d
c

SEVEN STEPS TO LAUNCHING YOUR WEBSITE

This is the seven-step process to launching your WordPress website successfully into cyberspace that under girds all the web-design packages we offer. Some of the information may be old news to you, but we ask you to work through it, extracting the many insights offered. Do it properly, and you’ll dodge the minefields that sabotage so many.

This tutorial is best viewed on a desktop or tablet.

Nota Bene: If you’re new to setting up a website, please read through Step 1 carefully. It is the longest of the seven steps to read, but it will introduce you to the geek-speak that’s important to grasp.

Step 1

Procuring a Domain Name and Webhost

If you already have a domain name and a webhost that runs the WordPress platform, you’re a head of the game. Still, peruse this section as it may contain information helpful to you.

To start a website you need three components:

1. A domain name. e.g. www.yoursite.com

A domain name can cost anywhere from $15 and up, and is typically renewed annually. (A domain name ending in .com.au is renewed every second year according to Australian regulations.)

2. A web host.

Shared webhosting can cost as little as $4 per month when signing a 12-36 month contract. The full amount is payable upfront. (Shared webhosting does have some limitations, and other options exist but they are significantly more expensive. See What is Shared Hosting? in the right-hand sidebar.)

3. A website platform (the software to build and manage your site).

WordPress is one of the best website Content Management Systems (CMS) available and most webhosts offer this website platform.

While a domain name can be registered by itself, it can also be procured through a webhost. This makes the process more efficient and in most cases, cheaper too. Many webhosts, including the host we recommend below, offer the first-year registration of the domain name free as part of the webhosting package.

Low-cost shared hosting is a valid option if you’re…

  • looking for a low-priced option,
  • hoping for focused traffic to your site,
  • and not planning on spending hours a day on your website (once it’s setup).

A number of low-cost shared hosts are available. According to WhoIsHostingThis, who collate thousands of user reviews, Siteground are currently the most recommended webhost scoring highest among reviewers. For this reason, we recommend Siteground as a webhost.

We suggest selecting Siteground’s GrowBig package and they offer a 12-month contract, so you’re not locked down for 24 or 36 months as other hosts require. If you want to kick-off with the StartUp package, you can upgrade if necessary down the road.

If you already have a domain name but your webhost does not offer WordPress, you can transfer your domain to a new host and this is usually free as part of the sign-up deal.

We recommend that you also sign-up for any Backup and Security services they offer in addition to the hosting plan itself. You can’t go wrong paying for extra backup and security. (While the first-year payment for these extras are included in the upfront amount, you’ll be billed annually for these extras thereafter.)

If you create a generic top-level domain (gTLD) like .com, we recommend also purchasing Domain Privacy, which “hides” your personal details under that of your host’s. If you’re creating a country code top-level domain (ccTLD) like .com.au, you are not able to do this—according to Australian regulations.

In the process of signing up with a webhost, you’ll be required to create your domain name. So, how do you choose a domain name? Please see this article, Choosing a Domain Name for Your Website, for how to get this crucial first step right.

Just want to get going? Click here:

Web Hosting

See here if you’d like assistance with how to register with Siteground (including helpful screenshots).

What is Shared Hosting?

Shared hosting means exactly what it says, your website shares space with other websites on your webhost’s server and therefore you need to play nice. If you overuse shared resources in a given period of time, you risk your site being throttled or disabled (usually without warning). While this can be sorted out relatively quickly (by opening a ticket via Support), it means your website will be down or terribly slow for a period of time, which is not good for business or SEO.

In the competitive industry that is shared hosting, it is now common for webhosts to advertise “unlimited everything” (unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, etc.). This is misleading to say the least. They’ll typically have a disclaimer that states something like, “see our definition of unlimited.” Yes, apparently, there are alternate definitions to unlimited; it does not in fact mean “without limits.” Go figure.

There are at least three alternatives to shared hosting: VPS, Cloud and Dedicated hosting. If you’re hoping to build a massive following around your site content, plan on spending significant time on it, and expect myriad daily traffic, shared hosting is not the way to go. Procuring VPS, Cloud or Dedicated hosting is more expensive, but far more reliable. You’ll need to shop around to find hosting that suits your specific needs but WhoIsHostingThis is a great place to start comparing.

