NOTE:The following EPIC post comes from the book,”The Beginner’s Guide to Building a Powerful Website (Without Wasting Your Money).”
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A static website won’t cut it, not anymore.
Today’s buyers are looking for a connection with the products and services they purchase.
A static website is little more than a business card tucked into an unopened wallet, then quickly forgotten.
Google gives far more prominence to dynamic websites — an important consideration because if you’re invisible to Google, you’re invisible to people.
Being on page one or two in search engine results is a world of difference from being buried on page 47 where the odds of a buyer finding your website are only slightly better than finding the lost city of Atlantis.
How to Find the Web Host That’s Right For You
You won’t find a shortage of hosting providers. A quick search on Google reveals hundreds. The problem is, without a clear understanding of what you’re looking for, it’s nearly impossible to determine the quality of what you’re actually looking at.
Types of Hosting Accounts
Many different types of hosting packages are available, each with a different price range and application.
Managed Solutions ($19 – $99)
Many technicalities are involved with website creation, or even with something as simple as choosing a host, which is why some smart folks came up with managed solutions where subscribers pay a fixed cost per month and a web host handles everything for them, from domains and hosting, to website creation and support.
One example is outstandingSETUP; for just 19 dollars a month they do the following:
- Purchase and manage your domain
- Configure your domain and host
- Create your website using WordPress
- Install a theme of your choice
- Offer quality ongoing support
Nineteen dollars is the lowest cost option and will give you a website that can handle 10,000 visitors per month. But premium packages with the ability to handle up to 100,000 visitors per month are also available.
Shared Hosting ($0 – $30)
As you can imagine, it takes a lot of $10 per month accounts to pay for an entire server. This is why some shared servers have hundreds of customers and websites on them.
The problem with shared hosting accounts is if one or more customers are putting a heavy load on the server, every site on that server will suffer from either slowing down or going offline entirely.
Large companies offering shared hosting packages are often accused of overselling, which means they promise a certain amount of resources (bandwidth, etc.) to each customer under the assumption that most will never use the full allocation, but then when they do, the server is unable to handle the load.
VPS or Virtual Private Server ($30 – $200)
VPS packages aren’t much different from shared hosting packages. You are still only paying for part of the server to lower overall costs. However, with a VPS package, there are clearer boundaries around what you are paying for, and hosts tend to enforce their limitations to a greater degree.
It is unheard of for a VPS to be oversold.
To understand VPS’s, imagine buying an extremely powerful (and expensive) computer, then splitting your computer into partitions; the more you pay the larger your partition. With a VPS package, you get exactly the amount of space you pay for, but you also have full control over your partition, no different than if it was a dedicated server.
Dedicated Servers ($100 – $2,000)
Only you have access to a dedicated server.
Slight overlap exists between VPS’s and dedicated servers. A large VPS can actually be more powerful than a small dedicated server. If you imagine half of a regular-sized cake, it’s still bigger than a full cupcake, right?
If your website grows too large for a single server to effectively handle, you can use multiple servers in conjunction with each other. This is called a cluster.
Cloud hosting is relatively new to the market. Instead of having a single-server hosting websites, you have a cluster working together.
If one server is under heavy load, the other servers absorb the slack. When hundreds or thousands of servers form a single cluster, they can take an extremely heavy load.
Cloud hosting offers an extremely robust system, but as you can imagine, it is also more expensive. If your website is small, you won’t be paying for the cloud by yourself; it will be divided by the many other customers also hosted on that cloud.
CDN (Content Delivery Network)
Web pages don’t use much bandwidth when they are primarily text. On the other hand, images, heavy backgrounds, and videos can all be quite large, as you well know if you have ever waited for a video to download.
Content Delivery Networks were created to reduce your server load by moving your images and videos to the CDN’s servers. This doesn’t affect how they are displayed on your site, but it does mean the heaviest elements of your page don’t need to be transferred from your server. This results in a lighter load on your resources and faster page loads for your visitors.
Using a content delivery network is like uploading your videos to YouTube, then embedding them on your website. YouTube is absorbing the bandwidth costs.
