Connect with us


A Complete Guide to Launching Your New Website



A Complete Guide to Launching Your New Website

The decisions made in the planning stage of a new site launch can either constrain the site and force it to underachieve or serve as a foundation for seemingly limitless growth.

This guide to launching a new site will help ensure that it reaches maximum potential.

Whether it’s a new site, redesigning an old site, or joining two sites into one, these steps can help your new site perform at its peak potential.

Planning the Site

The first phase of launching a website consists of competitor research, defining the audience and their needs, establishing your goals for the site, planning a content strategy to support the site, and finally, making a promotional plan that works together with the content.

Competitor Research

Review the competition and make a list of their strengths and their weaknesses. Competitor research at this phase is simply about understanding what kind of battle your site is entering.

That’s why a review looks at weaknesses as well as strengths. The weaknesses are important because they represent your opportunities to do something better. A link review is useful at this stage, as well.

A full site crawl is not out of order as it can tell you a lot about the sophistication (or lack thereof) of their search engine optimization (SEO) and content strategy.

Does the site contain internal broken links? This may indicate poor SEO.

Are there duplicate title and meta description tags? This may indicate sloppy SEO.

How well or poorly does the site score for Core Web Vitals? A high score may indicate that you’re dealing with a strong competitor.

Competitor research is generally not about reviewing keywords.

It’s about understanding the barrier to entry and thereby getting an idea of whether you have a shot at carving out a comfortable spot in the niche and beating the competition.

Define Your Audience and Their Needs

Sometimes the competition is targeting the wrong end of the user base. It could be they are targeting one gender and excluding the other, for example.

Defining helps to clarify the focus of the content and the visual design and to build a visual identity for the site itself, including a site mascot if you want to go there with it.

Identifying what people need is important for content development, site design, and feature design.

Define Site Goals

Site goals influence content development and site design.

Content Strategy

All previous steps to here inform the content strategy. Importantly, the content strategy should be created in partnership with the link strategy.

Websites decide to link to web pages because it fills a need and makes someone excited and enthusiastic about the page.

Identifying what people are linking to adds context to the content strategy.

Promotional Plan

Will the content attract links?

How will social media work together with the content?

Are there opportunities for acquiring links, particularly opportunities that the competition may have missed?

Successful sites are promoted both online and offline.

Choose a Domain Name

Choosing the right domain is important. You definitely want to avoid negative associations in the words chosen for the domain name.

A popular domain name trend is using a misspelling of a keyword by leaving out a vowel or a consonant or misspelling the word entirely.

But once a trend is copied over and over, it starts to appear more tired than snappy.

For example, in the mid-2000s, SEO companies were branding themselves with the word “Media” as a suffix. So an SEO company called Beagle SEO would become

Today, naming your SEO company with the suffix “Media” sounds a bit silly because the expectation is that a Media company produces video and audio content.

My perspective on choosing domain names is formed from over twenty years of creating websites, blogs, forums, and consulting for other companies. And having watched trends come and go, I can tell you that following a trend can backfire.

There are (arguably) two kinds of domains:

  • Branded domains.
  • Keyword domains.

Branded Domain

A branded domain is when you have a business name that is a brand name.

A brand name can be based on the founder’s name or surname, or it could be something that communicates usefulness, an aspiration, or subtly communicates affinity with the target audience through the use of jargon or slang.

Keyword Domains

Keyword domains can be powerful because visitors tend to want what’s in the keyword. My own experience is that a two-word keyword domain can convert at a shockingly high rate.

Having just a single keyword and making it a combination of a branded and keyword domain is a good compromise, like FalafelKing or MattressOasis.

Make the Domain Name Easy to Remember

Avoid complicated domain names. This includes long names, domain names that are difficult to spell, and hyphenated domains.

You can almost never lose by focusing on simplicity and appealing to the widest group of people.

Choose a Domain Name for the Long Term

When choosing a domain name, be honest with yourself as to whether it encapsulates the full scope of what the domain will offer. Branding the domain with the word “shoes” will make it awkward when the business decides to also sell jackets.

Branding the domain with the word “forum” becomes limiting when the publisher decides to expand as a news site.

Sometimes, being less specific or more general is useful because it allows the site greater flexibility to grow.

For more information on domains (including “gotchas” that can drag your business down), read How to Choose a Domain Name.

Design the Site Structure

This is the part where many businesses can end up backed into a corner because of poorly conceived site planning that isn’t flexible enough to grow.

The first part of planning a site is to map out the site structure.

Document what the site intends to publish about; this is the content, services, and products you’ll present to site visitors. This is sometimes referred to as a taxonomy.

A taxonomy is used in science as a way to classify species of animals.

On the top level, you have mammals and then it goes to types of mammals (primates, marsupials, rodents, etc.). From that level, it gets more and more specific.

A taxonomy typically starts at a highly general level (clothes), moves to the category level (shirts, jackets, shoes), and sometimes proceeds to a sub-category level (formal shirts, rain jackets, running shoes), then right on down to a highly specific level (Nike shoes).

This kind of designing taxonomy is similar to the scientific taxonomies in biology. It’s the kind of structure that was used in the old yellow pages and what is used in internet directories.

In the SEO community, this is known as the Pyramid Site Structure. There are other names given to this kind of site structure, but the Pyramid Site Structure came first.

The name is called the Pyramid Site Structure because the site hierarchy resembles a pyramid.

