What Do You Need To Know To Run A WordPress Website?

What Do You Need To Know To Run A WordPress Website?

What Do You Need To Know To Run A WordPress Website?

So you’ve found a host, downloaded and installed WordPress, and are ready to fire up your new website.

Now what?

Before you go beyond, or even get to this point, let’s talk about the other things you may need to know to run your own self-hosted WordPress website.

What is “self-hosted?”

There are essentially two types of WordPress websites; .org and .com

WordPress.com is a hosting environment that excels in hosting small, personal blogs and websites.

  • It’s FREE for a very limited version
  • Has other plans that can cost beyond basic hosting plans for the .com version
  • The free plan essentially runs updates and backups for no extra charge.
  • Ads are placed on the free websites and you don’t get the benefit. AND you can’t run your own ads
  • Custom themes aren’t allowed
  • Free sites have a wordpress.com domain name (something_something.wordpress.com)

So if you want more flexibility, you have to use a downloaded version from WordPress.org. But you’ll also need a host, some time to set everything up, and a bit of expertise in a WordPress environment.

We will talk about three categories of knowledge you will need to set up and run a WordPress website; server, programming/languages, and “other.”

Server

To set up a hosted version of WordPress you need a place for it to live… a server host. You’ll also need a domain name pointing at that server, but for now we’re assuming you’ve gotten that far. We’ll talk about domain names at a later date. Some server terms you’ll need to be fluent in are:

  • cPanel : a graphical interface on WordPress hosts that provide a place to edit email addresses, domains, files, databases and much more. If you host a WordPress site you could spend a lot of time in your cPanel.
  • WHM : another graphical interface, but this time it’s at the server level. It manages server resources, cPanel accounts, SSLs, and a TON more tweak settings.
  • FTP : FTP is a program on your computer (I’ve used Filezilla for years) that gives you quick access to the sites file structure so it’s easy to upload files & images, and manage files on the server. Much easier than logging into the cPanel and using the File Mangaer.
  • MySQL : Your database on most WordPress sites. Life’s a lot easier if you know how to navigate and manage your databases without relying on plugins to optimize your data.

Programming/Languages

This is where the fight starts. Like all websites WordPress is built on several programming languages and other code. Programmers, like all professional positions, can get a little “catty” about what’s programming and what isn’t. HTML is largely considers to be NOT programming, but I disagree.

  • HTML : DING – DING – DING! Found on the internet, so it must be true, the definition of programming is “Programming is a way to “instruct the computer to perform various tasks.” HTML fits that… loosely. But learning some basic HTML won’t hurt your chances of working on your site.
  • CSS : Font types, colors, image placement, responsive pages, content visibility – all of this is done by CSS. If you were to ask me what is important to learn to be good at WordPress, CSS would be it.
  • PHP : The core of WordPress is all built on PHP. It’s an open source, versatile language that runs a HUGE portion of the internet once ASP and ASPX became bogged down and bloated. It helps to know a little PHP.
  • JavaScript : The little secret of WordPress. You can make a lot of cool things happen with JS, but if you don’t know what you’re doing it can break a lot of things. I am fluent enough to know how to decode and edit JS, but it’s on my list of things I need to get better at.

The “Other” Category

There are a lot of other things that can help you manage your WordPress site. The items detailed below aren’t critical to a site working, but they can help optimize a site.

  • Image Optimization : The first thing I look at when someone complains about a slow site is the images. Using a 4000×2000 image when a 2000×1000 will work can decrease load times by several seconds… PER IMAGE! Tools like GIMP, Photoshop and Canva are essential.
  • CDN : data networks are another way to speed up a site by sending media to a site from a dedicated server that caches the info being requested by visitors. They are not free, but really help. BeBizzy uses Stackpath.
  • DNS : You may have to edit your DNS to manage your email, FTP traffic, subdirectories and more.
  • Email : Speaking of email, I can’t stress enough that it’s my recommendation to get your email OFF your server. Paid hosting at Google Workspace, Office365 or others works better and will keep your non-website troubleshooting down to a minimum.
  • SSL : Security certificates are a metric used by Google and other search engines to rank sites. They also ensure your site info is encrypted to visitors. Get one, whether it’s supplied by the host, or you have to purchase.

This Sounds Like A Sales Pitch

It is.

If you have the time and the expertise to run, manage, update, backup and troubleshoot your website, by all means, do it! You can save some money and put skills you already possess to use.

But, if the $3-500 annually you would spend on hosting, plus the development costs of the site is worth it in your mind to only have to report a problem and not to fix it, hire a professional.

People hire others to lay carpet, mow lawns, build decks and other aspects of life all the time. Don’t let building a website keep you from doing what you have to do in order to grow your business.

SHAMELESS PLUG – Contact BeBizzy Consulting if you are ready to get a WordPress site built and hosted!