Getting your hosting taken care of is often a one-time decision, where things like your website’s SEO (search engine optimization) are a constant consideration. And nothing makes SEO more straightforward than WordPress.
What Is WordPress SEO and How Is It Different
First, we’ll show you how to find out how many people are making the types of searches that are most important to you, and then we’ll analyze WordPress from top to bottom and explain how you can optimize your pages for the highest possible ranking.
The most important part of SEO is your content. This sounds simple enough, yet most people get bogged down with technicalities and forget what that quality copy is at the core of it all.
Search engines want to give readers the best results possible, but first you must create them.
The Most Important Ranking Factors
Over 200 ranking factors exist, but not all carry significant weight. We will only concentrate on the most important factors in this article. Those factors can be split into four categories: on-site, off-site, social, and behavioral.
On-Site Ranking Factors
On-site elements are those elements contained on your website or webpage. The great thing about on-site elements is you usually have full control over them and can therefore maximize their optimization.
URLs – Include the search term you are targeting in the URL (permalink). For example, if we were targeting ‘websites’ we could have exampleurl.com/websites
Title tags – Include the search term you are targeting in the page title. If you have installed the Yoast SEO plugin, you will have an area below the area where you write your content to enter your title. The title is what shows up in the search engines along with the description (meta description) and URL.
Headings – Include the search term or variations of it in your <H1>, <H2>, and <h3> tags.
Age – Search engines tend to favor older sites. This is no different than people trusting older businesses more than new ones that just poured their concrete the year before.
Off-Site Ranking Factors
Off-site factors currently seem to carry the most weight. Sometimes you will have control over these elements, but most of the time you won’t, which is why search engines place so much trust in these metrics.
Authority of Linking Domains – The authority of the domains linking to you is more important than the number of domains linking. With SEO, quality always trumps quantity.
Anchor Text of Inbound Links – Search engines use anchor text as an indicator of which search terms your pages will rank for. Anchor text is the part of a hyperlink you can see and click on. Many people use ‘click here’ as their anchor text; this will not assist you in the search engines, unless you wanted to rank for that term.
<a href=http://example.com>ANCHOR TEXT</a>
Link Diversity – A strong link profile is natural, meaning all links won’t have the perfect anchor text or come from the biggest sites. If your links are not diverse, search engines will question whether you are buying links (which is against their guidelines.) Buying links is a way to manipulate the search engines, which is exactly what they don’t want.
Behavioral Ranking Factors
Behavioral ranking factors are becoming more prevalent all the time. Simply put, search engines are looking to promote those websites people find most useful. They do this using the analytical data they have available, including:
Time on Site – When visitors are engaged, they stay on the page longer.
Bounce Rate – Bounce rate is the number of visitors who landed on your website, then left without visiting a second page. This usually indicates they didn’t enjoy your site, or weren’t compelled enough to stick around.
Click-Through Rate (CTR) – The CTR on the Search Engine Results Pages, or SERPs, is an excellent indication of how relevant your website is for its search term. If your website is showing up but no one is clicking, search engines will question whether it is truly relevant.
Infographic authored by
TastyPlacement, a web design and SEO company,
Social Ranking Factors
Social is becoming increasingly important to search. As search engines learn to better evaluate the data, they will start to use it in an ever-increasing amount. With the introduction of Google+, Google now has direct access to much more social data and will be using it accordingly.
Social Recommendations – So far the only factor that seems to have any impact is how many social recommendations a page has. These social metrics include tweets, likes, and +1′s.
To put it simply, the more people sharing your content on social media platforms, the more authority the search engines will place on them.
Configuring WordPress for SEO
Yoast SEO – To optimize your pages, you need control of the essential elements. By default, WordPress and most themes don’t offer these options. Fortunately, installing the Yoast SEO plugin will add these to your WordPress installation.
Permalinks – By default, WordPress URLs are nondescript. This is an example:
In this example, ‘p’ stands for post or page. In this case it means we’re linking to page 123. But both humans and search engines prefer to see page titles or key phrases in URLs.
Surely you agree this URL is more memorable and therefore better overall.
