You chose WordPress for your website so that you have control and access. You’ve chosen a theme, added a few posts and pages, and it’s up and running. Excellent.
WordPress is going to help you succeed, you just know it. You can now add information whenever you want, take it down, change it around, and, of course, sell things. How’s that going?
The hype about ease-of-use for WordPress makes new users – you – expect overnight success from your new websites. If your previous website was doing well, this one will probably do just as well, with the added bonus of being able to do your own updates. If you haven’t had a website before, or if your previous website was unsuccessful, you have some work to do to make this one a winner.
Expecting Excellent Design
Selecting a theme for your website seems pretty easy and many themes are free. Yipee! However, theme selection should be one of the most important steps in making your website successful. Here are some factors to consider.
- Are you doing a blog or a business website that includes a blog? This is the number one choice to make with themes. Business themes have special layouts for their home page while blog themes have a list of posts as the home page. Simple enough to see, right?
- How reliable is the theme seller? Will he/they be around to update the theme when WordPress updates the software? Will he/they be around to answer questions or solve problems that may come up?
- Is the theme simple to set up or complicated with many different layouts and effects? Are you ready to take on the simple or the complicated? Decide which is right for you.
- Does the menu (navigation) bar for the theme allow enough space for the topics you want? Are there too many menus for your topics, and can you take these extra menus out?
- Photos: Is the theme designed with all photos and you’re not a photographer? Not for you. However, no website is going to go anywhere without using photos or pictures. Pages become exhausting with too much text with nothing to attract attention and break up all that reading. Be sure to consider what photos you have or can find for use on your website.
Success with Excellent Writing
Some novice website owners take on the task of doing their own website overlooking the writing needed. Headlines and posts with convincing copy and regular publishing are required for the success of your new website. I have some suggestions for both learning website writing and for keeping up your writing.
- Subscribe to helpful business newsletters and blogs that have writing tips and tutorials (Pushing Social, Copyblogger, Web Ink Now, Blog Tyrant, Successful Blogging)
- Read some excellent books on web writing and selling (Beyond Bricks and Mortar, Content Rules, Unmarketing)
- Don’t rush it. Don’t hard sell. Always include a call-to-action.
This is the guts of your website. Good design is the dressing; good writing makes visitors read and return to your website for more.
Searching for Something?
Most people search the website looking for what they want right now. Will they find your website, and its clever use of keywords from their search? Maybe, provided you’re using just the right keywords in headlines, page titles, photo titles, posts, and pages.
The search engine optimization (SEO) of your website is often a dreaded or feared project. It can be scary because it has so much impact on your success. Chin up! I have excellent tools below.
- The WordPress SEO plugin I like is WordPress SEO by Yoast. It shows you your Google snippet (the exact description below the title) and you have the opportunity to write your own summary and change and reevaluate how your chosen keyword shows up in your post/page.
- Take your SEO to another level with Scribe plugin by Copyblogger (afl). Keyword research, how your post/page keyword usage works and how it applies to your whole website.
- There are also a gazillion SEO tools for online use, either keeping track of your website or for you to use on demand. Check out SEOMoz, Wordtracker, Trellian Keyword Discovery Tool, LinkDex, WooshTraffic.
You did all the work. Now expect success. Today.
Tomorrow’s success? Not without continuous attention to writing, SEO, and keeping it all beautifully presented.
You didn’t think taking on this website – you remember wanting control and access – was going to be quick? easy? nothing to it? WordPress supplies the backbone and the easy operation to allow you to do it. You are the driver and the content provider. Do it well, consistently and following some of the above guidelines, and your success will follow. I promise.
See Erickson Creative’s Website Improvement Plan
If I left something out you’d like to understand in this ongoing process, please comment below or email me. What’s your best tip for those trying to keep up with their websites and WordPress?