needs, whether you’re looking for a low-cost solution or something more robust. We have found that BackWPup works best with Dropbox.
BackWPup also offers a wide range of advanced features that make it easy to customize your backups to suit your specific needs. For example, it allows you to schedule backups so that they run automatically at a specific time, and it also allows you to exclude specific files or folders from your backups. Additionally, it allows you to compress your backups to save space, and it includes a built-in log viewer that makes it easy to track the status of your backups.
If you’re looking for a powerful backup plugin for your WordPress site, then BackWPup is definitely worth considering. It’s easy to use and will give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your website data is safe and can be easily restored if needed.
As the number of websites on the internet continues to grow, so does the number of potential security threats. Whether you’re a blogger, small business owner, or online retailer, keeping your website secure is crucial to the success of your online presence. Fortunately, there are tools available to help protect your website from malicious attacks, one of which is the Wordfence plugin.
Wordfence is designed to protect your website from various types of cyber threats, including malware, hacking attempts, and brute force attacks. The plugin provides multiple layers of defense, including a firewall, malware scanner, and brute force attack prevention. It also includes a real-time threat defense feed that updates the plugin with the latest information on known security risks, making it an effective and reliable solution for website owners.
One of the key features of Wordfence is its malware scanner. The plugin will scan your website for any malicious code or files that may have been injected into your site. If it detects any issues, it will provide you with a detailed report of what it found and give you guidance on how to remove the threat.
Another important feature of Wordfence is its firewall. The plugin’s firewall helps protect your website by blocking malicious traffic before it reaches your site. The firewall also has the ability to block specific IP addresses or ranges, which can be helpful in preventing repeated attacks from the same source.
In addition to its core features, Wordfence also provides a range of other tools and features to help you protect your website. These include login security, two-factor authentication, and live traffic monitoring. The plugin is also highly customizable, allowing you to tailor its settings to your specific needs.
Overall, Wordfence is a powerful security plugin that provides essential protection for WordPress websites. It is easy to install and configure, making it an ideal solution for website owners who want to secure their sites without spending a lot of time or resources. With Wordfence installed, you can have peace of mind knowing that your website is protected from malicious attacks and that you have the tools you need to respond quickly if any issues arise.
Yoast SEO is a widely-used plugin for WordPress websites that helps improve website ranking on search engines. This plugin offers a suite of features that helps optimize websites for search engines, making it easier for them to be discovered by potential customers.
First and foremost, Yoast SEO provides tools for optimizing content on your website. This includes features such as a snippet editor, which allows you to preview how your content will appear in search results. The plugin also provides suggestions for optimizing your content based on keywords and readability. This feature makes it easier to create content that is both user-friendly and search engine-friendly.
Another important feature of Yoast SEO is its ability to generate XML sitemaps. A sitemap is a file that lists all the pages on your website, making it easier for search engines to crawl and index them. Yoast SEO’s sitemap generator is easy to use and ensures that search engines can find all the content on your website.
Yoast SEO also provides a range of technical SEO features that help ensure that your website meets the requirements of search engines. This includes features such as canonical URLs, which help prevent duplicate content issues, and breadcrumbs, which provide users with a clear path to navigate your website.
One of the most important features of Yoast SEO is its ability to provide analysis and feedback on website content. This includes analysis of page titles, meta descriptions, and content structure. The plugin provides a color-coded system that makes it easy to identify areas of improvement, so you can make changes that will improve your website’s search engine ranking.
Overall, Yoast SEO is an essential tool for any website owner who wants to improve their search engine ranking. Its suite of features makes it easy to optimize content, generate sitemaps, and ensure that your website meets the technical requirements of search engines. With Yoast SEO, you can create a website that is both user-friendly and search engine-friendly, which will help attract more traffic and improve your online presence.
Adding fresh and engaging content on a regular basis is crucial to keeping your audience engaged and attracting new visitors. However, it’s not just about publishing content, but also about optimizing it for search engines and your audience. Here are some tips for adding content to your WordPress website:
Optimize for Keywords
Before you start writing, make sure you do some keyword research to identify the terms and phrases your target audience is searching for. Use these keywords throughout your content to make it easier for search engines to understand what your page is about and to rank it higher in search results. Ideally, each page or post on your website will have a keyword (or keyword topic) focus so that search engines can index that specific page or post as associated with a specific keyword.
