How To Store, Plan And Organize Your Content Ideas

Here is a simple, inexpensive, and effective system you can use to store, plan, and organize your content ideas.

How To Store, Plan And Organize Your Content IdeasThis tutorial is part of our Content Marketing With WordPress tutorial series, which show you how to create effective content to promote your website and grow your business online.

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There’s absolutely no way around it! If you want a successful presence online, you will need to learn how to create and produce content for your website pages, blog, newsletters, product descriptions, post headlines, sales copy, social media, ads, articles, promotional pieces, news releases, customer training, FAQs, forum signatures, SEO meta descriptions, etc.

Creating and producing content requires a system. Even if you plan to outsource all of your content writing, you will still need a system, as there are many content outsourcing challenges that you will need to overcome.

In this tutorial, we show you how to set up a simple system for storing, planning, and organizing your content ideas effectively, regardless of whether you plan to create content yourself or outsource it.

Tip

If you need help coming up with new content ideas, we recommend downloading our content creation guide here: Infinite Content Creation: A Practical Step-By-Step Course On How To Create Endless Content For Your Website Or Blog!

How To Store, Plan, And Organize Your Content Ideas

To get results online you need to publish new content regularly

(To get results online you need to publish new content regularly)

Let’s say that you get an idea for an article or blog post but you’re just too busy to do something with it right now. What do you do? Do you write it down on the nearest piece of paper you can find? Do you not write it down and hope you’ll remember it later?

If your approach to creating content for your website or blog is to let an idea come to you spontaneously, work through it chaotically and publish only when you feel inspired or have the time to write, you will struggle to get results online. There’s way too much competition publishing way too much information online for this approach to be effective.

Fact: Businesses that get results online publish new content regularly. 

If you are serious about getting results online for your business, you need a system for coming up with new content ideas and for turning your ideas into published content on a regular basis.

Anyone who publishes content online regularly will tell you that turning an idea into published content involves research, planning, organizing, editing, and refining points, sections, subsections, etc. Sometimes, things get in the way of the creation process or more research or information is required and ideas need to be put on hold until the process can be resumed later.

It’s important, therefore, to have a system that lets you store, plan, organize, and process your content writing ideas, regardless of whether you plan to create the content yourself or outsource your content creation.

A Simple And Effective Content Production System

Ideally, we want to start with a simple, effective, and inexpensive system that can grow to accommodate your content creation needs. There are many useful tools and apps available to help you plan and organize your thoughts and ideas. The important thing is to have a system in place that allows you to effectively:

  • Jot down your content ideas.
  • Store, plan, and organize your content ideas
  • Draft (i.e. flesh out) your content ideas
  • Publish your finished content

Let’s show you how to set up a simple content production system like the one shown below using inexpensive tools and WordPress …

A simple and inexpensive content production system

(A simple and inexpensive content production system)

Jotting Down Your Content Ideas

Great content ideas can strike any time!

(Great content ideas can strike any time!)

A great idea for an article, blog post, video, podcast, e-book, lead generation report, etc. can strike you any time and anywhere. It could happen while you’re getting ready in the morning, going on a walk, shopping, standing in a queue, on your way to or from work, sitting in a meeting, watching TV, just before falling asleep, etc.

When an idea comes to you, you need an easy tool that will let you quickly jot the idea down. This can be an app on your phone that lets you create and save simple memos, a small writing pad that you carry in your purse, briefcase, or in your pocket, etc. Whatever tool you choose just make sure that you have something handy to record your ideas on when inspiration stikes.

For example, I recently attended a small business networking event. At the end of the event, I spoke with a business owner who doesn’t have a website. When I asked him why he has no website, his reply was that he doesn’t believe a website can help him grow his business.

I was intrigued by his answer, so I asked him to tell me more. He then told me that a website is just something businesses need for ‘credibility.’ In other words, this business owner believes that having a website doesn’t really help a business grow but if you don’t have a website, prospects will doubt the credibility of your business or whether it even exists.

As the non-techie owner of a website dedicated to helping other non-techies grow their business using a website, this naturally got me thinking about how I would educate other business owners like him about the benefits of using a website powered by WordPress to generate new business leads.

As I was waiting for the lift to take me down to the car park, I took out my phone and fired up the ‘Memo’ app I have installed specifically to record new content ideas …

Use a memo app to record your content ideas

(Use a memo app to record your content ideas)

I then quickly jotted down a rough idea for an article about how to use a website as more than just a ‘credibility’ tool …

Record your content ideas immediately

(Record your content ideas immediately)

Note: At this stage of the process, it doesn’t matter if you know the ‘5 ways to do XYZ’ or not … the important thing is to just record the idea as soon as you can. I certainly didn’t know what the ‘5 ways’ were going to be when I wrote the idea down and by the time the content gets written it may end up being the ‘3 ways,’ or the ‘5 ways,’ or even the ‘50 ways’ to do XYZ or become something completely different altogether. The end result is not important at this stage, only the process of recording the idea down. This should become a habit and you need to have some type of tool or medium to help you document your ideas.

After writing an idea down, the next step is to get it into a planning system. A phone app makes it easy to send memos to yourself or to your content production system via email …

Email the idea to yourself or to your content production system

(Email the idea to yourself or to your content production system)

Now that the first part of the process is complete (jotting the idea down), the next step is to store, plan, and organize your ideas.

