Do not throw buckets of money at web developers and online advertisements.
This article will help you learn the basics of website creation and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Website development is all about trial and error. With a little patience and persistence, you can do anything.
Here is your full blown step by step guide to making a WordPress website and generating organic search traffic.
Chapter 1: Creating your Website
You are creating a website for a bakery named Cookie Cousin.
- Check your domain name availability on Godaddy.com.
- Can the name be understood and spelled with no explanation? cookiecousin.com is available, instantly understandable and spellable, great.
- Once you decide on a name, purchase the cheapest hosting package to suit your needs from bluehost.com. (Blue Host is an industry leader with top-notch support. Best part, you get a free domain with your hosting purchase.)
- Call Bluehost’s customer support and have them help you “create a WordPress website”.
- Go to “settings” “reading” and toggle “search engine visibility” off until you are done with your website.
- Now that you have created a WordPress website, you need to choose a WordPress theme.
Hosting services provide a remote computer that stores your website’s photos and content. Bluehost sets the industry standard for features, reliability and service for the price. (about $100/year) It is a great option for anyone looking to make a blog, portfolio or small online shop.
If you want to avoid having your customers be redirected to Paypal for purchases (or if you are planning on selling a large volume of products) I recommend exploring shopfy.com as an all-in-one option. ($150+/ year)
WordPress is an online software interface for creating websites similar to the way Facebook is an online platform for creating profiles, groups and pages.
Chapter 2. Getting started
The dashboard is new. Explore, click and hover, it will become intuitive over time.
Key things to know about WordPress dashboard menu before you experiment with different themes:
- The “media” section allows you to upload photos.
- The “reading” section in “settings” will let you assign the homepage to display your blog posts or a static page that you create in the “pages” section.
- “Widgets” under “appearance” allows you to assign what is featured in your side-column/ bottom of the website.
- “Menus” is under “appearance” and adjusts the top links of your website.
Functionality tips for creating a page or post
- The “add media” button lets you insert photos into your posts or pages and is located above the text editor buttons in the “pages” and “posts” creators.
- The “kitchen sink” is a little button on the far right of the text editor menu that expands to reveal more options.
- Always update/save a page or a post, then preview it in a new tab to easily edit and refresh.
- The “featured image” is the image that displays in place of your entire post.
Create a few mock posts, pages, images and logos to populate the themes you will download.
By adding some content, posts, pages of pure jibberish, the themes you download or upload will be populated and filled in with something other than blank space
Chapter 3. The Basics of WordPress Themes
Themes are customization templates that determine the general layout, features and malleability of your website.
Themes are by far the most important component of your WordPress website.
You don’t want to invest hours into a theme that inevitably falls short of your needs.
- They can be downloaded directly by clicking the “add new” button in the”appearance”, “themes” tab.
- You can go to a third party website (usually containing higher quality free themes) to download the theme and then “upload” it in the “theme” section of your WordPress dashboard.
Seek and you will find. Take your time and don’t be afraid to download/ explore what works best for you.
There are developers that make photo dominant themes for photographers, product dominant themes for online stores and written content dominant themes for bloggers. Depending on the complexity of your needs, you may decide to purchase a feature-rich theme from themeforest.com (the most renowned theme store) or explore the web for free WordPress themes)
Chapter 4. The Theme Search Begins
- You will find expensive, glitchy and/or feature-weak themes by searching “wordpress photo themes”. Searching “best free photo themes Dec 2015” will bring up a very different result.
- White space, clean lines and screen sizes play a huge role in the advertising-cluttered era we live in.
- Simple is better. Visit dessign.net to get an idea of what clean, visually refreshing themes look like.
- Your website theme MUST be “responsive”(able to adapt and zoom to fit any digital device) and most themes are labeled as such. Always test the responsiveness of the themes you download.
- Ignore the photos. Theme developers attempt to sway you with the photos they use with their themes. Focus on functionality and formatting. Is it simple, does it have a “layout builder” ability to drag and drop components of the website (see One Engine) or does it update the website real time as I customize it (see Zerif Lite)
- Trial and error is key.
Great WordPress Theme Resources:
Chapter 3. Building out your website
You found the theme of your dreams, time to actually build your site.
Google has customers (internet searchers) and catering to them is why they are in business.
If you can give Google’s customers the content they are searching for better than anyone else on the internet, Google rewards you with organic search traffic. (i.e. potential customers)
Every image you name, every post you write, every page you create should aim to provide searchers with the quality and original content they thirst for.
Keywords are the phrases people use to find things on the internet. If your website mentions certain keywords, it may appear when users search it.
“how to make cookie cupcakes”
- Google’s Keyword Planner lets you research the volume and competition associated with getting to the front page of google for any given keyword.
- Ideally you are looking for keywords/ phrases with high search volumes and low competition.
- Once you identify 20-40 keywords you would like to target and 5-10 that you want to really hone in on, you are ready to start writing content.
Keyword Density – measure of how many times your keyword appears per 100 words
- Google knows when you are including keywords hundreds of times in hopes of getting people to go to your website, its called keyword stuffing.
- For every 100 words, the keyword you are targeting should only appear once. (keyword density = 1%) Anything higher than 2% is a red flag to Google.
Bounce Rate – measure of how quickly people go to and leave your website
- If people go to your website and leave instantly, its bad news for your rankings
- Include the keyword “cookie cupcakes” in your post about strawberry ice-cream and your bounce rate for that post will be 100%.
- Make content that people want to stay on your website for.
Original Content – content that can only be found on your website
- Posting written content or images that cannot be found anywhere else is good.(this is considered original content)
- Google penalizes your ranking when it sees you have duplicate written or visual content that it’s website recording robots can find somewhere else on the internet
- Otherwise, people would duplicate websites, gain traffic and sell the adspace on the website.
WordPress Essential Plugins
Plugins enhance your website in every imaginable aspect. They allow you to manipulate your website in countless ways.
Your ability to install plugins is the main reason you have hosting, otherwise you could just use regular old wordpress.com and its limited functionality.
Select “add new” in the plugins section and search for these:
Woocommerce – Free Ecommerce, crazy amazing features. (you need to buy something called an SSL certificate through bluehost to process orders through your website, otherwise just have the customers follow a link to paypal to purchase your products.
Google Analytics Plugin – Download and insert your UI code from the Google analytics account you create for your website – (get your google analytics setup here ) – This plugin will allow you to record information about the people who visit your website
Ultimate TinyMCE – Font/ Format Customization Plugin – Must be enabled in the plugin’s settings options.(Use Helvetica as it is a very easy to read, versatile and scalable font)
WP Easy Columns – Responsive column coding
WP Meta Slider – Creates a photo slider for the top part of your website – (if your theme’s slider doesnt have what you need)
Mailchimp – Email Collector
You are good to go! = ]
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