Complete Guide to using WordPress as a Content Management System (CMS)

WordPress began life as a basic blogging platform. It was a useful tool for people and businesses who wanted to regularly share content with their audience and customers on the internet.

As WordPress became more popular it attracted a wide range of website developers and users who recognised that it had more potential than just being another blogging system. As a result, WordPress has also become a comprehensive, user friendly Content Management System (CMS) used for a wide range of purposes by millions of individuals, businesses and other organisations. WordPress now has hundreds of contributors who suggest and develop new feature to make it even more user friendly, robust and secure.

Older websites were not always effective when it came to handling large amounts of content and interaction with website visitors. However, as WordPress has evolved and improved it has become one of the leading Content Management Systems as well as being a leading blogging platform.

Content Management, Content Curation and WordPress

WordPress is now considered to be a CMS as well as being a leading blogging system, which means it’s made up of a range of Content Management tools. It is also the perfect platform to distribute or curate content on the internet.

The main differences between Content Management and Content Curation include the following:

  • Content management is the easy management and organisation of technical tasks through a range of CMS software tools.
  • Some refer to curation as ‘Content Management 2.0’. It involves leveraging CMS tools so that you get the most value out of your content and share it in the most effective ways with your audience and customers.
  • Curating content is extremely important for website owners and content specialists. It encapsulates different aspects of the web. According to Mashable ‘Curation taps the vast, agile, engaged human power of the web. It finds signal in noise.’
  • This article details all of the WordPress CMS tools you need in order to create a website that can be developed to achieve all of the curation targets you may have.

Content Management Tools in WordPress

As WordPress has matured into a world-class CMS, it has added more effective content management tools along the way. These tools have empowered millions of website owners and helped them reach audiences, previous generations of content creators and distributors could only dream about.

WordPress Post Types

A post is not just one single way to publish content online through a blog. Posts are much more than that. Almost every element of a WordPress data base could be considered to be a ‘post’. All of these posts can be grouped into categories known as ‘Post Types’. A regular blog post is considered to be post type ‘post’, a WordPress page is considered to be post type ‘page’ and other post types include media attachments and menus.

‘Page’ and ‘Post’ are the main types of post types but you can also create your own Custom Post Types or CPT’s. This flexibility means you can realistically have an endless amount of post types on your blog. Post types can also be created through a range of plugins you can install and activate through your WordPress dashboard. Some good examples of these post types include post types created by slider plugins, directory plugins, classified plugins or WordPress themes.

WordPress Pages

A WordPress page belongs to the ‘page’ post type category and is one of the most common kinds of post type. It usually includes static content which will not change on a regular basis such as text, images and video. Pages normally include evergreen information about an individual, business or other organisation. Typical examples include a business home page, about us, page services and contact page. Pages don’t change automatically but they can be updated and modified through the WordPress dashboard. According to Codex, static content is “less time dependent than post” which means the content is of a general nature rather than up-to-date or news related content which you usually find in post type posts.

Pages have a hierarchical structure which means a parent page can have child pages below it. This is useful if you want to create a large number of pages and display them on your websites menu. For example if you have a business and offer 10 services, you could create a parent page called ‘Services’ and 10 child pages (one for each service your business provides) below this parent page. These 10 services pages could then be neatly displayed as child menu options in your websites menu under the parent ‘Services’ menu option.

Sometimes it’s useful to be able to group certain post types together. WordPress pages are perfect for listing blog post collections and similar groupings that can be viewed in one place. They can also be used alongside page templates. All of the different types of pages on a WordPress website are similar to a table of contents and you decide what’s included.

WordPress Posts

Posts, also known as blog posts have the post type ‘post’. They are the cornerstone of the WordPress blogging platform. They were one of the main reasons WordPress became such a popular blogging system in the beginning. Every WordPress blog is made up of blog posts which contain various types of content. The difference between a post and a page is the fact that a page is static and normally includes evergreen content but blog posts are written on the date they are published and provide up-to-date information.

However, posts normally include the date they were published on and become dated over time, especially if you are publishing the latest developments or news about a certain topic.

Blog post are very similar to newspaper articles. They feature content that is related to current events and relevant at a particular moment in time. However, if you look back at an old article you know that it was written for a specific time in the past. However, some blog posts stand the test of time because they include information that is relevant at any time but other posts become dated after a certain period of time.

WordPress Custom Post Types (CPT’s)

As the name suggests, this post type is a custom kind of post. These types of posts can be used like a blog post or a WordPress page. Custom Post Types or CPT’s can also be used to bundle content into a plugin or theme without being seen by the end users.

A CPT can be used for separate types of content that doesn’t belong in a single page or in your website’s blog posts. This could include quotes, portfolio items, product listings and similar types of content. A range of CPT creators and managers are available to manage this type of content. You can also use plugins that curate content between different elements of a blog such as pages, blog posts, WordPress users and CPT’s.

Taxonomies and How to Organise Your WordPress Posts

When you know what the post types for your WordPress blog are, you need to be able to group items which are related to each other in some way. Taxonomies make this grouping of related content possible. Typical taxonomies in the WordPress system include Tags and Category for post type ‘post’.

WordPress Categories

Categories are an effective way to group related posts. For example, if you have an online marketing website and publish regular content, you may have to post under different categories such as ‘SEO’, ‘List Building’, ‘Social Media Marketing’ and so on. Each post is placed in a particular category which is an effective way to group and find related WordPress posts.

