Day 4 - Setting Up Your Website

Discussion in 'Digital Strategy Crash Course' started by Ryuzaki, Oct 30, 2015.

  1. Ryuzaki

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    Ryuzaki 女性以上のお金 Staff Member

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    Although your market research is the foundation and most critical part of this endeavor, that is abstract. It's not what your potential customers will interface with. They need something concrete with words, imagery, and an order form. They need your website.

    Now, @CCarter will be explaining the items that need to appear on your website itself and all of your satellite structures to give off the right feel... the feel of a Mega Brand. But that's in the future days. What I'll be telling you about now is how to set up your infrastructure, the skeletal framework that you'll later flesh out to do your bidding.

    Assumptions
    Today's guide operates under the assumption that you are completely new to the topic. To do otherwise would sabotage all further days for those that need it the most. If you fear the contents of this day are too basic for you, skim it anyways. You may learn of some interesting techniques, plugins, or insights that bolster your creativity and send you off on a personal adventure that leads to a revolution in the way you set up your own sites.​

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    Overview
    Here is the very basic flow of how this process works:
    1. A user clicks or types in your domain
    2. Their browser is directed to the nameservers set for the domain at the registrar
    3. The nameservers tell them which IP address to follow
    4. Which points them to a specific server and root folder for the domain
    5. And the homepage or inner page requested is loaded
    This process above begs a few questions of the novice, such as:
    • How do I own a domain?
    • What's a registrar?
    • What are nameservers and how do you set them?
    • What's an IP address and how do I get one?
    • How do I use a server and create a root folder?
    It sounds complicated perhaps because you're not familiar with the terminology, but all in all it's a simple set up, and that's what I'm here to walk you through today.

    Domains & Registars
    I'm not going to bother to explain what a domain is, because anyone connected to the internet should get the idea. I will state for those who haven't connected the dots due to the jargon that a domain is the URL, its the web address, it's the "location" of a website on the internet, such as BuilderSociety.com. That is a domain.

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    The question was how do you own one? And that's best answered by answering the second question which was "What's a registrar?" Simply put, a registrar is a business with which you register or obtain a registration for a domain name. There are tons out there who all have permission or are sub-companies of others who have permission to legally license out domains names.

    For instance, our preferred registrar is Namecheap, largely because they don't play games when year two rolls around. Lots of companies, such as GoDaddy, will extort the daylight out of you when it's time to add a year or obtain WhoIs privacy. Namecheap did, however, just roll out a new dashboard that rustled my jimmies, but they are still the guys I go to for my domains.

    Make a choice, it doesn't matter too much, because after a brief lock-in period, you can transfer your domain out to any other registrar you like. My recommendation, for your sanity, is to choose one and keep all of your domains with them. Having them scattered across registrars is a great way to goof up and lose them, even with a good Excel sheet.

    Pro-Tip: Instead of enabling auto-renewal, just go ahead and buy several years in advance, if not 5 or 10. Don't do this for your first site ever. You can always add years later if you know you're going to keep a site for the long-haul. The positives of doing this is that it sends a trust signal to search engines that you're serious (they can read the WhoIs profile and see the length of registration), and it keeps you from letting it expire by accident. It's a simple mistake that can ruin you. There are no negatives except wasting $100 on a site you don't continue working on for the length of the registration. That's a small price to pay for security.
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    NameServers, IP's, & Servers
    At this point in the game, you'll be absolutely fine with a shared server. A server is a computer that stores your website files and "serves" them to your visitors. You don't need to physically own one. I have before. They're huge, incredibly noisy due to the fan, and generate a ton of heat. And they run up your electricity bill. Just rent one.

    You're going to be renting a shared server from a trusted company. At the shared level, there are thousands of companies vying for your business and most of them suck, close down, delete your files, and say "oh well, bro, should have taken a backup." Rent from someone who's been in the game for forever and has a great rep, such as ASmallOrange or Hostgator. Hostgator used to be the best ever, but the owner sold to EIG and went to live on an island paradise. Now they are tad slower with lower uptime, but they are still high quality. I used ASmallOrange within their first couple of years in business and they've only gotten better since then. That was over a decade ago. Either of those will make you happy.

