Site Status – Part I

It is time for an update on the site status. It has been about two weeks now and I was about to state that I still have no site indexed on Google yet, but that finally changed tonight. One of the pages on the site is indexed, but I can not get much more details out of Google at this point. No structured data is available nor is data about my indexing available that I can see. I thought for sure after fixing a sitemap issue that Google would index my site, but I had a wait a couple of days for Google to look at my site again. Even then though it did not mention indexing a site then. It was only  when I was ready to put this post together I checked one last time – and there it was:

First page indexed!
First page indexed!
Before I get into some items I want to tackle over the next week or so, you may have noticed – I updated my WordPress Header. The header is what WordPress calls the image you see at the top of the website. It may not help Google, but it should make more sense to viewers. It is possible that it could help Google, as Google may hash images and notice that the header is a default image. The process was simple: I went to a stock photo site, entered a couple of keywords, and downloaded the image I liked. I did crop the image and compress it before uploading.
Items might help more of my pages get indexed fix the problem:
  • Move from strt-nw.com/web to strt-nw.com and verify with google. At the very least, this will help me as Google will only give crawl information to the root domain (strt-nw.com). It may help Google, as of right now I have no homepage/index.html at strt-nw.com.
  • Fix redirect issue – Theme caused? If I use the Crawl > Fetch As Google tool I get notified of a 301 Redirect. Resolving should not fix the indexing problem, but it is supposed to help improve your site index.
  • Get some external links to my site – well I thought that might be a key part of the problem, but after tonight Google says I have at least one page indexed. Though it does not make that clear which page. Google is still not reporting structured data and such. At the very least a couple of links should help improve indexing and the rate at which Google looks at the site.
  • Update all Posts to have SEO data properly filled out.
Items to help improve my search index and website:
  • Caches: Using caches will improve page load time, which in turn helps with indexing. People and in turn Google like fast/responsive web pages. Caches basically allow the site to have certain key information stored for quick access, so it does not have to go back to disk each time the resource is requested.
  • Optimize images for web: Generally loss-less photos are larger and dominate the amount of data vs the text of website. So optimizing photos so they are no larger than they need to be and effectively compressed will reduce the amount of data a viewer needs to load to see your page. Less data to load, means faster page loads.
  • Categorize post/change permalinks to use category/post-name. I am not sure how much categorizing will help search engines, but it should help viewers by making it easier to find related articles.
  • Figure out how to use H2 headers in posts. This issue could be a theme issue, but it causes a warning from Yoast SEO. Think of this like using headers in MS Word.
Do sooner, not later:
  • Install some analytics – most likely Google Analytics. See #s/who is visiting the site, and how they interact with the site.

Update the default WordPress look, feel, and theme

The 1-Click WordPress install is pretty amazing in its simplicity, but now all I have is boring white WordPress site. Lets do something about it. Thankfully WordPress makes that super easy.

Updating your default theme is very easy:

  1. Log into your WordPress installation and go to the Dashboard
  2. On the left side bar select Appearance > Themes
  3. Select a theme – Select Live Preview to give you an example of what your site will look like
  4. Make sure you select update or save changes

Now it is time to customize your theme:

  1. Go back to your Dashboard
  2. On the left side bar select Appearance > Customize
  3. Update your header image and/or background color to something less stock
  4. Update your site title and tagline
  5. Make sure you select update or save changes

Updating the Sample Page that gets automatically created is very easy as well:

  1. Go back to the Dashboard
  2. On the left sidebar select Pages
  3. On the Pages page that opens up, select Edit for the page you want to update
  4. Edit the Page name (maybe to About) and update the associated text
  5. Make sure to publish the changes – Upper right hand side – hit the Publish button

Now your WordPress site no longer looks complete stock.

Want another theme – check out:

https://wordpress.org/themes/

First WordPress Site – Start to Post – 1 Hour

After spending time thinking about starting a site, I decided to stop thinking and do. I have had a website before, but I never really used it and would cancel after prolonged inactivity. I decided to start with WordPress on a web hosting service that makes it easy. I wanted to make my first WordPress site.

Steps:

  1. Stop waiting/thinking/researching and do it.
  2. See step one…
  3. Choose Dreamhost/Bluehost/Host Gator – stop there – choose one – look no further. All have great getting started service options. Some have slightly different support for multiple domains, and some come with 1 free domain. I choose Dreamhost due to a deal that included a free domain with a great deal for a year of hosting.
    1. If you want to use Dreamhost you can use the following with PROMO CODE: LT30DEAL:Dreamhost Signup!
  4. If you want Find a deal on one of the hosting options – search for hosting comparisons (Dreamhost vs Bluehost vs Host Gator) most links have discount codes
  5. Sign up/Pay – The hardest part here is choosing a name. Google website name generator or similar.. Just choose one – you will eventually dislike it or spend too much time thinking about it. You can register for a new site domain. Stop wasting time and just pick a name.
  6. Take a second to congratulate yourself – you did the toughest part.
  7. Use the 1 Click WordPress installer on your service. You will have to choose a domain (use the one you just signed up for) an extension like website.com/extend   (Dreamhost: http://wiki.dreamhost.com/WordPress)
  8. You will get an email when WordPress is done installing
  9. While you wait, create an email for your new website. Just google [hosting provider] and email setup. Create a simple contact@your-new-site.com or such. You will want it when you setup WordPress
  10. NOTE: Your website will likely not trickle down to your local DNS for another day. If you don’t know what DNS is – do not worry – it is the big map of the web. The thing that takes lifehacker.com and points it to a real address like 123.168.1.XX
  11. Now the only tricky part: Bypassing the fact your map has not be updated
    1. Use nslookup and the command line – looks like nslookup <name-of-site.com>
    2. Take the IP from nslookup and update your local hosts file:
      1. Take the IP from above and add it to your hosts file using the second half Update your Hosts File
      2. Mac: http://www.tekrevue.com/tip/edit-hosts-file-mac-os-x/ or sudo vim /private/etc/hosts
      3. Linux add a line to /etc/hosts using something like sudo vim /etc/hosts
      4. Windows: Use the link above
      5. NOTE: You are probably like, if I knew how to do that I would not be here. Fair – two options: 1) Wait a day or so until the website comes up when you type it in your browser and you can use the links in the email you got when WordPress finished installing or 2) Google – with the notes I have – there are instructions on these tasks.
  12. Now you should be able to access your new WordPress site – using the setup links sent to you when you were notified.
  13. Setup WordPress – Create a site title, and enter the email you created in a previous step.
  14. Log-in WordPress – Use the dashboard to Edit the Hello World! It will AutoSave.
  15. In the Top Right Corner – Use the Publish box – to find the Update Button. Click it to update your post.

Congrats! You finished creating a WordPress site and a first article. I just hit 1 HR and 15 Minutes. That includes a quick search on web host providers, finding a discount (I used one from Lifehacker.com), wasting time coming up with a domain name, figuring out  the DNS thing, and typing this.