Each category can be displayed as a dynamic page that includes all of the posts for a particular category. For example if you had 10 ‘List Building’ related posts under the list building category on an Online Marketing blog, they would appear together in a page with a URL similar to this – http://www.websitename.com/category/list-building. As you can see the word ‘category’ is included in this URL to signify that the dynamic page includes posts in the list building category of the website.

Categories are hierarchical in the same way pages are. This means you can have a parent category that has child categories below it. For example if you have an online marketing website, you may have a parent category called ‘Paid Advertising’. This category could have a number of child categories below it such as ‘Facebook Ads’, ‘Google AdWords’ and so on. For example in this case the URL for the child category ‘Facebook Ads’ will be http://www.websitename.com/category/paid-advertising/facebook-ads. As you can see ‘category’ appears in the URL. The parent category ‘paid-advertising’ is next and finally the child category ‘facebook-ads’ appears. This dynamic page will only show a posts that have been assigned to the ‘Facebook Ads’ child category.

WordPress users can add posts to more than one category on their blog. This is useful for content that covers more than one sub-topic of a particular niche. However, in most situations it’s a good idea to add a post to 1, or at most 2 different categories. It doesn’t make sense to add posts to a high number of categories because it becomes confusing, especially if a reader wants to refine their searches to find specific information when they visit your blog.

In the example of the online marketing company’s website above, a post about ‘Paid Facebook Ads’ could be placed in 2 different categories i.e. a ‘Facebook’ category and a ‘Paid Advertising’ category. This means the ‘Paid Facebook Ads’ post will appear in the results for both of these categories.

WordPress categories should be used to their full potential. However, don’t just add a single post to a category and leave it at that. Instead, assign at least 3 related posts to each category in your WordPress website once you have started adding a large number of posts to your blog.

WordPress Tags

Tags are another taxonomy that are a useful WordPress feature used to group related content in a blog. A single tag or multiple tags can be added to a WordPress post. Tags are similar to categories but there is a key difference. They are not hierarchical like categories are. This means you don’t have parent and child tags.

To add a tag to a WordPress post, simply input words and phrases in the tags area of a blog post that are related to the content of a particular post. For example, if you had an online marketing website post about ‘The Benefits of Facebook Ads’, some relevant tags for this post would include ‘Facebook Ads’, Paid Ads’, Social Media Ads’ and similar tags that are relevant to the content of the blog post.

Every post that uses the same tag is grouped together and will appear on the same dynamic tag page that often appears in the search engines. For example, if you have a tag called ‘Paid Ads’ and its associated with a number of WordPress blog posts, these post which have the same tag will appear in a webpage like this – http://www.websitename.com/tags/paid-ads. As you can see ‘tag’ is included in the URL and signifies that this URL is a dynamic page for posts that include the ‘paid-ads’ tag.

Custom Taxonomies

So far we have gone through the main ways you can publish content on a WordPress website and how to use taxonomies to structure and organise the posts on a blog. Next, we will look at custom post types and how they are used.

If you want to manage custom post types, custom taxonomies are an effective way to do this. They can also be used to publish similar content. For example you could have a custom database with a custom post type for this database. Custom taxonomies such as categories or tags could then be created for different elements of the custom post type.

When ordinary taxonomies such as categories or tags are used the word ‘category’ or ‘tag’ appears in the URL of the dynamic page created for that category or tag. For example, ‘tag’ appears in the ‘paid ads’ tag page for the online marketing website example we used above (http://www.websitename.com/tags/paid-ads). However, the custom taxonomy appears in the link of the URL for the dynamic page of a custom post type. This means tags would be replaced with custom post type text.

Custom post types and custom taxonomies are a powerful way to organise specific content in your website. They also work well with more common post types such as ‘page’ post types and post ‘post’ types. To make things even easier for most WordPress users, a range of CPT related plugins are available to organise, manage and create custom post types for your WordPress website.

WordPress Custom Fields

Custom fields include data about posts. This means they are not a post type or taxonomy because they include much more detail about a post. This is the reason they are referred to as ‘metadata’ or ‘post meta’. The WordPress system has a screen that lets users add a custom field and custom taxonomies through the WordPress dashboard. A range of plugins are also available such as the ‘Type’ plugin that makes it easier to manage custom fields. These plugins also allows you to customise the functionality of custom fields.

WordPress Author Archives

Each WordPress user is assigned an author page, so you don’t have to register as an author to have your posts listed. The following page would appear for a particular users posts – http://www.websitename.com/author/username, so if your name is Fred Jones and your username is ‘fred’, all your posts would appear in the page http://www.websitename.com/author/fred. As you can see the ‘author’ text is included in the URL to indicate that this is a dynamic page for a particular authors WordPress posts. A 404 error message appears if the username does not exist. An author page is a useful way to show others what value an author is providing to a particular blog and the content they are producing.

Dynamic WordPress Pages

A key feature of WordPress is the way it is able to display related posts in dynamic pages that are created based on taxonomies such as tags or categories. Dynamically generated web pages are also referred to as Archive pages, Archives or Archive Indexes. The ability to create these dynamic pages that include related content is one of the main benefits of using WordPress as a CMS and to curate content.

WordPress Blog Pages

When you install WordPress for the first time the default page is a WordPress blog page. This can be changed to a static page or you can use the homepage as a place to publish and display your latest blog posts. WordPress settings in the WordPress dashboard let you select a particular static page or particular blog posts. You can also set the number of posts that will appear and the way in which a page will show blog post summaries or full text in a post.

If you decide to change your front page to a static WordPress page or display blog posts, the blog page displays your most recent post in reverse chronological order.