    A shared server means your site or sites aren't the only ones on there. There's a ton of other people with their sites on there sharing the server's resources. Not a big deal until you're getting a ton of traffic.

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    Your hosting company that you're renting the server from will have an IP address dedicated to that server and will have set up nameservers for it. So you might see nameservers such as:
    • ns823.hostgator.com
    • ns824.hostgator.com
    You'll get two sequential numbers up front, one is for redundancy (that's not the whole story but don't worry about it). Later you can learn to create your own nameservers. @The Engineer has done so for BuSo:
    • ns1.buildersociety.com
    • ns2.buildersociety.com
    These point to the IP address associated with the server. On a shared server you'll be sharing the IP address with others as well. That's all fine and dandy for now, possibly for forever depending on the size of your operation.

    Types of Hosting
    Just to tell you, because you'll encounter it as you study, there are two other types of hosting you can rent, all based on how the server is partitioned. A shared server keeps renting more space until they see that the average resource usage has hit a point where it'll start experiencing too many problems during peak hours. Which means you'll definitely experience problems if a site on the server gets a spike in traffic.

    A virtual private server is similar to a shared server in that there is more than one webmaster sharing the resources. However, with a VPS you are guaranteed a certain portion of the resources for yourself. Even if you aren't using them at 2AM in the morning they are still there for you and you only. It's having a portion of the server for your own private needs at all times with no balancing of the resources. This is the highest step most of us will ever need.

    You may get in a situation where it makes less sense to keep upgrading the resources on your VPS. It might make more sense just to have the security of knowing that your site is always up and ready for a sale at any time even during traffic explosions, or maybe you're constantly running with 500,000 live visitors at all times. In these cases, you may consider a dedicated server, which is exactly what it sounds like. It's all yours, baby. All resources at all times.

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    Getting It Done
    Now you understand the goal. It's time to make it happen.

    It's going to be impossible to catalog every minor step, especially since there will be any number of combinations of hosts and registrars a reader might be using. But I am going to show some basics, because the last thing I want anyone stuck with is a "one-click install" that doesn't ask you questions like what to call your database, etc.

    Assumptions:
    • You chose a registrar and bought a domain
    • You chose a host and picked up a shared server
    • Your host is providing you with cPanel
    • You're going to install Wordpress
    When you bought a domain, hopefully you paid no more than $9.99 per year for it. When you picked up shared hosting, hopefully you found one with unlimited bandwidth at unlimited domains for less than $9.99 a month. Any host worth their weight is going to provide you with cPanel. And it's assumed and probably the best idea for anyone new to go for Wordpress as their content management system (CMS).

    The Host's Email
    Your host will have sent you an email when you signed up that will include a link to your cPanel and a username and password. Keep those handy! This email will also tell you what your nameservers are for the server.

    Other Ways to find your cPanel & Nameservers
    If you can't find the email, you can probably log into your dashboard at the host and find a link to your cPanel in there. Once you've logged into cPanel, you can usually find your nameservers listed in the left hand sidebar. You might have to click a "Show More" style link, but it'll be there, like in the picture below:

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    Copy and paste those nameservers into a text file somewhere, or start creating a "Master file" that has all of your information in one, organized place. You'll refer to this information frequently enough to need it together.

    Back to the Registrar
    With your nameservers in hand, head back to your registrar. Go into your dashboard and find where you can select your new domain and edit its settings. Within those settings will be an option to set your nameservers. It will at least have two fields, possibly four or five. Just fill in the top two with your nameservers. The rest are for advanced things you don't need to worry about, like routing mail servers and firewalls, etc.

    Now, every registrar will tell you to allow 48 hours for your nameservers to propagate across the globe. I've never seen it take more than 2 hours, and 99% of the time it's about 15 minutes or less. The problem is, if it takes longer than that, nobody is going to help you until 48 hours is up, even if you know there's an issue. So make sure you paste those values in there correctly and then if it doesn't work, lie and say it's been 48 hours. Something will need to be re-synced on their end, etc., but don't wait 48 hours.

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    Preparing to Install Wordpress
    Here's the two things you need to know. Pay attention because if you forget these things, you're going to be banging your head against the wall in confusion.

