Table of Contents


  • On horses, water, and web sites. I frequently get asked about creating web sites and online presences. I have experience, and no shortage of opinions. It’s time to share.
  • You need a web site. Yes, you. The web is all about connecting people. If you want to be found or to reach others online, the implication is simple: you need a web site.
  • The roadmap to success. To succeed in business, add value to the world. I outline the tools and the philosophy behind the approach I’ll be taking to lead you to online success.
  • Stand out online. In case you need more reasons to invest in your online presence, let me elaborate on several ways that your web site can and will engage with your tribe.
  • Googled yourself lately?  Start with an honest self-assessment: Googling yourself can tell you a lot about what people will find when they look for you or your services.

Your Domain

  • Choosing Your Domain Name – How Do You Want to be Known? Your domain name is your online identity. Choosing an appropriate one is both incredibly important and surprisingly difficult. It’s worth investing some time and research.
  • Buying Your Domain. There are several places to purchase a domain, but given the importance of your online identity, you want it to be from a reliable source.
  • Hosting your domain. There are many options when it comes to hosting your domain. I’ll review the common alternatives, name a few names, and make a recommendation.
  • Buying hosting. You have a domain, now you need a place to put it. I’ll walk through the process of purchasing domain hosting with a shared hosting provider, and pointing your domain at it.
  • Three Domain Registration Scams and One That’s Not (but is Important). Domain registration is another opportunity for scammers to try and take advantage of you. I’ll cover the most common scams, and one that looks like spam but turns out to be critically important to keeping your domain.

Your Email

  • Use Your Own Domain for Email. You have your own domain; now put your email on it. This is not optional.
  • Set Up Your Email. We have a domain and we have hosting. Now I’ll walk through the process of creating and configuring an email account.
  • Use Gmail to Handle Your Email. Gmail is a powerful email service that can also be used as an email client. We’ll use it as a client to manage the email on our own domain.

Your Content

  • Selecting a Content Management System – WordPress. Content Management Systems allow you to focus on what you do best: generate content for your website. WordPress is the most popular, and most flexible, and the solution I’ll recommend.
  • Installing WordPress. With WordPress as our selected Content Management System (CMS), I’ll walk you through the steps to install it on your site using our example web host.
  • Tweaking WordPress. With WordPress installed it’s time to begin making some adjustments to its configuration, including increasing its security.
  • Tweaking WordPress Part II. Tweaks to WordPress continue as we review the Settings menu from top to bottom.
  • Three WordPress Plugins. There are three plugins that you’ll want to start with – one you already have, and two more. We’ll install the two additional and perform some basic configuration of each.
  • Improving Your Website’s Security. Your website will come under attack. I’ll review the additional settings in iThemes Security that will help you weather the storm.
  • Get Information – Analytics and Search Console. With your web site up and running, it’s now time to begin gathering information about how visitors see and use it, including one special visitor: Google.
  • The Three Pages You Need. There are three pages that every website should have. I’ll cover what they are, and creating them. When done, your website will be ready to go to work.
  • Add Google Search to Your Site. Make your site searchable with the Google search engine.
  • What it means to Add Value. Adding value is an important cornerstone of my approach to online success. I’ll review what I mean by that, and what you need to start doing now.
  • Running Out Of Ideas? Sometimes You’re Just Too Close. When the well seems empty and you’re running out of ideas, there are many strategies to find more things to consider.
  • Adding a Contact or Other Form. Contact forms are convenient ways to encourage reader interaction while protecting yourself from spam as well as perhaps structuring the information provided.
  • Getting Into the Search Engine. You have content, and you want to be found. Making sure you can be found is critical.
  • Why Aren’t You Creating Content? Keeping a website fresh with good content is critical for business success. So why is it so easy to stop writing?
  • It’s Already Been Done. One of the most common excuses for not writing is thinking others have already said it, and said it better. That’s no excuse.

Your Mailing List

Engaging your audience

  • Keeping It Fresh. Making sure your web site has signs of life is important to everything from making a good first impression with your visitors to ranking well in the search engines.
  • “But What Do I Write About?” So-called “writer’s block” prevents a lot of people from creating content regularly. I’ll give you some ideas on a virtually unlimited supply of ideas to write about.
  • So, Am I Now A Blogger? The term “blogger” means many things to many people. You may or may not be one, but it’s irrelevant as long as you continue to add value.
  • Why Your Website Will Fail. My guess is that four out of five websites suffer the death of stagnation. Don’t let that be yours.
  • I’ll Just Do It On Facebook. It may be tempting to look at busy social media feeds and decide to put most, perhaps even all, your efforts there. In a word: don’t.
  • You Are Not Your Customer. We all think we know what our customers want, but more often than not we’re flat out wrong. I’ll review some of the ways in which we’re wrong these days, and some steps to overcome our egos and our preconceptions.


  • The Importance – and Unimportance – of SEO. SEO is both important and irrelevant. It’s a key component and a complete distraction. I’ll review what I think SEO is all about, and what steps you need to take.
  • On Writing: You’re Now A Writer. A content marketing strategy implies that you have, and create, content for your audience. That means embracing the fact that you’re a writer.
  • Let’s Get Mobile. Providing a good experience for visitors on mobile devices is important for a number of reasons. Fortunately, there are ways to make it relatively easy.
  • Let’s Get Social. Social media can be an important part of an overall strategy to promote your business or cause. But don’t lose site of one important fact: you are not the customer.
  • Design – Look and Feel and So Much More. I’ve not talked about design primarily because it’s not my strength. That doesn’t mean it isn’t important, however, so let’s talk about look, feel, and functionality.
  • Backing Up. You’re about to put a lot of effort into your website. You’ll want to protect yourself from disaster. That protection? A good backup, of course.
  • Use Images to Highlight Your Posts. Photos and other images can make your posts more appealing and informative. They can also slow down your site and distract readers. At worst, choosing the wrong image can get you in trouble.
  • The Best Keyword Research Tool. Many people spend a lot of time on keyword research, or worrying about keyword research. While it’s important, the best keyword research is already right in front of you.
  • To Date or Not to Date Your Posts. Whether or not to date your posts can quickly turn into a religious argument. I’ll review the reasons to date your posts, and the reasons not to, and the overriding theme to keep in mind when making the decision.
  • Dealing With Haters. Or, how I’ve come to love the haters and trolls in my life, and how you can too.
  • Share URLs Correctly. You can make it easier on your audience by sharing links to your site or to other pages as clearly and as simply as possible.
  • Product, Service, or Cause? Product, service, and cause are three types of efforts I’ve characterized as needing web sites. I’ll elaborate on what those mean.
  • Slowing Down. I’m further reducing the publication frequency. I’ll cover why any site might want to, and include a few behind-the-scenes facts and figures about where we are.