Blogging for business: a mini guide

You may keep asking: why should I start blogging? Or if you’re running a business, what are the benefits of having a blog?

In this post, I’m going to discuss the advantages of blogging, from personal branding to online visibility for a business.

Blogging for small and bold businesses

Whether you’re running a small or medium enterprise, having a blog is essential to your marketing efforts.

Before long, having a blog is like keeping an online journal, in which people keep sharing their thoughts, hobbies, or photos of their cute cats. Blogs took off before the social media generation. Yet, it remains a simple form of content to get discovered online and on social.

Just like the web, the blog continues to evolve over time. A great online communication platform, it’s how people make use of it to publish content that really matters.

Why should I start a blog?

Now, let’s start with some top reasons (with examples) you should start launching a blog.

It’s your digital asset. You can start a blog and build and grow your audience.
A blog is your online business card or your resume. It’s about who you are, your professional work, and your business image.

Give and take
Create values and share them on your blog in the form of content. On the Internet, people love to find and get valuable content. Give them. Share yours with the public.
You’re the digital content creator. And you’re the owner.

What should I start writing on my blog? Niche blogging!

To stand out from the crowd, you should consider having a specialist blog with the aim of appealing to a particular market. Why? Instead of blogging about random things, staying focused on a niche topic that you’re really good at is the best way of blogging.

Tips and techniques to start blogging

These are some techniques to write great content your readers want. First impression or love at first sight? When you start your introduction, you have to capture your readers’ attention.

The faster, the better.

In each blog post, you should give everything, the depth of your knowledge and expertise. The longer, the better.

In-depth or long-form blog posts are ideal for readers and intended searchers.

Having a website is one of the first things. Having a blog is an integral part of online marketing to get visitors to your website. So you want potential customers to your website so that you can:

build brand awareness

You need to define and refine your blog content strategy. With this strategy in place, you’ll have focus and purpose in your work. A long-term business investment, time, budget, and people are the key to an effective strategy.

While in the overall content strategy, you’ll have to use audio, visual, and/or written, in this basic guide I’ll only discuss the use of a blog.

What’s a niche blog?

With a specific topic, you write a specialized blog that can target a specific audience. You should spend your time researching and understanding either your passion or strength (your specialization, expertise, authority, or even hobby). It’s a great thing to define your niche as it’s part of your long-term strategy to be more authoritative in your niche blogging.

Ways to create successful blog content strategy

Step zero
You should have a method to document your blog content strategy. Why? Well, you can always come back and see what may work and not.

Step one
Ask yourself this question: what’s your blog objective?
This first step is essential to define. At the later stage, you want to measure your strategy. So having your blog objective will make it easy to do that.

Step two
What will you blog about?
What topic you are going to cover? Too broad or too narrow? This is good homework to do as it will affect the rest of the journey.

Step three
Who will read your blog?

Step four
Define your blog audience

Step five
Research keywords before writing your blog posts

Step six
Define your own voice

Step seven
Your blogging calendar

Step eight
Blogging

Sharing is caring

Measuring your blog

Keyword research is essential when it comes to writing a new blog post. It’s an early step to make sure you invest your time and resource wisely for maximum results. In this blog post, we’re going to talk about how to do keyword research using Google’s Keyword Planner and Exploding Topics.

So let’s start.

What’s Keyword Planner?

For those who have used Google Ads to do online ads campaigns to get visitors to their shop websites or business sites, you may have come across this handy feature, called Keyword Plan. This dashboard gives you a sense of what you can do with relevant keywords. With the massive amount of data available from Google, you have no doubt that you can have a glimpse into what to expect.

When doing a search on “Cambodia business,” the Keyword Planner gives you a list of results (most relevant keywords). You can see the data of the number of searches of these keywords as well as the status of the competition.

Know what to ask? With all online tools available, you still need to be really good at asking the right question. To get the right keyword, you should start with some tests. Don’t expect that you’ll get the result from the beginning.

With Keyword Planner, you can get find new keywords as well as suggested keyword ideas to consider. So when you can arm yourself with some basic data and keyword ideas, you can execute your next step of writing compelling blog posts and articles with confidence.

Google Trends

In addition to this, you might want to get some interesting trend ideas on Google Trends. It is also a website by Google “that analyzes the popularity of top search queries in Google Search across various regions and languages.”

Google Autocomplete

You should not discount this simple feature available on Google Search. It works well. It can give SEO and bloggers tons of ideas of what keywords to target.

Google Analytics and Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster)

Never overlook the data you have. These data and information are available at your fingertip.

What’s Exploding Topics?

“Discover trends before they’re trending.” Compared with Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends, the datasets on Exploding Topics are much less limited. However, Exploding is a cool tool to use.

When searching for a topic like “Cambodia,” there is not much information you can get. Only “Jasmine rice” appears to discover.

Most guides to SEO writing emphasize the importance of doing keyword research. There are also more tools (free and not free) you can use. To write well, you need to understand your audience. So these keyword research tools will allow you to gain a deeper insight into your audience. Knowing how your readers and audience search online, what topics, and their intents are essential for most bloggers and web writers.

Quora

Similar to Reddit, Quora is a massive database of questions seeking answers from the public. You find a topic or a keyword using its search box.

Tips & tricks

With the data shown each time you look for answers to your keyword, you can see that there is a high volume of searches for some keywords. There are also low-competition keywords. Instead of just going for only low competition keywords, you should think about your strength, and which keyword you can select to use. Also, what content are you trying to tackle? If you believe you can write a better piece, why not get into the high-competition game?

You should also remember that having the right, best keywords is not the mission accomplished. There are many other factors that search engines have in place to rank your content. Is your blog post great enough, to solve searchers’ problems, and many more questions?

