How to Change Web Hosting Companies – Step by Step

Sometimes there comes a time where you have to change web hosting companies due to out growing your web hosting package or bad service. Once you have an established website or blog it is important that you change web hosting service providers seemlessly so the site appears to have no downtime (is not available) during the move.

Once you have researched what your new web hosting account requires and selected the new web hosting provider there is a certain way to conduct the move so the search engine bots and visitors don’t notice.

Selecting a New Web Hosting Company

Some search engine optimization considerations to take into account when changing web hosting companies are:

  • If you are already targeting a specific country for your search results success and decided to use a web hosting in your target country previously then keep this in mind when selecting a new web hosting company.
  • On the other hand, if you want to target a specific country in their country specific search results then finding a web hosting company that has web servers actually in that country would be a plus in your overall search engine optimization plan.

In either case above, make sure the web hosting company’s web servers are in your selected country. Dealing with a local company does not necessarily mean their web servers are actually in that country. A lot of web hosting companies lease space from data centers elsewhere. You need to know the IP address of the server you will be hosted on and make sure it is in the country you want.

Matt Cutts, Google Spam Department, specifically addresses this in his GoogleWebmasterHelp video on Youtube: Can the geographic location of IP address affect SEO?

As Matt Cutts explains in the video referenced, changing web hosting companies within the same country should not have an ill affect on the search engine optimization of your site (as long as the service is not poorer than the company you just left).

Make sure you have a web hosting checklist handy before making a commitment to the new web hosting company. Also check the contract you have with the old web hosting company for any conditions as to how long you have to stay there for the pricing you secured and if you are going to loose your domain name. Loosing your domain name because you cancelled a web hosting account is one of the things you have to consider when looking at the deals offered on the net. This is one reason we recommend keeping everything separate. 3 different companies: your domain registrar, your web hosting and your web desinger (if you hire one). This goes for hosted ecommerce software sites also.

Preparing to Change Web Hosting Companies

Once you have selected your new web hosting company and signed up you need to do a couple of things before changing the DNS (domain name server) information at your domain registrar. Don’t cancel your old web hosting yet!

Back Up Your Website/Blog

To move web hosting companies you will need to backup your website/blog to your computer using FTP software.

Back Up Your Web Based Emails

Those of you who use web based email access (you read and send website emails via your browser) instead of an email client (software on your computer) to pick up and send emails for your website will have to back up the emails sitting in your email address account(s) at the old web hosting before cancelling the old web hosting. Once you cancel the web hosting these will be lost.

Upload Site to New Web Hosting

Next you need to upload (transfer) the website/blog files from your computer to your new web hosting account. Using FTP software will make this easy. Your new web hosting company should provide instructions as to which folder to upload your site to.

If your site uses a content management system, blogging software or an ecommerce software (that you own) then you are also going to have to set up the database(s) required to run the site at the new web hosting account also.

Set Up Email Accounts at New Web Hosting

Set up the same email accounts you had at your old web hosting account. These are not going to work until you change the DNS (domain name server) information but needs to be done ahead of time so when the DNS information is changed you avoid loosing emails to the site.

Change the DNS Information at Your Domain Registration Account

Once you have all the files uploaded to your new web hosting, look in your account information section to find the DNS (domain name server) information. You will need this to change the DNS information at your domain registration account.

Log into your domain registration account. Change the old DNS information you have to the new information from the new web hosting company. Save the information and logout.

How Long Do I Keep the Old Web Hosting Account?

The stock answer to the question of how long it takes for the DNS information to be updated around the world is 24 – 48 hours. One way to see if the information has changed is to make a little change at the new location version or put a comment tag in the head section of a page so when you view the source code of the page and see it you are looking at the new location.

If you are not seeing the new location there could be a few reasons:

  • All the domain name servers around the world have not updated yet.
  • Your browser is using the cached version of your site on your computer. Try clearing your browser history.
  • Your ISP (internet service provider) is caching the net. If their proxy server is not available to you try a proxy server like Proxify® to view the site.

Once you are sure that everyone is seeing the new location it is safe to cancel your old web hosting account. Be sure to check your old email accounts at the old web hosting account before canceling. There could be a couple of emails sitting there that came in before the DNS information was updated around the world.

Changing web hosting companies is not that hard. All it requires is for you to be well organized and patient. Moving web hosting companies in the fit of anger is not a wise move. Take things slowly and do things methodically for a successful web hosting move without any downtime.

More Articles About Moving Your Site

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Improve Internal Linking Using Google Webmaster Tools

One of the services provided within Google Webmaster Tools is a report of the internal links Google has found while visiting your site. Internal link building is important to any site. Not only does it drive visitors to other pages within the site/blog but also guides the search engine bots to those pages also.

Internal Link Report

This information can be found under Your Site on the Web >> Internal Links.

The Internal Link screen gives you valuable information on which pages within your site need some internal link loving. Each link pointing to a page within your site or blog counts as a vote for the page besides the benefit of driving visitors and search bots to them. The more links pointing to a page, the better if related.

The list of pages is in the order of internal links pointing to them from highest to lowest. This is a great opportunity to bring some of the old posts on your blog or neglected pages on your website back to the forefront by going through your existing content and finding places to add a link pointing to another page on the site. With a blog particularly, sometimes we forget what we have written about previously that is related to the current article we are writing or have written inbetween the start of the site and now.

Use Google Webmaster Tools to Improve Internal Linking

To use Google Webmaster Tools Internal Link report as a guide of which pages need some incoming internal links you will need:

  1. A Google account if you don’t have one yet.
  2. To have verified ownership of the site/blog long enough ago that Google has had a chance to have visited your site and indexed at least some of the pages on the site.
  3. Be logged into your Google Webmaster Tools account and have the Internal Links report open.

