[ * Since writing this article I have written a more up-to-date post detailing my success at getting 100/100 with Google's Page Speed Insights tool with this particular site.]
I used the hosting provider TSO Hosts to host my websites. I have used them before for other sites and have found them reliable, and the support very good so I decided to stick with what I know.
I used their Cloud Hosting package as I like the fact that that your site can be scaled (ie it's resources increased if the site becomes popular). And also that each instance of a site is independent, as opposed to cPanel hosting where all your sites are in the same root folder. It seems better demarcation of sites.
As with most hosting providers there is a function to install all the most popular software with straight from the control panel without having to download anything or create any databases yourself. This saves a little time and and makes life easier. So I used TSO Hosts Install Application function to install Wordpress.
It all went smoothly but one small niggle I have with it is it gives you a random username for your WordPress install e.g., xrtfyz, which isn't very user friendly. In one of my sites I changed it by hacking the database, I'll leave it as it is in the other one and see if the former gives me any problems.
The blogs comes with a default theme "Twenty Fifteen" that is a very basic, no frills, blogging focused, responsive design. I like it! At some point I will play around with themes but for now I am quite happy with this one.
I wrote my first, very brief blog posts, and now I am ready to install my first plugins.
And those plugins are going to be SEO plugins.
The main goal of most bloggers is to have their websites found and read, and the most common way to be found is via Google, and the tyranny that is Google will take into consideration multiple factors when its algorithms look at your site, so these SEO plugins are reckoned to help in that department.
I am going to try out two different plugins on my two sites. WordPress SEO by Yoast and All in One SEO Pack by Michael Torbert.
Finding plugins for WordPress is nice and easy, you just go to Plugins and click Add New, you are then taken to a plugins page where you can search for all the different WordPress plugins, categorize them by Featured, Popular, Recommended or Favourites; search for tags, eg SEO, photos, etc.; or, use the search box.
First WordPress SEO by Yoast. Install straight forward enough and all the fields seem to be there for the SEO meta tags that are needed.
One slight pause was caused when I tried to look at the sitemap (sitemap_index.xml), it didn't at first show, I just got a 404 Page Not Found error. The solution was simple enough: just go to the SEO: XML Sitemaps menu, and click the Save Changes button.
Second All in One SEO Pack. This plugin doesn't have its own menu option, you have to go to the plugin itself to make changes to the options, which is not quite as neat as Yoast.
I will go with the default settings to start with and report back as I use the plugins...
WordPress SEO by Yoast
- Help option not immediately obvious. It's in the top right hand corner of the page and only seems to be available on the Titles & Metas page.
- In each individual post you can override the default values give to descriptions and open graph data which allows for more relevant information to be added.