The top of the pyramid represents the home page, which is the most general expression of what the site does (we sell clothes).

The next levels down are the top-level categories and lower down are subcategories then all the way down to the bottom of the pyramid which is wide can consist of thousands of pages devoted to specific products or articles on specific topics.

Read more: John Mueller Recommends Pyramid Site Structure.

Designing the site architecture should follow a similar pattern that can allow for growth, just like with choosing a domain name.

Sometimes it makes sense to give the top-level categories a general and wide topic to allow the opportunity for growth by adding more subtopics later on when needed.

Site Design

There are three levels of design to consider:

  1. Overall site level.
  2. Category level.
  3. Webpage level.

Overall Site Level

Choosing the CMS

What CMS and theme will be used? This is an important step because it’s going to lock you into whatever system you choose.

When choosing a page builder, theme, or shopping cart solution, try searching for the name of the software plus the word “vulnerability” to get an idea of how well that software is coded.

Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities are relatively common and seemingly most themes and plugins have had one or two of those.

But if you see a pattern of multiple vulnerabilities every single year, you may want to reconsider that choice.

Don’t just consider what a site looks like or the functionalities or special effects that they come with.

Consider how lightweight the code is in terms of kilobytes or megabytes. See how sites built with that software perform by testing them with Google Lighthouse or Chrome Dev Tools. These tools are recommended for debugging web pages in real-time.

Navigational Features

The overall site planning needs to focus on site navigation. Properly planned site navigation and site structure make it usable to site visitors.

Define the user interface features for the header area (top of page), footer area (bottom of page), and along the site.

These three areas are going to help users find the content or products they need. The focus should always be on how the features benefit the site visitor.

Site Functionality and Utilities

Choosing utilities and functionalities that do not overlap or clash with other software is important.

Examples of must-have add-ons:

  • Schema structured data.
  • Contact forms.
  • Anti-hacking defense.
  • Caching.
  • Newsletter opt-in forms.
  • Newsletter subscription management.
  • SEO software add-ons.
  • Backup utilities.
  • Analytics.

Planning for site functionality helps avoid overlap between plugins.

Security, anti-spam, caching, SEO, and structured data plugins can all overlap with each other and in some cases may cause in unintended consequences.

Style Guide

No template is ever good enough to use straight off the shelf.

The icons are always never optimized and can be squeezed to be smaller.

Attention is never given to minimizing render-blocking JavaScript assets and there are almost always too many bells, whistles and their associated CSS and JavaScript loaded on every page, regardless of whether they are used or not.

With regards to templates, the choice is between:

  • Starting with something minimalist and building up what you want.
  • Or starting with something that looks like what you want and removing the parts that are not needed in order to get to that magic place that’s your website.

Stakeholders need to agree on a style guide that outlines what everything will look like.

The style manual can include things like fonts, icons, a guide to image assets (widths and heights for images & optimization details), call to actions, buttons, colors, mascot, logo, etc. You want it to cover anything involving the look and feel of the site.

Stakeholders may be those in charge of SEO, web development, content, web design, graphic design, PPC, and whoever are the team leaders.

SEO informs what might be needed for on-page speed and Google’s UX metrics like Core Web Vitals. They can also speak about the optimization of assets and identify what may be problematic before the site is well into development.

Web developers can take the SEO wish list and make it happen. Web developers can identify and remove code bloat, suggest best practices for adding functionality to the site.

PPC can outline what they need a page to look like as can the content side.

All of these considerations should be planned ahead of time in order to have a consistent look and feel and to make it easier to optimize.

For example, determining featured and in-content image sizes makes it easier to create code that will avoid cumulative layout shift by being able to accurately declare height and width dimensions.

It will also help avoid the use of images that are excessively large and of random size, making it easier to optimize images.

The graphic design side can provide feedback on what kinds of images result in the lowest possible weight so that images are measured in kilobytes and not megabytes.

And of course, in the case of a redesign or a site migration where two sites are joined, the SEO and content side need to work together to decide what’s staying and what’s getting redirected to where.

Category Page Level

The Category Level is about defining how you’re going to make it easy to find content within that category.

A structure that makes it easy for visitors to find content or products is important. Sometimes this means showing links to new and popular content or products at the top of the page and lower down presenting an easy way to drill down to subcategories.

Making it easy to navigate to the most popular articles or products within a category is in general a best practice.

If 25% of visitors to a category page are interested in a specific article topic or product section, making it easy to navigate to those sections or specific pages will satisfy 25% of visitors to that category page. That’s a huge win.

The goal for category pages is to give visitors what they want with as little friction as possible.

Every decision made in the design of a category page should be made from within the context of how it serves the site visitor.

Planning in that manner will result in what’s best for Google and Bing and consequently the site’s rankings.

Webpage Level

Webpage-level planning is concerned with how the page is structured, what it looks like and how pages interconnect with other pages.

Will there be links to more content at the end of the content, within the content, or to the side of the content?

What kind of content will the product page have?

Will the product or content pages feature reviews?

What structured data is most appropriate for the content or product pages have?

These are the kinds of questions that need to be addressed, answered, and documented so that all the stakeholders can move forward together.

Stage the Site

Minimum Viable Product

Now is a good place to introduce Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

MVP is a product development concept that is a way of forcing a concrete endpoint – goals – for achieving acceptable functionality.

This approach helps to avoid paralysis by analysis, which is where a project remains in a constant state of development and never seems to be ready. A project can extend months longer than it needs to because of the quest to achieve perfection.