    If you don’t like working between tabs or windows within your browser you could print out the report to use as a checklist of which pages you worked on or if you want to keep a record or some kind of stats, you could copy the list into a spreadsheet. There are download links at the end of the report to download the table or links if you prefer.

  4. Your site or blog open in another browser tab or window.
  5. Open up the find function in your browser.

    In Internet Explorer it is under Edit >> Find on this page in the menu bar.

    If you are using Firefox it is also under Edit >> Find.

  6. A search function on the site/blog would be helpful so you can search for keywords related to the neglected pages. A site map will do if there is no search function available on the site.

With all the above ready we can begin.

  1. Find Pages with Low Internal Links in the Google Webmaster Tools Internal Links Report

    Scroll down the report to the end of it. Remember the list is from highest to lowest and we are looking for pages needing some incoming internal links.

    Note: Google never tells it all that it knows about our sites. They want to keep some information close to their chest so their search results are not manipulated. We just have to work with what they are willing to tell us sometimes. But that’s ok, a little info is better than none.

    Pick a page at the end of the list needing some incoming internal links. We’ll use this one to find some other pages on the site that could link to it.

  2. Find Related Pages on Your Site or Blog

    Switch over to the tab/window with your site or blog in it.

    Go to the search function (or site map if that’s the method you are using).

    Conduct a search for a keyword or phrase related to the page that needs the internal incoming link help. You now have a list of potential related pages/articles that can link back to another page on the site.

  3. Go Through Existing Pages and Find Opportunities to Link to Other Pages on the Site

    Go through each of the search results you have and read the page in the search result.

    Find a keyword or phrase within the page that could link to the page needing the incoming link. Don’t pick any word or phrase. It has to be related to the page being linked to and beneficial to the reader to jump over there and read that page while concentrating on the original topic they were reading.

    To make this go a bit faster use the Find function you have opened in your browser. The find function will highlight and jump to the instance of the keyword/phrase you entered to find.

  4. Add a Link to the Low Internal Linked Page

    Edit the suitable page content to include a link to the page you want to improve internal linking for.

  5. Improve Internal Linking for All Pages

    Repeat the process above for all the pages that need internal links pointing to them.

Looking through the Internal Link report at Google Webmaster Tools is something you should do every once in while. As time progresses we forget about older pages as we create new content for our sites.

Remember that each link pointing to a page is a vote for it whether the link is from within the site or an external one. Internal link building is one of the easiest search engine optimization things you can do yourself and have total control over.

Try this out then come back and let us know how this technique improved the performance of your pages.

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Create a Gravatar

Have you ever noticed people’s pictures or logos beside their comments in a blog or on a social networking site and wondered how they do that without registering with every single site you see them on? The sites you see these on quite possibly support the use of Gravatars.

It is quite easy to create a gravatar of your own. All you need is an email address and an image.

In this article we cover:

What is a Gravatar?

You will have seen avatars on forums if you have visited them for example. Well, Gravatars are the same as avatars only you can use them globally.

Gravatars are images associated with an email address the commenter. The person registers an email address they own at Gravatar.com and uploaded a picture or logo to be associated with that email address.

Once you have registered, whenever you leave a comment on a site that supports Gravatars and use the email address associated with your Gravatar registration your image will appear beside your name. Pretty cool!

Why Would I Want to Create a Gravatar?

When working on building a reputation for yourself or your business one of the ways to get remembered is by an image associated with you (besides your name and/or business name). Just like the well-known brands. You recognize their logo and therefore know the product, brand and/or company. With the evolution of social networking you also see these images on Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites besides the old faithfuls like forums.

It’s all about getting known in the big Internet world.

Once you have setup your Gravatar each time you leave a comment somewhere and they ask for your email address (like a blog), use the email associated with your Gravatar. Each time someone sees your comment complete with your Gravatar they will become to know you. When you are making valuable contributions to the discussion it will add to your overall branding and reputation. People will remember your Gravatar (if not your actual name).

How to Create a Gravatar

Creating a Gravatar is pretty easy. You will need:

  1. An image. One you want associated with you personally, with your blog or business.

    You can use an image uploaded from your computer, located somewhere online or take a picture with your web cam.

    Hint: Pick or create something that fits in a square. On your Gravatar public profile the image will be 424 x 424 so make the image large enough that it will not distort at that size plus resize nicely when used beside your name (usually 60 x 60 but each site may have decided on a different size). There is an option to crop the image as you upload it but if your image is rectangular you may have to crop something important off.

  2. An email address. This is an email address that you will actually check.

    A confirmation will be sent to this email address when you signup for Gravatar. Also, if the site has a “email me when there is a reply” feature you will get a notice when someone comments after you. Part of blog commenting is joining the conversation, not just posting a comment for the link back (if they provide this). (smiles)

To get started creating your Gravatar go to gravatar.com’s signup page.

  1. Enter the email address you want associated with your Gravatar. Remember to use one you check regularly so you don’t miss your confirmation notice and any comments on the site after yours.

    Hint: An email address at your domain name would give a more professional appearance to the site owner moderating the comments.

  2. Click the Signup button below the box where you entered your email address.

    There is a note on the page a confirmation email will be sent so you can set your password

  3. Check the email address you just used for your confirmation email.

    Click the link in the confirmation email to be taken back to the Gravatar site.