Thanks for listening to this episode of the WP Wednesday Podcast

Do you have questions, experiences related to today’s topic? Head over to @Bebizzy on Twitter and send them there. 

Don’t forget to check out SEM Rush for all your SEO needs. Visit bebizzy.com/semrush.

And remember to subscribe to the WP Wednesday Podcast for more great tips on managing your WordPress website.

Then, click in your podcast player to subscribe and leave us a review. Then you can sit back, relax, and leave the technical stuff to us.

How To Use a Robots.txt File

How To Use a Robots.txt File

Exactly what is a robots.txt and what does it do?

The official Google definition of robots.txt is : “A robots.txt file tells search engine crawlers which pages or files the crawler can or can’t request from your site. This is used mainly to avoid overloading your site with requests; it is not a mechanism for keeping a web page out of Google.

How To Use a Robots.txt File

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

How To Use a Robots.txt file on your webiste

What is a Robots.txt file?

    • Basically, it’s just a file on the root of your website that tells search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) what pages and files to index, and what to ignore.
    • If properly coded, a robots.txt file will prevent images, videos, audio files, and even script and style files from being indexed. 
    • HTML and other website page filetypes can be excluded as traffic management. If you actually want to block a page from search results either password protect them, require authentication, or use a noindex directive on the page itself.
    • If you use a hosting service or pagebuilder you might not have a way to provide a robots.txt file. Many will have a way to discourage search engines from indexing the site.

What Are some Examples of Robots.txt Use?

    • The syntax for a robots.txt file is 
      • User-agent : Google, Bing, * (wildcard)
      • Instruction : Disallow, Crawl-delay, Sitemap
      • Rules are case sensitive, so be careful
      • The default setting is that any search engine can index the entire website, so robots.txt provides some directions to enhance or change that.
    • Any number of “Groups” can be created. 
      • Groups is an easy way to separate multiple engine instructions 
        • Group 1 – Google not allowed so index a certain directory
        • Group 2 – All other engines allows to search entire site
    • For example, this syntax would block all search engines from all content (notice the addition after Disallow)
      • User-agent: * Disallow: /
    • And this syntax would ALLOW all search engines to index all content 
      • User-agent: * Disallow:
    • Block a specific search engine from a specific page
      • User-agent: Bingbot Disallow: /example-subfolder/blocked-page.html

What is Crawl Budget?

    • Many tools and resources will mention the “crawl budget” of a website. Basically it’s a number known only to the search engine on how many pages, images, and other files the engine will index, or how long an engine will stay on a site. 
    • If you think pages aren’t being fully indexed, it may be a good idea to identify the page you absolutely need to have indexed and set them to allow (Disallow:). That way the search engines will look at them first.

Why would I use crawl-delay?

    • A directive command that can be used is crawl-delay, then a second command. 
    • Crawl delays will slow down a search engine like Bing, which tends to be a little quick to start. This can increase accuracy while decreasing the load on the site and bandwidth. 
    • Heads up, Google does not use the crawl-delay directive.
    • (crawl-delay: 10)

 

Common Robots.txt Rules

https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/robots/create-robots-txt

Rule
Disallow crawling of the entire website. Keep in mind that in some situations URLs from the website may still be indexed, even if they haven’t been crawled.This does not match the various AdsBot crawlers, which must be named explicitly.

User-agent: *

Disallow: /

Disallow crawling of a directory and its contents by following the directory name with a forward slash. Remember that you shouldn’t use robots.txt to block access to private content: use proper authentication instead. URLs disallowed by the robots.txt file might still be indexed without being crawled, and the robots.txt file can be viewed by anyone, potentially disclosing the location of your private content.

User-agent: *

Disallow: /calendar/

Disallow: /junk/

Allow access to a single crawler

User-agent: Googlebot-news

Allow: /

User-agent: *

Disallow: /

Allow access to all but a single crawler

User-agent: Unnecessarybot

Disallow: /

User-agent: *

Allow: /

Disallow crawling of a single web page by listing the page after the slash:

User-agent: *

Disallow: /private_file.html

Block a specific image from Google Images:

User-agent: Googlebot-Image

Disallow: /images/dogs.jpg

Block all images on your site from Google Images:

User-agent: Googlebot-Image

Disallow: /

Disallow crawling of files of a specific file type (for example, .gif):

User-agent: Googlebot

Disallow: /*.gif$

Disallow crawling of an entire site, but show AdSense ads on those pages, and disallow all web crawlers other than Mediapartners-Google. This implementation hides your pages from search results, but the Mediapartners-Google web crawler can still analyze them to decide what ads to show visitors to your site.

User-agent: *

Disallow: /

User-agent: Mediapartners-Google

Allow: /

To match URLs that end with a specific string, use $. For instance, the sample code blocks any URLs that end with .xls:

User-agent: Googlebot

Disallow: /*.xls$

 

 

Viewing of mobile websites has increased from over 30% in 2015 to now over 50%, and there’s no sign of slowing down. Even if your customers are thought to be mainly on desktop and laptop computers, mobile indexing will force you to get your website designed for mobile use starting in March 2021. 

If you need help getting this process done, especially in a WordPress environment, please contact BeBizzy Consulting at bebizzy.com and let’s get your site ready for mobile use.

Thanks for listening to this episode of the WP Wednesday Podcast

Do you have questions, experiences related to today’s topic? Head over to @Bebizzy on Twitter and send them there. 

Don’t forget to check out SEM Rush for all your SEO needs. Visit bebizzy.com/semrush.

And remember to subscribe to the WP Wednesday Podcast for more great tips on managing your WordPress website.

Then, click in your podcast player to subscribe and leave us a review. Then you can sit back, relax, and leave the technical stuff to us.

WordPress News

  • WordPress 5.7 Released March 9, 2021
    • Reusable Blocks
    • Easier font-size adjustments
    • Drag and drop from the inserter right into your page or post
    • Switch from HTTP to HTTPS in one click. No database edits
    • Lazy loading of iFrames

https://wordpress.org/news/2021/03/esperanza/

How To Use a Robots.txt File

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Tech Changes in 2020

Tech Changes in 2020

2020 Forced Lots of Technical Changes

2020 was weird. There. I said it. 

The past nine to twelve months has change the way many of you work and live. Commutes, water coolers and being interrupted by a co-worker walking around have been replaced by video meetings, garbage trucks backing up and kids needing help with their schoolwork. 

Luckily I’ve been insulated from much of this, but I feel the pain. And I also had to change due to some technical issues. So as we wind down 2020 I wanted to share some of the technical changes I’ve made as we run towards 2021. 

Technical Changes at BeBizzy Consulting in 2020

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Hardware

  • Samsung Galaxy Chromebook – replaced a dead old Samsung Chromebook and an ancient Samsung tablet with a shiny new, Intel-powered, Ferrari-red Chromebook to handle tasks outside the office.
  • Samsung Galaxy Book Flex – replaced a four-year-old desktop computer and a severely hard drive space challenged Microsoft Surface Book with a crazy-fast and powerful Samsung laptop.
  • Increased Bandwidth for Cable Connection – 300Mbps to better manage everything I do : file upload/downloads, video conferencing, VoIP phone calls,

Software

  • 17Hats – I’ve finally jumped to the powerful 17Hats business management system.
  • Microsoft Office – I’ve danced around using various apps instead of MS Office for years, but I came back.
  • Brackets – For many years I’ve used Dreamweaver to edit PHP, HTML, CSS and other files. But I didn’t want to pay for Adobe Cloud, and the old version I’ve been using was probably a decade old, so it was time to update. Brackets is a modern interface and intuitive program to edit these code files.
  • Notion – Want an amazing way to manage meeting notes, easy database tasks, projects, files, time tracking, and much, much more? Notion does this across virtually any device and platform.
  • GIMP – Like Brackets, I started using G.I.M.P because I was tired of paying for an Adobe Cloud Photoshop account. It’s the right price, FREE, and does nearly anything you had to do with PS.
  • Google Meet – Everyone is using a video conferincing app in 2020

Website Apps

  • WP Rocket – I’m a DIVI theme user, and unfortunately that means I had to sacrifice a bit of site speed for ease-of-development and functionality. WP-Rocket recovered that speed easily.
  • Google Drive Backup Space – Earlier in 2020 I ran into a server space issue that was the result of years of backups, unused files and dead sites. So I moved my UpdraftPlus backups to Amazon S3. I quickly encountered unplanned costs for bandwidth and space so I started looking for a better alternative. Google Drive was an easy to use, powerful alternative for $100 a year.
  • Dedicated File/Web Server – I started using Sync as a Dropbox alternative a year or so ago. It’s been great, but to have a complete backup of my Sync storage took up 1.5TB of hard drive space. So, I took my old desktop computer and turned it into a file server including my Sync backup. Accessible from anywhere inside my network, I can get to files without working on something direct inside the online Sync network.The goal is also to get this box set up as a development area for website in early 2021 to eliminate developing on my production server with password-protected sites.

Planned Changes for 2021

  • Moving my desk/office back into the BeBizzy Dungeon – We are shrinking down and going back into our cell where it all began. The windowless, soundless, 12×12′ office off the utility room I lovingly refer to as the BeBizzy Dungeon.
  • Video Podcasts – Going to launch the WP Wednesday Podcast on a YouTube channel. Stay tuned!
  • Two more planned podcasts – we are tentatively planning to launch two more podcasts in 2021. One featuring interviews on a variety of subjects, and one dealing with outdoors. Keep listening!

Today’s News Links

  • WP Rocket  3.8.1
    • Update to 3.8.1 removed the option “Remove jQuery Migrate” option that was causing an issue with many WordPress 5.6 websites.

Technical Changes at BeBizzy Consulting in 2020

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast