Part 2 – Create A WordPress Site

WordPress LogoThere is no better way of building an online presence than through creating a WordPress blog.

 

So where do you start?

The best site to use to create your blog is WordPress.

A guy called Quentin Watt has recorded three You Tube videos which show you how to install WordPress.

Once you have decided on the product or service you are going to promote, you have to choose a domain name, which should include words which are relevant to your niche.

The most searched keywords relating to your niche can be found using keyword research tools. For Google Adwords you will have to create a Google account if you haven’t already got one.

 

Google Adwords

and

 

 Jaxxy logo

 

The next step is to register your domain and to arrange for your site to be hosted. There are countless companies offering these services, so the marketplace has become very competitive. As there is nothing to choose between the leading companies on price, it comes down to comparing the amount of support each offers. On this basis I have no hesitation in recommending…..

Hostgator logo 2

They provide a video tutorial on installing a WordPress blog and also a Live Chat support service.

  • Once you have registered with HostGator, click on the ‘register domains’ tab. Enter your proposed domain name in the ‘Find a Domain’ field. It will search to find out whether you have chosen a unique domain name and give you alternative suggestions. Register your domain.

  • Now click on ‘Hosting’  —> ‘Choose A Plan’

  • If you are just starting out and have a single domain, choose the ‘Hatchling Plan’

  • Whilst on this page scroll down to ‘WordPress Hosting’. The short video tutorial shows you how to use ‘Quick Install’ to install your domain on WordPress.

  • Click on ‘Sign Up Now’ to purchase your Hatchling Plan.

  • Return to the video tutorial mentioned above and follow the instructions to set up your WordPress blog

One of the great features of WordPress is the huge number of plugins, which greatly enhance and extend the functionality of your blog. You will find the best plugins here….

Best WordPress plugins

If you Google ‘Best WordPress Logins’ you will find loads more.

Now that you have got your WordPress site set up, you should work through the headings on your dashboard, which are self-explanatory.

For more information and support I recommend you open a free account with Wealthy Affiliate.

You may wish to move on to the last article in this series Part 3 – Promote Your Site 

 

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Increase Your Conversion Rates

Converting at rugby

You can have the best looking website in the world but if it does not convert visitors into customers it is a waste of time and money. To ensure you achieve the optimum conversion rates from your digital marketing strategy, you may like to consider the following five crucial factors.

1. Optimize Your Landing Page

Many people drive all of their traffic to the home page…..this is a big mistake. Instead you should drive visitors to the page which is most relevant to their online search. These landing pages should link to the visitor’s online search query.

If you are creating your site using WordPress you can take a number of steps to ensure your visitor lands on the page best suited to the search they are carrying out. Firstly you should install a plugin called Yoast SEO. Now open one of your posts in WP Editor and scroll down to Yoast.

Take a look at the ‘Snippet Preview’ which shows you the text seen by a visitor when they search on Google using keywords you have written into your script. If you don’t change this text, or meta description as it is called, Google will grab the first couple of lines from your post trailing off after the first 160 characters. You have the opportunity of changing this text into a succinct summary of your post, whilst also encouraging the visitor to open it.

Now enter your most important keyword in the ‘Focus Keyword’ field. Yoast analyses how this word appears in your post and makes suggestions on where it should appear. SEO is a huge subject, which warrants several posts in its own right. However you may like to take a look at Search Engine Watch, which covers the subject in some detail.

Don’t forget to complete the tags for your post in the right hand sidebar.

To help improve landing page conversion rates, you should consider the following elements.

  • Highlight how you can resolve your customer’s problems.

  • Explain how you reduce buying risk…..how do you overcome the customer’s concerns regarding quality, cost, service…..

  • Communicate a clear online value proposition. Why should they buy from you rather than a competitor?

  • Have a clear call to action. Highlight what you want them to do next, such as going to a particular page or signing up for a newsletter.

  • Improve the layout. Improving the area ‘above the fold’ will always increase conversion rates.

Most people think about the design of their page before lead generation and conversion……actually the reverse should be the case. It is believed that half of conversion rate optimisation is about testing the design and layout of your site and making adjustments accordingly. The other half is about the message and words on the page.