By writing down what needs to exist, how pages should look, which pages should be fully complete and functional, a project gains an endpoint that everyone can agree to. It defines when the project is ready to be pushed live.

An example of an MVP decision is not to finish a section of a site that isn’t critical in order to get the site live faster.

The less important section can be a forum, a directory, or some other section that isn’t core to the website’s mission or goals. It can be added in after the site is live and mostly “finished.”

Staging the Site

The final step prior to being pushed live is to stage the site. Site staging can be done online on any server. Just password protect the site and you’re good.

There are also plugins that facilitate staging a site and services that provide a hosted space for staging the site.

For both approaches, moving the site to live is as easy as clicking a button. I tend to like the convenience and ease of a site dedicated to staging the site and being able to push it to the live space once I’m happy with it.

This is the time when A/B testing can be useful for identifying unintended flaws in the site design.

For example, a heatmap app can identify where people are clicking. It can also help identify areas of a web page where people are getting lost or not understanding how to get around.

A/B testing can be as simple as asking people to find something or to read an article and see how they respond as well as asking for feedback.

Sometimes, the font kerning or line height might be off and making it difficult to read. A/B testing might give a clue to these kinds of problems.

Two Tasks Before Launching the New Site

1. Crawl the Site

Before launching the site live, if the current site is replacing an old site or is a joining of two sites, stop and crawl the old site first.

If you’re joining two sites, you need a list of the URLs from the old site (the one disappearing into the second site).

Once the new site is launched, you can now take the list of URLs from the old site and feed them into a site diagnostic software like Screaming Frog.

Screaming Frog will ideally report that all old URLs are redirecting to new pages; they will show up as 301 redirects.

If something went wrong and pages that were supposed to be redirected were not, Screaming Frog will report those URLs under the 404 Page Not Found report.

You can also run all of the usual site audit checks to make sure that the new site is healthy and fine.

The process is the same if you’re just updating the site design or changing URLs.

Run your site audit software (like Screaming Frog) on the site before the update in order to preserve a snapshot of the old site that can be compared to the new site.

2. Back Up the Old Site

The second thing to do is to back up the old site. Download as many files as you can — preferably everything. Download your databases and your images and any other assets.

This backup will be your insurance in case something goes horribly wrong.

For example, if the new site contains malware and backdoors because of an installed plugin, you will have the ability to restore the old site fast and move the new site back to the staging environment.

The Site is Live… Post Launch Diagnostics

Once everything looks good and functions properly, and the MVP goals are reached, it’s time to push the site live. Next comes post-launch diagnostics.

Ideally, all outbound and internal links had been checked while the site was staged. Still, it’s always a good idea to run your favorite site audit software on the live site.

Many people use Screaming Frog and it’s a good software to have for checking a site after it’s been launched. It will tell you about broken links, if redirects are in place, alert you to missing assets, and so on.

But most importantly, you can feed the list of URLs from the old site into Screaming Frog and it will report on missing web pages and other errors.

Mistakes Are To Be Expected

It’s almost inevitable that some issues (usually minor) will present themselves after the site is live.

Some issues can be really bad, such as images downloaded via FTP using the ASCII Data Format instead of the Binary Data Format, resulting in corrupted images.

Most likely, you will discover less catastrophic but still important issues such as pages that display incorrectly, or colors that don’t contrast enough for color-blind site visitors, for example.

Despite our best efforts, issues with the new site are almost guaranteed to be discovered after the site is launched.

Don’t get too upset about it! The important thing is to have the site live and in a 99% (more or less) usable status.

More Resources:

Featured image created by author, April 2021

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address


12 Proven Methods to Make Money Blogging in 2024



Make money blogging


Make money bloggingThis is a contributed article.

The world of blogging continues to thrive in 2024, offering a compelling avenue for creative minds to share their knowledge, build an audience, and even turn their passion into profit. Whether you’re a seasoned blogger or just starting, there are numerous effective strategies to monetize your blog and achieve financial success. Here, we delve into 12 proven methods to make money blogging in 2024:

1. Embrace Niche Expertise:

Standing out in the vast blogosphere requires focus. Carving a niche allows you to cater to a specific audience with targeted content. This not only builds a loyal following but also positions you as an authority in your chosen field. Whether it’s gardening techniques, travel hacking tips, or the intricacies of cryptocurrency, delve deep into a subject you’re passionate and knowledgeable about. Targeted audiences are more receptive to monetization efforts, making them ideal for success.

2. Content is King (and Queen):

High-quality content remains the cornerstone of any successful blog. In 2024, readers crave informative, engaging, and well-written content that solves their problems, answers their questions, or entertains them. Invest time in crafting valuable blog posts, articles, or videos that resonate with your target audience.

  • Focus on evergreen content: Create content that remains relevant for a long time, attracting consistent traffic and boosting your earning potential.
  • Incorporate multimedia: Spice up your content with captivating images, infographics, or even videos to enhance reader engagement and improve SEO.
  • Maintain consistency: Develop a regular publishing schedule to build anticipation and keep your audience coming back for more.

3. The Power of SEO:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ensures your blog ranks high in search engine results for relevant keywords. This increases organic traffic, the lifeblood of any monetization strategy.

