WordPress Tips & Favourite Plugins

I get so many questions about WordPress, self-hosting and buying your own domain but when I migrated from Blogger to WordPress, nearly two years ago now, it was my brother who set everything up for me. So with everything he has taught me since then, I decided it might be helpful to write a little post sharing some WordPress tips, how to set up self-hosting, how to buy a domain and all that jazz, as well as which WordPress plugins are best, because plugins are a life-saver and so useful, if you get the right ones.

My brother, Mark, also designed and set up my shop PaperChicCo. Over the years he has set up numerous websites for so many different people around the world. He has now finally set up his own website development service, Designhouse. He offers blog migration, logo design, content writing and also complete packages for Blogs, eCommerce sites, Portfolio websites and many more. If you are interested then make sure you check him out!

HOW DO I BUY MY OWN DOMAIN?

For my own blog and shop I used my brothers design company Designhouse. He takes care of my domain registration and hosting for me and as well as any problems or bugs with my websites that I may run into throughout the year. If you would like to use him for your own site, he has told me that he will give a 50% discount on blog sites and 25% discount on all other sites if you mention that you heard about him through me. Just mention Beauty and the Chic or PaperChicCo when you contact him to receive the discount! All his packages come with a free year of domain name and hosting included.

If you wish to purchase your domain and hosting yourself then the easiest way to do so is through one of the many online service providers such as Bluehost, GoDaddy or iPage.

The first step is come up with a name you like, be aware that this name might already be taken, so it is a good idea to come up with some possible variations at this time too. Once you have chosen your name then type it into the search box on the providers website and see if it is available. If it is then congratulations! You can go ahead and purchase the domain name. If the name is not available then try a variation you are happy with. This could be as easy as changing the .com to .net, .co.uk, or it could mean playing with the name of the the website itself, using just the initials for instance. It could even mean changing the name of your site if you cannot find any variations you are happy with.

Once you are ready to purchase your domain name you can go ahead and checkout. Be aware that at this stage they will try to sell you some hosting for your site. This is something that you will need to become a self hosted site and can be quite confusing. Continue reading below to learn a little more about what website hosting is and some tips on which hosting would best suit you.

PIN IT!HOW DO I BECOME A SELF-HOSTED SITE?

Hosting is the place where all your website data is kept, the text, the images, the layout. If you do not already have your hosting (which you most probably do not) then it can be a good idea to look at hosting plans first, as quite often they come with a domain name free for a year. There are lots of different hosting types available and it can all be quite confusing. A popular option now for bloggers is dedicated WordPress hosting. This will allow you to host one blog and it will be kept updated. This can be very good for some people although it can also be quite limiting. It is also usually more expensive than dedicated or shared hosting.

Companies such as those I linked above own servers all over the world, and it is a good idea to choose a server based on where most of your website traffic comes from, not where you live. So if you live in the UK, but most of your website’s visitors are from USA, it would be best to choose a server based in USA as this will make loading times slightly faster for your websites visitors. If you chose not to use dedicated WordPress hosting then a tip from my brother is to chose a linux based server as this is more compatible with WordPress then a Windows based server.

PIN IT!WHAT ARE THE BEST PLUGINS?

From my experience I have found the following plugins to work best. They may vary depending on your theme as some could already be included. To install a plugin; on your dashboard go to Plugins > add new > search for the plugin that you want > install now. Please be aware that some plugins may not have been tested with your version of WordPress, I installed a plugin that another blogger had recommended, it was fine for months and then when it needed an update my entire site crashed and Mark had to do a backup to get it back online again.

JETPACK

This plugin is great for keeping track of your stats, I find it so useful as it shows a detailed report of the stats for each day, month and year. It also shows information on how many people have clicked on each post, where in the world, search terms people have used and also which links they have clicked on from your posts. It does offer a lot more than just stats but this is the only thing I use it for. 

SKIMLINKS

If some of you income is from affiliate links then this will be a great option for you. There’s nothing wrong with affiliate links and it doesn’t cost the customer anything, it merely means you get a small amount of money from a purchase made through one of your links, a link that would have been there regardless. I know a lot of bloggers use Style Haul but Skimlinks does all the work for you. Once you sign up on the Skimlinks website you can download the plugin on here and just add your code in (following the directions is easy) once you are linked Skimlinks automatically turns all your links into affiliate links. You can adapt this to your liking though and I find this way so convenient.

Please be aware as of today 10.03.2017, the ASA guidelines regarding affiliate links has changed. You can read all about the new guidelines here.

ULTIMATE NOFOLLOW

To abide by the ASA guidelines all PR samples and sponsored paid for content must include a “no-follow” link, this plugin gives you the option to turn any link from a do follow to a no follow link. Once installed and activated, to use the nofollow link, insert your link (the paperclip at the top of your post editing page) > click on the tog > it will then come up with a box that says ‘insert/edit link ‘ > click “add no follow to link” and you’re done!

FORCE REGENERATE THUMBNAILS

If you have installed a new layout or just migrated from Blogger then your images are likely to be off. Images that are too large can cause your site and loading speed to slow down. I recently had this trouble when installing this new theme but was sorted once I used this plugin. Once it’s installed and activated you just run the plugin and wait until it’s done. It will resize all your images to the correct size for you, depending on how many images you have will determine how long it will take. My site has over 3,500 and takes a couple of hours to complete. Your sites loading time should have increased upon doing this. This is also a handy fix if the images on your blog looks pixelated. This usually means that the server is serving the user a file in the wrong resolution. Do a quick force regenerate thumbnails and it should fix the problem easily.

YOAST SEO

SEO is literally my least favourite group of letters. But as daunting and confusing as it can be, it needs to be done if you want your site to rank high in search engines. This plugin however is so simple and straightforward to use, and will get your SEO right up. Once installed and activated it will show at the bottom of your post editing page. If you follow all the criteria needed then you should get green lights which show at the top of your post editing page, just above the ‘publish’ button. This will ensure that your SEO is good enough and it does all the hard work for you.

AKISMET

This plugin is great for keeping unwanted spam comments at bay as it automatically sifts through any comments and sends all the spam ones to the spam folder, every now and again I will go into that folder and delete them all. It’s free to download and you get a code by signing up for a free account, it will ask you to donate some money but if you just select 0 then sign up and you’ll be good to go.

PIN IT!If you have any questions regarding any WordPress issues I will try my best to answer them but I hope this post has helped you in some way if you are looking to migrate to WordPress or even if you’re already a WordPress user.

PIN IT!

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