2. Make Your Site Mobile Friendly

More and more people are browsing on mobile devices such as mobile phones and iPads, instead of using traditional desktop computers. The majority of sites have not been mobile optimised, which means that navigating around a site on a mobile device is difficult and some content may disappear from the screen.

To check how your website appears on different screens, I highly recommend the free testing tool at http://mattkersley.com/responsive

Before you think about changing your website into one with a responsive design, it’s important to check what your visitors are using. The free software tool Google Analytics    www.google.com/analytics will show you the devices visitors are using to access your site. If you do have a mobile optimised website, think about using ‘click-to-call’ buttons instead of asking visitors to complete data fields for email addresses etc.., which can be awkward on a small hand-held device.

3. Nuture Your Leads By email

Email is a great way of keeping in touch with your contact list and selling follow up products. There are a lot of inexpensive and easy to use email systems such as

www.constantcontact.com/uk
 
and www.mailchimp.com

If time is an issue then a marketing automation system may be the answer. The dispatch of emails can be triggered by a certain action, or, if an email remains unopened for a given length of time, a new email is sent automatically with a different subject line.

Emails can also be set up to go out at key buying periods, which is ideal for a product that is used within a particular period of time. A reminder can be sent out with a discounted offer to try and clinch a deal. Critical success factors for this type of conversion tool are…….

  • Having enough opt-in email addresses to start with

  • Making sure customer journeys are carefully mapped

  • Finding the right software provider with a scalable system

  • Allocating a long term budget to sophisticated email marketing

Recommended providers you may wish to consider are Act-On, Hubspot, Pardot, Marketo and Eloqua.

4. The Importance of Ratings, Reviews and Testimonials

Ratings, reviews and testimonials increase conversion rates substantially. Research has shown that using reviews achieved 60% higher conversions and 82% more page views per visitor.

What is more products with recommendations generate 20% more sales than items without them. Google says that adverts with ‘seller ratings’ get a 17% higher click through rate (CTR) than the same advert without ratings. However, a website needs at least 30 reviews from the past 12 months to add Seller Ratings.

5. Test, Test and Test Again

Every website is different and to find the most effective approach you can use a tool like Google Analytics. They will identify the most important parts of the site and then A/B testing can be used to identify which layout and content generates the most conversions.

A/B testing involves creating two versions of the same page and then 50% of the visitors are taken to one page with the remainder visiting the other. Conversion rates can then be analysed to find out which page generates the most conversions.

Best of luck improving your conversion rates.

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Keep Warm………Pay Less

Cosy house 2

 

Energy bills have reached a record high of nearly £1300 for the average household. You can ease the pain of rising energy costs by using some of the clever gadgets you will find below.

 

Increase Your Boiler’s Performance

 

Cost:  £90

 

Annual Saving:   £100

 

Combi Smart

 

A small valve fitted to a water pipe connected to the boiler works by not allowing water through until it is hot enough. The manufacturer claims it can save 32,000 litres of water being unnecessarily piped through your heating system every year, bringing savings on heating and the cost of water for those on a meter. This is a cost-effective way of making the most of an existing boiler. Replacing an old boiler with a modern eco-friendly condensing boiler can save £310 a year – but it could cost about £2000 to install.

 

Monitor Energy Consumed

 Cost: £30

Annual Saving:  £200

The owl micro+

 

This small battery operated device lets you see your power use around the home instantly and shows which appliances are costing you the most. The screen displays how much energy is being used at any one time. Rather than directly saving you money, it highlights spikes of energy use. You can then control your usage of electricity far more definitively, thus bringing down costs.

 

Owl Micro+

 

Brighter ‘Green’ Lights

 

Cost: £10

Annual Saving: £55

 

Ecobulb

 

The eco-friendly light bulbs you can buy on the high street often offer a gloomy glow and they take time to warm up.  However there are bulbs available which suppliers claim use 75% less energy than a traditional 60 watt bulb, provide the same light and last up to 10,000 hours. Each bulb will save you £3 a year and so a whole house fitted with these bulbs will result in a saving of £55.