Nest H1, H2, and H3 Tags
Use proper heading tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) to structure your content and make it easier to read for your audience. H1 tags should be used for the main headline (in WordPress this is almost always the title of the page or post), while H2 and H3 tags can be used for subheadings and sections of the content. Many people use H1, H2, H3, etc. tags for styling purposes. This is NOT a good idea. Heading tags have a specific purpose for search engine algorithms and having improperly nested heading tags can mislead search engines. This results in improperly indexed pages.
Pay Attention to Content Length
Make sure your content is long enough to provide value to your audience, but not too long that it becomes overwhelming. Aim for at least 500 words for blog posts, and longer for more in-depth content like guides, white papers, or pillar posts (like the post you’re reading right now). Page content can be shorter but most SEO experts recommend at least 300 words of content per page.
Using images in your content will make it more engaging for your audience, and will also help break up long blocks of text. However, make sure you choose images that are relevant to your content and of high quality.
Properly Size Images
Make sure you properly size your images before uploading them to your website. Large images can slow down your site’s load time, which can negatively impact user experience and SEO. For background images, you can use larger 1500px – 2000px wide images but for images in the foreground limit images to 1000px wide. The issue isn’t as much the dimensions of your image as the file size. Ideally your image file sizes should be less than 100kb but definitely no larger than 500kb.
Link to Internal and External Content
Linking to other pages on your website can help keep visitors on your site longer and improve the overall user experience. Additionally, linking to external content can help establish your site as a valuable resource and improve your SEO. Be sure to make links open a new tab when linking to external content.
Adding content to your WordPress website is an important part of maintaining an engaging and successful online presence. By optimizing your content for keywords, using proper headings, paying attention to content length, using images, properly sizing images, and linking to internal and external content, you can improve your site’s user experience and search engine visibility.
Optimize for SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) should be at the top of your website to-do list. SEO helps your site rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs), driving more traffic and increasing your visibility. Some SEO basics for WordPress include adding Google Analytics and Search Console, optimizing headings, adding alt tags for images, managing keyword density, optimizing SEO titles and descriptions, and site speed optimization.
Adding Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a powerful tool that helps you track and analyze your website’s traffic. To add Google Analytics to your WordPress site, you will first need to create a Google Analytics account. Once you have an account, you can install the Google Analytics tracking code on your site using a plugin like MonsterInsights. This plugin makes it easy to connect your WordPress site to Google Analytics and view your website’s data. However, if you chose to use the Divi theme for WordPress, you can simply copy and past your Google analytics code in the appropriate place under the Integrations menu.
Adding Google Search Console
Google Search Console is another essential tool for tracking and improving your website’s performance. It helps you monitor your website’s indexing status, identify issues, and optimize your website for search engines. To add Google Search Console to your WordPress blog, you’ll need to verify ownership of your website. You can do this by adding a meta tag to your website’s header or by uploading an HTML file to your website’s root directory. The easiest way to verify Search Console is to install Google Analytics first. If your Google Analytics and Google Search Console are connected in the same Google Account (i.e. with the same email address), Google Search Console will verify when it detects your Google Analytics code. Once you’ve verified ownership, you can access the data and insights provided by Google Search Console.
Headings are an essential part of your blog’s structure, both for readers and search engines. They help break up your content into digestible sections and signal to search engines what your blog post is about. To optimize your headings, you should use H1 tags for your page and post titles (this is usually done automatically in WordPress), H2 tags for your section headings, and H3 tags for sub-headings in each section. Make sure your headings accurately reflect the content of your post and include relevant keywords.
Adding Alt Tags for Images
Alt tags are descriptions of images that help search engines understand what the image is about. They also improve accessibility for users with visual impairments. To add alt tags for images in WordPress, you can simply fill in the “Alternative Text” field when uploading an image. Make sure to include relevant keywords in your alt tags, but don’t keyword stuff or use irrelevant keywords.
Managing Keyword Density
Keyword density refers to the number of times a keyword appears in your content compared to the total number of words. While keyword density isn’t as important as it used to be, it’s still a good practice to include relevant keywords in your content. However, you should avoid overusing keywords, as this can be seen as spammy and can harm your rankings. Aim for a keyword density of around 1-2% and use variations of your main keyword throughout your content.
