How to Build a WordPress Blog | Andrea Zoellner | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (1h 30m)
    • 1. Getting Started

      4:23
    • 2. Intro to How the Web Works

      6:23
    • 3. Choosing Your Hosting and Buying a Domain

      4:44
    • 4. Installing WordPress

      6:40
    • 5. Customizing Your Blog

      32:27
    • 6. Intro to Plugins and 3rd Party Services

      23:43
    • 7. Intro to Search Engine Optimization

      6:17
    • 8. Website Maintenance

      2:04
    • 9. Monetizing Your Blog

      2:52
    • 10. Resources

      0:30
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About This Class

In this course, I’ll walk you through the steps to launch your online blog using WordPress. The course will include lessons on choosing your domain and hosting, installing WordPress, customizing your theme, and more! You’ll learn tips on creating a great blog and additional info on how to be a successful blog owner.

My How to Build a Blog course is perfect for online influencers who are looking to express themselves through their own platform. This type of website is suitable for authors and current or aspiring opinion leaders.

This course is also great for people who already have a following on other social media platforms, but need their own site to complement their online activities. That's why I've also included a chapter on monetizing your blog! 

Building a blog with WordPress

In this tutorial, I’ll be using WordPress, open-source software that powers 40% of the web. Not sure what open-source means? What the difference between web hosting and email hosting is? And how to buy a domain? I’ll walk you through all of it. Not only will you have a great blog at the end of it, but you’ll also feel more confident about understanding the web and how to maintain your site.

Lesson Plan

Make sure you download the files in the Class Project section for additional resources and written guides. 

1: Getting Started
2: Intro to the Web
3: Hosting and Domains
4: Installing WordPress
5: Customizing Your Blog
6: Introduction to Plugins and 3rd Party Services
7: Intro to Search Engine Optimization
8: Website Maintenance
9: Monetizing Your Blog
10: Resources

Learn from a WordPress expert, Marketer and Blogger who's launched 50+ sites and taught hundreds of people to use WordPress. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Andrea Zoellner

Marketer, Blogger, WordPress Instructor

Teacher

Hello, I'm Andrea, a Marketing executive in tech and a digital content creator. I've been working in the web design and hosting industries for nearly a decade and love sharing my knowledge.

I've taught hundreds of people to use WordPress over the past several years and believe everybody deserves to have the skills to share their thoughts online. I also advocate for the importance of owning your content outside of social media and in a way that's not beholden to any private company. That's why I teach people about open-source software and why it matters. 

My courses are designed for absolute beginners because I love introducing students to the power of WordPress to build your personal blog, website, or portfolio. 