 

Ecozone Biobulb

 

Switch Off Appliances

 

Cost: £22

 

Annual Saving: £40

 

Standby Saver

 

A remote control handset and three radio controlled sockets allow you to switch off appliances when not in use. Electrical appliances kept on standby can consume up to 85 % of the electricity they would do if they were simply left on. The device is ideal for switching off gadgets such as televisions, DVD players, games consoles and hi-fis.

Energenie Standby Saver

 

Turn Up The Heat With A Radiator Tube

 

 Cost: £25

Annual Saving:  £140

Radiator Booster

The white tube sits on top of a water filled radiator and sucks up lost heat from behind it using a small fan plugged into a nearby electrical socket. The fan circulates the warm air around the room and according to the Energy Saving Trust you might be able to turn down your thermostat by as much ass three degrees Celsius.

Another way to make the most of radiators is to install a reflective foil shield behind them. A £22 Radflek panel reduces heat loss by up to 45%

Radiator Booster

 

Use Less Water In Your Shower

Cost:  £12

Annual Saving:  £180

Eco Showerdrop

Taking a shower is better for the environment and your pocket compared with relaxing in a bath……..using 65 litres compared to 100 litres. This gadget, which is called the Eco Showerdrop, includes a digital calculator that shows the flow of water while you wash and, according to the manufacturer, can cut usage to 35 litres. The waterproof device, which hangs by the shower control, can be used in tandem with a special showerhead designed to aerate the spray or to provide tiny interruptions to the flow that are barely noticeable. Showerheads, such as the PulseEco cost £30 and allow half the amount of water to be used when showering. They do not require plumbing.

Eco Showerdrop

Many of the above companies have a wide range of energy devices…..take a closer look.

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Get Cashback For Doing Virtually Nothing

 

Haggling Customer Cashier

 

 If you are not already using a cashback site when making purchases……then you certainly should consider doing so.

 

Cashback firms, like Quidco and Top Cashback, offer up to around 8 per cent cashback when you buy something online.

 

Having set up an account with a cashback company, visit their website prior to making a purchase. Find the shop you want to buy from and click through to the store.

 

When you purchase an item that qualifies, the money drops in to your cashback account. You can then transfer the deposit into your own bank account.

 

How can cashback companies afford to do this? Well your payment is simply a slice of the commission that third parties receive for passing customers onto the major retailers.

 

Here are the links to the two sites I mentioned.

 

Quidco          Top Cashback

 

Enjoy your cashback!

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Why Not Consider Renting In Your Retirement?

 

Rent sign Have you considered renting in your retirement? There are a number of valuable benefits associated with renting during your golden years. It enables many people to cut costs whilst still maintaining an enviable, active lifestyle……so renting in retirement could be the way to go. Here are ten reasons for renting……

 

1. Greater Mobility

 

Renting gives you the opportunity of living in interesting new places without the hassle and cost of selling the home that you own. All you have to do is give notice and vacate when your lease is up. In a home situation, you would have to find an estate agent, prepare your home for sale, be around for viewings, wait for someone to make an offer, and then negotiate a deal, all before moving on to our next spot. There is a lot of uncertainty and worry involved. Renting is a simpler way to experience new locations in retirement without all the strings attached that come with owning a property.

 

2. Tap Into Your Home Equity

 

When you sell your home and become a renter, you can add the equity tied up in your home to your nest egg, which can significantly improve your retirement finances.

 

3. Downsize To Smaller Place

 

Once your children move out your home, you don’t need as much space, belongings and furniture. Downsizing to a living space more appropriate for your current needs can be additionally helpful if you move from a two storey to a single-storey home, for example there are no longer stairs to climb.

 

4. Lower Your Cost Of Living

 

Retirees no longer need to live in expensive areas near the office or in good school districts. Sometimes moving even a short distance can result in a drastically lower cost of living.

 

5. Outsource Home Maintenance

 

In many rental agreements, it is the landlord’s responsibility to maintain the property, including the lawn, exterior of the building and many of the appliances.

 

6. One Call For Repairs

 

When something breaks, you don’t have to spend your day finding a person to carry out the repair or get price estimates. You simply call the landlord or administration office and put in a maintenance request.

