How to Create a WordPress Blog

It is possible to create (start) a WordPress blog even if you’re not techie or geeky. However, know that it can take time if you’re not familiar with how websites work or this is your first time setting up a website or blog.

But it’s ok. Give yourself some time, take a deep breath and have fun with it. If you feel like you need help, our team is here to assist.

I speak from experience. In 2007, I created my first beauty blog without knowing a lot about websites. I created it using a blogging platform called. Blogger.com. Blogger websites are hosted by Google and usually have a xxxx.blogspot.com as a URL (or your website address). Over time, I needed my blogging website to do ‘more’.  Another beauty blogger recommend that I try using the self-hosted version of WordPress. She mentioned that WordPress made it easier to update my layout using a simple style sheet, manage my posts, upload my photos and so much more!

Over time, there have been other website and blogging platforms that have come out, but my favorite has been the self-hosted WordPress installation for my website management and to create websites for other entrepreneurs and small business owners.

How to Create Your WordPress Blog

And now I want to show you how you to create a WordPress blog using a self-hosted platform (such as Siteground.com).

Keep in mind. There is a difference between creating a blog on WordPress.com and using another host company and choosing a WordPress installation. (Click here for a side-by-side comparison from WPBeginner.com)

This post will contain affiliate links. If you click on the links and make a purchase, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

How to create a WordPress blog in 8 Steps (using Siteground.com)

  1. Decide a name for your blog.
  2. Choose your web hosting package
  3. Register a new domain (or blog name such www.myblogname.com)
  4. Install WordPress
  5. Install a WordPress Theme
  6. Setup your WordPress theme (Widgets & Plugins)
  7. Create Content (pages and posts)
  8. Optimize for Search Engines (SEO)

The Techie Stuff

STEP 1: Choose a hosting plan

Siteground offers 3 WordPress Managed hosting plans that have everything to keep your website running fast and secure. You can see a complete comparison of features on the Siteground website.)

  • The StartUp plan is perfect for people with one website that are starting now
  • The GrowBig plan is a great value for money offer, including the option for multiple websites and the SuperCacher that greatly improves website speed. You can also transfer an existing WordPress here for free.
  • The GoGeek plan is perfect for people with e-commerce and larger sites, or more geeky development needs like staging and GIT integration

(You can always upgrade as your business and website visitors grow.  Keep in mind that these are special prices for new accounts. The renewal price will be at the regular-listed price on their website.)

Siteground Managed WP Hosting Plans

STEP 2: Register a new Domain name or attach an existing domain (one you already have somewhere else. We’ll talk about moving it later.)

You can register a new domain name or if you already have a domain with another company (that you want to move later), you do that here. A domain is the name of website’s URL or address. Choosing a name can take time because you want something that is unique to your blog (and that no one else has). Once you decide on the name, then you can click the “Proceed” button. If the domain name isn’t available (because someone else owns it), you will be instructed to choose another name.

Siteground Choose a domain page

STEP 3: Review & Complete your account setup with Siteground.

This is the step where you set up your Siteground account. You will need this information to access the ‘backend or inside’ of your website’s ‘matrix’, create email addresses (such as yourname@yourdomain.com) and monitor your website analytics.

siteground step 3 setup

 

Step 4: Install WordPress

To install WordPress using the SiteGround Wizard, first access your Customer Area. After you signup for our WordPress hosting package you will receive all the necessary information you need to login.

Once you login to your Customer Area for the first time, you will see a pop-up asking you if you want to Start a new website on your account. Select that option and click on the WordPress button.

 

siteground new setup wizard

A new section would appear where you should enter the login information for your new WordPress application. Once you are ready click on the Confirm button.

Next, choose what Enhancements you wish to add to your account – if you want to add any. When you are ready with this step – click on the Complete Setup button. (If you’re not sure what to choose, you can always come back to this later.)

sg startup hosting

That’s it! You can now go to the front page of your site and check out the newly installed WordPress application.

sg final set up

Step 5: Install a WordPress theme

After logging into your WordPress dashboard, you can install one of the many FREE WordPress themes that comes with your website or (you can upload another theme you have purchased from another company).

