When you become the owner of a new website for the first time, there are a number of important jobs to be done in order to get your website functioning effectively. Whatever the purpose of your website, we would recommend setting an hour aside to complete a few basic admin tasks which will help to make your website work smoothly and attract more visitors.
1 – Familiarise Yourself with the Control Panel
Every website has a control panel, which is an admin area that you use to update the content of your site. Normally, you would log in using a username and password in the same way as any email or website account. It is important to have a basic understanding of how to complete simple tasks such as making changes to the text or images on a page.
For owners of a Rosco-built website, or other WordPress users, our simple guide to the basic WordPress functions will help you to understand the control panel better.
2 – Register with the Search Engines
If you want customers to be able to find your website via the three main search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing), then you need to submit your site to them manually.
Google Webmaster Tools â€“ creating an account here will allow you to submit your website to the Google search index. This means that Google are aware of your site and will begin to â€˜crawlâ€™ the content regularly in order to direct relevant searches to you. This is also the place where you will be alerted about problems with your website, such as malware attacks or broken links. You should aim to check your account every few weeks to make sure everything is running correctly.
Bing Webmaster Tools â€“ this is almost exactly the same as the Google equivalent above, except you can manage both your Bing and Yahoo search accounts in one place here.
3 – Register with Google Analytics
Most website owners are keen to know how many people are visiting their site, and other statistical information such as location of visitor, average time on the site etc.
Google Analytics provides all of this information and much more, and is a really useful tool for assessing the performance of your website and business. You need to install a tracking code on your website, full instructions can be found inside your account.
[box] Time Saving Tip â€“ Owners of WordPress websites can install a Plugin that will take care of the authorisation process for all Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics accounts in one place. Just search for â€œAll in One Webmasterâ€ in the Plugins section of your control panel to install.[/box]
4 – Add a Sitemap
A sitemap is a file that contains a list of links which make up the structure of your website. The search engines use sitemaps to help them crawl your website and ensure that they are adding all of your pages to the search index. It is therefore highly recommended that you install a sitemap. Full details about how to do this manually can be found on XML-Sitemaps.com â€“ the most popular sitemap generator online.
[box] Time Saving Tip â€“ Owners of WordPress websites can install a Plugin that will generate an XML Sitemap for your website. Just search for â€˜Google XML Sitemapsâ€ in the Plugins section of your control panel to install.[/box]
5 – Test and Check your Contact Options
The vast majority of websites are designed to instigate some form of contact with visitors, whether that is for business or social reasons. It is very important that your contact options are easy to find, and correct. You should check email addresses and phone numbers carefully, and also test online email forms or social media buttons to make sure they are working properly. It would be a real shame to put a significant amount of time and money into your website, only for problems with your contact options to prevent people being able to get in touch.
We hope that you have found this guide useful and wish you good luck with your new website.