Tools are just tools.

One of the best ways to experiment is to put yourself in a searcher’s shoes. If you were a user searching for something, what kind of question you ask? A short, quick, or long tail keyword?

If you can come up with a few answers to this question, you’ll be able to decide which is the right keyword to use. You will never be a good blogger or writer by only giving only explanations without knowing how to ask the right question.

Writing a blog post is offering an answer or a solution to your reader. To be able to solve something, you have to understand the core of the issue. So, when you can capture what’s really the issue to solve, you, as a problem solver, will be able to provide a compelling blog post for your readers. When SEO professionals usually tout long-form content blog posts that will rank well on search engines, you should be more to yourself.

What keyword research tools are made for?

In a basic guide explained by Moz, keyword research tools can help you solve the following questions:

What are people searching for?

How many people are searching for it?

In what format do they want that information?

Why is it important to have quality blog posts or content marketing strategy for your business?
These are some reasons:

  • Businesses with blogs get 67% more leads than other companies.
  • 47% of buyers view 3 to 5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales representative.
  • Companies that use content marketing see approximately 30% higher growth rates than businesses not using it.
  • 72% of business-to-business (B2B) marketers say content marketing increases engagement and the number of leads they generate.

Blogging for content marketing

This article will explore the essence of sponsored content and why you should use it as part of your business growth strategy.

Let’s start with this definition of “permission marketing” by Seth Godin the marketer and author.

“Permission is like dating. You don’t start by asking for the sale at a first impression. You earn the right, over time, bit by bit.”

In the digital world, instead of disrupting and distracting your potential audience and customers, you should do everything possible to earn the right so that you can start telling your business and brand story.

What is sponsored content?

“Sponsored content is a powerful way to reach and build lasting relationships,” according to LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

Unlike a banner ad, sponsored content doesn’t actually look like an ad. It looks like part of the editorial flow of the page.

What are sponsored content formats available?

Some forms of sponsored content include:

  • Blog posts
  • Articles
  • Listicles
  • Infographics
  • Social media posts
  • Podcast episodes
  • Webinars
  • Events
  • Videos

Why sponsored content?

  • showcase your expertise and build trust with potential customers. It’s usually better received by tapping into specific audiences.
  • driving referral traffic. Unlike advertisements, people are more inclined to view them and consume their content.
  • the click-through-rate with sponsored content is approximately 8.8 times higher than with typical display ads (AppNexus whitepaper).
  • 75% of consumers say that, if content peaks their interest, then they will engage with it (a Reuters survey 2018).
  • A Time Inc. study reported that 2 in 3 GenZ, Millennials and GenX consumers believe sponsored content is more sincere than traditional advertising.

How to create effective and successful sponsored content?

You should focus on creating and delivering value with your content. To do this, you can start by:

  • researching a topic
  • write and optimize search-friendly content
  • analyze and measure results
  • keep improving content using available data you’ve acquired

Actually, there are many free services you can quickly launch a blog for free. So what’s the point of this post telling you to do it? The difference here is launching a ‘static blog’.

You’ll have to enjoy learning new web technologies.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to use:
GitHub, Eleventy, and Cloudflare Page.

Welcome to the Jamstack movement for creating a static blog!

First thing first, your blog will not have any database. It’s an advantage.
Your blog content will be more portable as you continue to keep blogging. You don’t actually have to worry about having a content management system on a virtual private server.

GitHub will be where you create your blog content.
Eleventy is an online tool (more or less a static site generator). It’s cool.
Cloudflare Page will take care of your blog content distribution. It’s more than just a content delivery network (CDN).

At the end of this quick tutorial, you should be able to build a free static blog using Eleventy as your static site generator (SSG). There are many more SSGs like Hugo, Gatsby, NextJS, etc. But we’ll focus only on Eleventy. I’ll detail more about what is Eleventy and why you should use Eleventy.

In fact, it doesn’t matter much about which SSG to experiment with in your learning stage. As your blog content is saved in markdown files, this is the kind of portability I mentioned early. So switching between SSGs is flexible.

What to expect after going through this tutorial. Your static blog will be ultra-fast, super secure, and free.

What’s Eleventy (also 11ty)?
It’s the world’s simplest site generator for static sites. After testing some popular site generators like Hugo and others, I find that Eleventy is the best for beginners. You can start learning and using it in a short time.

And SSG is a framework to manage your static website and transform it into a site serving only static pages.

Also called 11ty, it works by compiling files it finds from your working directory into static HTML files. As it’s written in JavaScript, you gain access to the whole of npm in terms of packages you can use in your project. But, 11ty is not a JavaScript framework—that means zero boilerplate client-side JavaScript.

Some more background information about 11ty:
“Ever since Zach Leatherman created Eleventy in 2018 it is gaining more and more followers, especially from people tired of JS-heavy static site generators. Eleventy is zero-config by default and works with any project’s structure. It doesn’t tie you up with any framework and supports up to eleven different template languages. Eleventy is simple(r). Eleventy adapts to you,” according to Bejamas.

Some other SSGs in the crowded space:
Pelican (Python)
Hugo (Go)
Hexo
Gridsome (Vue – JS)
VuePress (Vue – JS)
Ghost
Gatsby (React – JS)
Jekyll (Ruby)

The second SSG after 11ty is Hugo which I recommend you should try.

Now, let’s get started: install Eleventy
You can follow these steps to prepare and install Eleventy. I also recommend that you bookmark this well-written, easy to understand tutorial (very comprensive): Learn Eleventy From Scratch.

Instructor Stephanie Eckles has her course on “Build An Eleventy (11ty) Site From Scratch” (video) on Egghead.io. Her lessons will help explain “key 11ty features and concepts to help you make the most of this amazing static site generator”.