The first thing you need to do when you want to install a new WordPress theme is to login to your site admin page. Once there, go to Appearance -> Themes.

wordpress dashboard

 

Step 6: Setup theme according to the theme’s instructions.

All themes come with a different set of instructions so that you can have your website looking like the demo. Some themes come with a ‘1 click demo install’ option. If you find that you are in need of assistance setting up your theme, you can reach out to us and we can assist.

The Actually Blog Content (Creating posts and pages)

Step 7: Create content (pages and posts)

Each blog website consists of pages that don’t change much (such as an “ABOUT”, Contact, Services, etc.) and posts that are date sensitive. Your blog posts are centered around your topic of your blog.

  • Creating posts – From the wp-admin panel (inside your WordPress dashboard) go to Posts -> Add New.
  • Creating pages – From the wp-admin panel (inside your WordPress dashboard) go to Pages -> Add New.

Step 8: Optimize for Search Engines (SEO)

Optimizing your website for search involves using words in your posts that your website visitors are likely to search for in relation to your topic.

In conclusion

You have everything you need to start your WordPress blog. If you need help, feel free to reach out to us or your favorite web developer.

If you prefer a video tutorial to walk you thru the steps, the interwebs do not disappoint. Here is a handy (25-minute tutorial).

 

Also, please note: Siteground continues to upgrade their website to make it easier for website owners to manage their websites. Coming soon in 2020, Siteground will be updating the client are and site tools.

Happy blogging!

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Facebook Cover Photo Tips For Hair Stylists

Image is important to your business so therefore your Facebook Fan Page cover photo should represent what your salon is all about.

The cover photo is the first image people usually see when they go to your page either on their desktop, tablet or mobile device.

Despite the every changing world of Facebook, your Facebook fan page can still be a powerful way to tell others about your salon, your services and to schedule appointments with you. Clients that want to brag about your services to their friends will likely share your page with others, either with a direct link or tagging your page.

In this post, I’ll share with you the current (as of January 2020) dimension guidelines of the Facebook Fan Page cover and profile photo along with some inspiration from salons around the world.

Facebook Cover Photo Tips For Hair Stylists

First things first – Facebook’s Size Guidelines (as of 2020)

Knowing what size you should make your cover image is important because you want to share your brilliance.

2020 Facebook Cover Guidelines

Here is an example I created using Canva.com.

Your Page’s profile picture:
  • Displays at 170×170 pixels on your Page on computers, 128×128 pixels on smartphones and 36×36 pixels on most feature phones.
Your Page’s cover photo:
  • Displays at 820 pixels wide by 312 pixels tall on your Page on computers and 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall on smartphones.
  • Must be at least 400 pixels wide and 150 pixels tall.
  • Loads fastest as an sRGB JPG file that’s 851 pixels wide, 315 pixels tall and less than 100 kilobytes.
For profile pictures and cover photos with your logo or text, you may get a better result by using a PNG file.
Keep in mind that your Page’s profile picture will be cropped to a circular shape in ads and posts, but will remain the same square shape when people visit your Page. To preview what your Page’s profile picture will look when cropped, please see a few examples below. (Reference)

4 Easy Ideas for Facebook Fan Page Cover Photos for Hair Stylists

 

1 – Show and tell them who you are.

2020 Facebook Cover-Ideas for salons 1

You can do this with images a short video or slideshow of photos in a carousel. (How to add a slideshow.) The Salons at by JC Penny in Greensboro, NC uses a short video to attract clients and potential stylists to their salon. Remember to write a description for any photo or video that you post. Use words that describe your salon or services.

2 – Showcase a selection of your styles.

2020 Facebook Cover-Ideas for salons 2

In the example below, Travis Bernard Douglas shows three different types of styles that he creates for his clients.

