Google is always looking at your website for fresh content and when Google sees fresh content it tells the whole world. It’s been proved that when websites change content, their position in Google improves.
To keep your website content fresh you can:
- Pay web designers for updates, or
- Learn HTML and CSS coding and update it yourself, or
- Use a good online Content Management System.
To pay web designers is the easy way, but they have their own timetables, so your website may not get updated as quickly as you like.
You can learn HTML and CSS to update content yourself, but will it look good on all browsers? You need to keep yourself up to date with HTML and CSS as Browser versions change the rules. Will you need to buy and learn to use software like Dreamweaver?
There are many good Content Management Systems, but some are costly to install. Is there any free CMS?
Yes. Most Linux hosting plans using cPanel provide FREE installation of utility software including blogs, site builders and content management systems. Just a couple of clicks, set a password, and the system is installed ready to use.
We have tried most of these installations and found that the easiest to use is WordPress. Popular for a long time as blogging software, WordPress has been improved over time so that now the blogging can be disabled and a static page can be chosen for the home page of a website. An advantage that WordPress seems to have over some other CMS is that it constantly being updated to maintain its security. We know of other systems that get hacked.
New themes (layout and styles) are continually being written for WordPress and some of these themes have hundreds of options to change layout and style. The beauty of WordPress is that you can change themes without losing any data. Inside WordPress admin is a section for browsing and installing new themes.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is taken care of in WordPress with its Permalinks, a system of automatically making the web address of each page look search engine friendly. Instead of the URL of a page looking like
yourname.com/?page_id=1234 which is bad SEO, it can look like
yourname.com/mexican-vacation which is good SEO.
Some web hosting providers, like us, will install WordPress free with a theme to suit a client’s website. The client then can just type in, or copy and paste their text into a WYSIWYG box, just like in word processing. To change an existing website to WordPress, the hosting provider can copy the website to a temporary location like host.com/yourname, setup WordPress at yourname.com, then you just copy from host.com/yourname and paste into yourname.com.
The WYSIWG text area has two tabs, "Visual" and "HTML" so that you can see the HTML coding of what you have entered. Of course you can even enter your own HTML.
When you add new pages you can choose to have them as main pages or subsidiary to main pages, and you can decide on the order in which pages are listed. You can set a hierarchical system of subjects and sections.
There are also icons for uploading and positioning images and other media. One trap is that you are allowed to upload images of any size and let WordPress optimize the image to fit the place where you want to display it, while storing the original image. That’s OK, but if you upload hundreds of poster sized photos of 2 megabytes each you can quickly fill up the disk space of your hosting plan. We advise using your graphics program to optimize your photos to the best size for your web page before uploading them to your website.
The WordPress theme that we use allows two left and two right side-bars, which with the center area makes a five column web page, although we don’t know any one who uses four side bars.
Other layout options include fixed width pages or percentage width pages, font families, font colors, font sizes, font styles, link effects, background colors, background images, header images, alternating header images, text over header images, logos and favicons.
The navigation can be across the top before or after the header image, down a side bar, or both. Colors and borders and hover colors of navigation buttons can be set. Widgets (items in the side bars) can include text links, image links or both. Links can be divided into categories, some with images, and some without.
SEO options include setting title, description and keyword tags, and whether the page title shows before or after the website title in the title tag. The title tag can be one of the most important areas of a web page for search engines.
For the keen there is also an option to add your own lines of CSS. In brief, the theme is totally customizable.
The biggest advantage of WordPress as a content management system is that in a few minutes you can add fresh content to your website.
Search engines like Fresh Content.