|Today’s guest blog post comes from Erik Gaandt, who is a freelance technology writer and his articles appear on various website marketing blogs.|
As your blog or website begins to grow, you will find yourself dealing with the logistics of having loads of files to organize, maintain and update. It makes sense to start planning early; doing this will save you the trouble of a maintenance headache later on. To get you started on the right track, here are 3 simple ways to make the management of your website/blog backend much simpler:
The Apache server has a mode rewrite module which will give you the opportunity to effectively redirect one URL to another. The great thing about using URL rewriting is that the user will not even be aware that they are being redirected. This sure opens up a lot of possibilities, from redirecting an old URL to a new address, to helping clean up the complex or nonsensical URL that is coming from an abysmal publishing system – providing you with a URL that is not only user-friendly but also search engine-friendly.
If you are using a Content Management System like WordPress, you can use the built in settings tool to choose a permalink structure that is more user-friendly. Just remember, though, choose a permalink structure and stick with it. Changing your permalink structure can have negative consequences on both your social-sharing counts and your search engine optimization.
Custom 404 Error Page
Every person who has used the internet has encountered the very annoying 404 error. The standard 404 offered by a browser is non-descript and just tells the user that the page cannot be found. Generally, the 404 page strands the user with nothing more than a link back to the home page and a Refresh button. But top websites have found a way around this issue that is significantly more user-friendly. All they did was to “customize” their error code with a webpage that apologizes for the screw-up, and offer some solutions in order to rectify the issue.
An effective 404 Error page should have a couple of things that will make it useful – it would not be any good to you to just put up a message that just says “we do apologize for wasting your time and screwing up badly.” Instead, consider adding some or all of the features below that would help your visitor find what they are looking for:
- The 404 page should look very much like the rest of your site; this way your visitors will know that they are still on a part of your website.
- Explain the error that happened, and possibly describe the common causes of the error (outdated content, mistyped URL etc). The language you use should be clear.
- Do you have an index? If you do, add a link to it and certainly link-back to your site’s homepage.
- If your website has a search function, simply add a search box.
- Provide links to alternative posts/pages that might be related to the search they are finding
- Add an email link; this way, visitors will be able to report a problem – do not think that most of them will utilize this feature, but some will.
Remember, the last thing you want them to do is just close the browser and give up on your site. Basically, just ensure that you motivate your readers not to lose their faith in your site, and provide them with alternatives as to where they can go next.
3. Password Protection
The files that contain sensitive information should be stored in a place that is not possible to access from the web. This simply means placing the files on a server outside your web – your webhosting company should be able to help you to securely place the file so that unscrupulous people can’t get to it.
For those using a content management system like WordPress, Drupal or Joomla the work has been done for you through the development of the CMS admin console. Another great reason to use one of these tools to manage your blog or website.
One more thing to consider, though. Just securing your admin console is only the first step. It’s up to you to make sure you’re rotating your passwords frequently and using complex passwords that can’t be easily hacked.
There you go! Three easy tips that you can use to make sure the backend of your website or blog is ready to maintain and ensures that your visitors are getting the information they need.
|Thanks, Erik, for sharing these tips! Do you have other tips that can help other bloggers organize their sites? Feel free to share them in a comment. We’d love to hear your experiences!|