Too many new site owners dive head first into site ownership with no site or marketing training only to experience a year of frustration and dismal site performance. Here are 5 tips that will help you avoid costly pitfalls in both time and money.
Mistake 1: I need to pick a theme first.
You need to choose a theme last, after you have developed your content and have some understanding of how WordPress works. Otherwise you’ll spend hours, days, and weeks going from dazzled to dazed because you’re choosing based on looks alone and out of context to the shape and style that will most enhance your content and appeal to your target audience.
Developing your content first serves two purposes. One, it helps you gain clarity on the message you want to promote online. And two, it gives you an idea of the shape of your content, which is critically important in choosing a compatible theme.
Developing content is the top stumbling block most new site owners experience that holds up the entire process of them getting a site published online.
Once you have your content created and learn how to use WordPress to format and place it for max SEO and conversion, you’ll be expertly qualified to choose an appropriate theme.
Mistake 2: I need to get a domain and hosting right away.
You can get a domain anytime and park it without getting hosting. Putting all of your online ducks in a row and making a site ready to publish can take anywhere from one to six months. There’s no point in paying for hosting until you’re ready to publish your site. (Read How You Hurt Your SEO by Getting Hosting and Domain Too Soon)
Mistake 3: It’s better to get domain and hosting from my theme designer and let them handle all of the techie stuff.
This is one of the most costly mistakes I see new site owners make. First, you won’t have any of the security info to access your domain and hosting directly.
Second, if you need support and the designer is on vacation, who are you going to call?
Third, unless it’s written in the contract, you don’t own the copyright to your site or your domain, the designer does. What do you think will happen when you want to move? Most designers are good folk, but I’ve seen too many clients who lost everything, site and domain, when they informed their designer they were ready to move the site to another host.
Mistake 4: I can install WordPress myself.
Yes, you can, using the handy 1-click installation so many hosts offer. Unfortunately, your site will have multiple security holes that almost any hacker can slip through. (See my post on why the WordPress 1-Click Installation is Not Secure.)
And, that’s the same type of installation you get when the host does it for you too!
Get a real geek to set it up right the first time. It’s a lot cheaper and easier than redoing it later, especially after you’ve been hacked. (See how you can get secure, turnkey WordPress installation free. If you already have a site, get a 20-point Site Evaluation and Review to ensure that it passes muster.)
Mistake 5: I can figure out how to use WordPress on my own for free.
Yes, you can. And, you can waste hours and days running all over YouTube looking for free videos that could be out of date or make you learn things out of order.
WordPress is a powerful content management system. Making pages and blog posts are only the tip of the iceberg to getting your content online, read, and acted upon.
There are four elements in the text editor alone that folks either don’t use or abuse that radically impact their SEO and how long viewers stay on their site. If you don’t know what they are, you’re not harnessing the full power of WordPress or best SEO practices.
Avoid Costly Mistakes
I help folks become confident, successful site owners and avoid costly pitfalls that lead to wasting a year of their time and a whole lot of money. Have a look at the Portfolio page. You’ll find several second time site owners who wish they had found BlogAid at the get-go, and bunches of first time site owners who are glad they did.