See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Getting Started: Hello and welcome to my course how to build a blog. Thank you so much for joining me on this journey towards launching your blog. Here's an outline of what we'll cover in this course. By the end of this course, you'll have your very own platform to share your thoughts online. The best part is that you own your content. Unlike social media platforms that may change the rules tomorrow or go out of business, having your own website means you're in control by choosing to build your website using the WordPress content management system. You're also opening yourself up to adding any features you'd like in the future. In less than two, I'll explain why that's possible. And in less than six, I'll show you how to pick the right features to add. Now before we move on to the next lesson, I have some homework for you. I want you to take a few minutes to answer these questions about your future block. Why do I want to start a blog? Writing out your mission statement is a great way to set a clear and solid foundation for building a blog. Are you hoping to inspire others and find community? Are you hoping to launch a blog could draw attention to your professional services? Are you hoping to create a space where you can send your YouTube fans, for example, write out your mission so you're clear on what purpose this blog serves. Another way to look at this is to ask the question, what does success look like to me? Are you hoping to monetize your blog and eventually turn it into a full-time gig. Are you hoping to bookmark consultations or sell more products with a blog? Or are you hoping to simply build a space where you can journal daily and share it with your extended family. Picturing what success looks like can help you make decisions along the way as you're building your blogs. The second question to ask yourself is, do I want to be the face of my blog or do I want to have a blog identity? For example, my website Andrea is ulnar.com is my own personal space. It's my thoughts, It's my professional activities, and it's unmistakably my own, my travel blog. On the other hand, the capsule suitcase. If a different website where I have a blog identity. Yes, it's still from my point of view, but the blog is less about me and more about the topic, travel and packing for trips. If you go looking at, you'll find examples of this all around the Internet, including on YouTube. Some people's log under their own name. And some people have channels with channel names that aren't their personal names. So channels about cars, fashion and other topics. You don't have to make a decision right now, but it will help if you do by the time we get to lesson 5, when it's time to customize your WordPress theme. So last question you should be thinking about is, how much money do I want to spend on my blog? Maybe you've already purchased a domain name and hosting, and really you're just looking to start and build your blog. There are ways to block for free on the internet, but none of them will give you the same freedom and flexibility as purchasing your own hosting. Clusters. Usually a trade off to using free platforms. It may be that the platform gets to display ads on your site, or that you don't get to pick your own domain. Make sure you read the terms and conditions before opting for any free platform. That does this mean that you have to spend hundreds of dollars every year on your site? No. You can get hosting that meets the needs of your blog for a few dollars a month. And you can choose themes and plug-ins that are totally free. Whether or not you want to invest in getting a custom logo made or want to choose a paid third-party plug-in. More on that in lesson six is totally up to you. And for those who want to start lean, there are plenty of ways to do that to you. In summary, your homework before moving to Lesson 2 is to answer these questions. Why do I want a bug? What name do I want to give to my blog? And how much money do I want to spend on this blog? See you in the next video. 2. Intro to How the Web Works: Hi and welcome to Lesson 2. This lesson we've explained the fundamentals of what makes up a website and the different services and software is required to run a site. If you already know this, you can skip ahead to lesson 3. The reason I make sure to include this lesson is that many people misunderstand the basics of how domain e-mail hosting, website hosting, and content management software work together. Understanding these foundations will help you make more informed decisions when choosing providers and when troubleshooting potential issues as your site changes and grows. It will also give you the foundational knowledge about the web industry that will help you in the rest of the course. Let's break down the anatomy of a website. At their core, websites are essentially files and databases. People visiting a site are making requests to the computer server where those files live. These are requests to view the content. Without a server to host your files. Your website can't be made accessible to people online. That's why you need to purchase a hosting service to house your website files, and database. This is usually a service paid monthly or annually, and you pay it to a hosting company that manages the servers and the server software. To design how that website content is organized and displayed, you'll need to build your website with software. Cms, more content management system is the software you use to build your website hosted by your web host. Wordpress is a CMS. In fact, it's the most popular one on the market today. Wordpress is also free and is what is called an open source software. That means that we're trust isn't a company and no one person owns WordPress. It's a software project that is maintained and developed by contributors around the world. And I'm one of them. If you download WordPress in Canadian French, you'll see interface texts that I have personally translated. I want to highlight this because I often get questions from people I meet who ask, do you work for WordPress? And the answer is no, because WordPress isn't a company. There is a foundation that manages the non-profit and community functions of the WordPress open-source project. But people who work in the WordPress industry work for hosting companies, web agencies, they are freelance developers or designers. They make themes for people that they can purchase online or they sell plugins that enhance the features on a site. People all run their livelihoods supporting and creating products for people using WordPress. But they don't work for a company called WordPress. If the situation arises where you encounter a problem with your web hosting, you can call the company that manages your hosting. But if you ever get stuck or angry at your WordPress site, you won't find a WordPress customer service phone number to call. But you can find thousands of people online who make a living offering more Press support and a million blog posts or videos on how to use word trust, often by the very people who contribute to building the features. If we go back to our anatomy of a website, the next element I want to talk about is domains. Domains are the unique web address people will use to get to your site. When you type in a URL, which stands for Uniform Resource Locator, it usually looks like this. Https stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. You might be wondering about triple W or worldwide web. This is no longer really needed and most URLs don't use it anymore. Now the rest is up to you as long as nobody else has already claimed the same domain. The first part is your unique domain, and the last part is what is called a top-level domain. Top-level domains are pretty varied nowadays.com dot org dot ca, dot blob with dot online, dot shop and social much more. That's why I wouldn't worry too much if your first choice for a domain is already taken, since you may be able to find a combination and a top-level domain that's unique to you and that you love. So how do you register your domain? You need to go through a registrar or a reseller to secure your domain. Domains are overseen by ICANN or the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. And registers own the rights to sell certain top-level domains like.com or dot blog. Registering your domain is an annual fee and if you fail to renew your domain, someone else can snap it up. Hosting companies often bundle things like annual hosting with domain registration and email. But more often than not, they're reselling domains and not the original registrars. Don't worry though, there really aren't any major pros or cons to where you register your domain, since like your website, and you can often move your domain registration to another provider. Lastly, let's chat about e-mails. While Gmail dominates the landscape for free email, professionals and businesses should seek out a professional email address that matches their web domain. For example, you can reach me at a, at Andrews owner.com and you can reach my blogs team at hello at capsule suitcase.com. This is not necessary to get started since you can totally list your Gmail address as a way to get in touch or have an online contact form that route directly to any free email that you have already. But to look extra professional and polished, I do recommend getting your own e-mail address with your site domains. Getting e-mail hosting is a separate service to web hosting and domain registration. But you'll often see two or three of these services bundled together. Just remember that if you do select these services from different providers, keep an organized record of your renewal dates so you never let anything accidentally laps or expire and compromise your site. And that's it. Those are the ingredients to getting your website online. In the next lesson, we'll get our hands dirty and I'll show you exactly how to get started with your hosting domain and email setup. 