3 – Show the inside of your salon. 

2020 Facebook Cover-Ideas for salons 3

Everyone wants to know what the inside of the salon looks like. B. Coiffure, Blow Dry Bar located in Columbia, SC they show the inside of the salon with a nice ‘hello’ pillow. This is cute and gives you an idea of the mood of their salon.

4 – Show your logo.

This is a simple and easy. That is all.

2020 Facebook Cover Ideas for salons 4

Remember this…

Cover Photos Do’s:

  • Be creative and experiment with images your audience responds well to.
  • After uploading the image, write a description (caption) for the image so that it will more likely come up in Facebook search. Use words that people are more likely to search for regarding your salon (such as the location of your salon and what you offer).

Cover Photos Don’ts:

  • All cover photos are public, which means anyone visiting your Page will be able to see the cover photo. Cover photos can’t be deceptive, misleading, infringe on anyone else’s copyright or be in violation of the Pages Terms.
  • Cover photos may not include images with more than 20% text.
  • You may not encourage people to upload your cover photo to their personal timelines.

Resources to help you create a FAB Facebook Cover Photo

Resources to help you keep your Facebook page FAB

In Conclusion

As you use Facebook to showcase your salon services remember to use images that show what you do, who you are and how you can help your clients. The Facebook cover photo and profile area is a great place to start. Using Facebook as part of your overall branding strategy can be beneficial. Just remember to make it FAB and stick to their guidelines.

4 Easy Ways to Use Your Facebook Cover Photo

The Facebook fan page cover photo is the first image people will see when they go to your page either on their desktop, tablet or mobile device.

2020 Facebook Cover-Ideas for salons 2

So your fan page cover photo could represent what your page is about, who you are and what you sell.

In this post, I’ll share with you four simple ways to get the most out of your Facebook (Fan page) cover photo.

Pin - 4 Easy Ways to Use Your Facebook Cover Photo

The Guidelines For Facebook Cover Photo Images

Dimensions of the Facebook cover photo for Fan pages currently displays at 820 pixels wide by 312 pixels tall on your Page on computers and 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall on smartphones. In the ever-changing world of Facebook, be sure to check out their latest Facebook page guidelines on their website.

Facebook cover photo example created using Canva.com

Facebook cover photo example created using Canva.com

4 Easy Ways to Use Your Facebook Cover Photo

1 – Thank your fans. Revlon thanked their 500,000 Facebook fans.

Revlon Facebook cover Photo - thanking fans

2 – Show your product in action. Mary Kay shows a model’s wearing their makeup and signature lipstick color.

Mary Kay Facebook cover Photo - Side of face

3 – Promote your business tagline.

Nike Facebook cover Photo - logo

4 – Promote your other social media sites. In a previous Facebook cover photo, I used an image of me ‘walking’ to show that I was on the move, and thus the social media badges are below.
Make Me Over EB Facebook cover Photo - social media

Remember this…

Cover Photos Do’s:

  • Be creative and experiment with images your audience responds well to.
  • After uploading the image, write a description (caption) for the image so that it will more likely come up in Facebook search. Use words that people are more likely to search for regarding your business, service or page.

Cover Photos Don’ts:

  • All cover photos are public, which means anyone visiting your Page will be able to see the cover photo. Cover photos can’t be deceptive, misleading, infringe on anyone else’s copyright or be in violation of the Pages Terms.
  • Cover photos may not include images with more than 20% text.
  • You may not encourage people to upload your cover photo to their personal timelines.

Resources to help you create a FAB Facebook Cover Photo

Resources to help you keep your Facebook page looking good

In Conclusion

As you use Facebook to showcase your salon services remember to use images that show what you do, who you are and how you can help your clients. The Facebook cover photo and profile area is a great place to start. Using Facebook as part of your overall branding strategy can be beneficial. Just remember to make it FAB and stick to their guidelines.

How to Increase Traffic to Your Website

You have a beautiful website, but how do you get more people to visit it?

I share a few tips on how you can increase traffic to your website.

For more tips visit, https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/08/14/increase-traffic-to-my-website

Top 10 Secrets to Boost Your SEO

Everyone wants to be number one, especially when it come to search engine rankings. “Ebony, I want to get on the first page of a Google search. Can you do that?”

Well, I’m here to tell you that, yes, it’s possible to appear on the first search page. And, no I can’t promise that it will happen. In fact, anyone that makes that blanket promise to you is probably (ok, most definitely) lying. Or, at the very least, just trying to make a sale.

The truth is, search engine rankings are in constant flux. One month, you beef up your content to be found for a certain keyword and you’re flying high. Unfortunately, your competition notices this, and they start beefing up their ranking, too. The struggle is real.

So, how can you ensure that your content gets seen by search engines and, more importantly, by humans that want to read your content?

No promises here, but I’m going to give you my top 10 secrets to help boost your SEO ranking. Follow these and you’re likely to be in good shape. Maybe not first page “good shape,” but at least you’ll have a fighting chance.

MY SEO Secrets Revealed

1. Use Synonyms
Google is pretty smart. If your website is selling art supplies, there’s no need to repetitively use the phrase “art supplies” over and over again. Actually, this will hurt your ranking. Instead. mix it up, just as you would if you were describing your site to a friend (think: tools for artists, arts and crafts, etc.)

2. Blog and Blog Some More
Having useful content for search engines to crawl is super important. It allows your audience to find you using several different search terms.

Be aware, though, that even if you blog twice per week, it may take up to six months for search
engines to really start favoring you. Regularity is key!

3. Don’t Use Too Many Tags in Your Blog Posts
Most of us use platforms like WordPress, where we can categorize our posts. However, putting your blog posts in too many categories can confuse search engines, and your site will likely get left out of the party.

Streamline your tags/categories and just stick to one per post.

4. Promote on Social
The more traffic your drive to your site using social, the more Google will favor the pages viewers are navigating to.

Think of it this way: Google is a business. What is the goal of any business? Isn’t it to give their customers what they want?

Looking at it like that, the more site traffic you have to a page or to your site, the more Google will realize that you’re giving its customers what they want.

5. Stop Using Canned and Stuffy Keywords
Most of us know that keyword stuffing is long gone. It’s spammy, awkward, and it just doesn’t work.

However, some people still have the mindset of using keywords in a very calculated formula. With more and more voice searches performed every year, though, it’s easy to see why keywords need to take a more relaxed approach. So stop thinking like a computer and start thinking like a human.

That’s all any of us wanted when the whole keyword world began, anyway, right?

6. Link to Reputable Sites
Your reputation is usually only as good as who you hang out with. And that’s true online, too.

Linking to reputable sites (and referencing the site or company name) can go a long way to building your reputation as a reliable business.

7. Improve Your Time on Page Stats
Google uses a tool called “RankBrain.” Basically, it measures the amount of time a user spends on your page.

Let’s say your art supply store ranks number three in a search. If your customers click on the search result for your site and spend several minutes there, it’s likely that Google will bump you up in search engine rankings.

How do you increase the time users spend on your page? You need to create relevant, customer-focused content. Use this customer focus calculator to see how your site ranks.

8. Use Long-Tail Keywords
Examples of short keywords are: “art supplies” or “art tools.” Examples of long-tail keywords include: “art supplies in Charlotte, NC” or “cheap supplies for new artists.”

Using long tail keywords may reduce the number of page visits you get, but it will also boost your ranking for those long-tail keywords, since your content will be more targeted to a specific audience.

9. Make Sure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly
Last year, Google announced its switch to mobile-first indexing. Since 60% of searches are performed on mobile, this change was really inevitable.

Use this tool to make sure your site is mobile-ready. https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

10. Get Yourself on YouTube!
Finally, you’ve probably noticed I’m a little obsessed with creating video content. So, if you’re a little obsessed with watching videos, we’re a perfect match.