Cloudflare Pages is a JAMstack platform for frontend developers to collaborate and deploy websites. With Cloudflare Pages, you can deploy your first website to the Pages platform. Alternatively, you should also check out Netlify and Vercel as both of them offer the same deployment solution with similar offerings. If you use 11ty, Netlify works natively with that. But if you’re a Next.js developer, Vercel should be your first choice.

Among these three leading JAMstack platforms for frontend developers to deploy static websites and blogs, Cloudflare’s CDN is an important reason.

What’s growth hacking?

In short, growth hacking (also called growth marketing) is a data-driven method to test and experiment, based on traditional marketing, for business growth. The principle is being flexible and adaptable. With lean experimentation across a number of marketing channels in a short span of time, growth hacking will try and find the most efficient ways to grow business as cost-effective as possible.

What are the ultimate reasons to integrate growth hacking as part of your overall, long-term marketing strategy? Well, the reasons are:

  • Exponential growth
  • Provable ROI
  • Low-cost and low resources

The process of growth hacking:

  1. Get product-market fit
  2. Set measurable goals
  3. Test your approach
  4. Analyse performance
  5. Optimize

Best WordPress Plugins

WordPress is much more powerful when integrated with the right plugins.

At kokitree, before we decide to use a plugin, we spend some time understanding the functionalities of the plugins and we test them.

The best WordPress plugins allow developers and designers to achieve our web design and development objectives. In addition to this, we also want to make sure they’re just simple and good enough for the users.

This is a list of the best WordPress plugins we love using to build websites for our clients.

A List of Top Best WordPress Plugins for Blogs & Affiliate Marketers

Backup Plugins

  • WP-DBManager by Lester ‘GaMerZ’ Chan
  • Use Google Libraries: A lightweight plugin to help off-load your web server, this Use Google Libraries plugin makes use of Google’s AJAX Library API instead. Good performance benefits that most people need.
  • Optimize Database after Deleting Revisions: if you’ve got a WordPress website (especially a niche review site like SweetMemoryStudio) that requires continuous updates over time, chance is that each post has many revisions. For example, before optimizing, this website’s database is 19.079 MB. After running this plugin, the size is just 4.095 MB. You save 14.984 MB. That’s a lot. Like it’s named after, the Optimize Database After Deleting Revisions plugin for WordPress is an easy-to-use database cleaner and optimizer.
  • WP Clone by WP Academy: What’s the easiest and fastest way to migrate a WordPress website or blog from one host to another? Undoubtedly, the WP Clone plugin is simply the best solution for this. We’ve used this plugin regularly. 99% of the time, it works very well. For a huge WordPress site, we don’t recommend you use this WP Clone. Two things you should note are that: the plugin does not support multi-site and site size limits.
  • Backup Buddy: It doesn’t hurt to have a backup copy of your blogs. It hurts when you don’t have a copy of your website backup. Download this Backup Buddy plugin now.
  • All-In-One WP Migration: Moving a WordPress site from one web host to another can be a pain if your host doesn’t have any way to this support. All-In-One WP Migration is another option to the WP Clone by WP Academy plugin.

WordPress SEO Plugins

  • Yoast SEO

A great website without quality content and SEO isn’t a website. For every WordPress website we design, we use this Yoast SEO plugin for one single purpose, to optimize the websites for search engines. This plugin is powerful yet easy to use for most users.

  • Hyper Cache

This is one of a few lightweight caching plugins we love. It’s simple and easy to configure. Presently, we’ve been using the Hyper Cache WordPress plugin on our Vultr VPS.

  • Broken Link Checker

The real beauty of the web is the link. A broken link is a thing to avoid. The Broken Link Checker does one thing well: It scans your WordPress website for any broken links and lets you know that you should fix the issues. Need extra help to boost your SEO rankings? Use this useful plugin.

  • Smush Image Compression and Optimization

Facebook and Messenger load photos fast. There are many factors, one of which is highly compressed images. On your WordPress websites, you can also have this little plugin Smush Image Compression and Optimization to help reduce large photo file sizes to optimal without losing much quality.

  • Really Simple SSL

Not all, but some web hosts don’t offer the absolute SSL solution. However, a simple way to make sure that all pages are over HTTPS is having this lightweight Really Simple SSL.

  • Cloudflare

Most of WordPress sites we host and manage are on Cloudflare. It offers everything we can dream of having for small and medium business websites and blogs. Speed and performance. Yes. Security Yes.

  • Broken Link Checker

A key factor to improve a better web browsing experience is fixing dead links. The Broken Link Checker will help taking care of that. As a result, you’ll gain a better SEO, too. Overall, all we want to achieve is speed and performance on a low-resource web server.

  • Toolbelt

WordPress.com’s Jetpack plugin is very popular. But it must be a joke. It consumes so much of your web server’s resources. Developed by Ben Gillbanks, Toolbelt plugin is a simpler, minimalist version that works to address a number of issues you need.

  • WP-Optimize – Clean, Compress, Cache
  • WP-Sweep

Security Plugins

  • Limit Login Attempts

The Limit Login Attempts plugin provides a simple, smart security solution.

Must-Have WordPress Plugins

  • HappyForms is the best of all. Minimal and simple. It is quite intuitive.
  • Contact Form 7

This plugin was once great. No more. For all of the WordPress websites we build, we use this Contact Form 7 plugin for the Contact Page. It’s simple. It works.

  • Easy Footnotes

If you’re looking for an easy to insert footnotes in a blog post, you may consider this Easy Footnotes plugin.

  • LessButtons & Social Pug: Social Share Tools

It’s one of the best social share plugins to have on most websites. We use this LessButtons plugin for most, if not all, of our WordPress websites we develop. The simple sharing buttons are very nice.