Sticky Posts

When you publish a WordPress blog post you have the option to create sticky posts. A sticky post is also known as a featured post and gets more attention than other posts. This type of post is normally an important post or contains ever green content that does not go out of date. A sticky post stays at the top of a blog, even when you publish more articles on your blog.

For example if you have an online marketing blog and you publish 3 articles about Facebook Marketing, these will appear in order of the date they were published. However, if you make the second post a sticky post, it will appear above the first and third posts.

In some cases you may want to have a sticky post for a certain amount of time. After that you may need to change it to a more up-to-date or seasonal post. However, many blog owners forget to ‘unstick’ their posts and the wrong post remains at the top of your blog post list. The good news is there are plugins such as the Scheduled Post Unstick plugin that unsticks posts for you automatically. Custom posts cannot be used as sticky posts but certain plugins allow this action on a WordPress website.

WordPress Post Formats

These are features of a theme that let you display similar types of content. The most common WordPress post formats include the following:

  • Standard
  • Aside
  • Gallery
  • Image
  • Quote
  • Link
  • Audio
  • Video

For those who wish to curate similar types of content in a particular medium, post formats is an effective way to do this. A wide range of WordPress themes support this feature.

Curating your Content

In relation to website content, all WordPress website owners and developers should factor in content curation. Content curation is vital because it has an impact on the accessibility of your content to your audience.

For example you could manually create a collection of various posts that are accessible in one place or page. This makes your WordPress website a much more valuable platform for visitors who want to find a wide range of content about a particular topic. Publishing a resources page is another effective way to place important information in one easy to find location or page.

The WordPress system has created limitless possibilities for businesses, developers, bloggers and other people who want to share their content online. However, many website owners and content specialists simply write some content on their blog and hit the publish button. This can be effective. However, using all of the content management features available in WordPress and developing a well-thought out content strategy are key if you want to attract a larger, more targeted audience who will keep coming back to your website every time you publish new content.

Complete Guide to Monetising a WordPress Blog or Website

Monetising a WordPress blog – making money through visitors to a site – is as much an art as it is a science. Monetisation itself can be a bit of a minefield which leaves WP blog owners confused what to do first and which methods are likely to bear the most fruit.

Upfront we should point out that with the abundance of free information sources on the internet, value is a key ingredient. Visitors may perhaps first be attracted to your site because of a high ranking for a chosen keyword in the Google organic search results or from a pay-per-click advertisement, but visitors won’t stay longer (or return again) if they aren’t receiving value.

The reason is because whilst the information provided may be free, their time is still valuable and in limited supply. They’re not thinking about the time it has taken you to set up the blog and produce the content; your site visitors are in it for themselves and that’s where their focus lies. What’s in it for them? Where is the value here? You need to adjust your thinking towards how your target customer thinks; not how you think…

When considering monetisation, it is important to appreciate that not every method will either be appropriate or work well for every site. With some niches, site visitors will not appreciate advertising but may respond well to a carefully chosen offer for a product that exactly matches the topic of the site. In other cases, visitors are looking to learn more and receive good product suggestions rather than be left floundering now knowing what to do next. It all depends on the niche, what the objectives of the visitors are, and what they expect to do during that visit.

With that said, below we will cover the main ways that a WordPress blog can be monetised:

Advertising

Advertising is one of the easiest ways to get paid for blog traffic. In some cases it only requires signing up for an advertising account with the advertising network and then adding their advertising code (including your advertising network ID) to your website. This is usually accomplished either via manual changes to pages or by using a WordPress plugin which can do it for you (the preferred option in almost all cases).

CPM – Pay Per Impression

Pay per impression (which is known as CPM that stands for cost per mile) is one type of online advertising. The CPM means the cost per one thousand impressions, or displays of the advertisement. The advertiser pays for the number of impressions. They do not pay for the number of times an advert is actually clicked on a web page. This type of advertising is a bit closer to magazine or TV advertising in that sense.

The revenue – or CPM – per thousand impressions sits usually around $1-$7. Specific networks tailor to this form of advertising. One of the more popular ones is BuySellAds. They do usually require a website to have been established for at least six months and to be receiving significant traffic, so they won’t suit a brand new blog.

In the case of BuySellAds, their best publishers tend to be highly focused. For example, a site focused on blogging tips is likely to command a lower rate than one specifically about social media or marketing on Facebook. This is because the advertiser can more specifically target exactly their market with a more targeted audience which makes their advertising spend potentially more profitable.

It is also true that with a site that has many areas of focus, BuySellAds can end up with a laundry list of different ads types offered (several different sized ads and differently positioned ones for each section on a site). This can end up being too long for advertisers to bother to navigate through. A more focused, niched-down, website audience performs much better with BuySellAds.

On the plus side, the amount of revenue that can be generated by highly-targeted pay-per-impression ads is considerably better than when using most pay-per-click ad options.

PPC – Pay Per Click

Pay-per-click advertising is generally more common around the internet. This is where the publisher (the owner of the website where the ad is placed) is paid for each verified click on the advert.

It depends on the network whether the blog owner will have any control on the adverts displayed. This can be a concern for sites that have a particular focus, like an organic food site which wouldn’t want unhealthy food products promoted in advertising seen on their site. Google Adsense lets the blog owner have some degree of control over the ads shown. Other PPC ad networks include RevContent, The Blogger Network, and Media.Net.

Typically most ads on Google Adsense will only generate pennies per click which adds up to only $1-3 per thousand visitors. This means that even a blog with 100,000 unique monthly visitors would only receive $100-300 in ad revenue from Adsense PPC. There are some more profitable ad niches with Adsense, but these are also pretty competitive.