    1) There is Wordpress.COM and Wordpress.ORG. You want Wordpress.org. The Dot Com is a web 2.0 solution while the Dot Org is a self-hosted solution where you can do whatever you want with no limitations.

    2) A self-hosted Wordpress site requires a MySQL database along with hosting the files. We will set this up in cPanel and then when you run the Wordpress install, it'll create the tables within the database.​

    That's it. So head over to Wordpress.org and download the newest version of Wordpress and toss it on your desktop, because you're going to need to mess with it. We're not going to use an FTP client, so you'll need to re-package the file.

    Repackage the Zip File
    When you download the official Wordpress release, you'll end up with a file named something like: wordpress-4.3.1.zip. Now, when you unzip it, you're going to find the wordpress installation package, but it's inside of another folder called 'wordpress'. That's annoying.

    The problem with that is when you upload it to your server, you're going to unpackage it right then and there. And then all of the contents will end up in A instead of B:

    A) root > wordpress > contents
    B) root > contents

    You want the contents inside the root of your website unless you plan to browse to YourDomain.com/wordpress/ to access your new site. Now, if you wanted to install a blog on a static site, this might be great. You could slap it on StaticSite.net/blog/ and be a happy camper. But we're building a new site at the root.

    So the options are to move all of the files inside cPanel after unzipping it or just set it up right before uploading it. I prefer the second option.

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    Notice that I'm within the folder 'wordpress' re-zipping all of its contents so that they are NOT within a folder. This will leave me with a new zip file called Archive.zip (on a Mac anyways) that I can upload and unzip so that all of the files land right in the root instead of the subfolder 'wordpress'.

    Uploading and Unzipping the File
    Head to cPanel and find the section called 'Files' that looks like this:

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    Within those options, open File Manager.

    This lets you peer within the actual file structure of your portion of the server. Open it up to the root, which is called public_HTML/www or Web Root. There are other areas but the web root is where files have to exist to be accessible to anyone other than yourself (aka your users).

    Upload your new zip file to this root and then Unpackage / Extract / Unzip it. It's probably called 'extract' here. Once all of the files are out of the zip and sitting there individually in the web root, you can delete the zip file if you'd like. Some people let trash lay around in their server. I'm pretty compulsive about keeping it clean and organized because my sites end up becoming large and complex. I need to know what is what.

    Creating a MySQL Database & User
    Before you can run this installation that you just dropped into the root of your server, you need to make sure it has a MySQL database to build all of your sites contents inside.

    Go back to cPanel and find the area that is called 'Databases':

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    Click MySQL Databases.

    There are three steps you need to complete here:
    1. Create the new database
    2. Create the new user
    3. Assign the user to the database with all permissions
    That's your goal here. It happens in that order and is self-explanatory. Don't name the user with the same name as the database. Keep track of the database name, user name, and user password in your master file. You will need them when we start the installation.

    Complete The Installation!
    Okay. Any nuances you might have encountered have been covered above. All you need to do now, assuming your nameservers have propagated, is browse to your new domain! If all goes well, you should see the Wordpress installation screen. Go through it and give it the information you saved in your master file.

    Once you've succeeded there, you'll be prompted to create a user name and password for your Wordpress site. You'll use this every time you login, so go ahead and make it secure and add it to your master file. Don't do anything stupid because Wordpress is the CMS that bots are constantly trying to hack. No dictionary words. The longer the better. Something based on a word you can remember would be nice. Such as the word remember: r3mEmburr1981! Now I'll never forget what year I was born in (no, that's not my year).


    Setting Up Wordpress the Right Way
    Again, there's no need to show you every one of the settings in Wordpress and there's no way you're going to get me to write about something that inane when you can go read the documentation. What I'm going to do is give you the heads up on some specific settings and plugins that'll help you out in a big way that don't require coding or technical knowledge.

    Settings
    There are some settings that are going to be your best friends and some that will be your worst nightmares. Let me show you...

    • Search Engine Visibility

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    If you need an explanation for what this box does, you should never click it. It tells search engines to NOT INDEX your site. Imagine sitting on a $400 dollar a day site and that gets clicked. It's happened more times than anyone can count. And it doesn't get noticed until it's too late. The only time to click that is if you're using Wordpress on a LIVE staging environment for a site that's live elsewhere. If it's a site you're building, I'd still let Google index it even as I worked on it. Aging in the index is great.