Storing, Planning, And Organizing Your Content Ideas

A great tool you can use to help you store, plan, and organize your content ideas is TreePad

TreePad

(TreePad)

TreePad lets you create a hierarchical structure of folders where you can store text, images, URLs, etc. If you create different folders for each section of an article or book, for example, you can then easily rearrange or organize these sections by moving folders up, down, or nesting them inside other folders.

With a tool like this, you can easily add 10, 100, or 1,000+ new ideas for content  and keep everything stored, organized, prioritized, and immediately accessible.

In my earlier example, after the content idea I sent through from my phone app via email arrived in my inbox, I then transferred it to a simple content production planner I’ve created using TreePad …

A content production planner created with TreePad

(A content production planner created with TreePad)

As you can see from the above screenshot, this is nothing more than a folder I’ve labelled “Content Production” with a new folder created for every new content idea I get.

This simple content production planner lets you easily:

  • Add content ideas with a rough working title (can change it anytime)
  • Prioritize ideas in the content production schedule (just move folders up or down to prioritize items)
  • Add rough notes and bullet point sections, play with title ideas, etc.
  • Add and save research notes, URLs of videos, images, additional references, resource links, etc.

Once the idea has been safely stored and saved in this simple content planning system, you can get on with other things and come back to it anytime it suits you to work on your idea and develop it further. When you come across new information that would be useful to add or help expand your idea, you can simply open the tool, paste the content in, save it, and continue working on it later.

This simple system lets you work on any idea you have stored, reassign its priority, archive it once you have completed and published it, or even delete it from your schedule if the idea turns out not to be worth pursuing any further.

To learn more about using this tool, see the tutorial below:

Drafting Your Content Ideas

Once you have all the information you need, create your draft content

(Once you have all the information you need, create your draft content)

Your content creation system should include having a content plan and setting aside regular time to work either on creating new content, or managing its production (e.g. outsourcing).

When the time comes to develop an idea further, open up your content planning tool and select the item to work on next. The first step of this process will be to assemble all the information and research you have gathered into a draft article, blog post, video/audio script, etc.

During the draft stage, don’t waste time worrying about things like formatting, styling, typefaces, font colors, font sizes, etc. These are unnecessary time-wasting distractions at this point. The best way to create a draft of your content is to write it in a plain text file. You can format this later.

Useful Writing Tools

Here are some useful tools we recommend including as part of your content writing system:

Built-In Plain Text Editor

A plain text editor lets you create draft content without distractions

(A plain text editor lets you create draft content without distractions)

Using your computer’s built-in plain text editor like Notepad (Windows) or TextEdit (Apple) lets you focus entirely on what you want to say. It also lets you create content quickly and without distractions.

Notetab

NoteTab lets you work on multiple text files at once

(NoteTab lets you work on multiple text files at once)

NoteTab is a plain text file editing tool that lets you work on multiple text files at once. This is like using your computer’s plain text file editor on steroids.

NoteTab is great for organizing your ideas during the initial draft phase. You can build your article in one open tab and paste in snippets of text like lists, quotes, research URLs, tags, etc. into other open tabs and perform a whole range of other functions while you work and assemble your content.

For more information about using this tool, see the tutorial below:

Grammarly

Grammarly - Free Grammar Checking Software

(Grammarly – Free Grammar Checking Software)

Grammarly is a powerful grammar checking tool for creating web content, reports, e-books, presentations, etc. You can install the free version of Grammarly on your web browser, Microsoft Word, etc.

After writing your content, run it through Grammarly and it will not only pick up all of your spelling and grammatical errors but also point out errors in your punctuation (e.g. wrong use of commas, double spacing between words, duplicated words, etc), poor sentence structure, style, etc.

As you scroll through each error, Grammarly shows you what’s wrong and gives you the option of automatically fixing errors with one click. You can also ignore the correction suggestions if you want and keep scrolling through to the next item.

The paid version of the software takes your content checking to a whole new level and lists advanced issues, suggests vocabulary enhancements, detects instances of plagiarism, etc.

To learn more about using this powerful tool, go here:

Publishing Your Finished Content

After you have created a draft article or blog post in a plain text file (or a word processor), you can create a new post or page in WordPress, paste in your draft content and format it using the built-in WordPress visual content editor …

WordPress visual content editor

(WordPress visual content editor)

WordPress has a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) content editor that lets you format your text visually by clicking on menu buttons (similar to using MS Word).

Save your new article or blog post as a draft in WordPress until you are done editing, formatting, and checking it for spelling or grammatical errors and are ready to publish it.

To learn more about using the WordPress visual content editor, see the tutorial below:

Content Production System: 5-Step Summary

Get your content production system in place and start publishing new content regularly

(Get your content production system in place and start publishing new content regularly)

To get results online, you will need to publish content regularly. This requires having a system for coming up with new content ideas and for turning your ideas into published content on a regular basis.

In this tutorial, we have described a simple, inexpensive, and effective system you can use to store, plan, and organize your content ideas.