  • Keyword research: Use keyword research tools to identify terms your target audience searches for. Strategically incorporate these keywords into your content naturally.
  • Technical SEO: Optimize your blog’s loading speed, mobile responsiveness, and overall technical aspects to improve search engine ranking.
  • Backlink building: Encourage other websites to link back to your content, boosting your blog’s authority in the eyes of search engines.

4. Monetization Magic: Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing allows you to earn commissions by promoting other companies’ products or services. When a reader clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you get a commission.

  • Choose relevant affiliates: Promote products or services that align with your niche and resonate with your audience.
  • Transparency is key: Disclose your affiliate relationships clearly to your readers and build trust.
  • Integrate strategically: Don’t just bombard readers with links. Weave affiliate promotions naturally into your content, highlighting the value proposition.

5. Display Advertising: A Classic Approach

Display advertising involves placing banner ads, text ads, or other visual elements on your blog. When a reader clicks on an ad, you earn revenue.

  • Choose reputable ad networks: Partner with established ad networks that offer competitive rates and relevant ads for your audience.
  • Strategic ad placement: Place ads thoughtfully, avoiding an overwhelming experience for readers.
  • Track your performance: Monitor ad clicks and conversions to measure the effectiveness of your ad placements and optimize for better results.

6. Offer Premium Content:

Providing exclusive, in-depth content behind a paywall can generate additional income. This could be premium blog posts, ebooks, online courses, or webinars.

  • Deliver exceptional value: Ensure your premium content offers significant value that justifies the price tag.
  • Multiple pricing options: Consider offering tiered subscription plans to cater to different audience needs and budgets.
  • Promote effectively: Highlight the benefits of your premium content and encourage readers to subscribe.

7. Coaching and Consulting:

Leverage your expertise by offering coaching or consulting services related to your niche. Readers who find your content valuable may be interested in personalized guidance.

  • Position yourself as an expert: Showcase your qualifications, experience, and client testimonials to build trust and establish your credibility.
  • Offer free consultations: Provide a limited free consultation to potential clients, allowing them to experience your expertise firsthand.
  • Develop clear packages: Outline different coaching or consulting packages with varying time commitments and pricing structures.

8. The Power of Community: Online Events and Webinars

Host online events or webinars related to your niche. These events offer valuable content while also providing an opportunity to promote other monetization avenues.

  • Interactive and engaging: Structure your online events to be interactive with polls, Q&A sessions, or live chats. Click here to learn more about image marketing with Q&A sessions and live chats.

9. Embrace the Power of Email Marketing:

Building an email list allows you to foster stronger relationships with your audience and promote your content and offerings directly.

  • Offer valuable incentives: Encourage readers to subscribe by offering exclusive content, discounts, or early access to new products.
  • Segmentation is key: Segment your email list based on reader interests to send targeted campaigns that resonate more effectively.
  • Regular communication: Maintain consistent communication with your subscribers through engaging newsletters or updates.

10. Sell Your Own Products:

Take your expertise to the next level by creating and selling your own products. This could be physical merchandise, digital downloads, or even printables related to your niche.

  • Identify audience needs: Develop products that address the specific needs and desires of your target audience.
  • High-quality offerings: Invest in creating high-quality products that offer exceptional value and user experience.
  • Utilize multiple platforms: Sell your products through your blog, online marketplaces, or even social media platforms.

11. Sponsorships and Brand Collaborations:

Partner with brands or businesses relevant to your niche for sponsored content or collaborations. This can be a lucrative way to leverage your audience and generate income.

  • Maintain editorial control: While working with sponsors, ensure you retain editorial control to maintain your blog’s authenticity and audience trust.
  • Disclosures are essential: Clearly disclose sponsored content to readers, upholding transparency and ethical practices.
  • Align with your niche: Partner with brands that complement your content and resonate with your audience.

12. Freelancing and Paid Writing Opportunities:

Your blog can serve as a springboard for freelance writing opportunities. Showcase your writing skills and expertise through your blog content, attracting potential clients.

  • Target relevant publications: Identify online publications, websites, or magazines related to your niche and pitch your writing services.
  • High-quality samples: Include high-quality blog posts from your site as writing samples when pitching to potential clients.
  • Develop strong writing skills: Continuously hone your writing skills and stay updated on current trends in your niche to deliver exceptional work.


Building a successful blog that generates income requires dedication, strategic planning, and high-quality content. In today’s digital age, there are numerous opportunities to make money online through blogging. By utilizing a combination of methods such as affiliate marketing, sponsored content, and selling digital products or services, you can leverage your blog’s potential and achieve financial success.

Remember, consistency in posting, engaging with your audience, and staying adaptable to trends are key to thriving in the ever-evolving blogosphere. Embrace new strategies, refine your approaches, and always keep your readers at the forefront of your content creation journey. With dedication and the right approach, your blog has the potential to become a valuable source of income and a platform for sharing your knowledge and passion with the world, making money online while doing what you love.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading


How to Add Affiliate Disclosure for Each Blog Post Automatically



How to add affiliate disclosure for each blog post automatically

Do you want to add an affiliate disclosure for each blog post automatically?

Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to make money online. However, if you don’t disclose your affiliate links then you could end up in legal trouble.

In this article, we will show you how you can add an affiliate disclosure to all your WordPress blog posts.

Why Add an Affiliate Disclosure to Each WordPress Blog Post?

With affiliate marketing, you earn a commission every time someone clicks a referral link and makes a purchase. It’s a great way to make money online blogging with WordPress.

