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Why do I have a website?

It’s a legitimate question. Why do I have a website? Or, rather, why do I still have a website? I’ve had one for years, and it’s part of my online identity. It’s the basis for my main email address, and for any selling or hobby-business I’ve run in the past.

New notebooks - or, reasons why do I have a website

So, I don’t really want to lose the domain name.

I enjoy tinkering with the site, messing about behind the scenes to make things work. Finding the right plug in combination, solving the technical side. It’s fascinating.

But, as I have definitely said before, I am hopeless at keeping up any kind of regular posting. When I do post, I ramble. There’s a stream of thoughts but it’s all over the place, unplanned and erratic. I write as I think, and that’s not always a good thing.

The trouble is, my paid job involves creating tailored, carefully thought out responses – and by the time I sit down at home, that part of my brain is done. Then, someone will say something. Or, someone will ask, do you have a website? And I’ll say yes, and point them to here, and realise that I’m not happy with the way it looks, or the way it works. A website is an evolving thing, changing, adapting.

I’m meant to be working on photos of new notebooks to add to the shop, but I’m not happy with the lighting, the sharpness of the images. As a result, I’m here rambling. I’ll work on them again over the weekend, and I hope to have the notebooks in the shop soon.

New notebooks - or, reasons why do I have a website

Allegedly, new content is the golden egg that drives traffic… We’ll see.

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WordPress 5, that’s different

When the website asks for updates, I tend to just do them. It asks all the time, usually plug ins and themes, but this time it was a whole wordpress update! I just installed it, and wow, WordPress 5, that’s different…

Instead of one big space to add all your post elements, I have to add blocks? So, there’s a block for paragraphs, and you can’t put images in that. Then a block for galleries, and another for single images, and you can’t write in those.

Wordpress 5, that's different

Then yet another for headings, and a different one for quotes…

I’m not sure I’m convinced… But it looks like it’ll be ok.

And my Yoast has vanished?

Oh hang on, it’s there, in a box to the side, that I can open and close as needed. That’ll be handy, better than having to scroll up and down to fill in all the different parts.

Oh, and I can move those blocks up and down, changing the order of content, paragraphs, images. I like that!

Change is constant, and it is our choice how we react. I tend to be a bit guarded, reserving my views until I get used to something. I like to think I can see the positive. It’s not always possible.

Christmas is rapidly approaching, and some of you won’t be coping well with the upheaval, the changes in routine.

I have no real sage advice, but it’s up to you. Try to work out what’s unsettling you, ask if you can change it? How long will it last?

This update will last until the next big one, and until then my choice is to live with it, decommission the website, or switch to a different platform.

I like wordpress, so I’ll be working with it, finding out how I can make these changes work for me. No, where are my blog categories, and post tags…

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I think I broke it

There’s something not quite right behind the scenes, I think there might be a problem with the blog part of the site. I have no idea what I might have done, but I think I broke it.

So, in the interests of diagnostics, I have backed everything up and this is a short blog post to test a theory. I hope it was something to do with the last post here, and not a more generic issue.

Therefore, a request, if I may? Can you let me know if you have any problems navigating or using the site. Anything, anywhere, no matter how daft it might seem, or insignificant, I want to know.

Because I am working to increase traffic, visitors, and SEO, it is important that the site is working properly. The whole thing should be reasonably easy to find your way around. It should be reasonably quick to load up, and work on your laptop, tablet, or phone.

The problem I am seeing is behind the scenes, but as I’m looking into that, it makes sense to check other areas at the same time.

I think I broke it, but I’m going to fix it!

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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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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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