Here are the steps again:

  1. Jot your ideas down on a writing pad or phone memo app as soon as new ideas present themselves to you.
  2. Add your ideas to a content planning tool like TreePad that lets you store, organize, prioritize, and add research notes and additional information.
  3. When you are ready to create a draft article, blog post, or video/audio script, use a plain text editor like Notepad, TextEdit, or NoteTab to flesh out your content idea without distractions.
  4. After your draft content has been written, create a new WordPress post or page and paste your content in, then format it using the WordPress Visual Content Editor. Save it as a draft in WordPress until you are ready to publish it.
  5. After you are done editing your content and have checked it for spelling and grammatical errors (use a tool like Grammarly), publish your content.

Additional Resources

As your content production needs grow, consider installing a WordPress editorial plugin to help you plan, manage, and schedule your content. To learn more about different plugins you can use, see the tutorial below:

If you need help coming up with new content ideas for your website or blog, check out our content creation guide below:

We hope that you have found the above information useful. Now you have a simple, inexpensive, and effective system for storing, planning, organizing and turning your content ideas into published content.

How To Store, Plan And Organize Your Content Ideas

(Source: Pixabay)

In addition to original images and screenshots used in this article, these images were also sourced from Pixabay: New Idea, Inspiration Strikes, Draft Content, Content Summary

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The Definitive Guide To Keeping Your Website Manageable & Organized

Learn how to keep your website and web content manageable and organized to stay on top of your digital business presence.

The Definitive Guide To Keeping Your Website Manageable & OrganizedToday and more than ever, businesses are feeling the strain of trying to stay on top of things despite growing pressure from competition, information overload, rapid technology changes and demands on their time and resources.

To remain competitive in the Digital Age, your business needs a digital presence, but more importantly, you need a digital presence that will help you get better results online without adding more chaos and unmanageability.

Many businesses end up with a web presence that quickly becomes unmanageable not because of poor web design or lack of content organization and structure but because the business itself lacks digital planning and education.

In this guide, we explain what it takes to stay on top of your digital business presence and show you how to keep your website and web content manageable and organized.

The Definitive Guide To Keeping Your Website Manageable & Organized

Most of us struggle to stay on top of things. The more we try to keep things organized and manageable, the harder it seems chaos wants to fight back.

Keeping your business manageable is difficult!

(Keeping your business organized and manageable is difficult!)

Keeping your business organized and manageable is difficult if you lack planning and systems. The same thing applies to the digital aspects of your business.

Having an unmanageable web presence results in:

  • Web pages with outdated information.
  • Content not being regularly published.
  • Neglected web management and maintenance tasks.
  • Increased vulnerability and exposure to security risks.
  • Missed opportunities to market and promote your business.
  • Missed opportunities to get found online.
  • And more.

Having a manageable website, on the other hand:

  • Creates a better user experience for visitors and allows site users to find what they are looking for faster and more easily.
  • Helps search engines like Google to better understand what your site is all about and to index your site and pages faster and more accurately.
  • Allows you to stay ahead of online competitors who cannot manage their web presence.
  • Allows you to grow an effective digital presence that will help your business get better results like more traffic, leads, sales conversions, etc.

Getting a website built for your business is the easy part … you can build your own website or get someone else to build it for you. The difficult part is keeping your web presence manageable and organized so it can work for you effectively and deliver your business better results.

We’ve posted previously about the need to create order before progress. No business can progress online until some form of order has been established.

For practical purposes, we’ll use the model below to help create order and manageability in our digital business presence …

Manageable digital business presence model

(Manageable digital business presence model)

The model we’ll use to create a manageable digital business presence is built on five successive and integrated layers:

  1. Digital Plan & Strategy
  2. Website Planning
  3. WordPress Website
  4. WordPress Posts & Pages
  5. Digital Content

Let’s explore each of these layers in more detail.

Digital Plan & Strategy

“We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.”

Alan Turing – Computer Science Pioneer

As mentioned earlier, many businesses end up with a web presence that quickly becomes unmanageable not because of poor web design or lack of content organization and structure but because the business itself lacks digital planning and education.

Digital business planning comes before website planning. It asks questions about the capabilities of your business to manage and grow a digital presence.

Most businesses lack time and resources and operate under considerable financial strain. They want immediate results to meet their needs and objectives in the short-term. The reality, however, is that creating consistent results online requires strategic planning and the implementation of great systems and processes.

A sound strategic digital plan has a direct impact on your website but it’s not all about your website. It also needs to takes the short-term needs and long-term growth of your business into account.

Digital Planning, then, is the first step toward creating a manageable digital presence and begins with formulating a clear digital vision for your business and developing strategies for setting and achieving the overall goals and objectives your business has set.

Businesses need a lot more digital planning before building a website

(Businesses need a lot more digital planning before building a website)

You should have clearly specified digital strategies before getting your website built, and these should include various actionable plans, such as:

  • A Digital Systems Plan specifying the systems you will need to implement manage, measure, and improve your results online.
  • A Digital Organization Plan defining the kind of team you will need to assemble to help you run and manage your digital presence.
  • A Digital Vehicle Plan defining the type of digital vehicle(s) you will need to build to realize your digital strategy.
  • A Digital Management Plan outlining how you are going to manage your digital assets and processes (including outsourcing).
  • A Digital Marketing Plan outlining how you are going to promote your business online, who your target audience is, etc.
  • A Digital Content Plan that will help you define what type of information you will publish to reach your target audience and how you will create and deliver this information.