 

7. Live Near The Amenities You Use

 

You can relocate to a walkable location near stores, parks and recreational opportunities. It can be useful to base yourself near public transport facilities in case you reach a point when you no longer want to drive.

 

8. Relocate Near Family

 

Retirement can be an opportunity to move closer to your children and grandchildren, which saves on travelling expenses. You can also help with childcare and the family can help with your own care later in life.

 

9. Look For Age Related Features

 

Retirees can select apartments with amenities that will allow them to live independently for as long as possible. Features to look out for include apartments with a minimum amount of stairs, convenient laundry facilities, handles in the shower………

 

10. Extra Help Is Sometimes Available

 

Some senior housing arrangements allow you to live independently for as long as you are able to, and then offer increasing levels of services as you need them, such as nursing homes and long-term care. Many senior communities also offer the added bonus of social activities for residents and a chance to make friends. Everyone’s circumstances are different but I hope that there is something of interest for you in my post.

 

Cautionary Note

 

Rents have increased at more than twice the rate of earnings in the past year. The average rent in England and Wales is £753 a month, which is up by 1.6 per cent on the previous year. By contrast wages have risen by just o.8 per cent with average pre-tax pay being £1,941 a month

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Your Blog Will Benefit From This Medicine

 

Have you been struck down with a virus this winter? Maybe you took yourself to bed with a hot water bottle and large packet of paracetamols. It really knocks the stuffing out of you for weeks. Well it’s the same with your computer which, as we all know, is also susceptible to viruses. Just like you it will benefit from a regular dose of medicine.

No doubt you keep an eye on your comments, traffic stats and the like…….but when was the last time you carried out a thorough check of your blog? As a reminder of the various actions you need to take, I have compiled this checklist.

 

Keep Updated

WordPress is constantly introducing updates, so do ensure you have downloaded the latest version, as some of these updates improve the security of your blog. Plugins and themes should also be updated.

Before upgrading, you should backup, as your content may become corrupted whilst installing a new plugin. The simplest way to carry out a backup is to go to cpanel and click on the backup icon which you will find under ‘Files’.

Broken Links

Nothing is more infuriating than coming across a broken link when you are reading a blog…..so make sure your reader is not confronted with a ‘Page Not Found’ screen or a ‘404’ as it is known. Broken links are detected very rapidly using a dedicated tool such as Broken Link Check

Keep Your Content Fresh

The worst possible sin in blogging is promoting an offer which closed several months ago. At the very least amend the graphic by adding a ‘Sorry, Now Closed’ stamp.

Double Check Your Menu

Strange things can happen…..even though you haven’t touched your menu, it sometimes has a mind of its own and sends the reader to the wrong place. It’s worth spending a few seconds checking your menus and sub-menus to ensure your reader can navigate quickly to the correct page……people soon lose patience and move on to another sit.

Wayward Widgets

You can easily develop ‘sidebar blindness’ if your blog has been running for a long time. Every post has a date when it was published, which immediately highlights how fresh the content is and how often you are posting new material. Just updating your copy, or adding a new post, will rejuvenate your blog.

Passwords and Username

As hackers become more and more sophisticated it is worth reviewing your WordPress password. It should be at least 12 to 16 characters long with a mix of letters and numbers with the odd hyphen, question mark….thrown in.

If you are concerned about forgetting your password you can use a password management form such as Roboform. Never, ever use ‘admin’ as your WordPress username, as hackers will use this username to launch brute force login attacks.

Viruses and Scanning

If you are running a WordPress site without security then your site is either getting hacked right now or you’ve already been hacked. Of course there are host of companies offering security protection….the market leaders probably being Norton and McAfee, although I use AVG who have always served me well.

However basic housekeeping can prevent a buildup of problems. The most obvious is to run a scan every 7 days and fix any errors before they become too serious.

I have recently installed software called Blog Defender, which provides excellent security. The installation procedure is described in a series of short videos. I would highly recommend this software, which gives you peace of mind. Are you going to risk losing everything for the sake of a few dollars? Take action now.

Don’t forget to request your free ebook ’20 Ways to Supplement Retirement Income’  by completing the subscription form in the right hand sidebar

 

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