3. Choosing Your Hosting and Buying a Domain: Whether you're building a blog, a website, or portfolio. Most WordPress hosting will meet your needs. Where things get more complex is when you have a high traffic sites, complex site setups, large sites or big e-commerce sites. That's when you'll need faster, more powerful hosting with additional specs and features. But for today, here are a few pointers for choosing a WordPress host. What kind of hosting do the offer? Most entry-level hosting is shared hosting, which is like renting a storage locker in a big storage facility. You, along with a bunch of other tenants, each have your section of the space. Pros it's the most affordable hosting you can get. Cons, shared hosting is usually slower and has more security weaknesses. Support is also usually less responsive because you get what you paid for. Dedicated server hosting is like renting the whole storage building for your stored personal items. And cloud hosting is like having little copies of your stuff in the Cloud, but you can access at any point. Cloud hosting is by far the most advanced and high-performance option on the market, but it also costs more. What are their reviews like? This is where the real juicy stuff is. Look at websites like G2, trust Pilot and third-party review sites. Pay close attention to how people review their site. Speed, uptime, IE your website now going offline for some reason. And the customer support offered by the hosting company. Do you want to bundle it and e-mail hosting and domain registration and one, not all hosts do this. So you might want to decide if that's a deal breaker for you from the start. The cost and watch out here since some hosts will give you an amazing deal on the first year and then charge you three times as much the next year. Make sure you always read the fine print and are aware of the full price. Extras, things like domain privacy, which hides the name and address you used to register your domain. Ssl certificates, a Content Delivery Network or CDN and websites backups. Bluehost is a very common shared hosting provider with competitive rates for first-time website owners can stay is my pick for a top tier hosting with some of the fastest load times on the market. If you are Googling WordPress and find a website called WordPress.com, you've found a product from a company called automatic. This is an online platform where you can host and build a website using a version of WordPress, maintaining and controlled by automatic. They offer all in one pricing. This is a popular choice if you want a new site that is easy and simple to spin up and manage. Keep in mind, this is not ideal if you want total control over your site. Wordpress.com is a website building platform and it's not using the open source version of WordPress. That means that you can't easily download your content and move your entire WordPress site to a different web host. In a nutshell, Wordpress.com is a website builder and installing WordPress on your host of your choice is called self-hosted and they're not listening thing. I host my websites with Kingston, a premium Cloud-based hosting companies. So I'm going to use my account to demonstrate how to set up a brand new WordPress site. I'll point out where the experience will vary from host to host and also what to expect with your host. Because kin said doesn't offer e-mail hosting or domain registration. I like to use a website called hover to register my domains. If you've chosen a hosting provider that does offer domain e-mail or both with your hosting bundle, you'll want to use their services since you've already paid for it. With hover, I'll look at my first choice domain and fevers available. If it isn't, I'll suggest some alternatives including different spellings and top-level domains. Once I've picked one, I'll pay for it and I always check off private domain registration so people can't look up who's registered the domain. I like to be mysterious and also privacy concerns. Hover. It has a few e-mail option. If you want something very professional, choose the works. For the super simple option, you can choose email forwarding and for a free option, bypass this entirely and use your current email provider like Gmail. For those of you who like me in this demo, I have purchased their domain on a different site than their hosting. You'll connect your domain and your hosting after you've started your website. In the next lesson, we'll install WordPress and start building. See you there. 4. Installing WordPress: Hi and welcome to lesson 4, where I'll cover installing WordPress and choosing your theme. Because by now you already have a hosting account. You don't need to download and install WordPress. Go to host will make it super simple to install WordPress right from your hosting dashboard. Every web host looks a little different. But usually if it's a brand new website, they'll guide you through every single step. Make sure you save your admin, username, and password somewhere because you'll need this later on. Before we move on to customizing your WordPress website, I want to cover a few more things. You'll need to set up your web hosting, domain and email. If you've registered a brand new domain, first, you need to verify your ownership by adding TXT records that are available in your hosting account and copying them into your domain registrar. To point your domain, you'll need to do the same thing by adding a records. Follow the prompts in your hosting and domain dashboards to copy the correct information. To connect your e-mail hosting to your domain and to the place where you've chosen to host your emails. You'll have to add MX records. If you've opted for a host that offers domain registration and email, follow the prompts in your dashboard to set those both up. Make sure that through your hosting dashboard, you've set up a secure connection to your website, either through a Let's Encrypt SSL certificate or by forcing HTTPS on all domains. Now that WordPress is installed, let's take a quick tour. To access the login page of your website. You can click on Open WordPress admin from your hosting account or visit your domain slash WP Login. Use the credentials that you had when you set up your WordPress website earlier in this video. In your dashboard, you'll find shortcuts to some of the things you'll need to set up your website, including writing your first blog posts, creating a page, and setting up your homepage. On the left, you'll find updates on your website where you can manage the version of WordPress that you have in any theme and plug-in updates. And below that you can manage your content like blog posts, media images and pages. Under appearance is where you can customize your site. And the look plugins is where you can add functionality. Users is where you can invite people to join you on your website. And tools allows even more functionality to manage your content. Settings also allows you to set global settings across your entire website. Up in the top corner, you can manage your user profile, including how your website dashboard looks. When installing WordPress, it comes with a default theme of the year, but you'll probably want to change things up based on how you want your site to look. Here's a quick lowdown on WordPress themes. There are free themes available online or through the official WordPress theme repository. These are vetted themes that have been checked for coding standards and that I personally recommend as well. To access themes, go to Appearance and Themes. This is the default theme of the year 2021. You can take a look at how it looks. I'm playing around with some of the features on the left to see if you like this theme. If you want to change it, click on change. And to view the themes in the WordPress.org theme repository. Click here. You can search and filter themes by design style, by industry, by layout features or typing keywords to see what pops up. They're usually quite simple though, so not everyone finds exactly what they need among the choices. Anyone can design and sell things online. So you can also go the route of buying and downloading a theme from a theme marketplace and uploading it to your website. Make sure you do read reviews though and see examples of lithium in action. Since not all themes have the same quality of codes to upload a theme that you've downloaded from a marketplace. Go to Appearance and Themes and click on upload theme at the very top. The third avenue to consider when picking your theme is to install a page builder plug-in. These plugins are usually paid plug-ins that enhance your theme and add additional features, flexibility, and design options to your website. These are very, very cool and I actually use one called Elementor on my travel blog or other popular ones include Beaver Builder, Devi, and visual composer. But if this is your first website, I recommend holding off on website builders, since these can make your website a little more expensive and more complicated, WordPress has plenty of great features right out of the box that are worth exploring before you decide to add another set of tools. For now, I'm going to select a blog seen from the WordPress themes. Almost anything can be made into a blog, but some are especially made with bloggers in mind. Once I found when I like, I can demo it on my site by clicking on live preview. And because I don't have any pages or blog posts yet, it might not look that great. But don't worry, once we add content, it'll be a lot easier to make the blog look like the demo site. At this point, if you've purchased a domain, installed WordPress, and connected your domain, your website is live and fully accessible online. This means anyone who types in your URL will see your website. Is this a problem? Unless you've already started sharing your domain name, it's unlikely many people will look up your site and check it as you add content and build it up. For most people, building their site live over the course of a few days is fine. You'll want to make sure your website settings are set to discourage search engines from indexing your site. If you want to create a coming soon page that allows you to show a splash page to visitors while you build your site on the down low, you can install a coming soon page plugin. To do that, you'll learn how to install plugins in lesson six. Thanks for watching and see you in Lesson 5. 