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How to Spring Clean Your Website

Spring cleaning your business website is definitely NOT the FUN part of what needs to get done in your business. However, it’s important.

Why it is important to keep your website clean (or updated):

  1. You don’t want to leave your website open to hackers and viruses
  2. Your audience depends on your content to help them in their business/life/etc.
  3. You could lose your website if you fail to keep your hosting contact details updated.
  4. You’re a professional and you see your website as an important extension of your business.

** Disclaimer: 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 Spring Clean Your Website

Here are a few ways to keep your website cleaned:

Update your website software. For example, if you are using the self-hosted CMS WordPress, be sure to only use the updated version of WordPress. The latest version as of this post was March 31, 2020.

Enable Firewall protection – It’s like an online shield for your website. Companies like Sucuri.net provides firewall protection for your website.

 

Change your passwords on a regular basis. – Stop using your birthday and anniversary for your password. You might as well leave your home door unlocked when you go to work.

*Password Tip: Start using a password manager like: Peguta or LastPass. They’re online and free.

Run a virus scan on your computer. – In many of cases, websites are compromised due to desktop malware that steals credentials.

Back up your website. If your website is compromised, you can always reinstall your website from an older (cleaned copy). You can use free backup plugins such as Updraft Plus or your hosting company make daily backups of your website.

And at the end of day, we all need a little peace of mind, right?

(Reference: Sucuri Blog)

Additional website and website hosting housekeeping

Every business needs to have a “digital platform management procedure” in place in order to keep their website running consistently.

1. Keep your website domain and hosting contact details updated.

Even if someone set it up for you, it’s always good to go in periodically and update any email and mailing addresses that might have changed. Your website hosting company will send you periodic emails about your account, when it’s due or expired. You can update your contact details in your host provider.

For example:  If you purchased your domain and hosting through Godaddy, they have a helpful guide on how and where to change your domain.

If you’re not sure where your host company is, you can check thru the WhoIS directory.

2. Be sure your information is updated in the WhoIS directory > https://whois.icann.org/en/using-whois>>>

What is the Whois Directory? The Whois database is an online repository of information associated with registered domain names. It stores and publicly displays domain name information, such creation and expiration dates, the registrar of record, and its various contacts (registrant, billing, administrative, and technical). This information is generally controlled where you purchased the domain. If you forgot where you purchased your domain, you can go to whois.icann.org to find out.

3. Keep your payment details updated with your website domain and website hosting provider.

via GIPHY
This ensures that your website hosting doesn’t get interrupted with your host provider. Sometimes host companies will charge a fee to re-install any deleted hosting information. However, some may not keep your website files after your hosting is discontinued.

4. Review your current hosting plan each year to see if you need to upgrade or downgrade.

As your business grows, so will your website hosting space needs. Think of your website like a house, as you add more stuff to it (posts, photos, videos, etc), you are taking up more digital space.

Also most hosting companies also come with email. The more emails you send and receive, the more digital space you will need. Of course you can clean up (or delete the emails or data that you don’t need).

5. Back up all your website information at least once a month or weekly (depending on how often you update your website)

WordPress users have options for website backup plugins. Choose the one that works best for you.

Check with your host company or webmaster to see what their policy is for auto backups of your website data.

In conclusion

Digital spring cleaning isn’t always fun, however, it must be done to ensure that the digital side of your business doesn’t fall apart.

If you don’t have the time or energy to work on it yourself, consider outsourcing it to a local tech person or someone you trust.

And you can do it all with ease and grace.

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!

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.

How to Make Money Blogging

make money bloggingI get this question often: How do you make money blogging? I used to not know know how to answer that question because I looked at my blog as a way of sharing FREE information about beauty and style. This was many moons ago.

Anyhoo, I’ve woke up since the last moon and here are a few ways I’ve used my blog as a way to make money.

1. Place ads on your website. When someone clicks on it and purchases, you can get a commission from it. #affiliatemarketing

2. Charge companies to blog for them relating to their product and services. Some call this ‘ghost writing’. I call it charging for services rendered.

3. Get sponsors. For example, a company says, “Hey, would you take pics of my products and include them linking to my website so your readers can visit my site to purchase these.” You say, “Sure, you’d make an excellent sponsor. Would you like package A, B or C?

4. Host events around your blog topic. Charge other businesses to sell their products at your event.

I will admit that this isn’t always easy, however, you can get paid as a blogger. You just have to know what your worth is, what you want and go after it. Did you find this information helpful? Let us know on the Make Me Over, Eb Facebook page.