  4. Once you are back at the Gravatar site you will be asked to provide a user name.

    Enter your chosen user name. As noted on the page, use a user name that people would recognize as this will be part of your user profile address on the Gravatar site. This is a permanent user name.

  5. Check the user name is available using the Check button to the right of the box where you entered your user name.

    If it is not in use you can continue.

  6. Enter a password.
  7. Reenter your password in the next box.
  8. When done, click the Signup button at the bottom.

    You will be taken to the Manage Gravatar screen. If this is the first Gravatar using this user name you will see “Whoops, looks like you don’t have any images yet!”. Click the link to the right of that message to add your image.

  9. The next step is to choose where you want to get the image from.
    • Your computer
    • An image somewhere on the internet.
    • The webcam attached to your computer.
    • A previously uploaded image option is available but if this is your first Gravatar you of course don’t have an image uploaded yet.

    Gravatar will automatically resize images that are too big.

    Click which ever option you would like to use.

  10. Crop your image as necessary. Click Crop and Finish to continue.
  11. Next screen you will be asked to rate your Gravatar. The ratings are just like movies, G, PG, R and X.

    Click the appropriate rating for your Gravatar.

  12. You are taken back to the Manage Gravatar screen. You are done!

With your Gravatar you get a profile page. Next we’ll set that up.

Set Up Gravatar Profile

When you signup for Gravatar you get a profile page. On this page you can add information about yourself.

  1. At the top of the screen when you are logged into Gravatar is a link My Account. Clicking it exposes a dropdown menu.

    Select Edit My Profile from the dropdown menu.

  2. On the Edit My Public Profile page you are taken to is where you can provide any public information you wish to share:
    • Your First and Last Name is available publically but not displayed on your profile page.
    • Display name – displayed on your profile
    • Location
    • About Me

    Click Save Profile at the bottom before checking out the other options on the left if you filled these in.

  3. Over on the left are links to other types of information you would like to add to your Gravatar profile:
    • Image you wish to share.
    • Contact Information like email, instant messenger ids and phone numbers.
    • Verified Services – other sites where you have a presence and would like to associate with your profile.

      If you select one of these to add you may have to authorize Gravatar’s application access. e.g. Twitter

    • My Links – add your website links.
    • Custom background – customize the background of your Gravatar profile with an image and/or a custom colours.

With your options set, view your Gravatar public profile.

View Gravatar Public Profile

While on the Edit Public Profile page,

  1. There is a link on the right across from the Edit My Public Profile heading, click it to view your public profile.
  2. If everything looks ok, you are done.

    If not, go back to the Edit Public Profile page and make changes.

  3. While on your Gravatar public profile page, make a note of the url.

    Look at the address bar of your browser.

    Bookmark the page if you like.

    There is also a link at the bottom of the page for your profile.

Using Your Gravatar

Now that you have created a Gravatar, each time you make a comment somewhere use this email address when asked. If the site supports Gravatars then yours will appear next to your comment.

As pointed out previously, using a Gravatar whenever possible is a great way to create your branding and otherwise build recognition for your blog or business. Use it when ever you can on the net. The more times people see it, the more reputation you build for yourself. What are you waiting for? Create a gravatar today!


Join the V7N Official Server Sync Up Contest running May 1-31, 2011 to win 6 Months Free Dedicated Server with ServerClub (or $500 cash), $250 cash or $100 cash. Extra prizes include a free directory listing at V7N Directory.

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Backing Up Your WordPress Blog

Backing up WordPress isn’t much different that backing up your website. You copy all the files and data that is used to run your WordPress blog to your computer for safe keeping should you mess up tinkering with your blog, it gets hacked or the hosting goes down.

Why Do I Need to Backup My WordPress Blog?

Working Live is a Dangerous Situtation

As WordPress has developed over the years, it has become user friendly (in their opinion) by providing a screen where you can edit your WordPress theme and functions files on the fly, meaning do it live. The problem with this is that should you make a disasterous mistake (even the pros do) you have no back up copy to put things back the way they were before the oops without hunting down the theme again and downloading a good copy.

There is also the problem of you learning more about how to customize or secure your WordPress blog. (Not really a problem until things go south on you.) Without a working back up copy on your computer to upload should things not work out as planned you will have to reinstall WordPress (possibly opening a whole new can of worms because you weren’t using the latest version of WordPress due to your favourite plugin(s) or theme not being compatible).

With your own copy of the blog in working order on your computer you can put the file(s) you just played with and broke back the way they were.

WordPress Auto Install is Equally Dangerous

If you have kept your WordPress install up to date (you should by the way) there is an option to automatically update WordPress in general, automatically install plugins and themes and to update existing plugins.

What if… the update doesn’t work and breaks your blog? Now what are you going to do? You are going to have to find all the stuff you had running on the blog and reinstall it to troubleshoot what caused the problem. If the issue has broken access to your WordPress dashboard disabling a plugin isn’t going to work because you can’t get to the dashboard. (wink) With your own back up copy of your WordPress blog you can put things back the way they were via FTP then problem solve what it was that broke your blog.

Recovering from a Blog Hack

Another instance when a back up copy of your WordPress blog would be useful is when your blog gets hacked. Sometimes it can take quite a bit of time to hunt down where the blog install was hacked.

To find the actual point and time that the blog was hacked you can compare file for file, the copy on your computer with the copy on your web hosting account via your FTP software or by downloading a copy of the hacked version to a separate folder on your computer for examination later. Files not in your computer copy or the date has been changed are the ones you need to investigate why they are there and/or why the date was changed if you did not do it. You can use this information also to track down the hacker in your web hosting logs.