Optimizing SEO Titles and Descriptions
SEO titles and descriptions are important meta tags that appear in search engine results pages. They should accurately reflect the content of your pages and posts and include relevant keywords. To optimize your SEO titles and descriptions in WordPress, you can use a plugin like Yoast SEO. This plugin makes it easy to add and edit your SEO titles and descriptions and provides recommendations for optimizing your content.
Site Speed Optimization
Site speed is a critical factor in SEO, as faster websites tend to rank higher on search engine results pages. To optimize your WordPress blog’s site speed, you can use a caching plugin like WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache. These plugins help reduce the time it takes to load your website by caching your content and minimizing the amount of data that needs to be loaded for each page. If you decide to host your WordPress site with Pressable, you don’t need an additional plugin for caching because Pressable takes care of that for you on their servers!
Launch Your Website
Launching a website, or “making it live” involves more than just flipping a switch. The instructions below are specific to launching a site if you used Namecheap.com to register your domain and if you use Pressable to host. The process is similar with other domain and site hosts but there will be some differences.
Before launching your website, you need to ensure that everything is working correctly. Check your website’s pages, links, and images to make sure they’re loading correctly. You can also run a speed test to ensure that your website is loading quickly.
To launch your WordPress website, you need to connect your domain and hosting. Here’s how to do it:
In your Pressable account on your site’s Settings page, you can add your domain under the Domains tab. Keep in mind that your site has to be converted to “Live” in order for you to see the Domains tab and add your domain. Enter the non-www version of your domain (example.com) and click Add Domain. Both the www and the non-www version of your domain should be added. Click the “Star” button next to the domain that you would like to be your primary domain (typically this should be the non-www version). All your site’s other domains will redirect to the primary domain. (Also note your site’s IP addresses. There will be two of them. You’ll need them both to create A Records on NameCheap.com.)
To make your domain to point to your site at Pressable, you will also need to update the DNS settings on NameCheap. There are 2 options in pointing your domain to Pressable. You can change your NameServers from NameCheap to Pressable or you can create “A Records” on NameCheap.com that contain your Pressable IP addresses. All site hosts will recommend that you move your NameServers to their environment but consider this a “Pro Tip” – DON’T move your Name Servers. This can cause major issues for you down the road. It is almost always better to just create “A Records” at your domain registrar (in this case at Namecheap.com).
Sign into your Namecheap.com account and select “Domain List “from the left sidebar. Then click on the Manage button next to your domain.
Click on the Advanced DNS tab at the top right of the page. Find the Host records section and click on the Add New Record button. Select “A Record” for the record type.
For the “Host” just use the @ sign. This tells Namecheap that you want to use your domain. Think of it like a domain placeholder or shortcut. Then for the “IP Address” choose one of your Pressable site’s IP addresses. (Again, these can be found on the Domains tab in your Pressable account.). For TTL, just leave it set to Automatic. Then click the green checkmark.
That takes care of the A Records for your root domain. Now the “www” version. There are a few ways to add the “www” version. You could just add the A Records again and instead of entering “@” you could enter “www”. But we prefer to use a CNAME.
While you are still on the Advanced DNS tab, click Add New Record again. This time select “CNAME Record”. Enter “www” for the host and then enter your actual domain as the target value. Leave TTL set to Automatic. Then click the green checkmark again.
That’s it! Your site will be live in just a few minutes.
Sometimes it takes a minute for your SSL certificate to issue on Pressable. Another great thing about using Pressable is that they automatically create and assign your SSL. If you go back to the Domain tab on Pressable you’ll see if your SSL has been assigned or not. Sometimes you might need to delete and re-add your domain at Pressable to force the SSL to provision. If you have any issues, you can simply reach out to Pressable support through their dedicated Chat.
Once your DNS changes have propagated, your WordPress website will be live!
With other WordPress hosts there are some additional things you need to do to WordPress to make your site live but Pressable makes these changes for you automatically. After your site is live and you can access it you might notice that some things don’t look quite right. This is usually solved by “refreshing your permalinks”. That may sound complex but it’s not. Simply visit the backend of your WordPress site, hover over “Settings” in the menu and click “Permalinks”. Make sure your Permalinks are set to “Post Name” and then click “Save”. That should correct any strangeness after your site launches.
Launching your WordPress website is a straightforward process (especially after you do it a few times) that can be done with the help of a domain registrar like Namecheap and a managed WordPress hosting provider like Pressable. By following these steps, you can make your website live and start reaching your audience.