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How to Create a Successful Website With WordPress – 12 Point Checklist
Do you want to know how to create a successful website with WordPress? This article is going to be a benchmark for your blog to follow and I’m calling it the “Successful WordPress website checklist“. So far it is 3000 words long and will grow over time. I have written articles before about “why your blog is failing” and “tips for new WordPress website builders” and plenty more. Unfortunately, I see that some people are still missing the point. New Webmasters contact me about a problem they have, but say this is the only problem there is, as they have everything else under control. When I get to their websites I see a dozen or more problems staring me in the face. Therefore I am developing this successful WordPress website checklist for reference purposes and to save me from repeating my answers to 100 different people. I like chatting with people but I hate repeating myself! I even get sick of what I am hearing.
How to Create a Successful Website With WordPress
We would all love to have a successful online business and I know that this WordPress website checklist will help many of you get on the right track. Unfortunately I do not know all of this information by chance, I only know all of this from the mistakes that I have made. Now I am going to save you the time and money that I wasted. Some of these WordPress website checklist items might look familiar to you, however I suggest you still read every section as most problems stem from presuming that you know something.
#1. The right hosting
If you are interested in building a WordPress website (or blog) to make money online, you will need to start with the right website hosting. I personally have made many mistakes in the past and have wasted a fair amount of money by buying the wrong Web hosting. I now use Hostgator and will recommend them to anyone! This is probably the most important part of your business. Just remember that if your hosting does not perform, then maybe your website does not exist. You need to choose the right Web hosting company where you can build a website that is going to grow to the future.
#2. Use WordPress for your content management system
I guess you knew that I was going to say this! Hopefully most of you are or are using WordPress, and even though you might think it is difficult now, if you keep using it you will become an expert. I have no doubt about this. I do not care if you are technically challenged, you will be able to manage your website like a pro if you stick with WordPress. It is also important to set up WordPress thoroughly as missing a simple setting can create more work for you in the end. I have written a full tutorial on how to setup WordPress correctly and will be adding to this in the future.
#3. Do not give up
I see people give up on WordPress and say it is too hard. This is not true as I have personally (yes in person) taught the absolute most technically challenged people how to use WordPress. I mean people that cannot even use the computer properly. Therefore I do not want to hear anyone saying that WordPress is too hard. When I hear people saying this, to me it simply means that they have not given it proper go. To ensure that new Webmasters do not give up on WordPress, I have developed a WordPress website basics section. It will give you access to videos and written tutorials all about building a WordPress website. I definitely do not earn any money from recommending WordPress as it is an open source content management system.
I could tell you to install b2evolution, concrete5, Drupal 6 or 7, glFusion, Hotaru, Joomla, Mambo, and even the new Trendy Site Builder with basics drag and drop to create flash websites. All of these options are available when you buy Hostgator web hosting but I still recommend building a WordPress website. Even if you wanted to build an e-commerce website I would still recommend using WordPress, and then installing an ecommerce WordPress theme.
I also see people give up on building websites because they did not make money fast enough. I will tell you right now that making money by building websites does not happen overnight. There are many ways to make money from building websites, and how fast you bring in the money, depends on what type of website you are making and how much effort you put in. I have built authority sites, which in turn has also provided me with valuable virtual real estate. A few years ago I someone offered me 22,000 for a website that was made as a hobby. Luckily I didn’t sell and now I have been offered well over 100,000 for the same website. Every time this happens to me now, all I think is that these people can see the value in my website. That makes me happy.
#4. A professional looking theme
OMG I cannot stress this enough. There are so many options out there for a fantastic WordPress theme that will make you look professional right from the start. You don’t need to be an expert website designer to make your website look fantastic! This is one of the great things about WordPress, along with all the plug-ins that you can get. I have written about different premium WordPress themes that I have bought and I know that there are more out there that are will still worth buying. However for the new WordPress website builder, I highly recommend that you start with something like the elegant themes package, because it offers you 60 or more themes to choose from. It also offers you support, and if you go and visit their Gallery, you will notice that these themes look absolutely amazing! I wish I had known about this company when I first started out as I wasted a lot of time customizing free WordPress themes, only to hit a roadblock, and having to end up changing the theme anyway. Also it is the content that matters so just make your site look good enough for your content to shine.