5. Customizing Your Blog: In this lesson, I'll cover how to really customize your blog. So that looks great, is easy to navigate and we'll set you up for success as your blog grows. Let's dig in. All right, Now that we're in our dashboard, here is how you view your website and toggle back to the backend. So this is our front-end, and this is the dashboard. Now, users who visit your website won't see this unless they are logged in. So that includes you and anyone that you invite as a collaborator to your website. So let's go back to the dashboard here, because we really don't have anything on our website yet. You'll have this prompt that will give you some next steps. And we're going to do a couple of these in this demo. So first, let's take a quick look at the different sections here. I am going to start with appearance and customize, which launches the customizer here on the left. This is just a really easy way to view the changes that you're making to your website kind of in real time. So I find it very helpful for visualizing and seeing what the change that you've just applied it looks like. So first, site identity, this is where you can control the general branding of your website, especially the top logo here. So right now we just have kind of a text logo going on. And this is pulled in from the site title and tagline. When I set up my website, I already gave my blog a name. So this is the blog, but you can change it here. You can play around with a couple of different names. If you're still on the fence, see how it looks and feels to you. The tagline, obviously this one is generic, so let's go ahead and change this to something that a food blogger might have as a tagline. So if you don't have a logo, this is actually a totally fine way to brand your website. It is responsive, which means it will look good on iPhone or iPad or on like a large desktop. And you don't need to have a logo if you don't want to have one, you can also choose to hide this, although I don't recommend this unless you have a logo that you plan to put there. So here's what that looks like. If I do want to add a logo, I have the option and I can upload right here. And so I've I've gone ahead and prepared a logo that I just did off line and this one, I just whipped up and you can use a service like Canvas or you can make one on your own computer and upload it. So there's lots of things you can do to generate a logo. I'm going to copy the site title and use it as my alt tag. And all tag is useful for people who have, who are visually impaired and are using a screen reading device or assistive technology to have the images described to them. When you add an alt tag, the screen reading software will read it out so they can get a sense of what's on this image. I'm going to skip cropping because I want this logo to appear and hold. So here we go, this is what it looks like. So because I have this logo and this becomes clickable and always takes me back to the home. I am going to hide my site title. However, I do recommend always keeping something in here because when you visit the website, this is what's going to show up kind of at the top of the browser. Your site icon is the little icon that appears at the top of the website. If you have multiple browser tabs, then this one will pop up. So I'm going to actually use just the logo that I had and I already prepared the square version of this. And I'm going to use the same ol tag here. And this one is fine. So here's an example of what that's gonna look like. I think. I mean, it kind of looks like a boat in the tiny favicon, but I think this represents the website pretty well. All right, so now we have kind of the basics of your website wide branding. And if I go back here, colors is a section where I can customize the background color. I could add some different stripes and some colors, but honestly I'm kinda digging the white so I'm not going to change that header image allows me to set a whole image here at the top. Now, because I have a logo up there, I'm not sure that's going to look great, but if you wanted something that spans the entirety of the website, you could create your own header that has an image with the name of your blog over top of it. And then you would upload that image in this space here. And because this would only appear at the top of the website, it has to be quite narrow. So here we could kinda choose the part of the image that we want to display. So here, this is what that would look like. So the header image. If you have a logo that doesn't have any white background, this could work depending on the contrast and how, how it looks. So you can combine a header image that already has the logo on it, a header image with a logo, or the header image with the text only. So if we were to display the text only see that doesn't look that great, but you can play around with these settings to really match the effect that you want for your website. Your background image is similar. You could set an image just to show you an example. This actually, I'm, I'm kinda digging this. So I'm gonna go ahead and remove my header, something that's a bit much. And leave this background image because I kinda like it. Now, menus is not related to food menus. This is the actual name of the navigation. So here we have a sample page that came with the demo site and home. So right now our menu or top navigation, is populated by these two pages. Once we have a couple of more pages, I am going to come back to this section because without extra pages, it will be hard to show you all the things that we can do with our menus. So I'm going to leave that one for later, which is what we call these elements on the side, different themes. And I want to emphasize that some of these features will be themed specific. So with this blog theme, these are the features and the settings that are available to you. But if you install a different theme, you may have a different set of features. There are somewhat consistent from one theme to the next. For example, homepage settings, additional CSS, Widgets, Menus, and site identity you will find across all WordPress websites. But some things like colors and header and additional ways to display content will be specific to the theme. So let's get back to widgets. Widget areas depend on the theme. So in this blogging theme, we have a sidebar which gives us a couple of different widget areas to control. And we also have a footer section, which gives us some options to display widgets in the footer. I recommend when you're shopping around for a blog theme, to pick a theme that has very prominent widget sections. Because part of the goal of designing your blog is to have people read your content and stay on your website as long as possible. And by showing them more options to read, more content to engage with, you have a higher chance of getting them to read through multiple blog posts before leaving your site. So for this, I think this is pretty exciting. We've got our primary section where right now this is auto populated by, by the theme. So I'm going to leave these, I think these are, are pretty great. Meta maybe doesn't make sense. I'm going to remove that one for us. And just so you can have a sense of what else is available, here are some of the widget areas that you can add to your site tag cloud text. So if you wanted to add some text to the sidebar that would appear across all pages. Really, your widget areas are meant to be sitewide information. So this will appear for all of your posts pages. And you can also control how your widgets appear for certain pages. In the next lesson where we talk about plugins, I will install jetpack and I can show you even more functionalities with widgets when the jetpack plugin is installed. So just to show you how you would add one, you can just click on it. You can give it a title. And this one will appear here below and give you a list of the pages that you have and you can also exclude some and there's a little bit more control that you can have on each of these widgets that you display. Now if I wanted to put one in the footer, I would do something similar. And I would put recent comments for example. And then this will appear in the bottom of the footer here. I can remove them. So this is how you control widgets. Homepage settings is important. So there's really only generally two options for setting up your homepage in WordPress. Either you are displaying all of your latest blog posts and your theme handles the way that that's displayed. Or you create a static page. And this is what I recommend for, for normal websites where the blog really is only a secondary portion of the website. So the main page would be sort of a landing page where you can go off and check on different sections of the website and the blog would be a link and you can go to the blog. But for a blog, really, your blog posts are the main attraction. So I recommend. Sticking with your latest blog posts as the, as the thing that shows up on your homepage, I can show you what it looks like if you were to have a homepage that were static, you know, you would have this page and then you would go in and edit this page to be exactly what you want on the homepage. There is a way where you can do sort of a combination of both. For example, you could have a sample page or a static page like this set as your homepage. And on that page, you could choose to have a block in the bottom here that does pull in your latest posts. So you could, in theory do a combination of both. You might have to play around with the display settings, so it looks good. But that is an option if you have sort of a hybrid of a blog and a regular website and you want to have more control over the homepage. If you are choosing to do a static page, you have to choose the homepage that you want to set. I would recommend adding a new one that's called Home. And then the post page is the page where your blog posts will auto populate. So you would create a new page called blog. That's what you would need to do if you were creating this static set-up. But we're going to stick to your latest posts. Additional CSS is where you can add some custom code that will control some of the displays and the settings on your website, especially related to the look and the design elements on your site. All right, so let's publish what we've done so we can save it. Before we move on, we really can't do much on this website until we have added some posts. So I need to go in and click on posts. And here we get a welcome message to the block editor, which is how you can create your content and your blog posts and pages in WordPress. So if I click through this, gives you a little animated demo of how you add blocks and how you can customize blogs and save blocks to use later. But I'm going to show you some of that today. I'm not gonna get too creative because this is a demo and I want you to get the information so you can go ahead and do this on your own website. So here I have blog post one. This is my title. And then I will add header one, header two. So here I've just gone in and written some texts. So automatically it's registering as a text block. But I've designed this as a header, so I want to change it to a heading and this is where I can control if it's heading 1, 2, 3, 4. Now, in web design, these are in order of importance. So heading 1 would be reserved for your post title, and then 234 would be for your next sort of logical hierarchy of information. It's really important to follow these, not just for design, because the theme designer has created different fonts and font combinations so that heading 1, 2, 3 is the hierarchy is very obvious to the eye. And the second reason is for search engines. Search engines go through your website. They're pulling this information as being important and reading it to get a sense of what your pages about. Now to add more text, I can add a paragraph here, and here's where you can view all of your blocks. And there are quite a few options. And these are the ones that come with WordPress out of the box. And as you add plugins, more blocks will appear and more features will appear. So play around with this, check them all out, see how they look. You know, you can test some stuff and it's just a fun way to build the content on your page. So if I upload an image, I have some options here. And I always add an alt tag. All right, over here, we have two different tabs for our settings. We have our post settings, which are the settings for the entire blog post. This includes