    • Permalinks

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    It's up to you how you ultimately structure your URLs but at least use the Post name option if not the Custom Structure. Follow my lead there or learn what some of the possibilities are here.

    Heads up, Wordpress always adds a "base" to your URL structure and it's annoying. It's a useless word they slap in there for no reason. It used to be 'category' but now they at least let you choose what it says. I'll show you two ways to get rid of it altogether below in the plugins part of this discussion just below...

    Plugins
    I'm not a fan of plugins at all, as you've seen from my page speed rantings, and will see in a future day of this guide. The developers usually don't care about page speed, or SEO. And they have to accommodate every site possible so the plugins are typically bloated. If they call resources, they are external or can't be easily combined with the rest of your resources during optimization.

    I always write my own plugins and functions, HOWEVER, there are a few that are so good and so huge that it'd be dumb to reinvent the wheel. The developers know what they are doing and keep them updated. Here's a selection I suggest you use... and to top it off, they are all free!

    • Contact Form 7

    This is an easy off-the-shelf contact form that's updated constantly. The reason it's a winner is that Automattic worked with the developer to let it tie into Akismet, the spam filter. You'll want this if you have a contact form on your site. Grab it here. To make it work with Akismet, you'll have to read the documentation and add the tweak. Don't worry, it's super simple.

    • Akismet

    If you are going to allow blog comments on your site, you'll want this spam filter. The only thing you'll have to do is head here to get an API key. I don't even allow blog comments or user generated content on my sites at all any more unless they are designed for that purpose entirely. If you don't want to deal with Akismet, you could allow Facebook comments or Disqus. I'd go with Disqus before Facebook, and prefer neither due to their extreme impact on loading times. I want my users to go discuss my posts elsewhere where they can bring in more traffic, and I direct them to do so.

    • TinyPNG

    If you aren't compressing your images, that's just dumb. Why make your user load 100kb when they can load 40kb. It impacts page speed, CDN bandwidth usage, server stress, and more. Use their web interface for sure but get the free Wordpress plugin, which will automatically compress every image you upload to Wordpress and every version generated by your theme, up to 500 per month. You can get a developer key for more and you'll only pay a fraction of a penny per pop. You'll have to get an API key with this one. It's free. It compresses PNGs and JPEGs losslessly and generally saves 60% per image.

    • Plugin Organizer
    by Jeff Sterup​
    I mention the developer's name because the plugin name is so generic there's probably multiples with the name. Here's the thing with plugins. They are all global, so they impact the loading time of every page. But for instance with Contact Form 7, you're probably only using that on your contact page, but loading it on every one of your other pages. What a waste. This plugin will you let turn plugins on and off globally, and then tell it to only load on specific pages. Search for this one in your Wordpress Dashboard.

    • WP Super Cache

    This is by Automattic, you know the guys that own Wordpress and made Akismet too. This tells your server to do a lot of things, such as stop pulling for your database every single time when it can just store a cached version of the data instead. It will create static versions of pages and objects to save your server stress and deliver the content faster to your users. It also can tie into CDNs easily, which will make your life so much simpler in the future when you start exploring that.

    • Better Wordpress Minify

    I hate to even tell you guys about this one, because it's going to become a giant crutch. Remember how I said plugins will add all kinds of extra dependencies that are hard to combine with your core resources? This does it for you auto-magically. It'll take all of your CSS sheets, combine them, maintain the order, minify them, and spit it back out as one file. Same with your JS files. It'll save you a ton of HTTP requests and loading time. However, don't let this make you think it's okay to have a million plugins. It won't combine external resources from off of your site, and it shouldn't stop you from learning how to do this task yourself. But as a newbie or non-developer, definitely use it.

    • UpdraftPlus

    If you're trusting your host to back up your site, or if you aren't doing it, you're an idiot. You could lose it all in a heart beat. This plugin will at minimal back up all of your files within the Wordpress folders and take a copy of your database. You can set up the frequency of these back ups as well. In addition, you can pay for add-ons that will back up files not in the Wordpress folders, among other things. Have it place copies in your Dropbox or Amazon AWS. It'll delete the old ones and keep the new ones. This is non-negotiable. Do it.