Building any website, or selling any product, all revolves around keywords. You can have higher paying keywords, buying keywords, and so on. When you find the right keyword it is like hitting the jackpot. People are missing this fact. They do not realize how important keywords are. I have written about keywords until my face has turned blue. (Ha ha ha) There is a short tutorial included in the free e-book I giveaway about building a WordPress website.
I also have a great video that shows you how to choose your categories for your WordPress website. Like I said, everything revolves around the keywords. Look at this screenshot below. I am in the Google keyword tool, one of the best SEO tools I use! I have searched for my keyword, ticked the box that says [Exact] match, then pressed search.
When finding a keyword for my new niche (main topic for a webstie), I like to see a minimum of 1000 exact match searches. If I really like a subject I will go down to 700 exact matches. When finding a keyword for a simple article I need to see at least 200 exact matches for the search volume. This is because I know I will use Scribe to do onpage SEO and also pick up a lot of long tail keywords.
I use the related keywords that come up below for creating WordPress category names and ideas for articles and main pages. Using keywords brings me on to my next checklist item about making everything relevant. This is probably the most important thing you can do to make your WordPress website successful.
#6. Make EVERYTHING relevant
In an earlier article I wrote about people choosing a niche that was too wide. This means that the subject of the website was not focused enough. I still see this every day. I visit people’s blogs and they have totally unrelated articles on their websites.
What are they thinking?
For example if you have a money-saving website and you have articles about saving money, there is no need to start writing about your dog having puppies or your cat having fleas, as people do not want to see this. However if your cat has fleas and you have a way of saving money on the flea treatment, then this is a great article for your saving money website. If you can relate the subject to your main aim then it is okay.
Would you rather see: OMG my cat has fleas OR Make your own homemade flea treatment to save money Obviously you would rather see the second title as you have gone to the website to learn how to save money. My best piece of advice, (not really advice, but more of a rule) is to absolutely concentrate on relevancy. So when you leave a backlink somewhere, the anchor text should already explain what the page will be about.
Therefore this is how I make my WordPress website relevant:
- The main topic of the website is the root of your business. Everything grows from that point on.
- The navigation system is the stem that comes from the root of your business.
- The categories are the branches that veer off from the stem.
- The foliage on the branches is the content.
- The back links and promotion is the food. If you feed your website the wrong food you could kill it!
Now take note, you do not see leaves from a gum tree growing on a maple tree. If you do then it would look quite odd and you would know that it is not meant to be. Hopefully you will not see this example on any other website about relevancy for your website as I just made this up.
The older the tree, the more valuable it is.
#7. Advertising overload
New Webmasters seem to think that plastering their sidebars with banners and advertising will make them money. Simply does not work that way. I rarely make a sale from a sidebar banner, compared to banners and links inside posts. If people do click on a banner and buy something on my website, it is usually because they have just read some information that is related to it. They do not just land on your pages and go and immediately click on your banners.
The other problem is that new Webmasters put too many banners on their websites. This looks silly and immediately screams “newbie”. I’d definitely recommend that less is better. You also need to put banners and advertising that is highly related to your topic. For example, on my computer tips website where I get 10,000 unique visitors a day, but still I cannot possibly sell Web hosting to these people. You would think that out of 10,000 people, maybe one would want to buy Web hosting? No they do not! Of course I might fluke a sale but it is not the place to sell this kind of product.
People visiting my computer tips website are interested in solving their computer problems, buying software, and learning about computers. They do not come there with the intention to build a website like they do on this website. You know how people say that the money is in the list, well I am telling you that the money is also in the content. That is how I make most of my money and I’m sure that other Webmasters will tell you the same thing. Please tell me what you think about this statement in the comment section below.
#8. Monetize as much as you can
Now after reading number five above, you must keep this in mind when trying to monetize your website. Yes I am recommending you monetize everything as much as you can, but I recommend that you do it in a discreet way. New Webmasters often ask me “when should I monetize my website?” The problem is, this question should not even be asked. When building a website you must have an idea of the business model for your website and also the monetization SEO model that you want to use.
If you have an idea about the specific business model you want to follow, then you can implement this immediately into your website. If you have to go back and start to monetize your website later, this is an extreme hassle that I like to avoid. People believe that they cannot sell products on a new WordPress website, however I believe that if you build your website correctly in the first place, you can avoid the fact that it looks new. You might only have 10 articles on your website, but the base structure can be complete, and make your website look like a fully working business.