Step 1, done! Step 2 is a breeze. Promise.

Step 2

Installing the WordPress Platform

Most webhosts offer an easy process to installing the WordPress platform. And in doing so, out of the box, your installation will come with WordPress’s latest basic theme. At this point, it’s little more than a shell, and building the structure of the site comes next (Step 3).

As part of the service we offer, we do the installation process for you. (Sometimes, there are a few input fields that might be confusing). To do so, you’ll need to grant us temporary access to your webhost’s dashboard and cPanel. This will enable us to install the WordPress software

We recommend that you initially use the auto-generated username and password the webhost supplies. Once we have finished with your site, you can change the password.

Please Note:

For the Standard package, we build your WordPress site under the login name “admin” using the same auto-generated password you received from your webhost.

For the Classic and Premium packages, we build your WordPress site under the login name “admin,” but maintain our own password until the full payment is made upon completion of the website. We will create a username for you with the auto-generated password from your webhost. Thus, you can have immediate access to the site and watch the progress we make. Upon completion and full payment, we delete our user status from your site entirely.

 

Done. Seriously?

Yep, Step 2 is behind you.

Why WordPress?

WordPress is one of the most popular website Content Management Systems (CMS) in the world, and it comes in two distinct forms, both of which serve different purposes. See this article for the difference between WordPress.COM and WordPress.ORG.

If you’re serious about SEO and want a uniquely customised website, WordPress.ORG is the way to go.

Told you Step 2 was going to be breezy. Step 3 isn’t too bad either.

Step 3

Building Your Site’s Structure

Building the site’s structure is crucial for good onsite optimisation and must be done right from the get-go. This includes uploading your theme, configuring the site’s basic settings, installing essential plugins, and creating pages and menu tabs around important keywords that ensure SEO-strong permalinks for each page and a good internal linking structure throughout the site. While we will do all this for you, we do need you to answer a few questions so that we can build the site around the keywords you feel reflect your core business. (Only in the Premium Package do we do the time-consuming task of keyword research and analysis of your industry.)

There are just six questions we need you to answer before we can start building your site.

1. What is the full name of your business?

2. What is the motto or tagline of your business (if you have one)?

3. What is the primary focus of the business, the “main thing” you do?

This is what we call your Primary Keyword Cradle. Eg. Family Photography or Wedding Photography. Try keep it to one thing, at the most two, such as Newborn & Newborn Photography.

4. What are the secondary focus areas of the business, the products or services you offer?

This is what we call your Secondary Keyword Phrases. Eg. Baby Photography or Cake Smash or Photography Albums.

5. What are the social media platforms you use? (Please add your URLs.)

Please copy paste the entire URL. Eg. https://www.facebook.com/yourname

6. What is your target audience in terms of geography (suburbs, city, country, etc.) and demographics (if applicable)?

7. What are the search terms you think potential clients use when looking for your business?

You can pop that information on an email and send it to craig@seowebdesigns.com.au.

You’re done? Awesome!

We’ll be able to start building your site’s structure with this information. We may contact you to clarify one or two things along the way.

  • Question 3 pokes at what we call your Primary Keyword Cradle, the keyword phrase that defines the primary purpose of your business. Think of it this way. How would you answer someone if they asked you what you do for a living? “I’m a newborn photographer” or “I’m a family photographer.” Adding in your specific location would give you a good three-termed keyword phrase: eg. Sydney Family Photographer. This phrase should feature prominently in the content on your Home page.

    Question 4 digs at your secondary focuses and could refer to other services you offer or products you provide. Think of it this way. If you continued in the conversation above, you might also add, “I also do baby and maternity photography, and cake smash, too.” Generally speaking, these secondary areas require a page on your website to themselves. And they should feature a related keyword phrase: eg. Brisbane Maternity Photography. We call these your Secondary Keyword Phrases.

You’re all over this! Okay, let’s look at fleshing out your site with keyword-rich content.

Step 4

Creating Your Site’s Content

(This information relates to those who have purchased the Standard Package. If you’ve purchased one of the other packages, please toggle the button in the right sidebar entitled Different Packages, Different Content Help? for more information.)