visibility. So I can make this public, private or password protect the post, and then I can publish it immediately or I can schedule it for the future. I can stick the blog post to be at the top. So some themes will showcase this at the top of different sections because I've designated it as prominent or important. The permalink is the URL, so this is your website URL. And then the second part is the URL for this particular blog post. And categories and tags is how you organize your blog posts. And I, I recommend really thinking hard about how you want to set up your categories, what the main categories are going to be on your blog. And then tags are more granular. So I would recommend having a handful of categories and you can be a little bit more liberal with your tags. So categories, Let's say for a Blog like this, a cooking blog. I would put things like breakfast, lunch, dinner snacks, paleo, VG in. Quito, friendly, sugar-free, whatever your different recipe types are. I went break them down into these categories so that they are somewhat easy to display an organized. Now tags might be something like cake, pastries, savory, sweet. You could use a handful of tags on a post that would really only fit into one category. Or you could have something that fits into two categories and they could have 10 tags on them. Chocolate, egg free, you can go kind of wild with, with your tags. Featured image. Here I'm going to add, I'm a bit redundant with my use of this, but it really is just to demonstrate. And the excerpt is kind of the summary of your blog posts that will be shown on your website. So I wouldn't put something enticing descriptive that will make people want to click on the blog posts. Now discussion is where you allow comments on your website. So I'm going to add a new category here because I want to have some examples. So now I'm going to publish, I get the check here and publish. So let's see what this looks like now. All right, so here's my featured image that showed up my author, the date of the texts that I had in here, another image, and here it shows me the tags that I used. So now I've added a couple of more posts for us to play with. And if you go to posts, it'll list them all. If you click on quick edit, you can make simple quick edits to things like the categories and tags. So for example, this one I've accidentally left uncategorized and I didn't put any tags, so I can add some tags and I can do this in bulk as well if I want to add tags to a of couple at the same time, Let's wine as well. I'm going to change the category and I'm going to update that. And this one as in fact, I will update both of them and show you what that looks like. Kid friendly, maybe a couple of other update, right? So now that I have a couple more blog posts, I'm going to show you different ways that you can display your content before I hop to you, the next step I'm going to show you here under posts you have categories and tags, so you can go in and control your categories over here, so I can add one that's called salad. Now for SEO purposes and more on that in lesson 7, I would recommend adding a description here just so that you can tell Google what this content is about. So salads, you could write a little description and the same thing for your other categories. You could potentially nest your categories. So if you wanted to have deserts and then have sort of cakes, pies, and ice cream recipes all under that desert category. You could do that as well. For tags, you can also control them down here. And you can sort of see if you have any duplicates. You can see how many times it's being used and you can add a description as well. Right, so now that we have some content here to play with, Let's go back to our Dashboard and let's go to our customizer again. So this is just an example of what happens when you have blogposts to work with. If you search your content, you'll be able to find these and your archive will show them by month and date. Now, let's say that we wanted to add a navigation to the top that would only show our salad recipes. Here we go to menus. I'm going to create a new menu and call this the Fed main menu. And I only have one menu location in his theme. Sometimes you have a main menu and then they offer you the option to put it in the footer. And you maybe have a social menu somewhere. But in this case we have one menu to work with and it goes here. So this makes it easy. Alright, so let's add some items. So in terms of pages, I don't have much to work with, but in the future, if I were to have a About Us page or contact us page, that's where I would put it. In fact, here I have a little shortcut so I can go ahead and add those already. So about and contact and maybe partnerships. So here we have some of these pages. Now, I want to showcase my actual content and I want to make it easy to navigate. So I'm going to start. Breaking it down already, if I wanted to, I could put each individual posts, but that doesn't make a lot of sense. And I could organize them by categories which does make more sense. So let's say I added the categories themselves that way they show up here. I could also make this a little bit more organized. If I had subcategories, I could nest them. So that way breakfast, if I hover over it, all the subcategories could show up or custom pages that I am interested in displaying. Same thing for pages. If I'm trying to keep my menu tidy, I could hide the contact underneath about, and I could hide partnerships under there as well. You can go up to three levels too, if you wanted to make that very organized. But I want to make these pages accessible so I will put them on the first level. You can also add tags. So if I wanted to link to all the posts that you use this tag, I could do that. So I'm going to show you really quickly what this looks like. So here I have some pages, here I have my category. And if I click on this, it will show me all of the blog posts that are in the category breakfast. I can create other menus as well. And I will go ahead and create, and I'm going to go ahead and create a sample menu that I will use leader in widgets, and I'll show you how that's done. I'm going to call this menu Carlos seasonal favorites. And in here, I'm actually going to add specific posts for this menu. Now I'm not going to put it in my header menu because I already have a menu here, but I am going to use it later. So I'm going to save this and then I'm going to go back to my widgets. And here in my primary section, I'm going to add a widget called menu. And I'm going to select my new menu. Now this is giving me a little bit of a funny response because it's an apostrophe, but don't worry about it, it's going to show up just fine. So now I have this menu that's being displayed in my widget. And you can switch this up and put anything you want. You can put pages. If you were selling things, you could put links to the things you're selling. You can use this widget and this menu combination to do whatever you want. And I can even put it in my footer if I wanted to as well. And so here now we have this down here. So notice how when I go to a single page, these widgets follow me around. These really are things that display sitewide. So keep that in mind. One thing that I feel is missing in my sidebar is actually an introduction to the owner of the blog. I find that because blogs are so driven by the author and the author's personality and persona. This is a prime space to showcase who that is and have the reader connect with the author in that way. Here now we have kind of a face to this blog. We're going to add a title. And I'm going to link this to actually to the About page because I think that is relevant. Now I want to add some text, and so I'm going to add that as a caption. Right? So now there's a little bit more of a personality to this blog. So now I want to show you what you can do on some of these pages. So if I go to the about page, this doesn't really have anything on it yet. And just like with posts, you can use this block editor to add all sorts of content from paragraphs, two quotes, two images to embedding videos. So some of my favorites here that I want to share, our cover image. This just gives you a really beautiful, let me use something. Yes, something like this. A really a beautiful display. So you could do something like this with text over top. And so we went through some of the things you could do in the page wide settings, but each block also has its own settings. So you could set this as a fixed background so it moves, so it doesn't move with your scrolling. You can control the minimum height of this cover and you can also choose the color gradient and the opacity levels. So this is a really lovely way to kind of break up a page and to add some anchoring. And you can even make it full width so it spans the entire page. And I just loved this one. I think it looks so stylish. Then another one of my favorite is the column feature, which doesn't sound that exciting, but it does help you organize your content quite a bit. So I'm gonna go ahead and add two columns. And in here, that's where you can control how your content is framed and displayed. So I find it very useful for that purpose, I'm going to use a different photo here and here I'm going to add a heading. And I'm going to make this a heading 3. And then you can add more blocks below. So here maybe I add bullet list or I had, let's say that I did have a downloadable. You can make it downloadable, which I think is very fun. I can embed a video if I do YouTube or anything like that. And I can also use buttons to link people to other content. View all breakfast recipes. And then I could link it to categories, for example, my breakfast category. So here it shows me options and I can click on breakfast, and that will take me to all breakfast recipes. This is just an example of really fun ways to connect your reader to more content on your website so they can really engage with your website and read more. Now that we have more blog posts to work with, I can show you, I can show you another block which allows you to pull in different contents. So latest posts is one. And so if I have it here, I will move it down and I would, let's align its center. So here I have the latest blog posts and I can also showcase them in different ways. So just like with our other blocks, there are some options that show up on this side here. So here I can organize which categories I want to display. So I only show those. I can have more options or fewer options. I can limit them to fewer columns as well. And I can show the display the image so that it shows up. And I can also show the full content if I wanted to have it on there. Personally like this, I would recommend adding a heading right above it. With something like read more. With buttons. You also get some more options here and you can customize the size and the color settings, which is really fun. In fact, you can change the color settings on a