Another (up-to-date) plugin for social sharing we highly recommend is Social Pug. We love it and use it on a number of websites that we manage. Check out Social Sharing Buttons – Social Pug!

  • Table of Contents Plus

This plugin makes it easy to create a list of internal links within a post or page. The Table of Contents Plus plugin by Michael Tran can also produce output a sitemap listing all pages and categories.

  • Post Grid

If you need a last-minute solution to how the latest posts should look better than a list view, the Post Grid plugin does it magically in a few clicks. It solves the problem as it’s named after.

  • Another WordPress Classifieds Plugin (AWPCP)

We spent a lot of time searching and testing the best plugin for Classified Listings and Ads. This AWPCP is currently the one we use. It works well. It fits the basic requirements that allow registered users to add their listings to a WordPress website.

  • Super Progressive Web Apps

Do all WordPress websites and blogs need to be mobile apps? Not really. There are many third-party services that offer to convert WordPress websites to a smartphone app. But we find this Super Progressive Web Apps the best plugin that combines “the best of mobile web and the best of mobile apps.” We love it. And we use this plugin for some of our web projects.

Good to Know

Use only fewer plugins that fix the root of the problems.

How did we come up with this list? We reviewed, ranked, and researched this topic in addition to our own tests and implementation.

We try to avoid using plugins whenever possible to save web server resources. Therefore, for each plugin we decide to use for the WordPress websites, we have to research and test first. We hope that this list of the best plugins will help you to use only the best, optimal ones.

We don’t focus on listing the most popular WordPress plugins. We believe in functions.

Note: we will continue to update this review so that you’ll have a comprehensive list of the best plugins for your affiliate marketing blogs.

How to Fix WordPress Malware Infection

WordPress is wonderful. It’s free and open source. However, without proper maintenance and hardened security on the web server, it’s possible that WordPress websites and blogs get compromised. And this comes with a price.

As you’re reading this post, you may be looking for solutions or plugins to clean and fix WP-VCD malware.

The WP-VCD malware-infected sites will look normal. Its injected script will add some new content to your site without your knowledge. On the Dashboard, the Administrator will find some limited accesses like adding new plugins or adding new posts.

How to fix WP-VCD malware:

  • First thing first, to be able to have full access to the functionalities on your Dashboard, you should replace a clean ‘Functions.php’ file.
  • Check the Users tab. Who has Admin access? It’s advisable to lock down existing users for the time being as you’re going through the process of cleaning up the malware.
  • Install security plugins like iThemes Security and Wordfence.
  • Search for files with PHP extension in your Upload folders.
  • There are some PHP files you have to clean: Functions.php and a weird PHP file (name could be: 123x.php).
  • You should first look at your WordPress database. In this scenario, your WordPress may have been hacked. And as you may be limited to installing WordFence, you should check the _Table: wpusermeta. Who’s logged in from which IP? Remove it and block it immediately.

You have to be very proactive when your site is under attack. As you’re working to clean your WordPress blog from infected malicious codes, you have to make you patch the security holes.

Additional Resources:

Best WordPress Themes

A lightweight WordPress theme is one of the most important factors to decide the need for speed. In this list, I’ll outline some of the most lightweight, fastest themes for WordPress weblogs and websites. There are (not all) themes that come with high-quality code to speed up your WordPress site. These WordPress themes are free to download and use.

One thing I have to warn early is that if you use too many plugins, then it will become the cause of your site performance. Even a lightweight theme on a powerful web server will not help much with the fast-loading blog you expect. So, a minimalist WordPress theme is just one of several factors that define your site speed.

Why should you even read my recommendations? Well, I’ve tested so many WordPress themes over the past decade. I’m obsessed with blog speed.

The best, fastest theme for a WordPress blog?

Arke
Arke is a truly minimal WordPress theme. No sidebars, no widgets, no settings. Just your content. The size of this theme is the smallest of all reviewed here.

Twenty Twenty-Two (the WordPress team)
It’s really hard to include the official WordPress theme. Every year, WordPress releases a new official theme. 2022 is no different. This theme just looks better. The Twenty Twenty-Two is great for a single-page website, a blog, a business website, or a portfolio.

Simple
Simple is a new super-modern, minimal, clean design.

Astra
Astra is one of the most popular WordPress themes today.

Sinatra
Sinatra is a lightweight and highly customizable multi-purpose theme.

More lightweight WordPress themes you should consider:
GeneratePress
Neve
Hello
Blocksy

Key factors to consider before starting to use a WordPress theme

Lightweight
Responsive design
GZIP Compression

Best CMS for blogging: Ghost vs. WordPress

There is no doubt that WordPress dominates the blogging and online publishing world for many years. WordPress as a CMS powers nearly half of the Internet’s websites. So what’s the point to compare WordPress against Ghost, a new, free, and open-source blogging platform? In this review, I’m going to through the details and the points what Ghost is worth a look into. And why it should be your next content management system of choice for your new blog or project. And I think there is no exception that WordPress is popular here in the startup and tech community in Cambodia.

Please note that all of the websites and blogs we host and develop are based on WordPress.

How to build ultra-fast blog with Ghost

Ghost Content Management System (CMS)

What’s it? “Ghost is an open-source blogging platform that helps you easily create a professional-looking online blog. Ghost is a robust content management system (CMS) with a Markdown editor, an easy-to-use user interface, and beautiful themes. It is easy to install and update with Ghost-CLI.”

Installing Ghost on a local machine

I can confirm that it’s easy to install Ghost (14.x (Node v14 Fermium LTS) on your Mac machine. It’s simple and straightforward. I also tried to set up a local environment for testing a Raspberry Pi 4 (Ubuntu), but I struggled to get the compatible Nodjs version. I’m sure I’ll go back to this again.