To get back up and running quickly after a blog hack you can reinstall it (if necessary) or upload the files as they were before the hack incident.

But… My Web Hosting Backs Up Everything

Are you sure they back up everything?

What if you just put in hours of work on your blog and the server fails or you get hacked before the web hosting company does their back up?

What if the web hosting’s latest back up is the hacked version of your blog? Not much good restoring that copy is it.

If the server has had a general failure they will put things back the way they were at their last back up and no matter how much you scream/rant they are going to get their high paying customers back up and running before your little blog.

Having your own back up of your blog will cover these problems. You can be back up and running in a jiffy with your own back up copy.

But… There are WordPress Back Up Plugins

Does the plugin back up everything? Including the database? I just searched for WordPress back up plugins and the first one in the results doesn’t back up the database. It just backs up your uploads folder, theme and plugins. What about your actual WordPress install and database?

And where exactly does it save the back up copy? It isn’t much good on your web hosting account if the problem is that the web server failed, now is it.

There is also a security risk if your chosen WordPress back up plugin backs up everything including your database then stores the copy on your web server and you do not remove it. Smart hackers can figure out where it is, download it and have all your passwords.

How exactly are you going to reinstall the back up from the plugin? Have you researched that?

Back Up WordPress

Note: If you can not do any of this then you probably have used the quick install button at your web hosting account which in turn installed their customized version of a WordPress install. You should consider moving to a self installed version of WordPress so you are in total control of the back up of your WordPress blog.

As pointed out above, there are many reasons you need to back up your WordPress blog your self. You will need:

  1. Internet access
  2. Your login information for your web hosting account and your FTP login information.
  3. FTP software
  4. A folder on your computer to FTP your file back up to.
  5. A folder on your computer to store your database back up in.

Back Up WordPress Files and Folders

First, back up all the files and folders on your web hosting account for your WordPress blog using your FTP software. This includes all the WordPress files and folders, your theme, your plugins and upload folders. It should be pretty easy to select all the items in the folder where your blog is on the web server within your FTP software. Put this back up in a separate folder from your working/tinker copy of your blog (you have one, right?) so while tinkering with your blog the “good” copy remains untouched until your next back up.

Back Up WordPress Database

Next, you need to back up the database connected to your WordPress blog. You will have to log into your web hosting account and find the MySQL database section.

Each web hosting is going to handle database back up differently so here is the basic things you need to do (refer to your web hosting documentation for specific instructions):

  1. Get to the spot in your web hosting control panel to create a back up of your database.
  2. You want to export the tables in the database.
  3. Note where the database back up is stored and it’s name.
  4. Use your FTP software to download the back up copy of the database.
  5. Remove the back up copy of the database from the web server. As noted above, leaving this back up on the web server is a security risk and useless if the whole web server goes down.
Database Back Up Resources

Here are some database back up resources for you if you can not find the instructions on your web hosting account:

Back Up Your WordPress Back Up

Through this article we have told you to back up your WordPress blog to your computer but now you also need to back up your back up. Backing up your computer should be a regular task in your computer maintenance program anyways (smiles) so just add the folders with your blog stuff in them to your computer back up.


Join the V7N Official Server Sync Up Contest running May 1-31, 2011 to win 6 Months Free Dedicated Server with ServerClub (or $500 cash), $250 cash or $100 cash. Extra prizes include a free directory listing at V7N Directory.

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Self Install WordPress

WordPress is one of the most popular blogging software programs available. Today we are going to review how to self host WordPress and create a self install instance of it.

Self Install WordPress vs Hosting Install of WordPress

You are probably asking why would you want to bother to learn how to self install WordPress when your hosting package has a one click button to do it for you. Well, here’s some reasons (from past experience):

  • You don’t know what version of WordPress the hosting’s one click button will install.

    WordPress is constantly improving it’s security. Quite often the one click install buttons at your hosting company are not kept as up to date as if you had gone to the WordPress site and picked up a copy yourself.

  • You don’t know what features the hosting company has disabled.

    Especially as a new blogger, you won’t know what features come with WordPress and which of those features the hosting company has disabled.

  • Some make it difficult to backup the database and your WordPress files.

    Another mystery why they would do this, but it does happen. One should not rely on the web hosting to backup your site as you never know when they do it. You could have spent a whole day tweaking your WordPress blog and adding content and then a few hours later the web server crashes. If this happens between the web hosts last backup and their next one, all your work is lost if you have not backed up the site yourself.

With a self installed instance of WordPress you will have all the features that come with WordPress, be able to backup the database and backup your WordPress files.

WordPress Hosting Requirements

When selecting your web hosting company and account type to sign up for you need to check that it has the specific requirements WordPress needs to run. As of this writing, the requirements for the version of WordPress coming in the Spring of 2011 are:

  1. PHP version 5.2 or greater
  2. MySQL version 5.0.15 or greater
  3. Apache mod_rewrite module – important for making search engine friendly urls

If you have come across this article after the Spring of 2011 you can check the current WordPress requirements on the Hosting WordPress page of the WordPress.org site.

What You Need to Self Install WordPress

There are a few things you need before installing WordPress:

  1. A Domain Name

    The point of doing a self install installation of Wordpres is that your blog is hosted on your own domain name.

    If you have not secured a domain name yet here are a couple of articles to read about choosing and purchasing a domain name:

  2. Download WordPress

    The latest version of WordPress for self install is available on the WordPress.org website on the WordPress Download page.

    There is a download button over on the right.

    Download the .zip version of WordPress and save it to your computer somewhere where you will remember where it is.

  3. Unzip the WordPress Installation Package

    You will need a program to unzip the file you download from WordPress.org. We use WinZip but there are free programs available.