However, you must make it clear that your links are paid advertisements by adding an affiliate disclaimer. That just means posting a short notice explaining what affiliate marketing is, and that you get money from talking about the product or service.

Many countries have laws about failing to disclose paid endorsements. For example in the United States, you might get a fine from the Federal Trade Commission. You may even end up banned from reputable networks such as Amazon affiliates.

Even if you don’t get into legal trouble, customers who click on undisclosed affiliate links may feel tricked and stop visiting your WordPress website.

How to Add an Affiliate Disclosure to Each WordPress Blog Post

One option is to publish the affiliate disclaimer on its own page, as we do on WPBeginner.

The WPBeginner affiliate disclaimer page

You can then add a link to every page that features an affiliate URL. This may be a good choice if you have a longer disclosure and don’t want to distract from the post’s content.

If yours is short, then you can often add the full text of the disclaimer to every post.

An example affiliate disclaimer on a blog

No matter which option you choose, you can save time and effort by adding the affiliate disclosure automatically. Simply use the quick links below to jump straight to the method you want to use.

Pretty Links is one of the best affiliate marketing plugins that can automate all your affiliate activities, including adding a disclosure.

Pretty Links comes with an advanced auto-linking feature that allows you to enter the keywords or phrases that you want to turn into affiliate URLs.

Every time you type this word or phrase, Pretty Links will turn it into an affiliate URL automatically. Even better, if you have created a disclosure notice page, Pretty Links can also add a link to it in the post.

For example, if you add “MacBook Pro” as a keyword and then use that phrase in a new post, then Pretty Links will automatically turn “MacBook Pro” into an affiliate URL and add a link to your disclosure notice page.

An affiliate disclaimer, created using Pretty Links

Note: Pretty Links won’t insert the disclosure link if you only add affiliate URLs manually. It only works when a post uses automatic keyword linking.

To get started, you’ll need to install and activate Pretty Links. If you need help, then please see our guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, go to Pretty Links » Activate. You can then add your license key to the following field: ‘Enter Your Pretty Links Pro License Key.’

Activating the Pretty Links WordPress plugin

You can find this information under your account on the Pretty Links website. After typing in this information, click on the ‘Activate’ button.

With that done, you’ll need to go to Pretty Links » Add New and then add the first link you want to manage using the Pretty Links plugin.

For detailed step-by-step instructions, please see our guide on how to cloak affiliate links on your WordPress site.

How to cloak an affiliate link in WordPress with Pretty Links

After that, click on the ‘Pro’ tab. In the ‘Keywords’ field, type in each word or phrase where you want to automatically insert this affiliate URL.

Simply repeat this process for all your affiliate links.

Adding keywords to the Pretty Links affiliate linking plugin

Every time it adds this affiliate URL, Pretty Links will also add a link to your disclosure notice.

The next step is creating the disclosure notice page that Pretty Links will link to. Simply go to Pages » Add New. You can then type in your affiliate disclaimer and add any categories or tags that you want to use.

An example affiliate disclaimer

When you’re happy with your disclaimer, publish the page to make it live. It’s a good idea to make a note of the page’s URL, as you’ll need it in the next step.

Once you’ve done that, simply go to Pretty Links » Options. Then, click on the ‘Replacements’ tab.

Pretty Links' auto-linking and replacement settings

Here, check the ‘Enable Replacements’ box if it isn’t already selected.

After that, check the ‘Link to Disclosures’ box. In the ‘URL’ box, go ahead and enter your affiliate disclosure URL.

Pretty Links Disclosure Notice

By default, Pretty Links will use ‘Affiliate Link Disclosures’ as your link’s text. However, you can change this to anything you want by typing into the ‘Text’ field.

You can also change where Pretty Links adds the affiliate disclaimer link. By default, it shows the URL at the bottom of the post, so it doesn’t distract visitors from the post’s content.

Another option is to add the disclaimer to the top of the post. This is where we include it on WPBeginner.

WPBeginner Disclosure Notice

This lets visitors know the post contains an affiliate link before they start reading, which is a good way to build trust with your audience. However, some people may see the disclaimer and decide not to stay on the page, which can increase your bounce rate.

You can also add the disclaimer to both the top and bottom of each post. This may be a good idea if you write very long posts, but most sites don’t need multiple disclosures per page.

To place the affiliate URL, simply open the ‘Position’ dropdown and choose Bottom, Top, or Top and Bottom.

Changing where an affiliate disclaimer appears on your WordPress website

Once you’ve done that, just scroll to the bottom of the page.

Then, click on the ‘Update’ button.

Saving your Pretty Links settings

Now, Pretty Links will add an affiliate disclosure link every time it auto-inserts an affiliate URL to your posts, pages, or custom post types.

Method 2. Add Affiliate Disclosure Using WPCode (More Customizable)

Sometimes you may want to add the affiliate disclosure to different areas of every blog post. For example, you might show the disclosure after you mention each affiliate product for the first time.

In this case, you can create a shortcode that adds your affiliate disclaimer. This gives you complete control over where the disclosure appears, without you having to type the entire text every single time.

A custom shortcode created with WPCode

The easiest way to create a custom shortcode is using WPCode. This plugin lets you add code snippets to WordPress without editing your theme’s functions.php file.

WPCode also helps you avoid common errors by performing smart code snippet validation.

There are lots of ways to add an affiliate disclosure using WPCode. Besides the shortcode method, we’ll also share an easy way to automatically add the disclaimer to every post, page, or custom post type.