In fact, YouTube is now the world’s second-largest search engine. If you’re not maximizing your time on this giant platform, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to boost your search engine rankings.

How to Create Your YouTube Channel 

There you have it! My top 10 secrets for boosting your SEO ranking. Now go forth and rank!

If you found this information useful, please share it.

Thanks!

3 Signs Your Website is a Hot Mess and How to Make it Over

Here are 3 signs that your website is a hot mess and in need of a makeover. I’ll show you three ways to make it over.

Five Things Every Speaker and Life Coach Should Have On Their Website

If you want to promote yourself as a speaker or life coach, you should have a website.

You want a website that quickly tells others who you are, who your services are for, how you help your clients, testimonials and a way to contact you.

In this post, I will share five things you should have on your website if you want to promote yourself as a speaker and life coach.

* Please note, this post will include some examples I’ve used with my clients as well as affiliate links.

1. Video of You Speaking On One of Your Topics

Do you have clips from YouTube, Facebook or Instagram that you can share on your website? Video is a powerful tool to showcase your delivery style and position you as a speaker.

2. A List of Your Core Topics

Include a list of three or five of your core topics you speak about along with descriptions of each one.

In the example below, we created a speaker page for Deanna Bookert, a Public Relations Specialist. The page includes a list of her topics, a screen shot of her speaker sheet and a contact form.

3. Speaker Sheet

Your Speaker Sheet should include a brief bio about you, your contact information, a list of your speaker topics, the organizations you’ve spoken at, a few testimonials, your contact information, and a few pics of you. You can hire someone to create one for you or create one yourself using Canva, Microsoft Power Point or Google Docs.

I created my speaker sheet with the help of a Google Doc template I downloaded. I saved it as a pdf and linked it on my About page. Here’s a link to my speaker sheet

If you prefer something more colorful, there a host of examples on Pinterest.

4. Email Sign-up Form

Give your your website visitors a free download or link to one of your most popular videos showing them how you can help them. You can send them a weekly update with links to your blog, Facebook Live videos or Instagram updates. The goal in building your email list to build your following and stay connected to those who are interested in your topics, service and programs. There are many email marketing services to choose from, but I like the ease-of-use of Mailchimp.

Sample Mailchimp email signup form

5. Your Services

What are the coaching services that you offer? Whom do you offer them to? How will these services transform your ideal client? Are there testimonials to back these claims up? How much are your services? How can your clients sign up for these services? When you are as detailed as possible, you will convert more website visitors to either subscribers of your newsletter or sign up for your services.

The Coaching theme from Themeforest.com shows how a speaker can layout their services, programs and testimonials on their website in an appealing way.

Speaker and Life Coach Theme screenshot

Bonus: A Blog.  Updating your website with fresh content in the form of blog posts will help drive traffic to your website. One of the ways Google ranks websites is based on fresh content, how many links you have back to it and relevancy. (Source: Forbes.com).

You could also include, in the form of a blog post update, each time you speak. Include photos, videos and a summary of what you spoke about. Share the blog post via social media and in your weekly email updates to your list.

In conclusion.

Even if you are just starting out as a speaker of your topic, you can set yourself up with a professional website that can serve as your online resume. If you have been a speaker for a number of years, it might be a good time to refresh your current website content and look at ways to reach out to new audiences.

There is always room to grow.

Five Ways to Rebrand and Restyle Your Website

restyle your website
Rebranding has to do with changing how you want your company image to be perceived, then delivering on that promise. It’s more than just putting a new logo at the top of your letterhead and website. Before any website rebranding and restyling project, it is always best to know WHY you want to change your image. Here are a few questions to ask before rebranding and restyling your website:

  • Are you changing your website to appeal to a specific or broader audience?
  • Are you adding new services to your service offerings?
  • Are you bored with your current website?
  • Did you see someone else’s website that you thought looked better than your website?
  • Have you sensed that your current website isn’t getting you the results that you expected?
  • Did someone tell you that you needed to update your website?