  4. FTP Software

    It is easier to upload the WordPress files via FTP than using your web hosting file manager screen. See our FTP software post if you need help setting up your FTP software.

  5. A Folder on Your Computer to Unzip WordPress into

    Create a folder on your computer to unzip the WordPress package into.

  6. A Plain Text Editor

    You will be editing the configuration file for your WordPress install therefore you need a plain text editor like Notepad. You can use your HTML editor in code view to do this if you wish but it has to be in code view.

  7. A Database Set Up at Your Web Hosting

    WordPress uses a database to file all the content of your blog.

    Instructions on how to set up a database on your specific web hosting account would be available through your web hosting help section.

    You will need to write down the following information from the installation of the database:

    • Database name
    • User name
    • Database password
    • Database host name

Unzip WordPress Package

Using your Zip software, unzip (extract) the files from the WordPress zipped file into the folder you made for your installation of WordPress.

WordPress creates a folder called wordpress with all the files required inside it. If you are a more experienced zip software user, you can just unzip the contents of the wordpress folder into your new folder.

Set Up the WordPress Configuration File

Within the wordpress folder is a file called wp-config-sample.php. Open it with your text editor and save it as wp-config.php.

Scroll down the file until you see //** MySQL settings. This is the start of your database information that needs to be filled in. There are comments within the file indicating what information goes where so there is nothing to be nervous about.

e.g. The first part of the database information you enter is the database name.

/** The name of the database for WordPress */
define(‘DB_NAME’, ‘putyourdbnamehere’);

Replace putyourdbnamehere with the name of your database you wrote down. Now
fill in the rest of the database information in the next spots:

/** MySQL database username */
define(‘DB_USER’, ‘usernamehere’);

/** MySQL database password */
define(‘DB_PASSWORD’, ‘yourpasswordhere’);

/** MySQL hostname */
define(‘DB_HOST’, ‘localhost’);

The next two sections leave as is. Scroll down to

/**#@+
* Authentication Unique Keys.

WordPress uses a key for security. The instructions on how to get the key are right in the cofiguration file below the comments shown above. Once you have done that, scroll down where it says

/**
* WordPress Database Table prefix.

By default WordPress uses the prefix in your database table as wp-. For better security, change the wp part to something else.

That’s it for the wp-config.php file. Save the file and close it.

Upload WordPress Files

Using your FTP software, upload all the files within the wordpress folder to the location where you want to install WordPress.

If you want your blog at the root of your domain name (www.myblog.com/) then these files are uploaded to the root of your webspace. For situations where you decided to add your blog to an existing site you upload the files to the folder for your subdomain or folder that is going to contain the blog.

That’s it. Close your FTP software.

Start WordPress Installation

Open your browser and type in the path to where you want WordPress installed with wp-admin/install.php at the end. e.g. If installing WordPress in the root of your domain name the path would be www.mydomain.com/wp-admin/install.php

This part is really easy! Just follow the instructions on your screen as WordPress installs itself. Write down the password you are given! You will need it to login and make further changes to your WordPress install.

Experiment with Your Self Installed Worpress Blog

Now that you have installed WordPress you can experiment with different themes, create a post and create a page.

As you experiment and learn more about WordPress you will really appreciate that you went the self install route with WordPress.

Having problems installing WordPress? Contact us and we will give you a hand.

This post was created as part of the V7N Blogging Challenge with a Twist

V7N Blog Challenge Official Participant

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Create a Google Profile

Thought of creating a Google profile? With a Google profile page you can:

  • Share your content on the web.
  • Links to your blogs.
  • Online photos from Picasa and Flickr.
  • Links to your other online profiles like Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Create a bio about yourself on your About tab.
  • Provide contact information and enable send me a messge.

Create a Google Plus Profile

  1. You will need a Google account first.
  2. Go to Create Your Profile at Google.
  3. Over on the right is a button Create my profile, click it.

    Switches to Google account login box

  4. Log into your Google account.

    Next screen asks you to update your password recovery information. Update it then click Save and continue button at the bottom of the page.

    You now are taken to your profile page.

  5. In the top right, beside your login name there is a Edit my Profile link, click it.

    You are taken to the Edit your profile page. On your Edit your profile page the About tab is activated.

About Tab Google Profile

  1. On the About tab the first part is where you:
    • Fill in your first and last name.
    • Upload a picture of yourself.
    • Fill in your nickname.
    • Other names.
    • What sex you are. There is the option to not to say if you prefer to keep this confidential.

    To the right of your name section you have the following choices:

    • To display your full name so you can be found in searches.
    • Allow people to contact you without knowing your email address.
    • To display those who you follow and the people who are following you.
  2. The second part of your About tab is where you can enter more personal stuff about you:
    • Where you grew up.
    • Where you live now and where you have lived.
    • What your profession is, current employer, past employers and schools you are currently attending or have attended.
  3. There is a box a bit lower down on the About tab where you can add a short bio.

    An HTML editor is available to format your text and add links.

  4. Below the bio section is where you can add links.

    This is where you can add links to your other online profiles and website.

  5. Check your information over. Google shows you your profile link to share.
  6. Scroll down to the bottom of the page can click Save changes.

That’s it! You have now completed the About tab of your Google profile.

Photos Tab Google Profile

The photos tab is where you add a photo strip at the top of your profile.

  1. Click the Photos link beside the About link at the top of the screen.

    Switches to the photo editing screen.

  2. Picasa is selected by default.

    If you do not have a Picasa account yet or if you photos are not public, Google will let you know it can not find one for you using this user name/Google account.