After all, this local Ghost on my MacBook Pro laptop is the first time I can see how Ghost works at the back end. Simply, it’s beautiful and neat. Or I’d say: less is more.

Running a Ghost static site

You can install a local Ghost on your laptop, push your site to GitHub repository, and host it on GitHub page (with or without your custom domain), you can follow this easy-to-follow instruction: Hosting a Ghost Blog in GitHub. With small sites, you can have this nice setup for free. It’s ideal for students and those who want to learn Ghost and Jamstack.

Installing Ghost on a Linode virtual private server (VPS)
What you need:

  • A VPS (at least 1GB RAM)
  • NGINX
  • MySQL
  • Node.js and NPM
  • Ghost-CLI

I think it has taken me quite a while to get things right. Why? Well, because I want to re-use the existing VPS I have for Ghost installation. You can read the full installation guide here: How to install Ghost on Ubuntu. And Linode also has a documentation section on how to install Ghost CMS on Centos, Debian, and Ubuntu (and with Docker).

Compared with WordPress installation, Ghost takes on a different approach. While WordPress has its famous 5-minute installation, you mostly use Linux commands. But what I really like about Ghost CMS installation is that if the first attempt fails you, you can start it all over again. Ghost doctor, Systemd, and Ghost uninstall are most often used.

If you install Ghost CMS on a 1GB VPS, you should be able to set up a few blogs. Each setup consumes about 300MB. After installing 3 basic blogs, it’s getting difficult with insufficient RAM available.

Hosting several Ghost instances on one single VPS? You should read this method of using one VPS to host multiple blogs.

Install Ghost on your local machine

It’s just a few minutes to set up Ghost on my MacBook Pro. There are many tutorials available to do so.

Install Ghost on Raspberry Pi? There is a good blog dedicated to this. Ghost Pi blog covers all you need to know to do the same, such as using custom domain names and a CDN to optimize your blog. Check it out if you want to learn how to test it: GhostPi.

Moving to Ghost from WordPress?

There is a WordPress plugin to export your WordPress database and files for this. But after downloading the Export file of this site (just under 100MB), the import tool on the Ghost dashboard cannot really handle it.

It says: Import failed. The request is larger than the maximum file size the server allows

But it’s not the end. When exporting your WordPress database, you also have the option to download it as a JSON file format. The reason is simply that Export to Ghost means downloading all the content (posts, pages, and image files). This is usually impossible with a lot of files. The JSON file is different. It’s like an XML file. It’s way smaller because it contains only the text content, no images. So, if you’ve got a huge WordPress site, it’s not yet simple. It would need extra work.

With a modern cloud-based server designed for WordPress, you can easily get a lightning-fast, safe and secure blog. We love this setup, which is the best performance optimization for a VPS to host WordPress sites for our clients: OS: Ubuntu Server 64-bit, latest packages of Nginx, PHP, MySQL/MariaDB, and Redis, Let’s Encrypt SSL/TLS certificate. Essentially, with this kind of setup, it takes much less memory consumption to run WordPress blogs efficiently. You can actually read our in-depth review for Linode vs. Vultr vs. DigitalOcean, using SpinupWP to manage WordPress sites.

Blogs and sites powered by Ghost CMS

  • Buffer’s social media and marketing library, Unsplash blog, OpenAI, DigitalOcean Blog, Cloudflare Blog, The Standford Review

My takes:

Why should you consider using Ghost in the first place? Well, if you want to use an open, stable platform, and it’s fast and SEO friendly. Not PHP. If you’re an experienced blogger who wants to learn something new, you should look into Ghost as your next CMS after WordPress. “Ghost is the fast, modern WordPress alternative, focused completely on professional publishing.”

Get quick access to all the WordPress resources at kokitree including knowledge base articles, in-depth learn guides and the latest from our blog. Over the years, we’ve kept adding useful how-to guides available from around the web. As we’ve been using WordPress as software for over a decade, we still love a lot of things about it.

What you need to know about improving SEO for WordPress websites

In this WordPress SEO resource page, we’ve got a good list of a few important topics such as content marketing and technology, everything about WordPress, SEO, and WordPress hosting.

We believe in the power of content. When doing it right, it yields lasting, great impact. That’s also the reason we position kokitree to focus on helping clients.

Are you convinced yet? If not, let’s keep reading.

  • Creating Quality Content in 2019 (For Search Engines and People)
  • Is Content Marketing Right for My Business?
  • How to Create a Profitable Content Marketing Business Model
  • How To Start Your Own Content Marketing Business in 2016
  • What Is Content Marketing?
  • From Zero to a Million: 20 Lessons for Starting an Internet Marketing Agency
  • 5 Content Marketing Lessons Building a High Traffic Blog

All Things WordPress (+ Securities)

If you’re interested in learning more about developing WordPress sites with focus on performance and security, you should check out these links.

The Best WordPress Plugins

  • The WordPress Security Handbook 2019
  • WordPress Optimization Guide (GTmetrix Performance Blog)
  • Install Nginx, WordPress and Let’s Encrypt in Minutes With EasyEngine on Debian 8 or Ubuntu 16.04
  • How To Set Up Nginx with HTTP/2 Support
  • WordPress Nginx Setup & Management
  • The Website Launch Checklist: 14 Things You Need to Review Before Going Live
  • How to Install WordPress on Your Mac
  • 16 Lessons Learned Bootstrapping Kinsta From $0 to 7-Figures in Revenue
  • Plugins, Tool and Tweak To Make WordPress Run Faster
  • How to Start Using the WordPress REST API
  • 6 Website Issues Slowing Down Your Page Speed

Best WordPress SEO blogs to read

Have a WordPress site? And want to thrive well on Google? These guides offer some great advice for beginners and SEO professionals.