While we’re building the structure of your site based on the questions in Step 3, you will need to create content for the following pages on your site:

  1. Your Home page (or landing page) that aligns with your business’s primary focus (see Question 3 above).
  2. All secondary pages that align with the services or products you offer (see Question 4 above).
  3. An About page that introduces you and outlines your passions, your experience, etc. And I suggest you prepare a picture of yourself to add a personal touch.

In creating this content, please observe the following guidelines:

  • Every page needs at least 300 words of content (or search engines don’t bother indexing them). You don’t need to be a wordsmith, but you do need to represent yourself and describe the services you offer in your own flavour.
  • Every page needs to be crafted around a keyword phrase which should appear at least six times per 300 words. (We will tweak your content when adding it to the site to make sure you have enough keywords and that they’re well placed within the content. For your About page, your name should be the keyword phrase.)
  • Write your content in short, clear, punctuated sentences, and avoid bullet points to ensure reader-friendly content. (We cannot be responsible for bad grammar in your content.)
  • Please compose this content in a Word Document. This will help you catch typos, and allow you to check your word count and the number of times you’ve included your keywords. Plus, it will be easy for you to email to us when we’re ready to add the content to your site.

Moving right along, then. Four steps down, just three to go.

Content, Content, Content?

As mentioned elsewhere on this site, (good) content is critical to strong SEO. Search engines cannot see images and they literally feed on content. And while it is true that your images should communicate your style and quality as an artist or photographer, good content is just as important to inform visitors to your site and attract the attention of search engines. Don’t think either/or, but think both/and.

  • In the Standard Package, you’ll create your own content and we’ll add your content to the website “as is.” We will insert carefully placed hyperlinks on each page to ensure good internal linking within your site (aiding site visitors and pleasing search engines). Simply follow the four guidelines to your left in creating your content.

    In the Classic Package, you’ll draft your own content and we’ll edit it to ensure your content is as SEO-wise as possible. (Yes, you’ll have the final say on it.) We will also insert carefully placed hyperlinks on each page to ensure good internal linking within your site (aiding site visitors and pleasing search engines). Simply follow the four guidelines to your left in drafting your content.

    In the Premier & Turbo Packages, we’ll help craft your content based on our keyword research of your industry and work with you to ensure the content reflects your style and personality. (Again, you’ll have the final say on it.) We will also insert carefully placed hyperlinks on each page to ensure good internal linking within your site (aiding site visitors and pleasing search engines). Sit back, relax and wait for our analysis and suggestions before you don on the editor’s hat.

Yep! Hang in there. Just three steps to go…

Step 5

Customising Your Site’s Aesthetics

Once we’ve married your crafted content to the structure of the site and optimised the internal linking structure, you’ll have a strong, fleshed out site. However, it won’t look pretty … yet.

So, to pretty things up real quick, we’re going to look at Fonts, Colour, Images and Widgets. Grab a cup of coffee and let’s get cracking.

Fonts Are Beautiful

Fonts are one of the main ways to personalise your website, but you’ll need to consider a few factors first. Please see this article on Choosing Fonts for Your Website for answers to how many fonts is too many fonts and where to start looking for the right font.

Show Me Some Colour!

For a clean, crisp website that shows off your images, we’ll generally use a white background and black (or dark grey) text. However, you’ll need to decide on the following colours:

Your main theme colour

This is the colour you see in places like the sitename, top-bar, footer and page headings.

Your linked text colour

This is the colour of your linked text. According to SEO best practices, this must be distinct from the main body text (black or dark grey).

Your hover link colour

This is the colour the linked text changes to when a site visitor runs their mouse over the text. Again, this should be a distinct colour. It could be a shade of grey lighter than the linked text colour. (The hover link is typically underlined, too).

You can view various colours at Color Hex Color Codes, an excellent website that has the added benefit of giving you the hex colour code: a six-digit code starting with a hashtag (eg. #5adca8). You’ll need to give us your colours in this hex code.

Image is Everything (Or Just About)

Beautifying your site depends largely on the images you use to adorn it. And customising images is crucial to good SEO. Why? Didn’t you say search engines cannot see images?

Images are often one of the main reasons a website’s pages open so slowly. If your page-loading speed is worse than four seconds, not only are you losing impatient visitors, Google doesn’t like your “heavy” images either.