    Click add photos if you have a Picasa account under this user account.

  3. The next option is Flickr.

    Click the circle (radio button) beside Flickr if you want to add photos from your Flickr account.

    Enter your Flickr username, ID, or email address the click the Check button to the right.

    Click the Add photos button below to add photos from your Flickr account.

  4. The third option is where you can add another photo service you use.

    Click the circle (radio button) beside Other photo service.

    Fill in the url or feed of your photo service you wish to add then click the Find feed button to the right.

    Click the Add photos below to add photos from your other photo service.

You are now finished adding photos to your Google profile.

Next thing to fill out is your contact information.

Contact Info Tab Google Profile

There is a note on the this screen that the information you enter on this page is not public unless you decide to make it public.

  1. Click the Contact Info link beside the Photo links at the top of the screen.

    Switches to the Contact Info screen.

  2. On the Contact Info screen you can add:
    • Email addresses
    • Addresses
    • Phone numbers including your mobile
    • Instant messenging user name
    • Your birthday (just month and day)
  3. Next select who can see this contact information.
    • Your contacts group
    • Your friends group
    • Your family group
    • Your co-workers group
  4. When you are all done, scroll down to the bottom and click Save changes.

With your Google profile now complete, you can start sharing your profile link with friends, family, co-workers and anyone else you wish.

Be sure to keep your Google profile up to date. It is yet another way for people to find you on the net!

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Site Ownership Verification Yahoo! Site Explorer

Update November 2011: Yahoo! Site Explorer is no longer available:

With the completion of algorithmic transition to Bing, Yahoo! Search has merged Site Explorer into Bing Webmaster Tools. Webmasters should now be using the Bing Webmaster Tools to ensure that their websites continue to get high quality organic search traffic from Bing and Yahoo!. Site Explorer services will not be available from November 21, 2011.

Site Explorer Reminder – Yahoo! Search Blog

Yahoo! Site Explorer gives you detailed information about your website or blog once registered and site ownership has been verified.

To verify ownership of your sites at Yahoo! you need to log into your Yahoo! account first. If you do not have a Yahoo! Id yet, see Create Yahoo! ID Account first to sign up.

Sign into Your Yahoo! Id

  1. Go to the Yahoo! Site Explorer page page and sign in via the link at the top right.

    Once logged in, you will be taken to your account’s Site Explorer My Sites page.

Add Your Site

  1. Enter the url of the website you wish to verify ownership of.
  2. Click the Add My Site button to the right.

    You will be taken to the authentication page in a moment or two.

Authentication

With Yahoo! Site Explorer you can authenticate ownership of the site submitted using one of two methods:

Of the two methods available we prefer the verification by file upload method. Using the file upload method you just have to remove one file if you decide to withdraw from Yahoo! Site Explorer.

With the verification via meta tag method, you may have to just add the meta tag to the home page file. This can be a problem if you are using a content management system or ecommerce software as these usually use the same head section for all the pages through their template system.

Site Authentication Using a File

  1. Click the link “By uploading a verification file to my site”.

    Instructions appear below the link.

  2. Click the Download button and save the file to the folder with your website/blog files in it on your computer.
  3. Log into your web space using your FTP client or web hosting control panel.
  4. Transfer (upload) the file Yahoo! just gave you to the root of your website/blog.

    This is the folder where your home page is. This is the same spot as you uploaded your Google site verification file if you have already verified your site for Google Webmaster Tools.

  5. Click the Ready to Authenticate button.

    The page will refresh. Over on the left in the navigation column you will see your site listed. The page will refresh again and take you to the Site Explorer My Sites page. Your site should be listed in that screen now.

Site Authentication Using a Meta Tag

  1. Click the link “By meta tag”.

    Instructions appear below the link.

  2. Yahoo! composes a special meta tag for you to insert into the head section of your home page.

    The head section of your page is surrounded by an opening head tag and a closing head tag.

    <head>

    </head>

    You are to paste your custom meta tag just before the closing head tag of your home page.

    <head>
    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1" / >
    <title>Title of the document</title>
    <meta name="Description" content="Your description" />
    <meta name="Keywords" content="first, second, third" / >
    <meta name="Copyright" content="Copyright Statement" / >
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="styles/stylesht.css">

    Put meta tag here
    </head>

    The example above is for a site using XHTML DOCTYPE declaration. The tags between the opening and closing heads for your site template might be a bit different.

  3. Upload the updated home page to your web space.

    You can do this using a FTP client.

  4. Click the Ready to Authenticate button.

    The page will refresh. Over on the left in the navigation column you will see your site listed. The page will refresh again and take you to the Site Explorer My Sites page. Your site should be listed in that screen now.

Add Your Site Feed

While you are in Site Explorer you may as well add any feeds you have for the site too.

  1. Click the 0 under the Feeds column beside the url of the site you just added.

    You are taken to the Feeds page.

  2. The url of your site is already filled in. Add the feed name to the box beside your url.
  3. Select the type of feed you are submitting.

    To the right of the box where you just put the feed file name is a selection box with the type of feed you are submitting.

    • Website feed
    • Mobile feed – XHTML
    • Mobile feed – WML
    • Structured data feed

    Select the type of feed you are submitting.

  4. Click the Add Feed button to the right.

    Screen refreshes with your feed added.

Once your feed is submitted you will notice there is a note “pending submission to Microsoft”. This is good! Now you don’t have to submit the feed to Bing.

With your site submitted and site ownership verified within Yahoo! Site Explorer after a few days you will see all the stats covered in our Yahoo! Site Explorer Overview article.

