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You have created your very first WordPress website. Taking your first page, your home page, we are going to dress it up and make it presentable for human consumption. We are also going to work on, on and off page search engine optimization so that more people find out about your WordPress page and site. Before we begin, we need to make sure that your WordPress page looks the part. For that, we are going to change the default theme.
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We should define WordPress for those who remain unfamiliar with the popular blogging software. WordPress is known as a Content Management System or CMS. It was originally designed to allow anyone, with little technical experience or knowledge, publish their very own blog online. Soon, major corporations, small to medium sized businesses and even hobbyists found out that you could start a website in just a few minutes with WordPress and the CMS took off in popularity.
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When you install WordPress on your hosting account and point your domain to it, you will have a ready-to-go web presence that is as customizable as you want it to be.
Choose Your Template
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Speaking of customization, one of the beautiful aspects of WordPress is that you can choose it to look however you want. You can either design a WordPress template on your own or you can choose one of the free or paid versions online. The template you choose should have the looks and complete functionality all in one. Your header should be prominent and should include your business and/or website name, and the colors should jive with the overall look and feel you’re aiming for.
To install your template, go into your WordPress dashboard and select appearance and then themes. Find the section where you’re allowed to upload your theme and then install it. You will notice that the theme comes with functionality built in, or at least it should. You may have extra settings that come with the template, such as variable colors, images and more.
To make your WordPress page even more customizable, we are going to use Plugins and Widgets.
Thanks to plugins, we can make WordPress do pretty much whatever we want. Simply go to the plugins section in your dashboard and start searching for relevant plugins you might be interested in. Do you want to add a photo album to your WordPress template? There’s a plugin for that. Do you want to make SEO super easy? Just find the proper plugin. There are plugins for all sorts of uses. Use the rating system to find the plugin that other users find the most useful and start dressing your WordPress page up.
A Word On Plugin Overload
Keep in mind that the more plugins you use, the longer it may take your WordPress page to load when someone pulls it up in their browser. Find the most useful plugins, keep them to about three or four and you should be fine.
Once your plugins are installed and you’ve gone into each setup to optimize it for your WordPress template, you will want to take a look at your site’s widgets. Find the widgets section in your dashboard and go to that page now.
You will notice that your WordPress template already has spots where you can add widgets. These may be on your sidebars, your footer or anywhere else on your site. You can then drag and drop widgets into the various places on your site. You can add a piece of code that might hold an opt-in box, you can add a calendar, a list of your most popular blog entries, a list of links to your various site’s pages and anything else you want.
Don’t make your page too busy and don’t add too many things just to add them. Instead, make your site relevant and useful for your visitors using only as many widgets as you need to.
Now we are going to work on making sure your page is optimized for the search engines. It is recommended that you find a good SEO plugin for your site. Headspace is a good one, but choose one that you like. This will allow you to easily input your Title Tags and Meta Data for every page and blog entry. Next, you will want to make sure that the URLs for each page include the title and the date. You can find this option in your WordPress template settings.
It is also recommended that you find plugins that allow you to post your Social Network posts, such as Facebook and Twitter. By placing social icons and your most recent posts, you will create a marketing web that connects all of your various marketing campaigns together. This essentially helps you with off-site or off-Page SEO without really having to do much work.
Now you see just how customizable and useful a WordPress page can be. You also know exactly how to make your page work for you and your business. Now all you have to do is choose your WordPress template, your various plugins and widgets and you’ll have a page that’s ready to receive tons of hungry online visitors.