There have been a number of high profile cases where Google has frozen Google Adsense accounts without warning and given an inadequate reason why. There are also strict rules on how many ads can be shown on a page. Google Adsense is perhaps the most common PPC network, but certainly not the most popular for these reasons.

In-content advertising (where the ads are almost part of the content) are useful on sites that cover many different topics where finding advertisers is difficult due to the split focus. It is an easy first step for new blog owners who wish to see what trickle of revenue they can create through their site while their traffic is relatively low.

The Advanced Ads plugin can be helpful in placing ads correctly.

Private Advertising

Private advertising is where the blog owner doesn’t rely on an advertising network to find advertisers for them. The blog owner goes out to find the direct advertisers themselves.

The advantage here is that long-term deals can be struck at preferential prices and there is no ad network determining what ads are acceptable. The blog owner is able to pre-quality the advertising company, its product and its message before approving their advert. This amount of additional control is attractive. However, it is time-consuming to try to sell advertising directly and for low-traffic sites it seldom makes sense.

For a comparison, when Google takes on a new advertiser with its Google Adsense program they often share approximately 25-40% of the ad revenue with the publisher while keeping 60-75% for themselves. When selling direct, 100% of the ad revenues go to the publisher.

CPA – Cost Per Action

Cost per action is another form of promotional activity. It is useful for companies wishing to have visitors sign up to a newsletter, agree to receive a posted sample, and other promotionally beneficial actions. The basic idea is that a visitor to their site will be interested enough to share some contact information so that the business can interact with them in some mutually beneficial manner.

When the new visitor takes the targeted action, the referring site gets paid for this at an agreed rate.

Quick Tips with PPC, CPM, CPA and Private Advertising

Tip #1: Avoid placing too many adverts across the site or on a single page. One well-placed advert can receive a much higher click-thru rate than five ads will do while cluttering up the page.

Tip #2: Use an Advertising HeatMap to get a clearer idea which areas of the page get attention from visitors. This way ads can be placed in those locations and possibly removed from others.

Tip #3: Banner advertising generally performs poorly compared to other forms of advertising like pay-per-click or pay-per-impression.

Tip #4: Banner ad income is usually fixed per page or per site. The income derived from the ad spot will usually not scale up as the site visitor numbers grow. This can end up leaving money on the table. Yearly deals also prevent an extensive redesign of the site because the banner needs to still fit in the header or the footer, depending on what was agreed in the advertising contract.

Tip #5: Always look to see whether other forms of monetisation would be a better fit for the audience. It is quite possible that advertising can take away from the revenue achievable from other forms of monetisation. There is no obligation to include advertising within a website; it is usually the lowest-paying revenue source for a site.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a way to promote a product on behalf of another company and receive a referral commission if the site visitor follows the link to the company’s website and makes a purchase. In some cases, the commission can include other products in the shopping cart at the time of the purchase which can considerably boost the total revenue received.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Actually Work?

An affiliate marketer (the blog site) can add the advertising block to some pages on their website which promotes an affiliate product. If the visitor chooses to click the advert and subsequently buys the product within a given period of time (this varies between affiliate networks from 24 hours to months), then the affiliate (the blog site) will be paid a commission for the sale.

In some cases, the blog will have a written review of the product. This can provide a considerable amount of additional information beyond what most e-commerce sites will share about a product. This additional information can help the reader make a buying decision about the featured product. The review needs to be honest and balanced with pros and cons so that the reader is convinced that the information is reasonably unbiased and it can be trusted.

Revenue from affiliate marketing can be anywhere from $10 per thousand visitors upwards. Making $30-60 per thousand visitors is not uncommon which considerably out-paces what can be earned from advertising. It makes it possible to achieve a good income from a site even if it doesn’t receive a huge amount of traffic because of smarter monetisation.

Suggestion #1: Match products closely to the site’s subject matter.

There is no point promoting products that have little to do with what your target audience is interested in. These will never sell or generate any revenue.

For instance, a site about the best camping spots is a perfect place to feature some reviews about the best camping tents and cooking equipment to brew up that morning cup of coffee on chilly mornings. Whereas a promotion about the best sports cars is likely to fall on deaf ears. Choose wisely.

Suggestion #2: Avoid being overly promotional. Be straightforward and honest. Have you actually tried the product? What were your observations?

Longer reviews tend to do much better than short 500 word ones. The reason is that the reader can jump to the paragraphs that cover the areas of interest about the product and still find enough useful information there to make an informed decision.

Suggestion #3: Remember to include alternative options because not every reader will share your particular preferences or interests exactly. Or they may want a product at a different price point.

A round up of several products is a better idea than only featuring one product, unless you review a number of similar products and then have a review to compare each one.

Suggestion #4: Disclose that you make income from affiliate commissions.

It is now a requirement for websites focused on the US market that they disclose somewhere on the site (usually at the bottom of the home page) that they derive some income from affiliate commissions on recommended products.

This is in fact a good policy to disclose anyway because it provides a truthful level of transparency to the reader. If they are being provided value in the form of a helpful in-depth review then most site visitors won’t have a problem with you receiving a commission if they make a purchase.

Suggestion #5: Keep affiliate links only on the pages where they are relevant

Just like with displaying too many adverts on the home page when the visitor first arrives, pushing affiliate ads left and right that have little to do with the content on the page isn’t likely to be received well.

The reader needs to be convinced that you have their best interests at heart rather than you’re just publishing content to make money. When they feel like you are genuine and a real person, they are far more open to smart recommendations that are closely aligned with their actual needs.