Providing detailed information on the above areas is beyond the scope of this site. To help small businesses plan an effective digital presence, we have published an e-book called “The Small Business Digital Manager.”

‘The Small Business Digital Manager’ looks at why most small businesses end up with an unmanageable web presence almost as soon as they take their business online and why this leads to poor results, and shows you how to be in control of your digital business processes and get better results online using a systematic and doable approach.

In addition to the book, we have also developed a comprehensive online course that will help you implement a practical and effective digital plan for your business.

Website Planning

As stated in the previous section, planning your digital business presence should be done before planning your website. Your digital plan will not only help you understand how you will be able to manage and grow your business online, it will also help you plan the type of web presence you will need to build in order to achieve your goals and realize your digital vision.

Digital business planning is important because planning your website involves different types of planning, such as:

Website Organization Planning

This involves not only planning the aesthetic components (i.e. web design, page layout, color scheme, etc.) and functional elements of your website (i.e. technical features), but also its structural form (pages, content, site navigation, etc.) taking into account how all of this will affect things like usability, user experience, SEO, etc.

The above is the obvious kind of website planning most people do when they think about getting a website. What’s not so obvious to many people until after their website is built, is …

Website Management Planning

This type of website planning doesn’t focus on how your website will look or what it will do, but on how you will manage it.

For example, let’s say that your business needs a website with:

  • Full e-commerce capabilities to sell products or services online,
  • members-only area where customers can view their order details,
  • private login section where resellers or affiliates can download confidential information such as price lists or marketing materials,
  • marketing blog for traffic generation where your staff members can post news and special announcements about your products or services,
  • backend administration area with individual logins and passwords that grants special privileges to different groups of users so only certain people can add or edit information, while only others can view reports, perform administrative tasks, etc, and
  • support helpdesk to handle customer issues and provide answers to commonly asked questions.

You could get a web developer to help you plan and build a web presence that integrates all of the above features and functionality, but they probably won’t help you with the planning involved in figuring out how you are going to manage all of the work involved in running and maintaining the above.

To figure out how you are going to manage all of the above, you will need to have a clear understanding of your business resources and capabilities, which is a function of the digital planning process and not the website planning process. Hopefully, you will get this done first before spending time or money getting your website built to avoid having an unmanageable web presence.

Website management planning also involves planning the integration and management of external services and features in your web presence.

For example, let’s say that in addition to all of the features discussed above, you also want to be able to monetize your website presence by allowing other businesses to advertise on your site or list services on a directory and that you plan to add various affiliate links throughout your web content.

This requires planning and systems. You would need to integrate the following systems with your website and manage these as well:

For all of the above reasons, when planning your website we recommend working alongside the specifications of your digital business plan.

Website Planning Process

(Website Planning Process)

We have created an entire training module to help you plan your website with detailed step-by-step tutorials, downloadable templates and checklists, and more. For more details, go here:

Important Info

Planning your digital presence and website is important. Even if you already have a website, we recommend checking out the above links and resources, as these provide essential information that will help you avoid making costly mistakes.

Let’s now turn our attention to a digital system that will allow you to build and run an effective and manageable web presence … all at minimal cost and without technical skills required!

The Definitive Guide To Keeping Your Website Manageable & Organized

WordPress

For just one moment, try to picture what it would be like to have access to a tool that lets you easily build anything online you want for whatever purpose you need.

Imagine too, that you can also add any function you like whenever you want and even turn this into something completely different, all with just a few clicks of the mouse, no coding skills or technical expertise, with minimal cost and without having to start from scratch every time you want to change or add things.

That’s WordPress!

WordPress is a powerful, flexible, and easy-to-use free software application that lets you build any type of website you like for any purpose you want, for commercial or personal use. You can start with a simple and basic website and add more functionality only when and as you need.

So … let’s think of WordPress as a digital ‘system’ that can help bring order and manageability to your digital business presence using three basic sublevels or subsystems:

  • Subsystem 1: Website
  • Subsystem 2: Posts & Pages
  • Subsystem 3: Content

WordPress can bring order and manageability to your digital presence

(WordPress can bring order and manageability to your digital presence)

WordPress Website

We provide hundreds of detailed step-by-step tutorials devoted to helping you understand all the benefits and advantages of using WordPress to power your website or blog.

If you’ve never heard of WordPress before, we recommend starting with our Introduction To WordPress tutorials.

If you know a little bit about WordPress already, the rest of this guide is going to help you understand WordPress from a different perspective. We’ll begin by exploring some of the features of WordPress that will make your web presence manageable and allow you to grow your business online in an organized manner.

WordPress Post & Pages

Posts and pages are the main ‘containers’ in WordPress that hold all of the content you want to display on your website.

Once your WordPress website has been installed and configured, almost all of the work you will do will involve using WordPress posts and pages.

To learn about the main differences between WordPress Posts and WordPress Pages and when to use each type, see the tutorial below:

Depending on the type of website you plan to build, modified versions of posts or pages called Custom Post Types may also be used.

For example, if you plan to sell products or services online, you would probably choose an e-Commerce theme for your website with posts that have been modified to display product or service information to potential buyers. Other custom post types used to display specific information in WordPress websites include testimonials, portfolio pages, real estate property listings, directory pages, forum pages, etc.

Some WordPress Themes also allow you to choose different post formats (e.g. videos, images, quotes, links, etc.) when creating a post to display specific types of content.

WordPress posts, pages and custom post types and formats not only help keep your website manageable, they also include features and functions that allow you to keep your information and data organized as well.

For example, as a website administrator, you can view, edit, and manage all of your posts and pages inside your WordPress dashboard using the Table of Posts and Table of Pages

The WordPress Table of Posts keeps all of your posts organized

(The WordPress ‘Table of Posts’ keeps all of your posts organized)

WordPress also provides features called ‘widgets‘ that let you organize information for users and visitors and display these on your site in areas like the sidebar, footer, and header sections. Widgets lets you group, organize, and display information on your site, like a menu of specific pages, or a list of recent or archived posts, links, content categories, tag clouds, etc.

To learn how to use widgets to keep your information organized in WordPress, see our tutorial series below:

Digital Content

Your web content is contained inside your posts and pages, which are contained inside your WordPress website.

The key to having an effective and manageable website with organized content, then, is to understand the main features of WordPress and how these all work seamlessly together …

WordPress: a system of systems

(WordPress: a system of systems)

WordPress: A Digital System Of Systems

If systems and processes bring order and manageability to your business, then think of WordPress as a digital ‘system of systems’ for bringing order and manageability to your web presence.

Many of these digital systems are built into WordPress itself in the form of features and core functionality, and other systems can be configured and seamlessly integrated with the WordPress platform to add new features and functionality, such as WordPress Themes and WordPress Plugins.

Let’s take a deeper look, now, at the three basic levels of WordPress described above and drill down into the other subsystems that exist within these.

Practical Tip

We discuss many WordPress features that can put you in complete control of your website here:

WordPress Website

Starting at the highest level of order, in terms of organization, WordPress has a number of subsystems that allow you to control and manage all areas of your web presence:

WordPress Content Management System (CMS)

WordPress not only lets you build any type of website you can imagine, it also comes with a very powerful built-in Content Management System …

Want a manageable website? Use a CMS!

(Want a manageable website? Use a CMS!)

WordPress is, in fact, the world’s leading CMS application. The WordPress CMS provides an invaluable system for keeping your website manageable and your web content organized.

The WordPress CMS not only lets you easily manage your website and keep all of your content organized, it also stores all of your website data inside a database on your server, which allows you to easily backup and restore your data and perform tasks like global search and replace and other maintenance and upgrade tasks.

To learn more about the benefits of using the WordPress CMS, see the tutorial below:

WordPress Settings

Knowing how to expertly configure WordPress settings after the installation process is one of the keys to creating and running an organized and manageable website.

Many aspects of marketing and managing your web presence with WordPress can also be automated simply by choosing a good web hosting environment, knowing how to configure various core and plugin settings, such as traffic generation, SEO, and backups, and integrating these with external services to access statistical reports, social metrics, and more.

Some of the more useful WordPress system settings that are specifically designed to help make your website more manageable include:

Media

The WordPress media settings and WordPress media library allows you to store, manage, and organize your media files (e.g. images, audios, videos, etc.)

To learn how to configure WordPress media settings and use the WordPress media library, see the tutorials below:

Permalinks

Permalinks let you create search engine friendly URLs and help keep your content organized for search engines and visitors.

To learn more about the benefits of using WordPress permalinks and how to set it up, see the tutorial below:

Tools

WordPress provides various tools that allow you to add content to your site while browsing the web, transfer content from one WordPress site to another using export and import features, and more.

To learn more about the WordPress Tools section, see the tutorial below:

Users

WordPress lets you assign different roles and capabilities to users (e.g. Author, Editor, Administrators). This not only helps you to better manage your web presence, it also prevents other users from turning your site into a disorganized mess.

For example, if you assign users the role of ‘contributors’ or ‘authors,’ they can add to and help grow your site’s content, but they cannot edit or change the parameters that help keep your content organized, only ‘editors’ and ‘administrators’ can do this.

To learn more about assigning users different roles and capabilities, see the tutorial below:

WordPress Themes

Many website building applications nowadays use web templates to speed up the web development process. WordPress takes this concept much further through the use of Themes.

Themes provide an effective and efficient system for organizing your site’s web design and the layout of its pages and web elements. The basic concept behind using WordPress themes is that you can completely change (i.e. ‘morph’) the ‘look and feel’ of your entire website with just a couple of mouse clicks without affecting any of the underlying functionality or content that you have already set up for your site.

To learn more about using WordPress Themes, see the tutorials below:

WordPress Plugins

Another powerful type of organizational system for your WordPress website are WordPress Plugins.

Plugins are like ‘modular addons’ that plug into your website and instantly add all sorts of functionality to your web presence with just a few mouse clicks. Many plugins work right out of the box and some require configuring additional settings.

The basic concept behind using WordPress plugins is that you can start with a very simple WordPress installation and instantly enhance and expand your site to do just about anything you can imagine very inexpensively and without touching your site’s underlying code just by installing a plugin.

Plugins, therefore, not only add additional functionality to your site, they can also integrate complete ‘management’ systems and many of these will also automate most of the processes involved.

For example, earlier we talked about integrating various management functions within your website. With WordPress, this can all be done using inexpensive plugins that are simple to install and easy to configure and use.

So, to add a complete e-commerce management system to your website, just install a WordPress e-commerce management plugin. Want an affiliate management system to go with your e-commerce site? Then add an affiliate management plugin. How about a private membership area where your customers can download information not available to regular visitors? Just add a membership management plugin.

You can also add WordPress plugins for managing advertising banners on your site, keeping your website legally compliant, managing online courses and event registrations, running customer support helpdesks and training, running directories, tracking and managing content links on your website and adding loads of other functionality and enhancements.

To learn more about using WordPress plugins, see the tutorials below:

Site Navigation

The better you can organize how visitors and search engines find content on your website, the better the user experience and search engine rankings, which can translate to more traffic and more profits.

WordPress provides a number of management systems for keeping your site’s navigation organized. These include using custom menus, widgets, breadcrumbs, and adding both visitor site maps and search engine sitemaps to your website.

WordPress Posts & Pages

As mentioned earlier, WordPress posts and pages are the main form of ‘containers’ used to provide information to your website’s users and visitors.

WordPress posts and pages, however, also provide systems for managing and organizing your content and information. These include:

Unique Post/Page ID

Every post and page you create has a unique ID. This lets you perform a number of management functions, such as grouping and displaying certain posts or pages by ID, filtering out posts or pages from menus, etc.

To learn more about post and page IDs, see this tutorial:

Post/Page Date

Posts and pages can be organized and sorted by dates. To learn more about using this feature and some of its benefits, see the tutorials below:

Post/Page Status

Posts and pages can be organized and sorted by their status (e.g. Published, Draft, Private, etc.).

To learn more about using this feature and some of its benefits, see the tutorials below:

Post Categories

Post categories are a powerful management system for keeping your posts organized by related topics on your website. They also provide benefits for site visitors (easier navigation) and search engines (better indexing).

To learn more about post categories and their benefits as an organizational and management feature of your WordPress site, see these tutorials:

Post Tags

Like post categories, tags provide a system for managing and organizing content on your site at a more granular level.

To learn more about setting up and using WordPress tags, see the tutorials below:

Post Authors

Earlier, we discussed how WordPress allows you to assign different roles and responsibilities to users, giving them access or restricting access to various management features and capabilities on your website.

WordPress also allows you to have multiple authors for your posts. This not only provides certain benefits in terms of being able to search, sort, filter, export, and organize content on your site via post authors, it also adds a collaborative dimension to how content is managed and created in your digital presence.

To learn more about post authors, see the tutorials below:

Post/Page Settings

WordPress posts and pages include many additional settings that let you administer, manage and organize content and information on your website. These include built-in WordPress functions such as scheduling posts and pagespost excerpts, comments, featured images, and post revisions, as well as functions that can be added using plugins, such as SEO features, social sharing, custom fields, and more.

Web Content

The last level we need to explore is how to keep your web content organized and manageable.

So far, we have seen that if you create and follow a strategic digital plan for your business, plan your website with attention to important details like how you will manage things, and learn all you can about all of the WordPress features that allow you to easily manage, organize your digital presence and automate your marketing, then all you should be left with is planning, creating and publishing content.

WordPress provides many features inside your Posts and Pages that allow you to work efficiently and in an organized manner to create and publish content quickly and easily. This includes separate fields for adding and editing post titles and content, word counters, a visual content editor that lets you easily create, paste, or format text and insert media into your content such as videos, audiosimages, and image galleries, built-in features that let you add hyperlinks to internal content or external sites, eliminate distractions while writing, and perform various functions within your content editor, and the ability to perform additional tasks depending on what plugins you have installed (e.g. adding tables or adding scripts and codes to your content using shortcodes).

WordPress even lets you organize and present content that you have published in different areas of your site inside a new post or page.

For example, if you copy the URL of one of your posts or pages (or any WordPress site) and paste it into your content on a separate line, WordPress will turn the link into a reference like this:

Index Of WordPress Tutorials – WPCompendium.org

Go here for a step by step tutorial on how to do the above:

Now … what if you want to display a directory or a list of all of your content on a separate page or post?

Easy, you can use a plugin to create a site map for your readers like the one we use here, or if you want to create a nice visual content directory like the one we use here and throughout our site, then use a plugin like ContentViewsPro

Display other WordPress posts and pages inside a post or page using ContentViewsPro

(Display other WordPress posts and pages inside a post or page using ContentViewsPro)

As you can see, with WordPress you can have a manageable website and organize your web content at a macro and granular level.

Important Info

If you need help creating a content strategy or content for your business, we recommend subscribing to our comprehensive and 100% FREE content creation course:

Summary

Many businesses develop an unmanageable web presence because they do not start by creating a strategic plan to manage their digital business effectively and don’t implement systems that will allow them to get better results online in an organized and manageable way.

WordPress is more than just a web platform. It is a digital ‘system of systems’ with many powerful features that allow you to have a manageable website, organize your content at a macro and granular level, and help you manage your web presence effectively at minimal cost and without requiring coding skills.

If you find that trying to stay on top of your digital business has become too chaotic and unmanageable and you would like to start getting better results online, then we recommend beginning with just two simple steps:

  1. Download and read ‘The Small Business Digital Manager‘ to learn why small businesses end up with an unmanageable digital presence and how to turn things around, and
  2. Educate yourself as much as you can about the benefits of using WordPress to planbuild, managegrow, and automate your digital business. To help you do this, we provide hundreds of detailed WordPress step-by-step tutorials for FREE covering all aspects of WordPress.

We hope that you have found this guide on how to keep your website and web content manageable and organized useful.

The Definitive Guide To Keeping Your Website Manageable & Organized

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Benefits Of Managed WordPress Hosting For WordPress Website Owners

Learn about the benefits and advantages of choosing a managed WordPress hosting service to host and manage your WordPress site …

Benefits Of Managed WordPress Hosting For WordPress Website OwnersOur Introduction To WordPress tutorial series provides in-depth information about the benefits and advantages of choosing WordPress as the platform of choice for setting up a website or blog for business or personal use.

In our WordPress installation tutorials, we look at the basic components of a professional digital business presence: WordPress, a domain name, and reliable web hosting.

In this tutorial, we’ll explore the benefits and advantages of choosing a managed WordPress hosting service to host and run your WordPress site and then focus on the leading managed WordPress hosting service provider to illustrate the difference between using managed WP hosting and other hosting services.

Benefits Of Managed WordPress Hosting For WordPress Website Owners

Typically, when businesses choose the services of a website developer or web development agency to build their website, the website developer will look after areas like choosing the type of hosting and hosting provider to host their client’s site, so many website developers don’t see the point in educating their clients about different types of hosting services.

Since the focus of WPCompendium.org is to educate non-technical users and DIY WordPress beginners how to set up, manage and grow their own web presence, it’s important to understand the different options available for hosting your WordPress site.

What Is Managed WordPress Hosting?

Managed WordPress hosting is a specialized service where the hosting company manages all of the technical aspects of running your WordPress website, including management and maintenance tasks such as performing WordPress updates and daily backups, as well as taking care of important technical areas like site migration, security, speed, scalability, and uptime.

Managed WordPress hosting services developed as a result of the growth and popularity of WordPress. Since WordPress is the world’s leading CMS platform, a number of web hosting providers have decided to specialize and focus on servicing the WordPress industry.

While managed WordPress hosting providers take care of all technical areas of managing WordPress in order to free up website owners to focus more on their business, it’s important to distinguish between ‘true’ managed WordPress hosting service providers and ‘feature-rich’ hosting companies that often mimic the service but don’t offer the same level of specialization and expertise.

What Are Some Of The Main Features Of Managed WordPress Hosting?

Managed WordPress hosting companies focus on features that are designed specifically for a WordPress environment. This includes:

  • Automatic Updates – Because WordPress continually updates its software and plugins, in a managed hosting environment WordPress core and plugins should automatically update to their latest versions.
  • Daily Backups – Your hosting environment should provide daily website backups, one-click restores and restore points.
  • WordPress Specific Server Configuration – Your hosting environment should be configured for optimal efficiency, speed, scalability, and security of your WordPress site.
  • Caching & CDNs – Unlike shared hosting environments, with a managed hosting service third-party caching plugins are not required. In addition to caching, most managed WordPress hosting environments include the option to use a content delivery network (CDN) to improve website speed and reduce website loading times wherever visitors are located.
  • Staging – A staging environment allows web developers and web designers to implement and roll out changes to your website with just a few clicks. This includes testing or changing elements of a website’s design, database modifications, or new plugins in a safe environment before making the site with new changes live.
  • Site Migrations – Managed hosting companies make the process of moving websites from one host to another easy, simple, and quick.
  • WordPress Security – In addition to providing improved security features like custom firewalls, continuous malware scanning, strong password enforcement, IP blocking, etc., your managed WordPress hosting service provider should have total expertise in all areas and aspects of WordPress security.
  • WordPress Support – With managed WordPress hosting, your website should be looked after by WordPress experts with deep knowledge and experience of the platform and this expertise should reflect across all areas of WordPress hosting, from migration, to security, optimization, scalability, support, and more.

Do You Need Managed WordPress Hosting For Your WordPress Site?

The decision to use managed WordPress hosting or another reliable hosting service is entirely up to you. The main factors to consider when deciding whether or not to choose a managed WordPress hosting service come down to these:

  • Understanding the pros and cons of managed WordPress hosting
  • Understanding the costs of managed WordPress hosting

Let’s take a brief look at these factors:

Managed WordPress Hosting – Pros Vs Cons

Some of the advantages of managed WordPress hosting include:

  • WordPress Management – Having experienced and knowledgeable WordPress experts looking after your site is definitely an advantage, especially when it comes to performing management and maintenance tasks like migrating, updating, and backing up WordPress sites.
  • WordPress Security – WordPress has its own security requirements. Once again, this is where having the benefit of WordPress experts looking after your site becomes an advantage.
  • WordPress Optimization – Like security, WordPress has unique optimization features and requirements. Knowing how to optimize WordPress sites can lead to significant improvements in speed and performance, which can affect user experience and the revenue you generate from your site.
  • WordPress Scalability – As your site grows in traffic and functionality, it’s important to host with a company that understands scalability issues and how these affect your site’s speed, performance, and responsiveness.
  • WordPress Support – WordPress is a unique platform. Having the expertise to identify what’s going on when problems or errors occur and the knowledge to troubleshoot and fix things is essential.
  • WordPress Development Tools – For website developers, web designers and anyone who builds WordPress sites, having access to development tools such as staging area, version control, etc. is important.