lot of the different content blocks to draw attention to it or to make it stand out depending on the content that you're showcasing. So I like to use this also to break up some of the different ways to display text. And what's helpful is that you'll get a warning if you maybe don't have a high enough contrast. And this might help you make some better decisions. One other thing you can do with blocks is to save them. So if I have created a special combination of blocks that I'm really enjoying and I want to display that on more than one page. Or if I have a template, like if I have a recipe template that I've created, I can group them together. So this becomes one type of block. And I can also add two reusable blocks. So I could call this my recipe reusable block. And that way every time I create a new page, the new recipe, I can just go ahead and pull that in and work from that. So now if I try and add one and I go to reusable, now my recipe block will be there and I can just pop it in here. You may have noticed patterns here and patterns are reusable sections that come with your theme. So some themes will have some patterns are already available. So you can go ahead and combine them with the ones that you've built yourself. Now I did do this on an About page which doesn't make much sense, but I just wanted to show you some more of the capabilities of the block editor and you can do all of this in your post as well. So as a blog owner, there are some settings I want to draw your attention to. One of which is discussion. And so as you start building your community, it's your choice how you want to manage comments. So some people may want to restrict commenting to people who create an account. Or you might want to hold comments for moderation. You can also add some words or addresses to a block list which will hold these comments from moderation because there'll be flagged as suspicious or spammy. And that can help if you keep getting comments from Russian websites and things that don't make much sense with your community. You can put some of those IP addresses or URLs right in here so that they get held for moderation. You can also set some limits for your media settings. And lastly here some permanent structures. And I always recommend sticking to the simplest one. And I will explain why when we get to our SEO course. In your media section here, I did not go over this in great detail, but this is where you have your media that includes your photos as well as any PDFs or images that you upload to your site. There are still so many features we can add to this blog, but I will leave that for the next lesson where we talk about plug-ins. And I will show you what you can add using the jetpack and Yoast SEO plugins on your WordPress website. 6. Intro to Plugins and 3rd Party Services: Hi and welcome back. In this lesson, I'll cover the basics of plugins and show you how to install two of my favorites that I think will really enhance your site. First, what exactly is a plugins? Well, it's a lot like a phone app that gives your phone more functionality than what it came with when you first bought it. For presses like your phone's operating system, which comes with some apps, or in this case, features built-in. And suddenly you'll need a third party software to get the version of WordPress without any additional plugins is called WordPress core. Wordpress core is updated a few times a year and each release comes with new features and enhancement. Like apps, plugins can be free, paid, or on a subscription model. Some plugins are created by plugging companies who create and maintain the software as their business. And other plugins are created by freelance developers, just trying to share their code with others who might benefit from it. In any case, if you have something you need to do, chances are there's a plug-in for it. To search the official WordPress plugin repository, click on Plugins and Add. But not all plugins are created equal. So here are a few tips when picking plugins. For a plugin to be featured on the plugin repository, they have to meet certain requirements. So already you can feel more confident about picking a plug-in in there. What I look for when choosing a plug-in are the stars, active installs and how recently the plugin was updated. So I can tell if it's being actively maintain. Two of my recommended plug-ins for new WordPress sites are jetpack and Yoast SEO. Both of these have free and paid versions. So I'll show you how to use the free ones and how to install them. And you can decide to upgrade later if you feel the need as your site grows. Let's start with jetpack. Alright, so the next thing I wanna do is to go ahead and install the jetpack plugin. So I click on Plugins, Add New, and this takes me to the repository. So right now, jetpack is already showing up as one of the most popular one. So I'm gonna go ahead and install it on my site. Okay, going to activate it. Now as you can see, adding jetpack has given me a whole new set of features in my sidebar. And so if I go to settings, that takes me to the jetpack settings page now, I want to draw your attention to this. I'm currently an offline mode for this demo. I am building websites and I haven't launched them to the world wide web. So some of the jetpack features will not work because this website is offline and some of them will work because there is a paid version of jetpack and I'm using the free version, so some of the upgraded features will be grayed out for that reason. But I'm going to go all the way down to the bottom and click on Modules. Because I want to activate some of the features that are made available in jetpacks. So these are the ones that aren't available to me because of either being an offline mode or not having the upgraded version. But these are in and of themselves pretty useful. So I'm going to do this one, this one, this one. Custom content types, extra sidebar widgets, infinite scroll, lazy images, sharing short code embeds, sitemaps and widget visibility tiled galleries too. So these are the ones that I'm going to activate. So now if I go to the dashboard for jetpack, when I make my site available, the site stats are going to populate and I'll be able to see how many people are visiting my site and what they're clicking on. Site stats for jetpack might not be as accurate as Google Analytics for example. And neither of those are as accurate as your web hosting stats. So, you know, between Google Analytics jetpack site's Stats and your web host account stats, you'll be able to get a clearer picture of the traffic to your website. Jetpack also includes some scanning and some website health features and performance as well. So image accelerator allows you to have your images load more quickly. If I go to writing, this gives you a couple of more options for creating your blog posts. This enable the option to copy entire posts can be extremely helpful if you are adding recipe after a recipe or blog posts and pages that really mirror each other and have very similar structures and layouts. You can go ahead and copy an entire post and then edit it from there. This is a huge time-saver sharing. We'll add some share buttons to the bottom of your blog post. And this is really useful if you're trying to build a following and get people engaging and sharing your content. So I recommend adding these to all of your posts, maybe even your pages, but that's up to you. And you can change the look of this as well. Or to be my favorite was his text and icon. To save these. And I'll go back to. And you can also turn on the like button. And traffic once your website is launched, will allow you to customize the related posts, which I do recommend turning on. Related posts will take your tags and categories, and it will select specific blog posts to show at the bottom of a page. So that was when someone gets to the bottom and they've read your post, they can see the ones that are automatically recommended and continue clicking and reading those. So if we go to one of our posts, I will show you some of the features that jetpack ads. So here if I click on the block editor, all of a sudden you're going to start seeing these green blocks and these are all ones that have been added by jetpack. And you can go to the bottom and they'll all be organized together. So some of these are more tailored to businesses. Some are great for bloggers and some artists general website features that can be really useful for anyone. So take a look around at these, play around with them. I find that they can be really fun and add some really neat features to your blog. I like for bloggers include the newsletter sign-up and the contact form, as well as the Facebook embed and the Pinterest embed, four pages, you also have some more options. So actually I'm going to go and test this contact form. And here you have a couple of different options. Contact form, newsletter sign-up, registration form, appointment feedback. There's really tons of options. So contact form, really it shows you kind of a generic one, but you can change the settings here. You can add questions, make things required or not required. And you can customize where this email gets sent to and when that form is filled out, all entries will show up under feedback. So this is where they're going to show up when people fill out your online form. Another thing that jetpack does is give you more options for widget visibility. So if I go into my customizer and I open up my widgets, here in the different widgets sections, there's, there's a new button called visibility. Now this is a really interesting if you have a lot of categories and you have a lot of blog posts, and you want the sidebar to be customized per blog post, per category, per tag, you can do that. And so what I recommend is, you know, if you have all of your breakfast blog posts displaying, maybe you want to customize some of these widgets to only show up for a breakfast blog post. So, so by doing this, you can just say show this widget, recent posts for example. And I click on visibility. I'll say show this if category is breakfasts and plus, if the tag is vegetarian. And so you can make it an or statement or an and statement. And this really customizes which widgets show up. So you could technically design a completely different sidebar for every single different category or tag, or down to the different role or date or page. So another application of this is if you wanted a specific type of sidebar for posts and a different one for your pages. So it's possible that on your pages, you don't want any sidebar. And so you could set it to hide all widgets if it is a page. And that way you can have a really clean looking blog for all pages. And a sidebar would only show up for your blogs. So that is one way to use the visibility tool. So because we set up our sharing, this is what they look like. And we've turned on comments so people can comment here. And how do we turned on related posts? They would