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

Does Google Value Hidden Content Less?

Does Google Value Hidden Content Less?

Hidden Website Content

A fairly common way to display large chunks of content on a website is to use tabs, accordions and toggles. All of these “hide” content until they are clicked or otherwise activated, revealing the content underneath.

So how does Google index this content, or even DOES it index this content?

Does Google Value Hidden Content Less?

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Why Would You Hide Content on a Website?

  • Too much content
  • Want a call to action from the visitor/reader
  • Not something everyone who visits the page needs to see

Does Google Read It If It’s Hidden?

One side says that if you have hidden content, Google doesn’t care and it indexes it just like “normal” content. The other side says if it’s not visible, Google will NOT index it, thereby not including it in searchable content.

I am in the camp of it WILL be indexed and searchable. It’s HTML, code, content on the page, so Google will index it. Search engines read popups, meta data, alt tags, etc, so why not content that is technically on the page?

Matt Cutts

Matt Cutts is a former Google employee as part of the search quality team on search engine optimization issues and also the former head of the web spam team at Google. Her’e’s what he has to say about hidden content.

The main point of Matt’s video is make sure the content being hidden is meaningful or relevant to the page’s main content. Otherwise it could be taken as keyword stuffing.

John Mueller

John Mueller is the host of Google Webmaster Central and a Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google. He backs up what Matt said earlier.

These two experts back up my contention that hidden content on the page will be indexed as long as it’s good content… just like everything else on a web page.

Tabs, toggles and other forms of displaying layered content is common now, so everyone knows how to use them. Use these tools wisely and you won’t have any trouble getting found on the search engines.

Does Google Value Hidden Content Less?

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast