Getting your first Website on Google – Or At least Indexed

So you have a website and you got WordPress setup and installed, but Google has not yet decided you are are cool enough to add you to the search results… How do you fix that? If you just wait… eventually if you wait long enough, make a couple of posts that people see, and link to – Google will find you. But there is no fun in that, so lets jump start the process.

I know you have already tried searching on google, and may have even tried site:strt-nw.com just to be sure.  As of writing this post – no dice, so lets try something.

Create a sitemap(.xml) – i.e create a map for Google:

You are creating a map of your website that search engines use when finding and indexing your website. You can also use it to submit to google.

  1. Login to your WordPress site and pull up your Dashboard
  2. Click on the Plugins on the left hand side menu
  3. Click on the Add New at the top right hand corner of the page
  4. Search for Google XML Sitemap
  5. Click install
  6. Activate the plugin – it will automatically create a sitemap.xml file for you
  7. NOTE: You can check it out – so if your WordPress is installed at strt-nw.com/web/, your sitemap.xml will be at strt-nw.com/web/sitemap.xml

Add your website to Google & Verify you own your website for Google:

Google believes you have a website you want indexed, but it just wants to make sure you own or have proper permissions for the website.

  1. Go to: https://www.google.com/webmasters
  2. Sign in/Re-sign
  3. Click add Property – enter your website: strt-nw.com/web in this case
  4. Google will give you a verification file to upload to your website – download it. Note you probably want to right click on the link so your browser does not try to just open it because it is an .html file.
  5. Upload it to your website -using FTP
    1. You dont have an FTP client on your computer – get FileZilla or WinSCP
    2. Grab your FTP information in the email your web hosting company probably sent to you (dreamhost sent you an email with a password – which you have hopefully changed at this point)
    3. Use the client to connect your website. Logging on will put you in a user directory. Your website is probably in a folder with the name of the website. For me that is strt-nw.com, I then have to go to the web subfolder.
    4. Drag and drop the verification file using the FTP client
  6. Confirm you have uploaded the verificaiton file – google will confirm you did it correctly.

Add your sitemap to Google:

This step is somewhat optional as Google should find it, but it should help jump start the process. Google also lets you test your sitemap to check for errors.

  1. On your landing page at https://www.google.com/webmasters, click on your one and only site listed
  2. Click the submit
  3. Enter your sitemap.xml file location. It should already have your site filled in. So google gave me strt-nw.com/web/, I added sitemap.xml
  4. Ensure you get confirmation on the upload

If you care to follow the other instructions google sends you a message about, go ahead. Now you can take a step back and get to creating content. In a couple of days you should be indexed by Google. Be patient.

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.