Whether you’re a small business owner who wants to maintain your website in-house or a budding literature review writer, a WordPress blog is a great tool for promotional purposes. But if you’ve never maintained a WordPress website on your own, you may find it challenging. Fortunately, WordPress makes it relatively easy to maintain a website and accompanying blog once you understand the layout and functionalities.
Ready to learn how to maintain your own WordPress blog? Let’s dive in!
Create a WordPress Child Theme
After getting your domain name and signing up for WordPress, one of the first actions you need to take is setting up a WordPress child theme. A child theme is a website theme that modifies an existing theme, called a parent theme. The child theme uses from functionality and style of the parent theme but tweaks it in some ways. Benefits of using a child theme include:
- Maintaining modifications if the parent theme is updated
- Speed up development time
- Extend functionality of website
If you’re not tech-savvy or don’t have the time, you can pay someone to create a WordPress child theme or buy one that’s already made.
In order to access the backend of your WordPress website, you’ll need a login and username. But know that this is not enough to protect your website, so you’ll need to implement additional security measures. These measures can include:
- Locking users out after multiple failed attempts;
- Requiring two types of login credentials, such as a username and password and then a secret code;
- Regularly changing your website’s login passwords and ensuring they are strong;
- Updating your WordPress, themes, and plugins as newer versions become available; and
- Limiting who has access to your website.
You’ll also want to make sure that you’re regularly backing up your website and all content. Should anything happen, you can quickly restore it with limited stress. If you don’t back up your website, you’ll have to start all over!
Optimize Page Load Speeds
You want people to be able to read your blog, and to do that they must be able to access your site. Slow load times can make them frustrated and close out of your site entirely and result in a waste of your search engine optimization efforts. Avoid this problem by optimizing your page load time.
There are many reasons your website can be slow, from a poor server to large images sizes or bad code. First, check your page load times using a tool like Google’s PageSpeed Insights. This online tool will give you an idea of how quickly your website loads on both desktop and mobile devices as well as offer suggestions for steps you can take to fix your load speed times.
Some other items to take into consideration:
- Choose plugins carefully, as poorly coded ones can significantly slow down your website.
- Your server can affect your page load times. If you are renting server space, the best you can do is choose a different provider.
- Optimize your images by reducing their size through proper formatting and compression.
- Leverage browser caching, which makes the browser load downloaded resources from a local disk versus the network.
Check for Broken Links
As you continue to maintain your WordPress blog, it’s important to go back and check for broken links. Broken links are those that do not load the intended page, either showing a 404 Error Page or linking users back to the homepage.
Once you create pages or post blogs, it’s important to not go back and change the names of these URLs, as this can result in a broken link. Make sure that your URLs are short and without stop words (to, the, and) prior to publishing a page. If need be, you can always do a 301 redirect the sending user to the new URL, but redirects can slow down your page loading speed.
In other instances, you may have externally linked to an online source that is no longer available, so be sure to remove this link entirely.
Have an SEO Strategy
A search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is important when it comes to publishing your content online. You want your content to be found and read, and a good SEO strategy can help lead people to your website. Moz, a leader in SEO, offers 8 steps to create your ideal SEO strategy. In sum, your SEO strategy is determined by:
- Defining your target audience by understanding who they are and what needs they have
- Conduct keyword research that drives people to your website
- Prioritizing content that best meets audience needs
- Understanding your main competitors and learning from their mistakes
- Frequently posting new content to your website
SEO can be difficult to master, but even a foundational understanding and implementation of best SEO practices will put you on the right path.
Your audience will visit your website because you have something of value to offer: Your content. Keep them coming back by posting content regularly. Since you’re maintaining this blog on your own, it might be challenging to curate as much content as someone who has a team of writers. A good rule of thumb is to try posting at least once a week on the same day. Let your audience know when they can expect new content (such as every Wednesday at 10 AM CST).
When it comes to maintaining a blog, one of the most helpful tools is a content schedule because it keeps you on track and let you know what you need to post ahead of time. This schedule can be as broad or as detailed as needed, going as in-depth as breaking down what you’ll post by the minute.
For maintaining a blog, a yearly calendar can help. Take a look at upcoming events and holidays that relate to your audience and craft content around them. You can also have “theme” months where your posts focus on one subject or topic.
Maintaining your own WordPress blog is a great promotional tool and offers your audience (including current and potential customers, clients, and readers) something of value. It will also help establish you as a thought leader in your area of expertize. Time to get blogging!
Chris Hickman is the Founder and CEO at Adficient with 15 years of experience in search marketing and conversion optimization. Since 2006, he founded GetBackonGoogle.com, helping businesses and websites suspended in Adwords to Get Back on Google