Building Your Website, Step-By-Step

How well does RYO work with search engines?

Sooner or later, I get asked about search engines. The underlying system we use with Run Your Own Website is WordPress. And the story about how we started using WordPress is all about search engines. Here's that story...

I was testing a variety of data driven website systems, blogging software, content management software, and news management systems, looking for something that was really easy for someone to use to build their own website.

After a dozen tests, nothing was easy.

Then I tried WordPress from www.WordPress.org.

WordPress is blogging software that has grown into a content management system. It is capable of running any content-heavy website. Or even a content light website.

WordPress bragged a five minute setup.

Well, it took me a couple of hours. Some web hosting services would have been faster, but on mine it was a real hassle setting up the mysql database. (Most people I know would have given up.) Once that was done, it took me about ten minutes to configure it. Then I uploaded the files to an empty, unused domain for testing.

We've found a better place for hosting WordPress since then. They install it for you, and handle all the database configuration. It's automated, and it's easy. You really can do it yourself in ten to fifteen minutes.

I went to the website and it really was easy! WordPress walked me through the setup, logged me in, and created a default website. It wasn't fancy, but it was there!

So, here's what I did.

I named the website, and WordPress put the name on the banner at the top of the page. ("Rich Hamilton's Test Website")

I created three articles (WordPress calls them "Posts"). That was easy. I just copied the text from three articles about Walt Disney that I had posted at one of my other websites.

That was all on a Sunday afternoon.

Monday I spent about 20 minutes editing the articles and poking around.

Then I got busy and forgot about it.

Until Thursday morning.

Thursday morning, I ran a Yahoo search

Mid morning I went to Yahoo and ran a search on "Disney success secrets."

The number one listing was "Rich Hamilton's Test Website."

Wow!

The number three listing was a website I'd never heard of, but they were quoting one of my articles at my new website, with a link back to it.

Wow, again!

I came to a very important conclusion: "I'd better change the name of that website!"

I still use that domain for testing. But I'd rather it gave a more positive impression. So I renamed it "Books, Stories, and Disney Secrets."

As I'm writing this over a year later, I tried that search at Yahoo again. That "test" website came in at number one and number six on the search.

How about Google? I tested that today, too; that test website showed up on page three.

If you try these searches, results will vary, because the search engines change their criteria constantly.

My Big Discovery

The amazing thing I discovered is this: When you use WordPress, the software automatically submits your pages to search engines every time you update them.

I didn't know my little test would be exposed to the world.

But... like most people, I want the search engines to find me. So, I was delighted!

Will it work like that for you?

Yes, your web pages will be submitted to the search engines automatically. What happens from that point, well, that's up to the search engines.

I had a couple of things going for me:

  1. I posted three high content articles.
  2. Disney is a popular subject.

The search engines car about #1.

They don't care about #2, but the Disney popularity caused someone else to point back at my story, and that probably made a difference.

What should you do?

That's easy. You should have a WordPress website.

This feature is all WordPress. You don't even need RYOW, but RYOW will make it easier and faster to get rolling, and to make your website a powerful business tool.

--Rich Hamilton

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