Suggestion #6: Look for a large website or recommended affiliate network

A large site like Amazon.com will be a good idea with their Amazon Associates affiliate program because they offer so many products in numerous categories. Alternatively, there are different affiliate networks focused on different types of products types from many other online retailers.

Clickbank, for instance, is focused on info products which are digital downloads offering commission rates ranging from 5% up to 80%. Amazon’s commission rates typically run between 4% and 8.5% with unit volume being the main determining factor on what commission rate is applied to the total sales for a given month (some items like electronics receive a lower fixed commission rate).

Develop Your Own Product or Service

Creating your own product or service is one of the best ways to generate out-sized returns from an online marketing activity. Depending on how the product is sold and whether it is a digital or physical product, the revenue per thousand visitors can dwarf those achievable through advertising or even from affiliate commissions.

Affiliates can be signed up to sell the product on your behalf. Depending on the network chosen to act as an affiliate manager, this may involve giving away 20-80% of the revenue generated as an affiliate commission. For this reason, the pros and cons of offering an affiliate program need to considered carefully, as does the eventual sales price.

Tip #1: Match the needs of the site visitors. Consider running a survey to see what products visitors would like to buy or what features are lacking in the ones they already own.

Tip #2: Develop a website that provides insightful information which already aids the visitors in reducing or eliminating their pain points. Provide information that will be relevant to your product. This will make it a more natural fit for visitors who later become buyers.

Tip #3: Become an authority in the niche or market that you’re involved in. Make sure that relevant movers and shakers in the industry know your name or brand. Become a talking point. Create buzz around the upcoming product launch.

Tip #4: Sign up visitors pre-launch who would like to be notified about the product when it is launched. Better still, take pre-orders before the product is ready. Use the orders to determine true levels of interest from buyers.

Sponsored Reviews

Companies are interested in reaching just the right market for their product. A blog with a readership that is focused in the their niche or sub niche is ideal.

A sponsored review is an excellent way to provide detailed information about a product to a willing audience. This can be far more complete than a fleeting advertisement that can impart little real information to potential buyers.

It is important that a disclaimer is included to state that remuneration was provided by the product supplier in exchange for a fair review of their product. Sometimes companies would prefer that you do not reveal that the review was sponsored, but not being transparent can lose the respect of your readership and raise the ire of Google if the blog uses their advertising network.

Release a Book

Whether a legacy published book in retail stores or a Kindle eBook, launching a book is a good way to make more people aware of your brand.

Without being overly promotional about what your site can offer, the quality of the writing and subject matter covered can speak for itself. A bonus offer for readers who click-thru to the website to sign up to your newsletter also allows the site to collect contact information from book buyers who choose to participate.

A book can also act as a lead magnet for a more in-depth course which can take advantage of video and sound presentational / teaching capabilities that a book is less well suited for. Therefore, a $2.99 book can lead to sales of a video course or membership site at a higher price point.

Webinars

Webinars ran regularly like once a month can be an excellent way to demonstrate expertise in a live discussion or presentation with attendees.

A webinar can include guests and be a subtly-veiled marketing effort where along with providing instructional information to attendees, the people running the event can also promote their products near the end of the session.

Carefully managed webinars can be attended by anywhere from ten to 1,000 people simultaneously. Only the most interested people will take the time to spend an hour or more with those running the presentation. This leads to a good level of sales on related products offered.

A service like GoToWebinar can provide the necessary server resources to handle different numbers of webinar attendees without needing to manage the infrastructure yourself. You’ll require a fast, reliable internet connection along with a good microphone and web cam set up.

Try making some YouTube videos to practise talking into the camera. Test out how you look on camera and which outfits look best with your equipment (avoid stripes, etc.) Consider the lighting in the room where the webinar will be held. If you need a whiteboard to write on, set it up well ahead of time and test how it looks on camera.

Email Marketing

One of the best ways to generate additional revenue is by collecting email addresses via a newsletter sign up process. This will allow you to turn casual visitors who may visit once and never return into people that can be contacted by email later.

Provide a lead magnet – an eBook or other item – to give an incentive to subscribe. People do not necessary read or look at the item but it still successfully manages to get the subscription of those people who would otherwise remain on the fence.

New blog posts can be promoted to the email list to generate new traffic, comments, and more. Affiliate products can also be sprinkled into newsletters here and there as long as they are relevant to the readership.

Ensure that you do keep in contact with subscribers regularly. Failure to do this can result in many unsubscribe requests because the legitimate subscribers genuinely do not recall signing up to your newsletter. Conversely, consider how often you will to contact subscribers. You do not want to be seen as overly promotional causing many people to unsubscribe.

AWeber and MailChimp are two good services for managing email lists externally.

Final Thoughts

Generating income from a blog is vital if the site is to continue. Other than hobby blogs, you may eventually wish to reduce your involvement by outsourcing to freelance writers, graphics artists and other people who can reduce your workload. This isn’t possible to do unless the site revenue matches or exceeds the cost of outsourcing.

Good monetisation is often about choosing the most effective monetisation methods that suit the niche. Think about what visitors would be receptive towards. Keep offers closely related to the subjects covered on the blog. Above all else, provide a measured amount of monetisation so that it has a good chance of generating a substantial amount of fresh funds while not alienating the blog audience in the process. Moderation is needed here.

Complete Guide to Hosting a WordPress Blog or Website

When considering how to go about getting a WordPress site hosted on a faster server connected to the internet backbone, there are a number of key considerations.

First is whether it is necessary to even go with a managed WordPress package at all as it’s possible a standard shared hosting package will be sufficient. After all, the shared hosting package with most web hosts is by far the cheapest option and can get a website up and running quickly, can’t it? This is a simple question to answer. Whilst it is theoretically possible to host a website on any shared hosting plan, it will not be the best solution to say the least. WordPress performs best with a certain type of set up and usually under-performs in non-optimised environments.