also show up here below. Jetpack has also given me a couple of more options here in my customizer. So you'll notice that content options shows up. And I can choose a couple of more display settings like I want my featured images to show up. I want to show categories and tags or to hide them. And I can also manage featured content. So this is interesting because if you have certain blog posts that you want to show more prominently, you can add a tag that you will use throughout those blog posts. So they recommend using featured. And then every time you add that tag to that blog post, you can then choose to display all featured posts in different ways. So that is another thing to control your blog posts. By default, WordPress will generate sitemaps for you. But you can also turn them on and off here in jetpack. And you can also manage your site verification with Google or other search engines and Pinterest. This is also something you can do with Yoast SEO, which I will get to you next. Although jetpack does have some search engine optimization or SEO features, the gold standard for WordPress SEO plugins is Yoast. It has tools that allow you to prepare your website for search engines to index and rank your content so people can find it. It also has great tools for individual posts and pages. So you're really optimizing each piece of content for search engines. If I can go back in time and give myself one piece of advice as a website owner, it would be to really put in the extra love and attention to each post and page to optimize it to the max for search engine visibility. So now that I have Yoast installed, I can go to this whole new setting that I have down here called a CEO. And First, one thing I want to do is setup my Webmaster Tools verification so you can get this from your Google search console. And I do recommend signing up for Google Analytics, google Search Console and organizing all of your Google services under one account. This will just make it easier for you as a website owner to benefit from all of Google's tools. Search appearance allows you to control sitewide how your website shows up in search engines. So you can modify your meta-description, your SEO title for your homepage, and you can set an image as well so that when people see your website pop up in a search engine results page, you know, you can entice them with a really great meta-description and a really great photo. You can also set some other meta-description and metadata defaults for your website throughout. And you can decide whether or not your media attachment URL show up in Google searches and more in social. You can also hook up your profiles and set some general settings for your website, PR, social media platform. I recommend setting up your Pinterest account if you don't already have one or connecting the one that you do have. Because in my experience, pinterest is a huge platform for bloggers and a great source of traffic for your website. Beyond the general settings, something you'll notice is that in each of your posts and any new posts that you create, you'll have this new section below all for Yoast SEO. So what this does is it gives you some tips and some ways to make sure that your blog post is as findable as possible on social media. So what this does is it gives you some tools to make your blog posts as visible as possible in search engines. So one of those is to set your focus key phrase. So for example, if this blog post is all about healthy French toast recipe, then I'm going to have content in my page that really speaks about this topic. And I'm going to evaluate my websites search engine optimization with this focused key phrase in mind. So it's going to give me some recommendations. And because I don't have anything in this page, I have lots of work to do. And so Yoast is gonna give me all of the recommendations that it suggests so that this blog post will rank when someone Googles healthy French toast recipe. One of those is to write more content. Use images that have an alt tag that use that key phrase to add a meta description and we're using that key phrase to add it in the slug of my URL, and much, much more. Another thing that Yoast we'll do is to give you some readability tips. Google will look at your use of keywords to try and understand what your pages about, but also generally evaluate your website's content quality using some of these criteria. So what Yoast is just doing is, is letting you know that maybe you're not up to par with what Google would consider top quality content. Ideally, you would get two Smiley faces here. But sometimes not every blog post is written for SEO in mind. Sometimes you have a blog post about something very personal and you don't care if it ranks or not. So I would say aim for two Smiley faces but don't get too caught up in it. Here you can control how your page or post fits into the structure of your website. And if you have some T pages that you want. To show up in search results, you can use any of these to identify it. And social allows you to control how this page or post will look when it's shared across social media. So for Twitter and Facebook, you can customize it if you want a different description and featured image for either of these platforms, I will share more information on why do these different search engine optimizations. In the next lesson on SEO, you'll also notice that there's a couple new blocks that have been added to your block section that are coming in from Yoast. And so those ones are a how-to FAQ and breadcrumb block, which will allow you to structure your content a little bit and I recommend using them. If you're curious about how to really optimize your site for search engines, you're in luck. That's what we'll talk about in the next video. One thing that I feel is missing in my sidebar is actually an introduction to the owner of the blog. I find that because blogs are so driven by the author and the author's personality and persona. This is a prime space to showcase who that is and have the reader connect with the author in that way. Here now we have kind of a face to this blog. I'm going to add a title. And I'm going to link this to actually to the About page because I think that is relevant. Now I want to add some text, and so I'm going to add that as a caption. Right? So now there's a little bit more of a personality to this blog. So now I want to show you what you can do on some of these pages. So if I go to the about page, this doesn't really have anything on it yet. And just like with posts, you can use this block editor to add all sorts of content from paragraphs, two quotes, two images to embedding videos. So some of my favorites here that I want to share, our cover image. This just gives you a really beautiful me something. Yes, something like this. I really a beautiful display. So you could do something like this with text over top. And so we went through some of the things you could do in the page wide settings, but each block also has its own settings. So you could set this as a fixed background so it moves, so it doesn't move with your scrolling. You can control the minimum height of this cover and you can also choose the color gradient and the opacity levels. So this is a really lovely way to kind of break up a page and to add some anchoring. And you can even make it full width so it spans the entire page. And I just loved this one. I think it looks so stylish. Then another one of my favorite is the column feature, which doesn't sound that exciting, but it does help you organize your content quite a bit. So I'm gonna go ahead and add two columns. And in here, that's where you can control how your content is framed and displayed. So I find it very useful for that purpose, I'm going to use a different photo here and here I'm going to add a heading. And I'm going to make this a heading 3. And then you can add more blocks below. So here maybe I add bullet list or I had, let's say that I did have a downloadable. You can make it downloadable, which I think is very fun. I can embed a video if I do YouTube or anything like that. And I can also use buttons to link people to other content. View all breakfast recipes. And then I could link it to categories, for example, my breakfast category. So here it shows me options and I can click on breakfast, and that will take me to all breakfast recipes. This is just an example of really fun ways to connect your reader to more content on your website so they can really engage with your website and read more. Now that we have more blog posts to work with, I can show you, I can show you another block which allows you to pull in different contents. So latest posts is one. And so if I have it here, I will move it down and I would, let's align it center. So here I have the latest blog posts and I can also showcase them in different ways. So just like with our other blocks, there are some options that show up on this side here. So here I can organize which categories I want to display. So I only show those. I can have more options or fewer options. I can limit them to fewer columns as well. And I can show the display the image so that it shows up. And I can also show the full content if I wanted to have it on there. Personally like this, I would recommend adding a heading right above it. With something like read more. With buttons. You also get some more options here and you can customize the size and the color settings, which is really fun. In fact, you can change the color settings on a lot of the different content blocks to draw attention to it or to make it stand out depending on the content that you're showcasing. So I like to use this also to break up some of the different ways to display text. And what's helpful is that you'll get a warning if you maybe don't have a high enough contrast. And this might help you make some better decisions. When other thing you can do with blocks is to save them. So if I have created a special combination of blocks that I'm really enjoying and I want to display that on more than one page. Or if I have a template, like if I have a recipe template that I've created, I can group them together. So this becomes one type of block. And I can also add two reusable blocks. So I could call this my recipe reusable block. And that way every time I create a new page, the new recipe, I can just go ahead and pull that in and work from that. So now if I try and add one and I go to reusable, now my recipe block will be there and I can just pop it in here. You may have noticed patterns here and patterns are reusable sections that come with your theme. So some themes will have some patterns already available. So you can go ahead and combine them with the ones that you've built yourself. Now I did do this on an About page which doesn't make much sense, but I just wanted to show you some more of the capabilities of the block editor and you can do all of this in your post as well. 7. Intro to Search Engine Optimization: Hi and welcome to lesson 