    • Yoast Wordpress SEO

    The mother of all plugins. Everyone should be using this if their goal is to make money online. Beyond just helping you keep track of which keywords you're going for and how well optimized you are for them, it helps you set up your Schema Markup and Twitter Cards and Open Graph integration and so much more. It will help you no-index certain pages, lets you access your robots.txt and your .htaccess without having to head over to your server, set-up multiple sitemaps, and tons more. More than can be included here. Get this and learn how to use it.

    • Advanced Custom Fields

    This one isn't a must at all, but it opens up an entire world of customization for non-coders. Advanced Custom Fields lets you create meta fields, which is already a part of Wordpress. But what's awesome about it is the permissions based around them so that you can have them only show on certain post types. It also makes it very easy to insert them into your theme's templates. I'm not going to keep talking about it, as it's going to be beyond many readers.

    Let's put it this way. When you're not yet a developer but you're ready to start doing some custom stuff with Wordpress, this is your friend. I still use for the permissions, which allows me to enforce their usage by V.A.'s and content writers, but only appears where necessary.


    Themes & Site Design
    Now for the part that everyone enjoys the most and screws up the worst: choosing a theme!

    Themes
    As a newbie, it's going to be about impossible for you to know how to choose the right theme. All you can base your decision on is what it looks like and all of the flashy features.

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    Warning
    Let me say this... Flashy features generally are not a good thing. The user's don't care and it gets in their way. You don't need a thousand jQuery animations, carousels, and other crap. Designers put this in themes because it catches your eye and gets them a download or a sale. It doesn't help you convert sales or get clicks on ads. It detracts from everything.

    Don't make your decision based on shiny features. Don't make your decision based on a theme having a custom dashboard where you can tweak everything on the planet without knowing how to code or read code. That means there's more and more bloat happening. And later you'll realize the error of your ways and it'll be too late. That generally means Avada, WooThemes, ElegantThemes, and any kind of Framework like Genesis and Thesis are just going to be nightmares for you and any developer you hire to tweak stuff. I know these are the best selling themes and most popular. That's because 99% of people are suckers.

    Design is one of the least important features of your website, believe it or not. Time after time it's been proven that ugly websites tend to make more money that flashy ones. That's because there's less to get wrong, and the webmaster focuses on what matters, which is the placement of elements and the copywriting. That's what makes money.

    That doesn't mean you should build a 1997 looking Geocities style site or go get a Clickbump theme. Don't purposefully make it ugly. All you want is a clean and organized presentation of your content. The rest is going to get in your way.

    Any theme that tries to extend the functionality of Wordpress beyond the functionality of Wordpress is your enemy.​

    With that being said, choose wisely, my child.

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    Site Design
    The first thing you need to do is go look at all of your direct competitors sites. You have one of two options:
    1. Do what they do so you don't break convention and confuse your demographic
    2. Go in the entire opposite direction and change the game
    Sometimes, everyone is doing #1 and they've been copying some idiot who didn't make those decisions based off of money. Everyone did the copy cat routine and everyone is leaving money on the table. You need to THINK. Use your brain and determine if that's the case or not.

    Once you've made that decision, you want to blend it with what Big Brands are doing. Browse the net and emulate them. Be thinking about questions such as:
    • What should my logo look like?
    • Where should I put my logo?
    • What builds trust and authority?
    • Do I display a physical address and where? A phone number?
    • Do I use security seals or show logos of other sites where my own has been featured?
    • Do I use social validation and display my number of followers per channel?
    • Should I push my social pages in my user's faces?
    • Where can I best capture emails and what kind of lead magnet should I use?
    • How can I exploit color theory to my advantage?
    • What kind of stuff should I stuff in my sidebar? Should I have a sidebar?
    Think about everything and write it down. You need a vision that creates a design that drives you to your destination.

    Every single bit of this will depend on your vertical, sub-niche, and your goal. An eCommerce site is going to have different features and goals than an information-based site. An entertainment viral click-bait site has entirely different goals than a one-page sales lander for your product.