So, how do you shed the “weight” from your images? Please see this article before proceeding.

Image Sizes

A featured image should be no bigger than 400KB. Preferably, aim at 200KB. An in-content image should be no bigger than 200KB; aim for 100KB.

Either use Photoshop to compress your images, or use the magic of TingPNG to do so. Simply drag and drop your image into TinyPNG, and watch your image shed those KBs.

For images already on your site, you can install the TinyPNG plugin. You’ll have to sign up to get a API key which needs to be added in your website’s WordPress dashboard to the Media Settings (Settings → Media). You get 500 free compressions a month, and you don’t have to add your credit cards details unless you’d like to do more than 500 compressions.

Note, you’ve got 500 free compressions, not 500 images. Unless you uncheck the default setting in the Media Settings (and select the Original image only), every time you compress an image, it will compress all four versions. It’s your choice how you want to handle this.

What about DPI? This isn’t necessarily a factor as DPI is technically for printing purposes. However, you can experiment with your DPI settings to find a range you’re happy with.

Finally, after you’ve edited and compressed the image, save it on your computer with a keyword phrase in the image name. For example, naming an image “Wedding Photographer Feature Image” rather than IMG_1735 will have SEO value when we actually add the the image to the site. Optimising an image for SEO is another story best told at a later time, but saving the image with a keyword will do for now.

Was that a little disturbing? We know artists hate to hear that their images may be cropped and they certainly don’t like to hear their images called “fat.” However, the take-away value from all this is simple: Specifically prepare the images you want featured on your website to suit the technology. Don’t just pick your best images, which are customised for client presentation, and expect them to work as a featured image on your website.

Next step? Wait for us to give you the dimensions for your featured images, and make sure the main object of your image—whether this is the bride and groom at their wedding or a newborn baby in your studio—is front and centre.

GETTING YOUR WIDGET ON

Besides images, another way of customising your site’s aesthetics is in using widgets. Yeah, while gadgets are not real things, widgets are.

WordPress.com, which uses the same WordPress software, describes a widget as follow:

A widget is a fancy word for tools or content that you can add, arrange, and remove from the sidebar(s) of your blog. Widgets make it easy to customize the content of your sidebar(s).”

And it offers an excellent tutorial for adding and customising widgets here.

In your WordPress dashboard, select Appearance → Widgets and then drop and drag widgets you fancy into your active sidebar fields. Follow these guidelines:

1. Experiment with widgets before making the site known to others.

When you activate a widget it becomes visible on the front-end of your site. Yes, others can see the results of your experimentation.

2. Preferably use widgets for your blog page and your individual posts. And perhaps some selected secondary pages.

In designing your home page, we may talk to you about the possibility of a few carefully chosen widgets in the footer section of your website. (And this will primarily have to do with links to your social media platforms.) Firstly, we don’t recommend having a sidebar on the home page. It clutters the home page and steals away from the flow of your landing page content. Secondly, widgets often increase page-loading speed. We want your home page to open as quickly as possible to ensure you don’t lose impatient visitors.

3. Remember, less is more.

Widgets are a sure way to make your site appear cluttered. And spammy. Ask yourself: What widgets do I really, REALLY need?

Two more steps. The finish line is in sight….

Step 6

Mastering & Maintaining WordPress

If you’ve made it to this sixth and penultimate step, you’ve officially made it over to the fun side. Your website is “unofficially” ready, and while you tell some of your close friends about it, you can start playing around on your brand new flashy WordPress dashboard.

Yes, Step 6 is a kind of pre-launch. Fish for some feedback from your closest friends while you orient yourself with the functionality on the back-end of your site … before the “official launch.”

You may have already fiddled around, but we recommend that you now give yourself permission to go wild. Okay, not too wild. There’s one rule to observe: don’t press the “publish” button until you’re absolutely sure! At least not until you’ve got the hang of what you’re doing. Work in draft mode and you can freely let your hair down experimenting with pages and posts to your heart’s content.

Check out the following helpful tutorials:

WordPress Pages

WordPress Posts

WordPress Images and Galleries

You can get a feel for uploading images by perusing this link and get an idea of how galleries work. However, we will send you specific instructions about how to set up the Client-Viewing Gallery in the next step.