When I say to monetize as much as you can, I am talking about at least recommending one product per article or page. Think about what the goal is to this page? What is the purpose of this page or post? I’d definitely do not recommend slapping text ads or text links all over your posts. For example, if I was writing an article about computer backup, and how to do it, I would simply mention what software I use. Even Google AdSense recommends that you blend your advertising into your content.
#9. What is your goal?
Why are you building a WordPress website? You should start your own WordPress website checklist and add your goals to it. My main goal for starting a WordPress website in the beginning was to conquer the challenge. After that it became a way to earn a full-time living. Now that I have a full-time income, my goal has changed again. Now I would like to help others do the same thing I am doing. This does not mean I can give one-on-one help to everyone, this means that I am willing to share everything I know to help others.
You need to have a main goal to work towards when building your online business. You also need to have a goal for every piece of content that you produce. I mention this in a recent article about why your blog is not making money. Unfortunately I talk about this a lot. Ok so let’s talk about having a goal for the content. I mentioned some aspects of this in checklist item number seven, where I recommend monetizing your website as soon as possible. Obviously monetization might be a part of your main goal and you should not be producing content and giving it away or publishing it without a goal in mind. Even when I give away a free report as a viral marketing tool, I always have a goal in mind.
#10. Write it down
Make a plan for everything! I love lists and especially checklists, where I can follow steps to avoid stuff ups. I have a list for everything. I even have a daily blogging routine that I shared with everyone recently. This is turning out to be one of the most popular posts on this website and this is telling me that people want more lists. But why wait for me to create the lists? Why not make your own. In actual fact, you might even do a better job than me! I do plan to create more lists like the SEO checklist and the 18 back linking techniques, however it is a matter of finding the time.
#11. Traffic sources
Stop getting traffic from all the wrong places! Yes you might be link building which is ok, but targeted traffic is another story. This is where the valuable traffic is. To find the valuable traffic for your website, you need to know who your audience is and where they hang out. If you wanted to grab targeted traffic from the search engines for free, you would have to target a particular keyword that brings in the customers you want. One of my favorite articles on this blog is about 20 often forgotten traffic tips because I love good traffic!
Examples of how to work out your traffic sources:
- Web hosting: You could sell this to people that want to build a website or people that are not happy with the existing Web hosting company. You could look for forum posts where people complain about the hosting company or ask questions about how to build a website.
- WordPress plug-in: You could sell a WordPress plug-in to Webmaster that uses WordPress. There would be no point trying to sell this to someone that uses another content management system.
- Dog training guide: You could sell this to people that want to train their dogs. These people must care about their dog if they want to train it. You could find these people in dog loving forums, dog training membership sites, enrolled in real dog training classes, and so on. You can also target people that buy puppies.
You can leave links on other websites to promote a certain keyword in order to get that keyword ranked in the search engines. This is a great way to get the right traffic because these people are searching for what you have. As I stated above, the other way is to go straight to the traffic source. All you have to do is think about who your audience is and where they would be hanging out.
Now if you knew where your traffic was, why would you wait to get ranked in the search engines, why not going get it right now? Also if you have your the main topic, your categories, your content, your back linking, and so on, all related, you also need the traffic that comes in to be related to what you have on the website. That’s how you know if it is targeted traffic or not?
#12. Search engine optimization
I know you are probably sick of hearing about search engine optimization, however, earlier I stated that keywords were very important, well search engine optimization is part of that. Search engine optimization is what you do with the keywords so that the search engines recognize you for those keywords. I have become a search engine optimization freak and this is because you cannot create an online business without understanding this aspect of it.
I have written so many articles about this subject:
Beginners Guide To SEO
Sorry I cannot mention them all. Please search for more if you are interested. You can also download a free report called SEO My Way. Yes I called it this because so many people have different ideas about SEO. I only will tell you what works for me! It is as simple as that! There are millions of so called SEO experts out there, but are they walking the walk or just talking the talk?
WordPress website checklist conclusion
Even if you think you have a successful WordPress website but you are not making any money, this WordPress website checklist will help you. In order to make money from a WordPress website, there are many things that you need to make right before the rest can fall into place. I myself have tried to slap advertising on a website and make money, but that is only one piece of the puzzle. This article is not finished and probably never will be completely. I know that I will add things to this WordPress website checklist tomorrow, the next day, and maybe even in a years time.