In the SEO community, we never stop learning. There are a lot of blogs, tips, and how to guides to help us tackle SEO issues and improving our website ranking. Most content marketers read blogs. We do love reading blogs that focus on WordPress SEO. On web, there are countless number of blogs that well cover this search engine optimization topic. There are a lot of books and pages written about ranking well. To help you find the best WordPress SEO blogs you should read, we compiled this list for you. This list intends to guide most people to about how to rank your WordPress websites well.

Everything you need to know about building back web links. Here’s a great example: Usability and Quality, Not Gimmicks, are Key to SEO Success.

This blog about SEO offers a ton of details for beginners and professionals. If you’re interested in learning about ranking well on Google, then we recommend that you read as many blog posts as you can. We’ve identified a few great writers over there.

We love many of the blog posts from RankXL, which offers great tips and advice on ranking well on SEO. One example is: 5 Ways to Perform an Effective Content Audit. It’s simple to follow and implement.

The Best WordPress Host

Siteground (GrowBig) is very ideal for hosting a number of websites. We like how we can choose a location for the web host. Comparing to a few web hosts we’ve used for a number of years, Siteground is one of the best for hosting multiple WordPress websites. Overall, it’s the best for a small digital firm that offers web hosting in the package.

Vultr
The smallest plan starts at $2.5 per month, which is probably the cheapest plan for a VPS. Also, you can easily use it with SpinupWP. Other options include: Digital Ocean, Amazon Lightsail.

Free SEO Tools

Ahrefs’ Backlink Checker (we use this tool regularly. it’s very useful.)

Microsoft Bing Keyword Research (free)

Online Testing Tools

HTTP(S) Benchmark Tools / Toolkit for testing/debugging HTTP(S) and restAPI (RESTful)

h2load – HTTP/2 benchmarking tool

Pingdom Website Speed Test

GTmetrix

Load Impact (Load testing for developers)

HTTP/2 Test: VERIFY HTTP/2 SUPPORT

SSL Server Test

Test Your Website on Mobile (Think With Google tool)

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Is WordPress good for SEO?

Answer: Yes, always. Period.

Question: Can you do SEO on WordPress?

Answer: WordPress is just a like a knife. A knife is just a knife. You can either use it scarves beauty or not is up to you.

Question: What is the best SEO plugin for WordPress?

Answer: Read our list of recommended WordPress plugins here.
How did we come up with this list of the best blogs about WordPress SEO?

I’ve spent hours reading these blogs. In the SEO community, there is no way to stop learning. We keep adding more WordPress SEO blogs to this list.

Cloud hosting: Linode vs Vultr vs Digital Ocean
In this VPS review, I compare some of the best virtual private servers. We’ve been using Linode, Vultr, Amazon Lightsail, and DigitalOcean, for a couple of years. We love most of them, if not all. These are high-end quality cloud service providers in the market for WordPress web developers.

In this review, I will focus on the starter packages, which include: prices, features, performance, and infrastructure of the top best VPSs. To begin with, I’m going to list down a number of things you can do. After that, we’ll also look into the basic infrastructure (WordPress server and configurations).

A Comparison: Vultr vs Lightsail vs Linode, Digital Ocean

Now let’s find out a bit more about each VSP provider as I compare features and pros and cons. With proper configurations, you’ll be certain that these small VPSs can handle high amounts, of spike traffic.

I use SpinupWP to setup multiple WordPress sites on each instance. SpinupWp is simply a modern cloud-based server control panel (you’ll learn more about it later in this post). You can read my Spinupwp review here to learn more about using modern cloud-based server control panel to manage WordPress sites.

Which modern cloud-based provider is better, Digital Ocean, Vultr, Lightsail, or Linode?

Linode
Linode is no stranger. It’s one of the pioneers of cloud providers. What I love: reliable and stable. We believe Linode beats others in this review. Why? Linode can handle many small WordPress blogs well. Its RAM handling is pretty good.

Its user interface is simple and enough to navigate.

Using h2load – HTTP/2 bench-marking tool, I found these:

Linode (with 3 small WordPress sites), cannot stand total 100000 requests, 100 concurrent clients, and 10 max concurrent streams. The CPU will explode if you want to give it a try. Yet, it’s safer when using this same load test after configuring the cache (as configured with SpinupWP setup).

Vultr
Vultr computes features 100% local SSD and high-performance Intel CPUs.
With $5 per month, Amazon Lightsail offers better specifications for its cloud service. You can get more bandwidth and more storage for the same price that Vultr offers.

Infrastructure locations: For Vultr, we chose Atlanta for our hosting. Currently, Vultr has more than 16 locations worldwide. Oregon is our location when using Lightsail, which has many regions across the continents. Both providers offer the cloud server location you prefer. Vultr supports DNSSEC, which is quite essential.

The control panels of both Vultr and Lightsail don’t give you much information about the usage. You may need a third-party service to visualize or extract detailed information.

Vultr’s smallest plan starts at $2.5 per month (512MB memory), which is probably the cheapest plan for a VPS.

Digital Ocean
It’s a familiar name for most tech startup people. It’s a newcomer among all reviewed here. But it has taken the startup world by storm.

Recently, Digital Ocean introduced something new to its basic Droplet. Instead of a normal vCPU and SSD, it claims to have Premium Intel and Premium AMD Droplets with NVMe SSDs for an extra $1 to its $5.

DO advertises its Basic Droplet for “simple or bursty applications such as low traffic web servers, blogs, discussion forums, CMS, small databases, dev/test servers, microservices, and repository hosting.”