WordPress Plugins

Although we’ve already installed a number of plugins essential to customising your site and maximising your SEO, you can add more plugins as suits. Just review each plugin well before installing it. Things to look out for? The number of 5-star ratings, the overall rating, the perceived quality of support offered, and the compatibility with your version of WordPress.

WordPress CSS

If you know anything about CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), you can either make customisation edits via the Customiser, or via the CSS Editor we’ve installed through the Jetpack plugin.

Now, there are some sections of your WordPress dashboard that should not be tampered with, as these areas are crucial to the configuration and proper working of your site. In all your playing, please don’t play here:

  • Settings → Permalinks
  • Appearance → Editor

And for Classic and Premier Themes:

  • Ultra → Themify Settings

Of course, you can play where you want … it’s your website and your party. However, if you don’t know geek, we’d recommend that you tread lightly in these sections.

As part of the final step, you’ll receive a Handbook explaining how to maintain your website.

The WordPress Handbook

In the Handbook we’ll cover how to update plugins and the WordPress platform when new versions are available, and much more.

Along with the Handbook, you’ll also get step-by-step instructions on how to set up the Client Viewer gallery.

Difference between Pages and Posts?

WordPress Pages contain static (fixed) content which only becomes directly visible on the front-end of your site when added to a menu. Your home page and secondary pages (all the content visible via your navigational menu tabs) are all Pages. (Incidentally, you can create blind Pages, content that you don’t want visible on the front-end; content accessed by others via the permalink to the page. A private password-protected, client-viewer gallery is an example of this.)

WordPress Posts contain dynamic content that becomes immediately visible through your blog-feed page when published.

Although they both look similar when you’re creating them in the WordPress editor, think of Pages as informational content for your business and site. This content is of a ‘permanent’ nature.

Think of Posts as blogs or topical content you create. This content has a date stamp to it (although you can hide the date or keep it visible). You shouldn’t need to create too many new Pages now that your website’s structure is complete, but Posts are where you’ll really express yourself.

Just a quick tip here.

In creating content, don’t use the H1 header option. For SEO purposes, every page and post must have only one H1 header. By default, WordPress correctly sets your Page/Post Title as the H1 header. Freely use the other headers (especially H2) to break up your content in appropriate paragraphs.

You’ve made it. The final step…

Step 7

Maximising Your SEO Strategy

The moment to scream and shout and tell the whole world about your new website comes when you receive our mission accomplished Work Completed form, outlining all we’ve done to make the site a reality. This is our pledge of a job well done. You can rest assured that everything has been done to create a beautiful website that is geared to maximise SEO.

Along with the WordPress Handbook (mentioned in Step 6), you’ll also get The Complete Guide to DIY SEO to develop your SEO campaign. You’ll be a SEO wizard in no time.

The Complete Guide to DIY SEO

Your website is now built on strong SEO principles. You have a solid foundation. However, SEO isn’t a once off task, but an ongoing strategy. Every good business person understands that marketing is very much part of a successful business, and SEO is the most effective marketing you’ll ever do. Time invested in developing your SEO strategy is time well spent.

With a little abracadabra, you’ll create your own SEO magic.

There are three steps to developing an SEO strategy in the Complete Guide, and through the process you’ve walked through above, you’ve already completed the first step and much of the second. Congratulations!

If you’ve purchased the Standard Package, we bid you bon voyage, and point you to the following pages of the guide, if you want to cheat and skip the ground we’ve already covered:

Become BFF with Google … Page 23

Develop Strong and Diverse Backlinks … Page 26

Craft Regular and Content-rich Blog Posts … Page 31

Don’t fudge on any point. Work at each topic and do it well. Your time will be rewarded. Good luck!

Classic & Premier SEO

Now, if you’ve purchased the Classic and Premier Packages, you’ll also receive the three-guide bundle which covers comprehensive practical steps (including screen shots, etc.) in (1) developing your social media strategy, (2) writing SEO-strong posts and (3) building your site’s authority/popularity through backlinks.

Work through this must-have material and you’ll be the master of your own SEO destiny.

***

Wow, you’re done.

Yes, you’ve completed the seven steps. Bravo!

But … but don’t pat yourself on the back just yet.

Go get Google!