The first thing you need to do is install and activate the free WPCode plugin on your website. For more details, see our step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, go to Code Snippets » Add Snippet.

Adding a custom code snippet to WordPress

This will bring you to the ‘Add Snippet’ page where you can see all the ready-made snippets that you can use on your site.

Since we want to add custom code in WordPress, hover your mouse over ‘Add Your Custom Code (New Snippet).’ Then, click on ‘Use snippet’ when it appears.

Adding custom snippets to WordPress

To start, enter a title for the custom code snippet.

This could be anything that helps you identify the snippet in the WordPress admin area.

Adding a title to a WPCode custom code snippet

We’re going to add a PHP snippet, so open the ‘Code Type’ dropdown and choose the ‘PHP Snippet’ option.

You can then go ahead and paste the following code into the code box:

function disclosure() {
    return "<p class="disclosure">This site may contain links to affiliate websites, and we receive an affiliate commission for any purchases made by you on the affiliate website using such links.</p>";

add_shortcode( 'disclosure', 'disclosure' );

You can use any text as your affiliate disclaimer, simply by editing the code above. For example, you might want to add a link in HTML to your affiliate disclosure page.

Once you’ve done that, scroll to the ‘Insertion’ section and make sure ‘Auto Insert’ is selected.

Auto-inserting custom code snippets in WordPress

Then, open the ‘Location’ dropdown and choose ‘Frontend Only’ since we only want to use this code on our site’s frontend, which is what visitors see when they visit your site.

You can also organize your snippets by adding tags.

When you’re happy with how the snippet is set up, scroll to the top of the screen and click on ‘Save Snippet.’

Saving your WPCode snippet

After that, you can make the code snippet live by clicking the ‘Active’ toggle.

Finally, don’t forget to save the change by clicking on ‘Update.’

Updating a custom code snippet in WordPress

Now you can add the affiliate disclosure to any page, post, or custom post type using the [disclosure] shortcode. For more details on how to place the shortcode, you can see our guide on how to add a shortcode in WordPress.

How to Automatically Display the Affiliate Disclosure with WPCode

With WPCode, there are lots of different ways to add an affiliate disclosure to your WordPress website, including automatically adding it to every post.

This can save you a lot of time and effort, since you don’t need to add the shortcode manually. However, the disclosure will appear in the same location on every page.

To automatically add the disclaimer, simply create a new custom code snippet by following the same process described above. However, this time open the ‘Code Type’ dropdown and select ‘HTML Snippet.’

Adding an HTML snippet to WordPress

You can now add your disclaimer in the code editor, complete with the formatting that you want to use. For example, here we’re adding a simple disclaimer as a new paragraph:

<p>This site may contain links to affiliate websites, and we receive an affiliate commission for any purchases made by you on the affiliate website using such links.</p>

Next, scroll to the ‘Insertion’ section and open the ‘Location’ dropdown.

You can now choose where this disclaimer should appear, such as ‘Insert After Post’ or ‘Insert Before Content.’

Automatically inserting an affiliate disclaimer

You can then go ahead and enable the snippet by following the same process described above. WPCode will now automatically show the disclaimer on every page, post, and custom post type, without you having to add the shortcode manually.

Method 3. Add Affiliate Disclosure Using Full-Site Editor (Block-Enabled Themes Only)

If you’re using a block-based theme like Hestia Pro, then you can add an affiliate disclosure to your theme’s blog post template.

This is a good choice if you want to show the exact same disclosure on every blog post. However, you won’t have the option to change the style or text on individual posts, so it’s not a good choice if you want to show different information on different pages.

To use this method, go to Themes » Editor in the WordPress dashboard.

Opening the WordPress full-site editor (FSE)

By default, the full-site editor will show your theme’s home template, so you’ll typically want to select a new template.

If you want to show the affiliate disclosure across your entire website, then we recommend adding it to the footer template part. 

However, if you just want to show the disclaimer on your blog posts, then click on Templates on the left-hand side of the screen in the Design section.

Adding an affiliate disclosure using the full-site editor (FSE)

The editor will now show all the layouts that make up your WordPress theme.

Simply click go ahead and click on ‘Single.’

Adding an affiliate disclaimer to a WordPress blog post template

WordPress will now show a preview of the template.

To edit this template, go ahead and click on the small pencil icon.

Editing a blog post template in a block-enabled WordPress theme

With that done, click on the blue ‘+’ icon in the top left corner.

In the search bar that appears, type in ‘Paragraph’ to find the right block. 

Adding a Paragraph block to a full-site template

You can now drag and drop the block onto the area where you want to show the disclaimer. 

Now, click on the block and type in your affiliate disclaimer. 

Adding text to a WordPress blog template

You may also want to change how the disclaimer looks. 

To change the font size, background color, and more, simply click to select the paragraph block. Then, select the ‘Block’ tab in the right-hand menu.

Styling affiliate disclaimers using the WordPress FSE block-based editor

You can now change the background color and text color, or make the disclaimer bigger or smaller using the settings in the right-hand menu.

When you’re happy with how the disclaimer looks, click on the ‘Save’ button.

An example of an affiliate disclaimer, created using the FSE

Now, if you visit any blog post on your affiliate website, you’ll see the disclaimer in action. 