    Example
    For instance, my main project has two portions of the site. One is an entertainment blog and the other are informational resources. The entertainment side is designed to capture attention and not let it go. I have a sidebar full of more options for them to drain their brain into. I want them to keep clicking and wracking up more ad impressions and ad clicks for me. The information side has no sidebar and no distractions other than telling them what they want to know and helping them make my preferred decision on what to do or buy that results in me getting a fat commission.

    Otherwise, the design is minimal and clean. There are zero flashy features. I don't even show my logo on the site except the homepage. Think what you will, but less is more. No user cares about anything except what they came for. If you provide it, you get paid.

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    So your goal is to push your ego aside. You're not here to impress the user. They don't know you, won't know you, don't need to see your face most of the time, and won't give you any thought anyways. They are as selfish as me and everyone else when it comes to the net.

    Give me what I want and give it to me right now. The faster you can do that, the higher the quality of the fix you provide, and the less exit-points and distractions you allow, the more money you're going to make.
    That is what you need to keep in mind as you create the visual part of your website. I've said enough to help you choose a theme or narrow it down to 2 or 3 tops.

    In the next day, I am going to take you on a deep dive on competitor research. I'll teach you how to pilfer features and elements from your enemies, I mean "competitors," and how to decide which features to avoid. Get ready to infiltrate your demographic's mind state and the psychology of your competition tomorrow!


    Additional Day 4 Study Materials:
     
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  2. Goldorak

    Goldorak

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    WordPress one click install is not recommended ? You can still manually input your database/user/password during the 1 click install.
     
  3. Ryuzaki

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    Ryuzaki 女性以上のお金 Staff Member

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    It depends on your host and what they offer. I've tried most all of the recognizable hosts when building PBNs. So many of their one-click installs were literally that... "one-click" that I quit looking at them. By "one-click" I mean that you literally did nothing to configure the settings. It made up random stuff and you were ready to rock. But I do realize that some will let you provide settings. If you control your own WHM you can enable certain settings on cPanel as well.

    My opinion is that if you don't know how to do it manually, you should know that first and only then take advantage of shortcuts. If you know how to hunt through your 100 installs and open up the wp-config.php file to find out your database name and password and are willing to do that if you need it, then rock on. Most of the time most of us never touch the database.

    Knowing how to install manually means you know how to enter your hosting cPanel, use an FTP client, navigate through a File Manager, deal with MySQL and PHPMyAdmin, etc. These are things you should be comfortable with. They will come up again and again. Repeated exposure is the key to internalizing these things.
     
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  4. Goldorak

    Goldorak

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    OK point taken. I've been using the same host for years and during their 1 click install (well its more like 3 clicks) you can choose the directory to install WordPress, the database name/user/password and I couple other settings. I thought it was all the same across the hosts but looks like it is not.
    Anyway moving on...
     
  5. dzianis

    dzianis

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    Well, for the sake of truth I'll just say I've never used this plugin on any site that made money. I remember wasting a whole day tweaking this thing years back when I was starting though, ugh... It's probably better now but it's definitely not a "must have". The only SEO-related plugin I'm using just adds meta description to posts/pages, that's it.

    Great guide all in all, I understand it's for starters but tweaking a huge plugin with parts you won't need for years could be a bit too much for a newbie IMO. The whole playing with wordpress is a huge time-sink and a distraction, though unfortunately unavoidable in most cases
     
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  6. Ryuzaki

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    Ryuzaki 女性以上のお金 Staff Member

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    @dzianis, yeah it's a bit of a double edged sword. On one hand, it is the mother of all plugins for newbies, but for the extreme newbie who doesn't quite understand what all the functions are for, it's going to be overwhelming.

    You nailed it. This is why I use it for the most part. I could set up custom meta fields just as easily with no plugin too, but I like the other functionality Yoast brings, including meta titles especially.

    The meta descriptions and internally keeping track of the main keyword I'm targeting are the main appeal. I get a lot of use with being able to access my robots.txt and .htaccess right then and there from the dashboard, as well as setting up no-index for taxonomies I'm not using and deeper pagination.

