Now That You’ve Got Your New Site, What’s Next?
This post is specifically for clients of ClickNathan.com and will be of little to no relevance to anyone else. Not a client, maybe you should be?
Firstly, thanks for being a client! By working with me, you’ve guaranteed yourself a zippy site that has the potential to do wonderfully with search engines, social networks and real live humans alike! So what’s next?
Well, there are several steps you can take to make sure your site will simply rock the web. Feel free to do as little or as much of this as you’d like, but I certainly recommend that you put the same amount of time into your new site moving forward as you have up to this point.
1. Double Check Your Theme Settings
You may notice while snooping around WordPress that your site’s theme goes by the name of Yeast. All that means is that I’ve built your site on a framework I created after nearly fifteen years of experience building the web. You can think of it like a mixing bowl where I already have the main ingredients sitting in the bowl, and then I go in and hand knead them together and bake it up specifically to your site’s particular needs. It is not a third party theme or anything of the sort, just a way for me to make sure I have the leanest code available to start with, improve on it every time I create a new site, and have a reference point to come back in and make a few updates now and then if necessary.
Part of what I’ve created with Yeast gives you control over how your site interacts with three social networks: Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.
Login to WordPress and go to Settings > Theme Settings. Chances are I’ll have already set this up for you, but if you didn’t have all of the information ready when we transferred the site or need to update it, this is where you’ll do that. Everything on this page comes with inline documentation, but feel free to read through the full guide.
2. Get Setup in Google Webmaster Tools
Next, you can login to Webmaster Tools with any Google account (aka, Gmail, Google+, etc.) and watch their intro video to see how and why to use webmaster tools.
Note that your sitemap is located at http://yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml where you replace “yourwebsite.com” with your actual website’s address.
You can then add me as a user (be sure to use my @gmail.com address) if you’d like me to go in and have a look at anything in particular!
3. Check Google Analytics
You’ll probably want to give your site a month or so before you do this, but after that time period go ahead and log into Google Analytics and start getting familiar with how that all works. There is a lot of data in there, so it can be a bit overwhelming at first, but play around, get comfortable with it all, and watch your numbers grow.
4. Tell Your Friends and the Rest of the World!
Don’t forget to spread the word on whatever social media networks you might participate in, any relevant e-newsletters you manage, or just tell a few of your friends via email or over a few drinks. The more people who know about your site, the more likely they’ll be to share it with their networks, and so begins the domino effect!
5. Setup Twitter Cards
I’ve installed code on your site to help make the most of Twitter. When people share your site’s pages, that code will tell Twitter “show some additional information”. So the typical 140 character tweet can be expanded with an image and a snippet of text from your site. The associated image will appear if you’ve given a Post or a Page a Featured Image, and the text comes from the Meta Description field. However, in order to get this working you need to visit Twitter’s Card Validator. Just enter in the homepage URL and a blog post or two that has both a featured image and the Meta Description field completed.
6. Show Me Some Love!
This one’s really all about me, but if you love your new site and feel you’ve been given exemplary service, I’d love it if you could take three minutes and two easy steps to tell the Internet about me:
- +1 me on Google+. Just head over there, click that red “Follow” button, and that’s it. Thanks #1!
- If you’re feeling generous after that, I’d really appreciate a review! Google deleted all of my old reviews for who knows what reason so I’m eager to get some new ones up there.
7. Look at Your Pagespeed Results
Finally, go to Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool, type in the URL of your website (ie, yourwebsite.com) and have a look at the results. I do everything I can to get you as high a score as possible here, and the higher the better. However, you’ll probably notice a few concerns on this page. Let’s walk through those so I can explain what’s happening and how to fix it, or why we can’t.
- Optimize images
- This is a hard one to ever completely erase. As great as WordPress is, it’s still a computer program and so it can’t fine tune every image that you upload 100%. However, if you have access to Photoshop (as of this writing you can get it for $9.99 / mo) or Gimp (which is free but less powerful and intuitive I suppose), you can do a lot to improve the file size of images before you upload them. Here’s a tutorial for Photoshop, and another for Gimp. Uploading images at the right size and quality will work wonders to reduce these errors, but will never completely eliminate them either.
One way to get rid of these is to install and then run the WordPress Plugin WPSmush.it, which typically eliminates these errors all together, but will make uploading images slower on your site.
- There should only be two items in this section, and they should look something like this:
- Leverage browser caching
- There should only be one line here:
http://www.google-analytics.com/ga.js (2 hours)
That is the Google Analytics code I’ve installed on your site so that you can login to that service and see who’s visiting your site, how often, what pages they’re browsing, etc. Why the PageSpeed Tool (from Google) shows this analytics script (also from Google) as an issue, well that’s one for the ages… If there’s anything else showing up here, again, let me know and I’ll look into it and let you know why.
- Reduce server response time
- If you’re seeing this, it likely means you’re using a shared host like GoDaddy. I should have explained your hosting options by now, but if you’re using shared hosting, your server response time is always going to be slow (in the eyes of Google, anyway). This is typically the biggest hit to your score and I discuss all things page loading here and even more here. Long story short though, if you want to remove this error and give yourself a much better chance at not only scoring higher here, but also ranking higher with the search engines, you’ll want to move to a dedicated WordPress hosting platform like WPEngine, or my own hosting service.
If you’re seeing any other red or yellow messages in there, let me know, I’ll be happy to take another look and make some changes to the code (where possible) or provide you with some additional input!
That’s it, the final step is to create amazing content so that your site can rise to the top of the search engines like a kid holding too many balloons and begin your conquest of the Interwebs!