We hope this article helped you learn how to add affiliate disclosures for each blog post automatically. You can also go through our guide on the best giveaway and contest plugins and how to create an email newsletter the RIGHT way.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading


What a 500 Internal Server Error is, and How to Fix it



What a 500 Internal Server Error is, and How to Fix it

No one likes opening a webpage and seeing a 500 internal server error message—especially when it’s on your own website.

The problem with seeing this is the mystery behind it: a 500 internal server error is a very general HTTP status code with no definitive clues as to what is causing it. 

If you’re seeing one now and are stumped, don’t worry. We can help you find what’s wrong, and what you need to do to fix it.

What is a Website Status Code?

Also known as a HTTP status code, these are a series of numbers that equates to a certain status of a webpage that you are currently viewing.

Whenever you visit a website, your browser sends a request to its server. The server then processes it, and sends back the resources needed to load whichever page you’re requesting. Attached to that is an HTTP header as well as a status code. 

If everything can load fine, that status code is a 200. If there’s something wrong, it could be a 500 status code.

Webmaster’s Note: This is part of our more comprehensive guide to Technical SEO, where I cover everything you need to know about crawlability, indexing, and page speed optimization, as well as helpful tips on how to troubleshoot common website errors. 

What are 500 Internal Server Errors?

The 500 Internal Server Error, also known as HTTP Error 500, is a server response that indicates an unexpected problem preventing the server from fulfilling the user’s request. 

In simpler words, it’s a general message from your server saying “There’s a problem, but I’m not sure what.” 

500 Internal Server Error

So if you’re seeing one now, then it is important to understand that the issue is not due to the user’s browser, internet connection, or device. Instead, the problem lies with the server that hosts the website. This server-side error can manifest in various messages, as different websites may display their own variations of the 500 error.

Here are some of the different variations of the 500 Internal Server Error:

  • 500 Internal Server Error
  • Internal Server Error 500
  • HTTP Error 500
  • HTTP Status 500 – Internal Server Error
  • Error 500 Internal Server Error
  • 500 Error
  • Temporary Error (500)
  • 500 – Server Error
  • The website cannot display the page – HTTP 500.

Causes of 500 Internal Server Errors

The generic 500 server error can be challenging to pinpoint, because it is a general error—it does not point to any specific cause from the get-go. This means you have to dig into your website to find the cause. 

But the good news is there are some likely culprits you can look at first:

  • Browser Cache: Clearing your browser cache can help resolve the issue by ensuring that you are accessing the most up-to-date version of the website.
  • Database Issues: Incorrect login credentials or a corrupt database can trigger a 500 error. Double-check that the credentials are correct and consider repairing or optimizing the database.
  • Corrupted Files: If the core files of a WordPress website become corrupted, it can lead to a 500 error. Restoring or updating these files can help resolve the issue.
  • Server and Disk Space: Issues within the server, such as running out of disk space or PHP memory limit exhaustion, can result in a 500 error. Contact your hosting provider to address these server-related issues.
  • File Permissions and .htaccess: Incorrect file or folder permissions, as well as a corrupt or broken .htaccess file, can cause a 500 error. Double-check these settings and make necessary adjustments.
  • Third-Party Plugins and Themes: Compatibility issues or errors within third-party plugins or themes can trigger a 500 error. Disable or remove these elements one by one to identify the problematic ones.
  • Malware infections: Malicious software can compromise your website’s functionality and trigger internal server errors. For example, if a hacker injects a piece of malicious code into your website’s files, it can disrupt the server’s operation and result in a 500 error.
  • Broken script injections: Hackers can inject malicious scripts into your website’s code, which may cause conflicts and result in internal server errors.

By understanding these potential causes, you can take the necessary steps to address them and resolve the 500 internal server errors. 

Troubleshooting 500 Internal Server Errors

To resolve 500 internal server errors and get your website back online, you could follow these detailed troubleshooting steps:

Clear Your Browser Cache 

Clearing your cache can resolve a 500 Internal Server Error

Before diving into complex troubleshooting steps, clearing your browser cache is a good starting point. By clearing the cache, you ensure that any previously stored data or cached versions of the website are removed, allowing for a fresh attempt at accessing the site.

This can be especially helpful if the error was caused by a previous version of the website being cached locally on your device.

  • Example: Let’s say you are using Google Chrome. To clear your browser cache, you would click on the three dots icon at the top right of the browser window, go to “More tools,” select “Clear browsing data,” choose a time range or “All time” option, and finally, click “Clear data” to remove the cached files.

Reload the Page 

After encountering a 500 error, it is worth waiting a minute and then attempting to reload the page. 

The error can be temporary if it occurs due to server overload or maintenance. By reloading the page, you give the server a chance to resolve the issue and send a proper response.

  • Example: You visit a news website and encounter a 500 internal server error while trying to access an article. Instead of immediately assuming a problem with your device, you wait for a moment and then press F5 or Ctrl + F5 to refresh the page. If the server overload was the cause, the website would likely be accessible again after the reload.

Check for Recently Installed or Updated Software 

If the 500 error persists, it is important to investigate whether any recently installed or updated software on your website may be causing conflicts. 

This could include plugins, themes, or any other website components that have undergone changes.

  • Example: You recently updated the content management system (CMS) of your WordPress website, and shortly after, you start experiencing 500 Errors. To troubleshoot the issue, you can compare the date of the CMS update with the start of the errors. If they align, it may indicate that the update caused compatibility issues or conflicts with other plugins or themes.