    I don't personally pay attention to it, but I think for the absolute newbie still learning baseline On-Page SEO, the portion on each post that tells you how well you've optimized is a god-send. There's a point where you transcend it, but I think it's advice is very helpful for at least 90% of SEO's.
     
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  7. learningcurve

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    learningcurve Speak of the Devil... It's the Devil!

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    @Ryuzaki I have a question about permalinks. I always go %postname%, but I see in your pic you have your have categories in front of that. Is that what you use and is there any added benefit to it?
     
  8. Golan

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    Golan

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    It always depends on what you want to get on the site. On a certain project.
    Sometimes you want to keep the url's as simple as possible; than you use only %postname%.
    Sometimes you want to emphasize a site structure, then you add categories or something else.
    Sometimes you have like a news portal which updates frequently; then you most probably need to add month or even a date.
     
    learningcurve likes this.
  9. animalstyle

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    animalstyle

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    @Ryuzaki I've never purchased anything but new domains. I know you can buy past, high metric domains, but I have no knowledge on the subject.

    Can you give some more info/guidance?

    Personally I am building a new brand from the ground up. It will be a money site and I am not here to play around or try to get some slight advantage with some unnecessary risks involved.

    ______

    Sorry to keep throwing these your way @Ryuzaki but I was wondering how you recommend setting up local and live development environments with Wordpress. I have experience setting up and using local development environments and doing a one time transfer to a live environment.

    With my latest project I really want to have a much better system in place where I ALWAYS have the most up to date project version on my local machine and push it to the live server. I see updraftplus has some features to do this, but I was wondering before I dove into that process if you had recommendations.

    Obviously it would be great to have a big shiny update button and boom the test changes are live. I realize that isn't going to be realistic. Can you give some recommendation on best practices here and if there are some plugins (maybe its updraft) that would be wise to use?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2016
  10. Ryuzaki

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    Ryuzaki 女性以上のお金 Staff Member

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    The advantage can be far more than slight with next to zero risk, or it can offer a very minimal advantage with a lot of risk. It really boils down to your ability to pick the domain and it's backlinks apart and see it's history.

    I've personally purchased PR5 domains with crazy amounts of Edu and Gov backlinks among others for $10 at auction plus registration fees, simply because it was deindexed and the prevailing advice is to not mess with domains that aren't indexed. Jokes on them.

    I checked the backlinks from many sources, very few trash links. I tossed the domain in the Wayback Machine and saw that it had a history of perfectly composed content. So what was the problem? A spammer picked it up while it was still indexed and ranking and cloaked the traffic to viagra or something, I can't remember. It wasn't a redirect, but flat out cloaking, which promptly got it deindexed.

    I took it, put a new site up, added it to Webmaster Tools, submitted a reinclusion request with the information from my investigation and what I felt happened, and two days later it was indexed again. Not weeks or months. I've done this more than once.

    The absolutely only thing that would stop me from using a domain I loved would be massive amounts of spam. But if I really liked it, I'd buy it and disavow and get it reindexed, but the effort level there is high. I'd have to really be attached to the name.

    Speaking of attachment, I didn't use this method on my newest site because I wanted to develop my own brand from the ground up, not appropriate a pre-existing name. While that doesn't offer the age and backlinks boost, it makes life real simple when it comes time to capture all of the social accounts, etc. @CCarter mentioned in the Mega Brand post in the course of a way to recapture these using a catch-all email address though.

    My next authority site will likely begin with a used but high powered domain. This time I didn't. There are pros and cons, but the risk can be minimized to almost nothing if you do your due diligence and fix any problems. I'd go as far to say that if you bring a site back from the grave or unpenalize it, that's a great thing because you're receiving Google's stamp of approval that you're in the clear. Of course, that's likely going to give you less leeway with future problems, but if you're going white hat you don't have future problems of your own creation.

    I wouldn't be afraid to go this route, but I wouldn't feel like it's a must either. There's nothing like a clean slate, especially if you want to do testing along the way. You can always play catch up on the organic traffic boosts a used domain will provide, but you can never truly wipe the slate clean. That doesn't mean it's problematic though, just depends on your specific preferences for that project. Like I said, this time I didn't, next time I will. I'm going to win both times regardless.