With a WordPress plan, you’ll receive a better performance, customisation that is tailored specifically to WordPress, and tweaks that will usually improve both security and speed up caching performance for faster page loading times too.

A few of the questions that come up when considering hosting a WordPress blog or website:

  • Consider the daily and monthly traffic averages for an existing site. Has it been experiencing monthly growth patterns over the past six months?
  • Will the web hosting need to be scalable for busier days with product launches or shorter-term promotions?
  • Do you need a great deal of support from the company in the early stages of a switch of web hosts?
  • Should the hosting have developers on hand to help out with customised WordPress code that isn’t executing on the server correctly?
  • How much do you wish to spend per month or per year?
  • Should the hosting come with a content delivery network (CDN) built-in?
  • Should the hosting company offer a choice of server hosting in different parts of the world?
  • Does their corporate owner matter if they’ve been buying up smaller web hosts left and right? Should they be independent? Do you care about that?
  • Do they run green via green policies or buy carbon credits to offset emissions and technology use?

These are just a few of the questions that can arise and set the mind racing when it comes to picking a good WordPress plan.

There are perhaps hundreds of decent hosting providers out there and maybe thousands if you consider the really small operators. The idea behind this post is to give you a good idea what to think about with the selection of both a web host and a web hosting plan for effective WordPress hosting. Whilst hosting can just seem like a server and a fast connection to the internet backbone, there are many more details required in order to get an optimal result.

A better hosting selection will deliver faster page loading times, an ability to handle larger volumes of traffic with a given hosting set up, and security benefits specific to WP.

Here are the main things to consider when it comes to the selection of an effective WordPress hosting provider:

What Features Are Best to Look for from a WordPress Host?

  1. Speed & Performance

When it comes to the underlying hardware that runs the web hosting operations, there really is no substitute for getting the best. This means fast Intel Xeon processors, not the slower versions or even Intel Pentium processor options for hosting providers trying to cut corners with their core server response times.

The amount of RAM available per user or per server if renting a dedicated server will make a substantial difference to performance. RAM can handle a performance spike or create a bottleneck depending on how much memory is available for the shared hosting environment per user, on a VPS or dedicated server environment.

Hard disk performance matters greatly when a busy site is using a single dedicated server. As anyone knows with disk usage, when transferring large files around, it affects performance of the computer as well rather than only the hard drive. This overworking of the hard drive can be a problem for future performance. It increases failure rates which typically run 2-4 years of useful life for most hard drive manufacturers like Western Digital, Seagate, Samsung, and others.

A web host that offers solid state drives (SSDs) instead of hard disk drives is clearly investing for the future with some of the fastest disk options available. With no moving parts and read / write times which can be 10 times the speed of regular platter-based drives, information can be loaded faster to create new web pages and deliver them to each site visitor more quickly. The drag on performance from slower disk drives can be virtually eliminated altogether.

In most cases, the use of SSDs is far more important than the total amount of disk space allocation allowance to an individual account which few users get anywhere close to exceeding.

It is possible to verify the CPU load, RAM allocation and usage, and disk drive type and disk space used on your existing hosting plan to see how close to the limits you are running. This may indicate when it is perhaps time for an upgrade or a change of hosting providers. The hosting dashboard or cPanel can easily provide this kind of information for you on dedicated or VPS plans, but for shared hosting plans you may need to look deeper or contact the support to provide some answers there (we break down the differences between these types of hosting later in this post).

Solid state drives and the fastest line of Intel Xeon processors don’t come cheap. Seeking out the lowest price for hosting will not deliver the highest performance. Cheap and high quality have never been good bedfellows and that’s no different here. Better hosting doesn’t necessarily have to cost appreciably more than cheaper hosting will. However, the performance boost to site hosting capacity and page loading times mean fewer visitors will leave due to slow performance and Google won’t reduce the site ranking because the site is taking too long to load. Something to think about.

  1. Support

Hosting support is something that you always need when you least expect it. You don’t give it a second thought before that time. That’s a mistake that you won’t want to make.

Cheap hosting companies will not invest sufficiently in their staff. Both the technical staff who take care of their hosting architecture and the support staff who deal with phone calls, email and social media contacts; if either of these department are understaffed then you’ll feel it when you go to contact them.

The replies will come far too slow to be useful in a hosting emergency, the answers will be incomplete or incorrect, and require a second (or third) message back in order to fill in the blanks that were not answered the first time.

It may be difficult to appreciate how the technical side is connected to the hosting support side, but in reality problems are often relayed down to the technical team for feedback and testing before the support personnel can reply back to you. An inexperienced, ill-equipped technical team will begin to show with more mistakes with hosting than is normal and incorrect answers coming back from support that you may know for a fact are not correct.

In some cases, a support team will include some actual web developers and programmers within the team. This will help with anyone who is a developer and is having a code execution error. Perhaps a web page that was running without errors on a previous server now has errors that are stopping the script in its tracks? You’re flummoxed and haven’t a clue why…

Well at times like these, you really want someone on the other end of support who can look into the customisation made to a WordPress PHP page and see what the problem is. It could be something simple, but they’ll know their own architecture far better than you will.

Local-based support is useful for web hosts too. You don’t really want the hosting to have been outsourced abroad to another continent where they’re dealing with a different time-zone, a different culture, and a different way of doing things. Far too much will be lost in translation which will directly impact the quality of the support response that comes back to you.