DigitalOcean Referral Badge

Amazon Lightsail
A mini version of the giant AWS, Lightsail is an easy-to-use cloud platform that offers you everything needed to build an application or website, plus a cost-effective, monthly plan. It’s designed to help you start small, and then scale as you grow. We love these built-in Alarms feature as we can add two alarms per metric, and choose to be notified by email, SMS text message, or both.

A WordPress site we manage (hosted on Lightsail) gets great results on Google Console’s Core Web Vitals

Lightsail is generous with its storage. However, if you want to create a snapshot, you’ll have to pay for the snapshot storage. Vultr also started charging for this feature.

On Lightsail, you CAN NOT create more than 3 DNS zones. This means that Lightsail limits you to host more than 3 sites (different domain names).

AWS Lightsail CPU spikes are more frequent than Vultr (leads to more downtimes).

You can avoid Lightsail. We didn’t really have a good experience it’s an unpredictable memory spike that causes a constant reboot.

Hosting WordPress on a VPS: Recommended
WordPress is software with performance, security, and ease of use. The basic WordPress software is simple and powerful. Hosting a high-traffic WordPress requires some great setup and configurations ahead.

As we discussed since the beginning of this post, for VPS we highly recommend either Linode or Vultr. These are more than great enough for hosting personal blogs, small and medium business websites, or even affiliated websites. Although it’s not easy to set up a new, clean WordPress site for most beginners, there are also simplified ways to do it with just some clicks.

VPS Server Settings: Best WordPress Configurations
At the time of writing, we suggest that you should consider this setup for your periodical traffic spike WordPress sites:

  • MariaDB over MySQL (more on this later)
  • Nginx, PHP-FPM (not just the best, but perfect for most WordPress sites)
  • Nginx FastCGI caching
  • HTTPS (is the best free Let’s Encrypt certificate)

After launching my first WordPress blog more than ten years ago, I realize that WordPress is no lightweight and compact as it used to be. It’s both great and not. Whatever it is, now is the time to see what we can do to improve our WordPress sites. There are quick tips and tricks to improve the overall performance of a site.

Manage Your VPSs and WordPress with SpinupWP as your Cloud-based VPS Control Panel

Setting up a new WordPress site or blog on a VPS like Vultr or Amazon Lightsail can be time-consuming. If you planning to run a number of blogs on a single VPS, there is a better way to do that. We’ve just started rolling out a few websites and blogs running Vultr. To make things easier, we also deployed SpinupWP.

What’s SpinupWP? It’s a control panel to easily host WordPress websites on a cloud provider of your preference.

Here’s a note as we’re taking on this combination of the best of Vultr’s VPS (simple, fast, and scalable SSD cloud hosting provider) and SpinupWP, an app aimed at developers, that makes it so much easier to host WordPress sites yourself. It’s a simple control panel for Vultr.

SpinupWP makes it easy to spin up an optimized, multiple WordPress website on your VPS in a few minutes.

How to get started with SpinupWP

First thing first, you register a new account at SpinupWP. After that, you sign up for a Virtual Private Server at a cloud provider. There are many VPS providers (in our case, we’ve got both Lightsail and Vultr). Lastly, you connect your Virtual Private Server to SpinupWP.

With SpinupWP and your VPS up and running, you can start running optimized WordPress websites on your own VPS. What we love the most at this stage is that Spinup is here to take care of all the software patches, security, and other things. Overall, it saves so much of your time.

Essential SpinupWP features

  • Automatic VPS security updates
  • Access and login disabled for the Root user
  • Free SSL certificates (with Let’s Encrypt)
  • Firewall which limits access to NGINX and SSH
  • Optimal settings for Nginx security
  • Each site is isolated through its own user. Therefore, if one site gets compromised, other sites on the server are safe.
  • SFTP/SSH access for each site.
  • Two-factor authentication for platform logins.

Usability

  • Interface Usability: Great
  • WordPress Installer One-Click
  • Domain Management: Application Level
  • Server Management: So so
  • Application Management: So so
  • Team Manager: Yes
  • Application Monitoring: Absent
  • Server Monitoring: Absent
  • Server Transfers: No
  • Project Manager: No
  • Development Environments: Live

Why do we love SpinupWP?

  • Connect your Vultr API with SpinupWP in just a second.
  • Without much hassle for DIY configuration, we can launch a new site in a few minutes. This saves us a lot of time to launch sites fast. Install the latest stable versions of Nginx, PHP, MySQL/MariaDB, and Redis from the standard apt-get repos with no pain (but gain).
  • Performance: it’s very fast. It’s what we’re embracing these days for better site speed (see the screenshot above as tested on Gtmetrix). Set up Redis object caching for improved database requests.
  • SpinupWP has all the key features most WordPress developers need. For instance, having Let’s Encrypt certificate and Nginx installed is just a few clicks (without typing any command).
  • Automatic Security Updates: You’re going to get free Let’s Encrypt HTTPS (automatic renewal) with ease. Another example is that the app disables some critical PHP functions by default.
  • SpinupWP works with Vultr, DigitalOcean, Linode, AWS, and any other provider

Previously, we looked into using EasyEngine to install WordPress Nginx Setup & Management. However, we ended up setting up Nginx with HTTP/2 Support using this mini guide.

As it’s trying to live up to its tagline, SpinupWP is “your own flawless WordPress server, spun up in minutes.”

SpinupWP is a Modern Cloud-Based Server Control Panel. It’s here to help you implement best practices for every server you spin up. Designed for WordPress. SpinupWP is a company of Delicious Brains Inc., a small company of expert WordPress developers, the brains behind the popular WP Migrate DB Pro and WP Offload Media plugins, WordPress core contributors.

There is something that should have been even better. The documentation section is not have much to offer yet. For example, when you want to see how the service works well with any VPS provider or not, it’s not easy to get more details.