Here are five easy ways to restyle and rebrand your website.

1. Update the colors on your website that reflect how you want your audience to feel when they visit your website. These colors can compliment the logo, but doesn’t have to be exactly the same color as the logo.

2. Change up the photos to reflect current styles. Do the main photos on your website look dated or ‘old’? Do the main photos reflect the image you want to portray or the clients you serve?

3. Do an overhaul on your website copy (or verbiage). Words mean A LOT on a website because they can help or hurt your website SEO (search engine optimization). Also, your words will either attract or repel your site visitors. Headings that might have worked years ago for your website, might not work now if you are moving into a new direction.

Things to consider before writing your copy:

  • Who is the intended audience of your website?
  • What exactly are you trying to help them do?
  • Do you know what your website audience really wants?

4. Add a new opt-in offer.  Create and give away some free content either as a video, worksheet or special report on your industry. Opt-ins create engagement on your website, helps you build your email list and adds value.

You can create a simple opt-in offer using Mailchimp or Constant Contact to capture the emails, then send them the information they requested.

5. Update your logo. Sometimes all you need is a new logo to represent who you are. Did you create your logo in Word years ago? Does your logo reflect the new direction your company is taking? Does it feel dated?

Making a few simple changes can go a long way with your rebranding and restyling your website. Whether you decide to design it yourself or hire someone else, you can spruce up your site with a fresh new identity.

Five Quick Ways to Make Over Your Blog and Website

blog makeover

Truth be told, I’ve made over my blog and website at least seven times since I started blogging in 2007. I started out with a maroon theme on Blogspot with a basic header, but no logo. Then decided that I wanted to keep the blog light and ‘airy’ and changed the color to a soft pink now with a new logo I created. At the time I was making all these changes, I was really just having fun testing out new blog tech tools. I eventually started helping others get their blogs started or giving them a blog makeover.

Since 2007, blogging designs have changed. With each blog makeover, I always included the use of the latest standards. I have realized that it’s ok and actually normal to have a website (blog) upgrade every year or two to stay consistent with current trends. For example, are you still using Windows XP or have you upgraded to Windows 8, or are you now on a MAC?

Here are a few ways to makeover your blog to stay with the current trends:

1:  Make Your Theme Responsive

This is probably a no brainer, but if you are still using the same theme or layout that you did 3 years ago, it’s time for a makeover. Get a blog theme that automatically changes (or responds) in size depending on what device a user is on.  How does your blog look on a phone, tablet and desktop. Most WordPress themes are now equipped to respond. It’s the new web normal.

 

2:  Add New Pics to the Home Page

Photos are selling point on any website. If your homepage has a slider option, add new slides to new blog posts on your site. If your blog is equipped to do this automatically, then you are already one step ahead of keeping the home page fresh!

3: Add an Email Signup Link after Posts

Add a ‘newsletter’ subscribe link at the end of each post so your readers can get tips delivered to their email. Use a service such as Mailchimp.com or ConstantContact.com to create simple emails and collect email addresses. Using your blog as a way to build an email list and grow leads for your services and products.

email signup screenshot

4: Update Your About Page

Are your goals are the as they were in a few years ago? If not, then why not update your about page to showcase what you are doing currently to highlight your skills and post new testimonials. Do you look the same as the photo on your about page? It might be time to include a new photo. Here are 10 great tips on how to write a good “About Page”. http://thestoryoftelling.com/10-rules-for-writing-about-me-page/

5: Update the Menu Bar with Only Relevant Links

The menu bar is a great way to showcase what categories and pages that you want to highlight. Take off the links that you want to de-emphasize. For example if you aren’t hosting any events, you might want to remove that link from your main menu bar.

So there you have it, just a few ways to update your blog and make it new. Why not take a few hours and update your blog. Then post a screenshot of your updates to your Facebook page asking your fans what they think of the update. If you need help with updating your blog, click here to schedule a consultation with me today.