This post was created as part of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge at:

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Create Yahoo! ID Account

To use some of the services provided by Yahoo! you need a Yahoo! id. This id is used for things like your Yahoo! profile, Yahoo! Messenger, a Yahoo! email address and Yahoo! Site Explorer to name a few.

Sign Up for a Yahoo! Id

  1. Yahoo! Account Registration Page

    Go to the Yahoo! registration page.

  2. Personal Information

    The top section of the registration covers:

    • Your name
    • Gender
    • Birthday
    • Country you are from.
    • Your postal code/zip code.
  3. Select an ID and Password

    • First is you Yahoo! id and email address.

      The id portion is to have 4 to 32 characters. Your id must start with a letter and can contain numbers, letters, underscores (not hyphens) and a dot.

      Once you have filled in your chosen name (id) click the check link to the right of the email address line to verify it is formatted correctly and available.

      If not available or done incorrectly, the page will show you it is incorrect or not available. If everything is ok, the password box will appear below the email address line.

    • Enter your password.
    • Re enter your password to confirm
  4. Alternate Email Address

    Enter an alternative email address. One that you check and will be keeping like an email address at your website.

    This email address will be used if you should need to recover your password

  5. Secret Questions

    These secret questions are used to confirm your identity when recovering your password or id.

    Select a secret question and type in the answer below.

    Select a second secret question and type in the answer below.

  6. Fill in the Captcha and Submit

    Fill in the Captcha, and you are done once you click the Create My Account button below it.

You are returned to the Yahoo! home page if it did now work. If it did work, you will be presented with the Yahoo! Registration Confirmation page.

Once you log into Yahoo! as you move around different sections of the site you maybe asked to login again. This is a security procaution.

Now that you have a Yahoo! id you can customize things like your Yahoo! home page, create your Yahoo! profile and other services Yahoo! provides.

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Verify Site Ownership Google Webmaster Tools

To start using Google Webmaster Tools you first have to add your site to your Webmaster Tools account then verify site ownership. We will be covering the two easier ways to verify site ownership for the average website/blog owner.

Verifying ownership for Google Webmaster Tools seems to be a problem for some people. Not sure what they do wrong but if you follow the instructions below carefully you should not have any problem.

Add Site to Google Webmaster Tools

  1. You need a Google Account if you don’t already have one.
  2. Go to Google Webmaster Tools and login using your Google Account.

    You are taken to the Home page of your Webmaster Tools account.

  3. There is a button called Add a Site on your Home page, click it.

    A small screen pops up under the Add a Site button with a spot for the url of the site.

  4. Type in your website address.

    e.g. www.mydomainname.com

    Click the Continue button to complete.

    Refreshes to the Verify Ownership Screen.

There are 4 ways to verify site ownership available.

Options for Site Ownership Verification

  • Using a meta tag in the head of your home page.
  • Using a file uploaded to your web server.
  • Adding a DNS record to your domain’s configuration
  • Link to an existing Google Analytics account.

Using a meta tag or using a file uploaded to your web server are the two easier ones for the average website/blog owner so we will be covering those.

Instructions for verifying by DNS record are available at Verification: DNS TXT record.

Instructions for verifying by an existing Google Analytics account are available at Verification: Google Analytics tracking code

Site Ownership Verfication Using Meta Tag

With the verification using meta tag method, you will be given a specific meta tag to put in home page. This might be used where you do not have access to the root of your site (a hosted ecommerce solution or hosted blogging solution for example). You can use this method for any site but it does require you editing head section of your home page. If you have a site using a content management system try to make sure this tag gets added to the head section of the home page.

The problem with this method is that you need a separate head section just for the home page. When using includes or a DWT (Dynamic Web Template) this is extra work. We prefer the HTML method.

  1. Click the radio button (circle) beside Add a meta tag to your site’s home page.

    You custom meta tag appears at the bottom of the screen.

  2. Copy the meta tag shown into a plain text editor (Notepad for example) and save for safe keeping.
  3. You now have to paste this custom meta tag into the head section of your home page. The idea is that you keep Google Webmaster Tools open while you do this.

    The head section of your page is surrounded by an opening head tag and a closing head tag.

    <head>

    </head>

    You are to paste your custom meta tag just before the closing head tag of your home page.

    <head>
    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1" / >
    <title>Title of the document</title>
    <meta name="Description" content="Your description" />
    <meta name="Keywords" content="first, second, third" / >
    <meta name="Copyright" content="Copyright Statement" / >
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="styles/stylesht.css">

    Put meta tag here
    </head>

    The example above is for a site using XHTML DOCTYPE declaration. The tags between the opening and closing heads for your site template might be a bit different.

  4. Upload the updated home page to your web space. You can do this using a FTP client.

  5. Go back to your browser with Google Webmaster Tools open and click the Verify button at the bottom of the screen.

    If Google has problems verifying the meta tag they will give you information on what is the problem.

Once the site ownership has been verified you should see a Add or remove owners note beside your website listing on your Webmaster Tools Home page.

Site Ownership Verification Using HTML File

Using the HTML file verification method to verify site ownership requires downloading the file provided by Google, uploading it to your web hosting account and then verifying with Google.

If you can upload the file either by using a FTP client or through the control panel at your web hosting this is our method of choice.

  1. On the Verify ownership screen click the radio button (circle) beside Upload an HTML file to your server

    The instructions appear at the bottom of the screen

  2. The first instruction says to download the file provided.

    Click the link and you will get a screen asking you where you want to save it.

    Save this file in the folder that contains the files for your website. You do have a backup copy of your website, right? It goes in the root of your website files. This is where your index/default page file is (your home page).