    I used to develop in a MAMP stack (Mac, Apache, MySQL, PHP) locally, but honestly I just got sick of doing database search and replaces and other small peculiarities. If I'm designing a flat file site, I'll definitely start locally using all relative file paths and then upload it at the end. If it's for something with a database, I just develop it "live" now on a staging server.

    What I'll do these days is go ahead and buy my domain, set up the CMS, and then set it to no-index, no-crawl for everyone but myself. I've gone as far as to block all IP's but my own because some spiders don't respect the rules. That's usually not necessary, as Google tends to listen to these directives, and they are all I care about in this step. Then I'll design the site, get my base content in, etc., and just make it go live by undoing the robots and htaccess directives. This is how I work with Wordpress specifically on new sites.

    On live, growing sites that require updates, I do two things. I chunk the updates I'm making into pieces and do the easiest of them live where I know I won't make mistakes or that they can be reverted with a couple of mouse clicks. For bigger updates, I'll set up another staging server, which is just a duplicate of the main site on a different server I use for it. You could even do it on your main domain on the same server, like brand-domain.com/staging-server and just block all access but your own. Again, I used to do this locally but I get no benefit from that these days because I'm dealing almost entirely in front-end development.

    When I'm done changing files, I'll either keep track of the changes in a notepad file and implement them live, or I'll just import the newest version of the files and replace them on the main version of the site.

    You specifically mentioned local development. You can use Git for versioning and push the newest version live quickly. Notice I'm not talking about Github, which isn't local. What you are asking for is very realistic and possible, although I think you'll have to introduce an extra step of using database exports and do versioning with them and then reimport. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong but I don't know of a one-button solution for non-flat-text databases. That's getting too back-end for me.
     
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  11. animalstyle

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    animalstyle

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    Amazing reply and answers all my questions. I believe with my latest project that I'll start with a fresh domain for the brand.

    The staging info also makes sense. I am going to do the design, setup and testing locally, then push live, limit access and begin the content work.

    As always thank you very much.
     
  12. Nat

    Nat

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    I think I may have missed the 2 ways of removing them altogether? I know Yoast can do this, and I've got it set up. I re-read the post and didn't see of another.
    Everything worked well until I started trying to add a custom post type and taxonomy. I've used WP a lot, but I've never used custom post types or custom taxonomies. But, it makes sense to use them for a project of mine in combination with ACF. So, I created both, and WP wanted to add a base to them as well which I really didn't want. Yoast doesn't have an option to strip category/tag base from custom types (I don't think). So I've been trying to do it myself. As soon as I get one type of post/taxonomy to work, other stuff breaks. So many 404 errors. Do you have any suggestions for optimizing custom post types and taxonomies?
    Right now I've had success using register_taxonomy('name',array('post') with 'rewrite' => array( 'slug' => '/' ). (and been using flush_rewrite_rules() after changes) But, then other things like the regular blog page breaks. Or, the custom taxonomy base breaks. Its been such a pain that I'm about to stop stripping anything from custom types/taxonomies altogether and just accept that some urls are going to be ugly.
     
  13. Ryuzaki

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    Ryuzaki 女性以上のお金 Staff Member

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    I likely lost my train of thought while writing the post and didn't share them. I apologize for that. In the past few versions of Wordpress, you don't need a plugin or custom function to remove the category base.

    In the Dashboard under Settings > Permalinks > Common Settings you can choose whatever you'd like. Below that is "Options" which allows you to choose to use a category base or not. You can also set a tag base. You can leave both blank if you wish to not use them, which I do.

    For instance, on one of my sites I have categories and sub-categories. I use the Custom Structure and have set up:

    Code:
    hxxp://brand.com/%category%/%postname%/
    This leaves out the category base and includes the category name and sub-category. Then I use Yoast to implement a specific %postname%.

    So if I have a post where I've chosen the slug to be how-to-dunk that is posted in the Sports category in the sub-cat Basketball, that would result in a URL of:

    Code:
    hxxp://brand.com/sports/basketball/how-to-dunk/
    In regards to custom taxonomies, I believe this set-up should take care of the category base for those as well.
     
    Steve Brownlie likes this.