The better web hosts will offer email support or at least a support ticket system where you can lodge the issue clearly in writing. There may also be support forums, telephone contact and live chats over the web. Some hosts may provide fewer options to contact them and push visitors towards their Knowledge Base information tool to reduce the number of basic queries hitting the support team. That’s okay too just as long as that’s not used as a crutch to get around a lack of investment in the support department. Also consider what times they can be contacted as you may be travelling in different time-zones later and you’ll still need to get their support on tap when it’s needed.

Ideally, the support staff will be well versed in WordPress-specific hosting technologies including site migration from other hosts or other content management systems (CMS), WordPress caching options, security considerations, plus all important backups and restorations of data. You don’t want generalists who are “not too familiar with WordPress but let me see if I can help”. That just won’t be enough. You need support staff with years of experience dealing with WordPress.

  1. UpTime

With server uptime, most web hosts will boast of having a 99.5% or better uptime. Here it is useful to understand if it is their dedicated servers, WordPress-specific hosting or general shared hosting that enjoyed fewer failures in the hosting environment? If they can break down the figures, that’s a useful one to ask the sales staff before signing up.

Also, there is a big difference between one long down-time that took all sites on their network down for 12 hours and messed up their uptime statistics versus intermittent problems over the past couple of years that hit them for 5 minutes downtime here, 10 minutes downtime there.

In both cases above you should want to know what happened, why it happened, what was done to fix the issue so it is unlikely to happen again, and whether there have been any new occurrences since the last major outage?

  1. What Else Do You Expect Of Your Web Host?

Here are a few other considerations that are nice to see:

  • Built-in caching support – Help pages load faster than they would otherwise do in a WordPress hosting environment. Caching can include both the server-side and the client-side. If built-in, ensure existing caching plugins don’t clash with the ones that the web host uses.
  • Backups stored off-site – Don’t only rely on web host backups, but they are certainly good to see as long as they are stored off-site to protect against fire damage in the data centre.
  • Built-in CDN – Do they have a content delivery network built-in that reduces loading times by pushing static content out to global servers so parts of the site can load faster?
  • Security features – Is security a big thing to the web host and what have they done to make WordPress more secure?
  • Location – How far is the data centre away from the majority of the current site visitors? You don’t want the server in London if most visitors are California.
  • Git versioning – For developers, it is useful to have this feature to manage version numbers of software development properly.

What Are The Different Types Of Hosting Available and Which Is Most Suitable To Host Your Site?

There are 4 main types of web hosting that can be selected ranging from the most basic to the most advanced. Anyone looking to host a new WordPress site and an existing one with a 1m monthly unique visitor traffic volume will find it useful to understand the key differences.

The 4 main types of hosting are:

  • Shared Hosting
  • VPS Hosting
  • Dedicated Hosting
  • Managed WordPress Hosting

A lot of times with hosting, price is what you pay and value is what you get. This is not always the case (like most things in life) but it is often true. For example, free WordPress hosts exist and survive by generating revenue by displaying random adverts on hosted sites. They fail to invest heavily into the technical infrastructure due to lack of financial resources which leads to problems later.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is where many individuals and businesses start their web hosting journey. It is the cheapest option.

A server is set aside for shared hosting. There are often 100+ domains and websites hosted on a single server. Each has their own allocated shared server space, a small slice of the total resources (including RAM), limited disk space, and so on.

It is not possible to configure the hosting that much, if at all. Not all shared hosting servers are supplied with a powerful enough processor or sufficient RAM to provide strong performance. After all, the host wants you to upgrade to a more expensive plan that offers better performance so why would they deliver something superior with a shared hosting plan?

There is also the reality that the host has a financial incentive to overload the shared server with more hosting accounts than it can really handle. The customer has no control over this. One poorly written script that is holding up the resources of the server can bring down all the hosted sites until the culprit can be identified and resolved. This makes uptime concerns more of an issue in a shared hosting environment. It is cheap for a good reason.

Whilst a shared hosting plan will be acceptable for new sites starting out that don’t wish to spend much on hosting, improved page loading times can be achieved with better options. As sites grow in traffic, they will eventually out-grow their shared hosting account roots. Visitors will start to complain about the site being too slow to load or pages timing out during peak traffic periods. It will be time to move up.

VPS Hosting

Virtual private server (VPS) hosting is essentially only one step down from a dedicated server where you have an entire server to yourself.

A VPS server is partitioned and managed for a smaller group of hosting accounts that require better performance. There will often be a choice of VPS servers with different plans. The differences will be important. There will be choices of processors, installed memory, disk space, HDD or SSD storage, cPanel (Control Panel) included, the number of unique IP addresses available (a unique address for your server location), and other specifications.

It is often possible to scale up your requirements with a VPS server over time. More RAM can be allocated to your VPS account from the total RAM installed on the server. A greater amount of disk space or access to a SSD to speed up disk access may be available also. Switching from a slower to a faster server with a top-of-the-line Xeon processor may need a VPS server transfer though.

You are unlikely to experience problems with hosting due to a complete lack of resources with a VPS server. You are still vulnerable to choosing a VPS account with too fewer resources, but that can be upgraded as the need arises. With a shared hosting account you do not have this flexibility.

VPS servers are useful for existing sites with a good level of traffic that could enjoy an improved performance and some degree of future proofing. Successful, growing blogs will find a lot of benefit to moving to a VPS plan.

Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting is where you can gain access to a single server just for your own use. This can host one or more WordPress-based sites (and other sites using a different CMS if you like).