    You can proceed to the next step without closing Google Webmaster Tools, minimize the browser if you are using the FTP client method to upload or open a new window/tab if you are going to use the web hosting control panel to upload.

  3. Start up your FTP client or log into your web hosting account’s control then to the file manager.

    When using the web hosting file manager, make sure you navigate to folder that contains the root of the site, where your home page is.

    Likewise for when you are using a FTP client. Make sure you have navigated to the root folder of the website before starting to upload.

  4. Upload the file you just got from Google to the root of your website.

    Once the file has been uploaded, you can close the program or web hosting control panel, which ever you used to upload.

  5. Maximize the browser/go back to the tab with Google Webmaster Tools in it.
  6. There is a link in the Verify ownership screen to click which will verify you have uploade the file to the right spot.

    A new tab/window will open. You will see a web page with just google-site-verification: the name of the file you just uploaded. This verifies you uploaded the file to the right spot and you can close this window/tab now.

    If you don’t see this, then you uploaded the file to the wrong spot.

  7. The next step is verification.

    Click the Verify button at the bottom of the screen.

    Screen refreshes and takes you to the Dashboard screen. There is not going to be any data here yet because Google hasn’t had time to produce any for you yet.

  8. That is it. You can click the Back to Home link at the top right to go back to the home page.

    Once the site ownership has been verified you should see a Add or remove owners note beside your website listing on your Webmaster Tools Home page.

You have now verified site ownership with Google Webmaster Tools. Log back in in a couple of days to see if there are any stats yet as described in our Google Webmaster Tools Overview article.

Updates


This post was created as part of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge at:

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Yahoo! Site Explorer Overview

Update November 2011: Yahoo! Site Explorer is no longer available:

With the completion of algorithmic transition to Bing, Yahoo! Search has merged Site Explorer into Bing Webmaster Tools. Webmasters should now be using the Bing Webmaster Tools to ensure that their websites continue to get high quality organic search traffic from Bing and Yahoo!. Site Explorer services will not be available from November 21, 2011.

Site Explorer Reminder – Yahoo! Search Blog

If you like to collect statistics about your website or blog you may want to add Yahoo!’s Site Explorer to your source of statistics. Like Google’s Webmaster Tools, this is a web based service. i.e. you have to login to see the information collected.

Yahoo! Site Explorer does provide some information (that anyone can see) without site ownership verification but to get all the information Yahoo! has you have to register your site and verify ownership.

Once you register your site and verify it, this information is now available to you:

Site Explorer General Summary

As the title suggests, this page gives you a summary of information Yahoo! has about the site.

  • Authentication Status

    Confirmation that you have verified the site with Yahoo!

  • Number of Authenticated Users

    How many people have access to this information. If it’s more than 1 and you haven’t given access to anyone else you better check who else has access to this information.

  • Title of Home Page

    Title of your site or blog registered.

  • Number of Feeds

    Number of feeds registered for the site.

  • Number of Pages Indexed

    Number of indexed pages is shown.

  • Actions on Site

    Corrections you asked Yahoo! to make about your site.

  • Dynamic URL Rewrites

    Instructions you gave Yahoo! to rewrite your dynamic urls.

  • Key Terms

    Keyword terms and phrases you are being found for in Yahoo!’s search.

  • Delicious Activities

    How many bookmarks you have at Delicious.

  • Top Delicious Tags

    Top tags your pages have at Delicious.

  • SearchMonkey Objects

    Documents, products, games, local, video, discussion, news and events noted in SearchMonkey.

There is quite of information right there on the General Summary page of Yahoo! Site Explorer.

Site Feeds Registered with Site Explorer

Under the Feeds section you have the option to add any of the following feeds associated with your website or blog:

  • Web Site Feed
  • Mobile Feed – XHTML
  • Mobile Feed – WML
  • Structured data feed

For a list of the types of feeds accepted see Feed Formats Supported by Yahoo! Site Explorer

Registering your feed with Yahoo! Site Explorer will also notify Microsoft about the feed.

Crawl Errors

Crawl errors shows the type for crawl error and which pages the error was encountered on.

Search Traffic

The Search Traffic section (noted as beta as of this writing) gives you search traffic stats you can view by day, week or month.

  • Top 10 Querirs

    The top 10 queries that lead to a visit to your site.

    Shows views, clicks, CTR (click through rate) and average position.

  • Top 10 URLs

    The top 10 web pages that were viewed from the search results.

    Like the Top 10 Queries this tab shows views, clicks, CTR (click through rate) and average position.

  • Trends

    Trends shows a summary of your views, clicks and click through rate for the last month by default. This can be adjusted for a specific time frame.

Website Statistics

Under the Statistics link you will see:

  • Crawled Pages
  • All Known Pages
  • Known Hosts on This Site
  • Hosts linking to Site
  • Domains linking to Site
  • Hosts Outlinked from Site
  • Domains Outlinked from Site

Authentication Status

The Authentication Status link shows you have verified your site with Yahoo! Site Explorer.

Actions

Under the Actions link you can request a url be deleted or specify up to 10 dynamic parameters you want Yahoo! Site Explorer to rewrite.

The delete url function is useful but like specifying instructions in Google Webmaster Tools, telling Yahoo! Site Explorer to rewrite certain urls will only apply to Yahoo! so this would be better handled on-site so you only have to do it once for all search engines.

That is it for this basic preview of Yahoo! Site Explorer. As you can see it provides useful information about your site within Yahoo! search so it is worth signing up for this.

This post was created as part of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge at:

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