Check for Server-side Errors

Review your server’s error logs to identify any specific error messages or patterns. These logs can provide valuable insights into the underlying issues causing Error 500.

  • Example: A server error log indicating database connection failures may indicate a misconfiguration in your website’s database settings, leading to 500 internal server errors.

Review Error Logs

Check and review the server's error logs to fix an 500 Internal Server Error

Look for recurring errors or warnings that may indicate underlying issues. Correlate timestamps with user-reported errors if applicable to pinpoint specific areas of concern.

  • Example: If users consistently report a 500 error when submitting a contact form, reviewing error logs during those instances may reveal issues with the form submission script.

Identify and Fix .htaccess File Issues

Open the .htaccess file using a text editor and check for syntax errors or conflicting directives. Rectify any mistakes or consider renaming the file to regenerate it.

  • Example: A website experiencing Error 500 after adding rewrite rules to the .htaccess file may have introduced syntax errors that disrupt the server’s operation.

Address Script Injection Problems

Inspect your website’s files and code for any suspicious or unrecognized scripts. Remove any injected code and ensure that your website’s security measures are robust.

  • Example: If your website allows user-generated content and you notice unexpected scripts in certain posts or comments, it is possible that malicious users have injected their own code.

500 Error VS. Other 5xx Response Codes

Common 5xx Response Codes

If you’re seeing an error screen and none of these solutions worked, then you might be dealing with a different kind of 5xx error. 

To have a better understanding of the differences between generic 500 errors and other internal server errors, it’s essential to know the most common 5xx response codes:

  • 500 Error: This code indicates that the server encountered an unexpected problem that prevents it from fulfilling the request. It’s an unidentified issue without providing additional details.
  • 501 Error: A “not implemented” HTTP status code, it shows that the server is unable to execute the request. This may happen due to an inability to identify the request’s objective or insufficient power to fulfill it.
  • 502 Error: Known as a “bad gateway,” this response happens when an invalid response is detected by the server acting as a proxy or gateway. This means that the server received an invalid response from an upstream server, potentially indicating a problem with your server if you are using a web application firewall.
  • 503 Error: Happens when a service is unavailable, which can be triggered by server overload, maintenance, or even a malware attack. The server is unable to handle additional tasks at that moment.
  • 504 Error: A “gateway timeout” indicates that the server, operating as a proxy or gateway, was unable to identify the request within the specified time limit.
  • 505 Error: This error happens when the server cannot recognize the HTTP protocol used in the request.
  • 511 Error: An error for network authentication. This means that the server requires user authentication to access the requested resource.

How 500 Error Codes Can Impact Your SEO

Encountering frequent 500 internal server errors can have several negative implications for your website’s SEO:

  • User Experience and Rankings Internal server errors can significantly impact user experience, leading to a low engagement rate as visitors encounter a non-functioning website. User experience is a critical signal for search engines, as they aim to provide the most relevant and satisfying results to users. High bounce rates and decreased engagement can signal to search engines that the website may not be meeting users’ needs, potentially impacting its SEO rankings.
  • Crawling and Indexing – Search engine crawlers could also encounter Error 500 as they attempt to access and index website content. If search engines repeatedly encounter these server errors during crawling, they may interpret it as a sign of poor website maintenance or technical issues. This can result in difficulty for search engines in indexing and ranking the site effectively. It also means that fresh content updates or changes may not be properly discovered or reflected in search results.
  • Domain Authority and Reputation – A website that frequently experiences internal server errors can have a negative impact on its authority and reputation, both in the eyes of search engines and users. 

If a site consistently delivers a poor user experience due to server errors, users may lose trust and credibility in the website. Search engines prioritize user satisfaction and may accordingly adjust rankings for websites that consistently provide a subpar experience. That’s why I consider engaging in ongoing technical SEO a must for any webmaster or SEO professional.

How to Prevent 500 Internal Server Errors

To minimize the risk of future 500 Internal Server Errors, implement these preventive measures:

Regularly Update and Maintain your Website

Keep your content management system (CMS), plugins, and themes up to date to prevent conflicts or vulnerabilities.

Remove any unused or outdated plugins or themes that may create conflicts or security vulnerabilities.

  • Example: An e-commerce website should regularly update its CMS, such as WordPress, along with the associated plugins, to ensure that security vulnerabilities are patched and compatibility issues are avoided.

Implement Reliable Security Measures:

Install a reputable security plugin to protect your website from potential attacks and malware infections. Use strong, unique passwords for administrative access and enable two-factor authentication whenever possible.

If you’re using WordPress, here’s how to scan your WordPress site for better security and to prevent any malicious code.

  • Example: Utilize a security plugin that can actively scan your website for vulnerabilities, block suspicious IP addresses, and provide real-time alerts for potential threats.

Backup your Website Regularly:

Establish a regular backup routine to ensure that you have a clean copy of your website to restore in case of issues or errors.

Store backups in secure off-site locations or use a reliable backup service.

  • Example: Use backup plugins or backup your website manually by downloading both your website files and database, then store the backups on a secure cloud storage platform or external hard drive.

Key Takeaway

Encountering a 500 internal server error can be a frustrating experience, but by understanding its causes and following the troubleshooting steps outlined in this article, you can effectively resolve these issues and minimize their impact on your website and SEO

Prioritize regular maintenance, implement reliable security measures, and establish a backup routine to lessen the chances of having to deal with 500 Internal Server Errors.

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading