10 Steps to one of the 10 Best Wordpress Sites

This site was recently named one of 'The 10 Best Wordpress Sites In The World'. It came in at number 5. This was the result of consistent detailed effort. I used just 10 simple steps to create a fast, well planned site.

You should have an amazing site because of the power of Wordpress and you can improve your web presence by careful planning.

I started it as malexperience.com in 2009 with only a vague idea of why. I fiddled around with the design and after time started to understand how to make it work. I read a lot and studied a lot and began to truly understand the intricacies of working online.

The many hours I have spent, and wasted, have been vindicated by the inclusion of the site in the blog post on the wp.io site. To be the 5th best wordpress site in the world is amazing and totally unexpected.

The question, though, what do I do to make the site work this well? I thought it would be worthwhile if I covered the 10 simple steps i have taken to get it working.

1. Site Purpose

Take time to work on the purpose of your site. If you wander around and talk about everything then it will probably end up being nothing. A clearly focused site will draw your audience back and encourage them to engage with you. I have remained focused on men and their issues.

2. Hosting

I started out on shared hosting with Bluehost and eventually decided to make the move to a VPS (Virtual Private Server). I changed when the shared hosting started to interfere with the speed of the site. I now use Linode and have never regretted the move, despite the amount of work I have had to do. The site ‘VPS Bible‘ is an excellent resource for starting on this journey.

( Ihave now moved on from Linode, and currently use inMotion hosting.)

3. Theme

Unless you are a great designer and can simply sketch out how you want the site to look you will want a theme to create an instant design. Early on I found this limiting and looked for a more flexible way to work on my design.

I found Headway Theme Framework which I have stuck with for many years. It is now on version three, which has an amazing drag and drop approach to site design. It has allowed me to structure the site in many detailed ways.

(Unfortunately, Headway has ceased to operate, I now use a standard theme, Editor, that works well.)

4. Design

Once you have installed the framework you need to learn about design in great detail. If you fully understand the psychology of your readers you will tweak everything from the fonts and font sizes, through the colours to the specifics of the layout. You need to balance simplicity and focus and ensure you have all the necessary components, including legal disclaimers.

I read many blogs that talk about the psychology of design through the visual aspects to the technicalities of implementing the ideas.

5. SEO

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is critical in developing the blogs audience. I have a great relationship with Google who continue to send me lots of traffic every day. To achieve this I focus on content marketing. People search for content and Google serves up sites that provide great content.

I use two plugins to help me develop this aspect of blogging. ‘Wordpress SEO‘ by Joost de Valk provides an excellent framework for your SEO activities and helps you focus each post. In addition I use ‘Keyword Strategy’ to develop my keyword approach and ‘Market Samurai‘ for research.

6. Images

Images are an important feature of the look of any site and of the psychology of drawing in readers. Many people randomly spread images around without any thought to design. I have an organised process for sizing images to create a unified feel. I also look carefully at the colour contrasts they provide. I use the ‘EWWW Image Optimizer‘ to reduce their load on the site.

7. CDN

The most important part of using images is how they are served to the reader’s browser. The first task in speeding up your site is to store them on a different server so they can be loaded in parallel with the html, CSS and Javascript. I use the ‘Amazon S3 service with Cloudfront‘ by a dedicated plugin. The cost is very reasonable and it is a secure way of storing the many images I have.

8. Caching

The final step in speeding up a site is to install a good caching plugin. I use ‘W3 Total Cache‘. It seems to be the best and most recommended. Caching can play havoc with a site if it is not set up properly, this has worked seamlessly for me. In addition I use CloudFlare which is a service that secures your site by forwarding the DNS through their network as well as providing an extra level of caching.

9. Monitoring

It is important to monitor your site constantly and deal with any issues that come up. I use Pingdom Tools to monitor that the site is running. It sends me an email if it goes down. To monitor my stats I use the stats service from Wordpress as well as Google Analytics. The information I get helps me to develop the site further.

10. Writing

In the end, though, the most important thing is to keep writing. It is the constant updating of the site with well written content that gets people involved. Lack of activity is what kills most sites, people get bored or lose interest and let the site sink into the mass of wasted effort on the internet.

Attention to detail, a good design sense and an interest in writing consistently for your niche is what makes a site great. I can confirm that I have balanced attention on all these as what is now satpurusha.com has developed over the years.