Ok, I admit – there’s a lot more to this than I originally thought. Most of the time I’ve spent so far had been in research instead of actual web development, although I’m happy to say that I just finished my first couple of websites and actually got paid! The biggest problem with my ongoing research is that every time I learn something new about websites or SEO, I realize that I need to go back and correct some things on the sites I’ve already done. I hope to eventually get to the point where I can do most of it right the first time.
The worst site, of course is my own – bizviz.biz. When I developed this site I didn’t know ANYTHING about website development or HTML and the various other codes which are used, so I kind of used this site as a test bed to try to learn a few things about HTML. Well, the end result is that I ended up doing everything the hard way, and could have gotten a lot better results just following a WordPress tutorial on YouTube. So, I’ve hated this site from the beginning (there’s nothing attractive or creative about it) and have always been planning to completely redo it – which of course opens up another whole can of worms.
Speaking of WP tutorials, I found this really good one which walks you through the whole website creation process thing step by step and he actually speaks English and with a very slow, clear precise language that makes it really easy to follow. So, one of the first things he takes you through is the whole WP setup process, including what plugins you need and don’t need. He recommends that you get rid of the Jetpack plugin, so I shrug my shoulders and say “oh, I guess I don’t need that” so I go back to my site and delete Jetpack. Well – duh! I also deleted all of my custom CSS information too, so my whole website lost all it’s formatting which I had spent weeks on!
Being the noob that I am, I called Fat Cow (my hosting site) in a total panic and asked if they could restore my site. The guy on the phone was very nice and patient and went back and restored my site to the previous day’s version. Like a dummy, I expected everything to be back the way it was, but of course it wasn’t. Apparently the Custom CSS created by Jetpack doesn’t live on their server so they weren’t able to restore it. So, I hung my head and thought I was resigned to my fate of having to rebuild my website earlier than I had thought. The problem was that I had just submitted a proposal to a potential new client and knew that they would be probably looking at my site at any moment. So, in desperation I tried re-installing Jetpack to see if I could somehow redo my CSS code in a hurry, but lo and behold, when I re-activated Jetpack everything magically reappeared! The lesson learned here – make good backups. So, after dodging that bullet, I’m back to the tutorials to try and learn some more stuff. There are a lot of great tutorials out there. Everyone has a different way of doing it so you can learn something new from each one of them.
The whole SEO thing is either really simple or really complicated, depending on who you listen to. Me, I like simple and I think most of my potential clients will, too. I’m not after the top of Google’s first page every time and don’t want to go toe to toe with all the big SEO guys. I’m more of an 80/20 rule person and my goal is to give my clients an affordable product that has the basic bones done right. If they want to go spend hundreds (or thousands!) more on optimization they can have at it – but at least their whole site wouldn’t have to be redesigned. Most of what I’ve read leads me to believe that 80% of SEO is just good keyword research, website design and structure, and common sense and intelligent content. I think I can handle that.
My focus right now is trying to figure out the whole Google My Business thing. For some reason, I can’t get my own business to show up on Google Maps, even though I’m searching right here in Kanarraville. (it still shows businesses from surrounding cities instead). There’s something I’m missing but I’ve been through a bunch of tutorials and done everything I can think of but it’s still not working. I’m sure I’ll get it figured out eventually, but in the meantime I fear I’m not setting a very good example! Also, the whole social media thing is still a giant mystery to me. I’ve never really used any of it – never did chat rooms or social networking or the like, so I have a big learning curve there too. Anyway, back to work!