There will be a choice of dedicated servers with different specifications. Just like with VPS servers, the choices will include a selection of processors, installed RAM, disk space, HDD vs SDD, number of unique IP addresses, cPanel access or none provided, etc.

Dedicated servers are only required for extremely busy websites. There are usually other options such as clustered hosting or cloud hosting which can be a good interim solution before moving up to a dedicated server. The cost is pretty high for dedicated solutions when factoring in the bandwidth costs which are usually charged separately.

Managed WordPress Hosting

One of the best options could be managed WordPress hosting. This is a team of people who are savvy WordPress users who have been providing WP hosting for years already.

WordPress itself is a specialised CMS which takes knowledgeable people who have experience of working with it in a coding and hosting environment to be able to quickly help when there is a problem. A generalist will find that a challenge and take longer to provide a solution which can ultimately create more downtime for you.

There is a choice to be made between a strong web host that also offers a Managed WordPress Hosting solution in their hosting plan range and one that is dedicated purely to WP hosting and nothing else. Simply put, the first solution will be cheaper than going with the dedicated WP provider but like with most things, you get what you pay for a lot of the time.

HostGator

A good example of a Managed WordPress Hosting plan comes from HostGator. Their range of WordPress hosting plans offers free site migration assistance, access to the MOJO theme marketplace, caching and CDNs, improved security, and more. For the price jump above shared hosting, it is not a bad deal.

WPEngine

WPEngine is a dedicated WordPress hosting company that includes a level of WordPress customisation which is simply excellent. Single-click site restoration, CDNs, malware scans, daily fast backups, SSL enabled for all websites, firewalls, a staging area to test new WordPress plugins and themes before going live with them, and a support team who know WordPress in their bones.

They have several individual plans and a handy plan finder tool which based on your selection can help indicate the best plan for you. They host more than 30,000 websites across 120+ countries already.

Concluding Thoughts

Hosting for a WordPress blog needs to be well considered before taking the plunge. There are many questions to ask to ensure the right hosting partner and the right plan will be selected.

Price is not always the determining factor (two web hosts priced the same can offer very different value), but at the cheaper end of the price range a lot is lost in hardware, performance and reliability.

Determine what you need and seek out the best value for money for that level of service and performance.

How to Save Memory on Your Smartphone

Once upon a time, the only things stored on a mobile phone were contacts and text messages. Today, though, things are very different and our smartphones contain huge vaults of data, including photos, videos, apps, music, and even movies. Not surprisingly, there will probably come a time when you begin to run out of memory. So how can you save memory on your smartphone?

Delete Unwanted Apps

Like most people, you probably have hundreds of apps downloaded on to your smartphone. But how many of those apps do you actually use? I bet not all that many of them. Well here’s the thing: a lot of those apps take up a lot of space on your smartphone, so deleting them will free up additional space. You don’t even need to be concerned about losing the app forever, because if you purchased it the app can be downloaded again at a later date. You will lose any data stored within the app, however, so make sure you definitely don’t use the app any more before you hit “delete”.

Clean Out the Cached App Data

Some apps build up vast stores of temporary files, which can clog up a smartphone’s internal memory over time. Apps such as Google Maps and Facebook do this to make the apps run faster – caching files speeds up the amount of time it takes for the app to load when you want to access Facebook or check out some maps. You don’t really need these files, though, and deleting them will free up lots of space. Cached data can be cleared out by going into the smartphone’s settings and selecting the “manage applications” option. Apps such as Facebook have a “clear data” option. Alternatively, delete the app and then reinstall it: this also clears out temporary files.

Clear the Browser Cache

Browsers, like apps, also store a lot of temporary files on your smartphone, which can build up over time and clog up the device memory. To free up additional space, it is a good idea to go into your browser settings and periodically delete temporary internet files, cookies and other browsing data. This can be done by going into the settings menu and scrolling down until you find your browser. There should be an option to clear the cache, but if you can’t see it, read the manual for your specific model of handset.

Back Up Photos and Videos

Photos and videos take up a lot of space on a smartphone memory; videos in particular. If you are snap happy and enjoy taking lots of photos and selfies, there will come a time when your memory is full. Firstly, go through your photo archive and delete any bad photos -for example blurry ones and any photos taken accidentally – this will free up a small amount of memory straight away. Next, plug your smartphone into a computer and transfer your photos and videos to a storage folder on your PC hard-drive. This will keep your precious memories safe and allow you to delete them from your smartphone, thus saving a huge chunk of memory.

Make Use of Cloud Storage

There are lots of cloud based applications where you can transfer media and free up space on a smartphone. Apple iPhones have iCloud. Photos and other media can be stored in the iCloud, so you can delete it from your phone if you wish because it remains intact in the cloud. Another option to save space is to sign up for a Cloud storage service such as DropBox, although it may not solve your problems because files are “shared” between your device and the cloud, so they still take up space.

Move Files to an SD Card

Many smartphones have memory card slots. You can easily boost your smartphone’s internal memory by buying a MicroSD card. Or, if you already use a MicroSD card, invest in one with a larger memory capacity. Once installed, apps and media data can be transferred to the card and stored there instead of on the phone’s internal memory. On an Android phone, this is done by going into the phone’s settings and selecting the “manage applications” option. Be aware, however, that some apps can’t be moved on to an SD card.

If you follow the tips above you should be able to avoid seeing any “low storage” warnings on your smartphone; your smartphone will also run a lot more efficiently as a result. However, should you need more specific information about how to manage the storage capacity on your smartphone handset, read the manual or ring your network provider’s tech support telephone helpline. In most cases the procedure is very simple, but occasionally glitches can arise when applications are moved or deleted that need a bit of extra help to solve.