7. In this lesson, I'll share the foundations of SEO or search engine optimization. Seo is a variety of practices, both on your site and off-site, that increased the chances people will land on your site through a Google or other search engine query. There's so much to say about search engine optimization. And if you want to gain traction and visibility on the Internet, it's crucial no matter what kind of website you run. Let's start with overall website health. One of the top metrics Google looks for when ranking websites is PageSpeed. They now have visiting a slow website is a painful experience. We'll demote sites that make visitors wait. Make sure you are hosted with a fast web hosts and that you're not doing things that can slow down your site. This includes hosting large files on your site. I recommend hosting videos on other platforms and embedding them on your site. And always, always compressed and reduce the size of your photos before uploading them to your site. Huge photos are often unnecessary anyways, and imagine you're poor end user visiting your site on their phones. Not only will it take awhile to load, it may also eat up all their cell data. The second thing to check is your site settings. You want to make sure that your site is indexed and that Google can access your sitemap. The Yoast SEO plug-in can help control those settings. By setting the metadata on your site, you can communicate to people scrolling through a search engine results page, what your pages about and entice them to click on it. You can also control your URL parameters, and I recommend using this simplest form available. When creating a page. Here are some things to look out for it to really optimize your page. First. And this goes for posts and pages alike. You'll want to narrow in on some keywords that will be effective and representing your content and matching up with users search queries. Let's say for example, that you run a blog about biking in Montreal. Maybe you cover bike paths. You blog about scenic bike routes, cyclists, bylaw updates and reviewing thank shops. Your blog keywords might include cycling, biking in Montreal and bike paths. And you'll want to make sure that those appear in your metadata throughout your site. For specific blog posts, you'll want to zoom in on key words specific to that blog post content like best 10-K. bike rides in Montreal and CMYK bike paths. You can research keywords using special tools like SEM rush, even just by Googling and seeing what the top suggestions are. The balances to find keywords and key phrases that have a high search volume, meaning lots of people are looking for those words. And a low competition, meaning not many blogs are a ranking for those searches. You may not find a balance on both of these parameters for every post, but it can help to break out in a specific niche. So with your keywords in mind, you can start writing the content of your poster page. With Yoast, you'll get writing recommendations like writing a minimum of 400 words, keeping the active voice, breaking up your content with headers and using your keywords throughout the text. Make sure you place an extra importance on using keywords in your title and paragraph headers on the web. These are referred to as H1, H2, and H3. Your images can also be optimized for search engines. First, make sure that they are too big when uploaded and make sure the filename reflects the content. You should also make sure you have image alt tags which you can add in WordPress. These given extra description to your images that Google can read an index Google image searches, and also make the description available to screen readers and other accessibility tools for assisted web browsing. On that note, if you're tempted to make all your website content beautifully laid out in image files. Don't do this. Keep that content as additional resources and for Pinterest only, and make sure that the main content of your page is text or else you'll lose all that searchability. At the bottom of your post. Yoast will give you additional tools for your post to maximize its reach. In your post, you'll want to make sure you're linking to other posts from your own blog, as well as reputable resources on other websites and blogs. The reason is that building that network of backlinks with websites with high domain authority, meaning of good reputation in Google's eyes, will boost your own site to what's even better is that other high-ranking websites link to you as well. This backlink strategy is really powerful, which is why blog owners will often hire third-party services to reach out to get links to their site added to other blogs. As a blog owner, I get about one email like this a day. It might be worth your time to do some of this outreach to if you really want to boost your Google rankings quickly. Remember that website traffic doesn't happen overnight, but there are some things that you can do to speed up your blog discoverability. Start by sharing your blog on social media if you already have friends and followers there. And this is the best way to get more eyeballs on your contents. Building Pinterest into your blogging strategy is also a great way to drive traffic. In fact, Pinterest is the second biggest source of traffic to my travel blog. Experiment with joining Facebook groups that allow content sharing and other forums where you can plug your content too. With things like jetpack stats. You can track which blog posts are the most popular and build off of what's working to keep producing great content that people want to read. One final piece of advice, don't get too caught up in SEO to the point of zapping all the joy out of your blog. Remember the reason why you started blogging in the first place and never lose sight of that. 8. Website Maintenance: Now that you have a website, you may think you can just set it and forget it. No, no, no, no, no. Your website is like a plant. You need to water it, give it sunlight, prune, protect it from bugs, and report it from time to time. The first thing is always keeping your version of WordPress up-to-date. You can check on this and automate it for your dashboard. And you can do the same for plugins when they have updates. If ever you have issues with your website after an update, the first thing I always do is deactivate plugins one-by-one to see if one of them may be causing an issue. If you have plugins and themes you're not using, remove them from your site. And if you have users on your site who aren't active, removed their user accounts. Backups are another very important part of maintaining a website. Make sure your hosting provider is failing backups of your website or that you have a plugin doing it. The last thing you want is to lose all your hard work. Keep your website in hosting account secure with a strong password and two-factor authentication where available, and don't install anything you're not confident in. You can also run regular speed tests on your site to check the health of your site. If your website is super slow, you may want to compress some of your images, for example. You can also regularly check the health of your content by running a broken link scanner and broken page scanner. Cleaning up old content is a great way to maintain your site, but also to keep on Google's good side. And lastly, don't let your accounts expire. I've helped so many people who've gotten confused about their hosting and domain and WordPress logins at which services they have active wear. And they've accidentally let their accounts expire because of a failed payments. In summary, keep your software up to date, have secure password, and set aside time to do health checks on your website and you should be on track. 9. Monetizing Your Blog: Now that you have a blog, you might be wondering if there's anything that you can do to fast-track making money from it. In reality, I can't give you any silver bullets to making a ton of money from your blog because the truth is high-quality, relevant, and consistent content is the best thing to build your online presence. And everything else will come with consistent traffic. What I can give you is a few tips on what to do to look as professional as possible for potential brand partnerships. And also what you can do to start making some money even with modest traffic through affiliate advertising. The first thing, as I mentioned, is really to make sure you're putting content out there. That's a value. That means that answers questions people have is optimized for search engines, is well-written and organized and has high-quality images. Then it's all about sharing your content as widely as possible. Putting together a media kit is a great way to attract potential partners to look professional and also make it easy to reach out to partners you'd like to work with and not have to write out your stats every single time. Make sure to include your bio, demographic stats, your reach, and examples of past collaboration's. Once you have a few, then list your packages and your prices. You can also start making money pretty easily with affiliate marketing program. You may already be part of some referral programs like give $10, get 10 dollar type referrals. And affiliate marketing is similar, although you get paid an actual cash rather than store credit. Amazon affiliates is the easiest one to get started with. And then you can join other networks and apply for specific retailers. Or you can make a list of brands you really love and go looking on their sites to join their affiliate programs. Once accepted into these programs, you'll gain access to their dashboard. You'll be able to get custom links and ads that you can then add to your website. When you first get started, you may be contacted by brands offering you free products in exchange for exposure. And that can be really fun. Even some of the non-monetary perks of blogging, like Blogger event invitation, a really fun perks to having a blog. Eventually, you'll probably be able to charge quite a bit for this promotion on top of receiving the product. But even a 1000 website view the month and 1000 followers on Instagram is an audience that can't be monetized, especially if they are super engaged and commenting frequently on your blogs and your Instagram posts, just remember to always be transparent and published disclaimers about affiliate links, ads, paid posts, and gifted item. So you're compliant with the FTC rules. Good luck and have fun. 10. Resources: Congratulations on completing this course. If you're not absolutely ready to share your website with the world yet, that's totally normal. Take your time reviewing each section and referring back to the content as you complete each step. There's still lots to learn about website creation. So I've left a few resources below to guide your next steps. If you enjoyed this course, please leave a review. I'd love to know how you did and to see your site. Take care. And thanks again for joining me on this journey.