There are similar services in this category that you may have heard of like GridPane, ServerPilot, Laravel Forge, Cloudways, and RunCloud.

Migrating from One Server to Another

Cloning your WordPress site is easy. It’s a quick way to move your site to a better, newly-spun VPS with little downtime.

SpinupWP Packages

Currently, Spinup WP offers the plans listed below. If you sign-up through this review, you get $50 in Spinup WP credit for free.

How to Speed up and Optimize Your WordPress Sites for Lightning Speed

Here’s a mini guide and how-to to help you optimize your WordPress blogs and sites to load fast and serve high traffic. How? We’re basing this on our years of experiments and work to help our clients’ sites.

First thing first, choosing the best WordPress is everything for today and tomorrow. After all, it’s your website infrastructure. You make it or break it.

There are two key things to consider. Like it or not, Google keeps up with its optimization requirements for webmasters and developers. The latest out of the giant search engine’s pipeline is Core Web Vitals.

Everything in this is all about site speed and performance. Just deeper and more detailed.

What to measure in Google’s Core Web Vitals:

  • Poor URLs
  • URLs need improvement
  • Good URLs

How to achieve Good URLs for Google? This is one of the toughest questions. However, there are some fixes and tricks we should use to improve the WordPress site load speed.

Aside from this, speed analysis tool like GTmetrix provides comprehensive information to help you boost your site speed. For example, Page Load Details (time, size, number of requests) are an essential factor to consider when you want to improve WordPress site performance.

Overall, SpinupWP is quick and easy to set up. Our cloud servers (Vultr and Lightsail) are blazing fast, and the user interface is a delight to work with.

Ideally, it’s one of the subscription-based control panels for experienced WordPress developers and professionals.

Want to see how it works on a small WordPress site? Take a look at this https://smallsweethome.com/

Top tips to make your WordPress sites load faster

  • Less is more: fewer plugins are better. Much of the time, most WordPress site owners tend to need more functionalities and features they don’t need. So they just keep adding useless plugins to their sites. What’s the downsize? Well, these plugins, many of them, take much of the web server resource.
  • You should consider using MariaDB as your WordPress instead of MySQL. Here’s a good comparison of MySQL vs MariaDB vs Percona.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this review will help you select one of the best VPS for your WordPress site. These are the best VPS for most people who need to launch small and medium WordPress sites. Our top recommendation is Linode and followed by Vultr. DigitalOcean and Lightsail are also good alternatives.

Links to sign up:

Also Good to Read

Web publishing for modern media: Jamstack

Are you planning to launch an online news publication? It’s always a great idea to start with the best possible solution so that you’re steps ahead to serve your online audience. Web architecture continues to evolve. So is our approach to content publishing. There is no better way than to provide the best digital experience to the users.

Powered by traditional web architecture design, most news websites encounter issues when having to serve traffic spikes: slowness, prone to online attacks, and higher costs for web servers and maintenance. Designed in the last couple of decades, traditional websites serve the purpose of making it easy to publish content and make it accessible.

But are there any other ways to deal with these issues? Read on to find out more.

Ultra fast, secure online news site to thrive

The essences of tomorrow’s web architecture are here, especially for an online news publication. Simplified, the design philosophy’s benefits are:

. Highly accessible

. Higher security (DDoS worry-free): safe from online attacks. More secure (no need to worry about server or database vulnerabilities). The simple strategy here is that by decoupling the back end and the front end, we can minimize the security flaws. And the connection by an API (or Git-based) between the backend and frontend and will mostly be read-only. And at the same time, it’s less dependable on a database, which is always the heart of the security issue.

. Low-cost scaling: easier to maintain and scale. Hosting static files is cheap or even free. It only contains just a few files with minimal sizes. And these files can be served anywhere. Scaling is a matter of serving those files somewhere else or using your CDN of choice.

. Resilient and efficient infrastructure

. SEO-friendly and ready

. Greater performance (fast by eliminating large amounts of server and network latency)

How about shifting the workload from the server side to the client-side? That’s it. When we can take away as many tasks as possible and push them to the client side instead. We can enable fewer server requests. Thus, better performance and faster load times are the results. And to go as server-less as possible.

Google has set a new standard for page speed with the introduction of its Core Web Vitals. So the website page speed is a search ranking factor. Visitors don’t like slow-loading sites. No readers want to wait to read the news stories.

So, at the core, the sites are highly optimized for SEO.

How fast should a website load? According Botify:

Fast: under 500 milliseconds
Medium: between 500 and 1000 milliseconds
Slow: between 1 and 2 seconds
Slowest: over 2 seconds

Why modern media needs the next-generation web architecture?

When you don’t actually rely on server-side code — they can be distributed instead of relying on a server. Served directly from a Content Delivery Network (CDN), your online news website can handle speed, and performance and offers the best user experience.

“A static website contains web pages with fixed content. Each page is coded in HTML and displays the same information to every visitor. Unlike dynamic websites, they do not require any server-side operations or database design.”

With a Content Management System (CMS) you’ll be handling everything in the same system. But, by decoupling a headless CMS from the front end, you’ve got a simplified solution for the all mentioned benefits. So what’s this headless CMS? A headless CMS will let your content travel further and do more things than you can imagine. A headless CMS is different from your traditional CMSs that are built with back-end and front-end bundled into a single application that is web-first.

Keyword Research [Beginner’s Guide to SEO] – Moz

Blogging in Cambodia

It’s a phenomenal story of how blogging in Cambodia is. It all started with passionate people who love writing for the world wide web. Later on, blogging is an integral part of new and established businesses.

How about creating a new lead online with lasting traffic to your sale landing page? It has to start with blog posts and the things behind them to gain an edge in your business competition.