Fortunately, URLs like this are easy to achieve by configuring WordPress’ permalink features. By setting your permalink structure as ’postname’ and using the custom structure option, your URLs will automatically be parsed from your titles. A post titled ‘Creating a Website’ would become:
On a post level, permalinks can be changed once you’ve defined the custom structure. Using post titles are fine, but you may also want something shortened like:
As we know from earlier, having the search term you are targeting within your URL is essential.
Titles & Headings – While it is important to have the search term contained in both your title and page heading, they do not have to be exactly the same. The heading is shown on the page, while the title is shown in the search results.
Your title might be “Writing Tips,” while your heading may be “Top 10 Tips to Improve Your Writing.” If you were aiming to rank for “writing tips” this would be an excellent combination of title and heading.
Meta Description – The meta description is content that will be displayed below the title in the search engine result pages. By default, this is the first 255 characters of your content.
The default description is usually satisfactory, but if you have time, you can create more appealing search results by manually crafting a description. The more appealing your meta description, the greater number of people who will click on your page over your competition‘s.
Images – By adding accurate and descriptive alt tags to your images, you increase the likelihood of them being displayed in image searches. Depending on the type of website you run, the image search can be a decent source of traffic.
Duplicate Content – To ensure your visitors can access all your content with ease, WordPress creates a few different types of pages which aggregate your content. Author and category pages are prime examples.
These pages are great for users, but search engines see them as duplicate content (the same content at multiple URLs). And while they won’t penalize you, it can limit your success.
Yoast SEO allows you to add the noindex tag to each of these pages, allowing users to see them, but preventing them from being indexed by search engines. Win, win, win!
Navigate to Yoast SEO Indexation page and check the box to noindex the following pages: search result pages, login, and register pages, admin pages, author pages, category archives, and tag archives.
Users hate slow webpages; so do search engines. The slower your website is, the less likely it is to rank well. The free W3 cache plugin we recommended earlier is a great way to speed up your site with little effort.
If your website was a book, a sitemap would be the index page. Search engines love sitemaps because they reveal every page of your website without the bots having to crawl through and discover them each individually.
Navigate to Yoast SEO XML sitemaps and check the box to activate sitemaps. That’s all there is to it!
Search Engine Optimization is a constantly evolving art and science.
If you’re prepared for the constant shifts and never-ending learning required for the remarkable feat of knowing precisely what your buyers are saying and the questions they’re asking, then building the best solutions as the bridge to find you, you will be able to reap endless streams of free qualified traffic.
Now you know how to build a thriving website. If you already have a loyal customer base, you can work to multiply your profits. If your business is just starting, there’s never been a better time than now.
When you create content on your own domain, it belongs to you forever, as do all the search engine optimized roads you build inside.
Epic Website Setup Posts That No Digital Writer Should Miss:
Natural Link Building 101 - Kristi Hines
Essential SEO Settings for Every New WordPress Blog - Karol K
5 Steps to Getting More Targeted Website Traffic with SEO Copywriting - Neil Patel
2012 Guide to Google Tools – Analytics Integration, +1 Metrics, and More - KISS Metrics
9 Crucial Google Analytics Setup Tips for Your Business Website You Can’t Afford to Overlook – QWOD Tech
A Note From Outstanding Setup
Would you like a professional website, built from scratch and ready for profit in less than 48 hours?
outstandingSETUP builds beautiful, premium websites on the powerful WordPress platform. We start with your choice of theme, then host and support your professional website so it can be an outstanding success (just hours after your order.)
We do ALL the hard work. You get the fun and easy decisions:
1) Domain Name – Make it easy for your target to find you with a relevant, memorable domain.
2) Theme – Search through our easy-to-navigate gallery of outstanding themes, then choose the one you love.
3) Package – Choose one of our great value packages to serve your needs (starting at just $19, including the cost of the website.)
Find out more at outstandingSETUP.
Of course, this EPIC Post would not have been possible without outstandingSETUP, or the awesome book,”The Beginner’s Guide to Building a Powerful Website (Without Wasting Your Money)“.
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Enter your best email address in the box below, absorb the free content once a week, then take action on what you learn. You will be a more successful writer.
Until next week!
I did it. So can you.
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