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Making a mess

In life, things change all the time, and how we deal with that is so important. Change can be unsettling, but it can also be vibrant and exhilarating. It also often involves making a mess.

Right now, we are stripping the wallpaper from the dining room, and it’s making a mess. It’s ugly, feels cold, and the walls are horrid. But by the end of the week we’ll be painting and it’ll look so much better. It’s change, it’s making a mess, but it’s worth it.

We might have to wait for a plasterer to come and skim the chimney, but we can get on with the painting everywhere else. We’ll be rearranging furniture as well, I think, probably. It’s going to be lovely when it’s finished.

In the background, the website is undergoing constant change too. The guidelines for what works in terms of search engine optimisation (SEO) are in flux, always changing. The software is being updated and adjusted all the time. So the website has to change to take that into consideration.

It’s the same with any creative art, here it’s photography. I take loads of pictures, and many are less than great. Some are dreadful. But I adapt, I learn from those and improve.

This applies to my writing, to my paid job, to parenting, to everything. Change is unsettling when it’s unexpected, but if you embrace it, run with it, change can be guided to your benefit.

I know, it doesn’t always work like that, but it’s worth thinking about, right?

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Busy day, working on website visitors.

Today is a busy day. I have workmen in the house fixing a ceiling, replacing window panes, and replacing the dining room fire. So I’m stuck at home. What better opportunity to work on the website and focus on website visitors.

My website is not particularly well visited, and my first goal is to have a steady, regular stream of visitors. Step one, I am aiming for 10 visitors a day, every day, minimum. It’s not quite there yet.

website visitors

There are website visitors every day now, which is a step forward, but not a minimum of 10 every day. There have been 10 or more on 5 of the last 8 days, so it’s an evolving picture.

So, how to get those visitors?

There are so many different thoughts on this subject, put the question into Google and you’ll find hundreds of “experts” Some will give great advice, some will try to sell you a solution.

My advice? Take the advice, but cross check with a few different sources and see what feels right, see what comes up a few times.

I’m working with dynamic content and SEO optimisation at the moment.

Dynamic content

If the content of your website doesn’t change, Google (and other search engines) get bored. They stop looking, and that makes it harder for your site to be found.

You want to be found, and seen, right? So change your content. Blog regularly, tweak your pages and products, update your images. Keep it changing, keep it fresh and new. Make it dynamic.

SEO

Search engines are computer programs. They are programmed to look for particular things. Now, either you really know how they work and can make your site great for them to find, or you don’t. If you don’t then you’ll need some help.

There are some excellent plug ins, and site software, you can use to help you. Some you pay for, some have free versions.

I use Yoast, the free version.You can pay for premium if you want more functions, extra keywords, and other stuff. And once you get up there with the big money making sites it might be worth investing. But at this level, the free version works perfectly well.

Website visitors

Once I can reliably hit that goal of 10 website visitors every day, then I can look to the next step. 20 per day, and some product sales.

Today I have 8 visitors so far, and I know this post will take that over the 10. I’ve checked the post has good readability, and the SEO is good too. I do that for every part of the site. It’s important.

Off to deal with workmen for a bit, good luck with your own sites.

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Working on SEO

Today’s task is to improve the overall search-ability for the website. It’s a behind the scenes thing that helps Google, and others to find your website more easily. So, today I will be working on SEO, focusing on the products in the shop.

I use Yoast – SEO plugin for wordpress, the free version. You can upgrade to the premium version for more features, but I find the free one does the job really well. For my purposes, it’s more than sufficient.

As I work on a post, or page, there are 2 areas of the screen to check. I’m going to assume you’ve already got Yoast installed and activated.

On the right menu there is a simple pair of icons which show in red, orange, or green to let you know how you’re doing. You’ll be aiming to get both of these green.

working on seo

Just type, and keep an eye on the 2 icons as you do.

But what do you do if they won’t go green?

Scroll to the bottom of the page, where you’ll find more detailed information and advice. Readability is at the top. Use the arrow to expand or collapse the box. Here it’ll tell you what needs to be improved. It will also tell you what is working well.

Readability – working on SEO

Above that is the snippet editor – you’ll need that too, especially for the SEO score.

When you’re working on SEO for a site, you need to consider how accessible, or readable, your content really is. Are you using too many long and convoluted sentences? Have you got too much jargon in your text? Is it all text and not broken up with some images? Perhaps your text is far too long and might be easier to read with some sub-headings to help guide your readers?

That’s your content. Then you need to consider how Google and other search engines see your page. 7

Working on SEO

working on seo

You need visitors to be able to find your site, and then find it interesting enough to stay. But first they need to be able to find you. Direct links are good, word of mouth and recommendations are even better, but you still want those who might stumble across your site by accident. So, you need Google, Bing, and the rest to be able to find you. This section will help with that.

It’s not an exact science, Yoast will guide but makes no promises for millions of visitors to your site. Play with it, use it to guide you, and see if it works for you.

I have 2 green lights, so I’m going to post this and go and work on some other pages.

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Neglected blog, and website

Almost a year since my last blog, and the website hosting is due for renewal, which leads me to wonder if I really need, or want, a blog and website?

I want to keep the domain, and email address, at least, but do I need a website? I don’t need any ecommerce for now, but I’d like to do something with this space. But what that will be, I haven’t decided yet.

There are currently 2 sites here, but will be downsizing to just the one now the diploma course is over. This poor neglected blog and website was the result of a college project and I think I’ll be ripping it apart, and rebuilding, once I decide how I want it to look, and what content I want to include. If you have any thoughts, requests, or preferences, please let me know in the comments. It would be nice to get genuine comments rather than spam…

At present, there is a facebook page, which no-one ever visits, and I fail to maintain. There is a photography website, another college project, that I’ve had to leave alone while the final marks were reviewed. But how much are those contributing to any meaningful web presence, and do I need one?

There’s no writing, or book promotion going on, so that won’t feature here. I am still loving the photography, and I think I’ll be focusing (pun intended) on that for now, until I decide whether I want to be running a business from home, or pursuing other things. With paid employment part time, and family commitments, it’s going to be difficult to fit everything in.

By the way, that Diploma course, passed it, with a distinction! Very pleased with myself, and allowing a day of smug self appreciation. I think I deserve it.

The plan in the meantime, is to try to add a blog post reasonably regularly, and work on the website. We’ll see how that goes, and take it from there.

blog and website

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