Depending on how you choose to look at it, these are the disadvantages of managed WordPress hosting:

  • Cost – Compared to shared hosting, managed WordPress hosting is more expensive. Where a shared hosting plan can cost as little as $3 or $4 per month, a basic managed WordPress hosting plan can start from around $30 per month.
  • Limited Control – By definition, a managed hosting environment means that you are putting others in control of making technical decisions on your behalf. With a dedicated managed WordPress hosting service, this may include limitations on settings normally available through cPanel, like editing your .htaccess file, setting up Cron jobs, denying IP addresses, etc. and not being able to install certain WordPress plugins for technical or security reasons. If you’re not a technical expert, this should not be a big deal, however, as it lets you focus on your business while leaving experts in charge of your server management.

Is Managed WordPress Hosting Worth The Cost?

In our tutorial on how to set up web hosting for WordPress, we discuss what to look for when choosing a web hosting company.

If cost is your main priority, choose a shared or non-managed WordPress hosting provider, but keep in mind that going with the cheapest web host to run your WordPress sites can leave you vulnerable to hacking, running out of bandwidth, and possibly having your site shut off if you exceed your allotted quota.

If your business depends on your website staying up, running fast and efficiently, being able to handle large amounts of traffic, and getting any issues or problems taken care of fast, then the higher cost of managed WordPress hosting may be justified.

Another way of looking at the cost of managed WordPress hosting is that the service actually costs less than hiring a system administrator with technical expertise to look after the hosting and management of your website.

It may be worth paying a few extra dollars per month, therefore, to have someone else look after technical areas like security, upgrades, updates, maintenance, troubleshooting, and support, leaving you free to focus on important areas like content creation, online marketing, and growing your business.

To learn more about factors that justify paying more for managed WordPress hosting, see this article: How To Justify Costs Of Managed WordPress Hosting.

Is Managed WordPress Hosting Right For Your Business?

Ultimately, whether you decide to host your website with a managed WordPress hosting provider or not is up to you and your business needs.

If you’re just starting out, don’t have much money, little traffic, and your business doesn’t depend heavily on your digital presence yet, then hosting your WordPress site on a shared, VPS (Virtual Private Server), or dedicated server with a reliable host may be a better option.

If you lack technical skills, managing the growth of your web presence with regards to areas like hosting, server, and website security, speed and performance, upgrades, updates, uptime, etc. can be quite challenging. So, if your business is at the level where factors such as server reliability, security, speed, scalability, and customer service have become important and essential to your success, then switching to a managed WordPress hosting service provider may make more sense and the value and peace of mind may justify the cost.

Choosing A Managed WordPress Hosting Company

As your small business or digital presence grows into a high-traffic website, you may need to scale things up and this is where managed WordPress hosting for your WordPress site makes sense.

Scaling things to the next level, however, presents a number of challenges. For this reason, if you are ready to switch to managed WordPress hosting, we recommend choosing the leader in the managed WordPress hosting space.

WPEngine.com

WPEngine.com - The leader in managed WordPress hosting services

(WPEngine.com – The leader in managed WordPress hosting services)

WP Engine – Overview

WPEngine - Managed WordPress Hosting ProviderWP Engine is the industry leader in managed WordPress hosting. It is a “true” managed WordPress hosting company (as opposed to ‘feature-rich’ hosts), employing more than 150 full time WordPress support experts to help customers with their WordPress issues.

Dedicated WordPress engineers keep the hosting platform fast, scalable, and secure to ensure that WordPress sites run and perform optimally.

Additionally, the WP Engine team has spent years perfecting their WordPress hosting platform and adding features built specifically for WordPress users and provide support around the clock by phone, email or live chat.

WPEngine – Useful Information
  • WPEngine is up to 4x faster than the competition.
  • 5% of the online world visits at least one site hosted on WP Engine every day.
  • 3x Stevie Award winner for best customer service & support.
  • Over 2 million website attacks are blocked every day.
  • WPEngine operates in over 150 countries and is the preferred platform for hosting WordPress sites of various governments, Fortune 50 companies, and over 30,000 customers worldwide.

WP Engine is the preferred managed WordPress hosting choice for many leading companies

(WP Engine is the preferred managed WordPress hosting choice for many leading companies)

Jason Cohen, WP Engine’s founder and CTO launched the company in 2010 to address the needs of WordPress users in four key areas that were found to be lacking in other web hosting companies:

  • Security
  • Scalability
  • Speed
  • Service

Let’s take a look at each of these areas and how WP Engine addresses these:

Security

When your website is mostly unknown and getting very little traffic, you may think that security is not a big issue. Why would hackers care about your site when they have bigger sites they can target?

This is a widely-held belief with many businesses, but it’s a dangerous misconception. Hackers don’t care how big or small your site is. Most hackers are interested in gaining control of vulnerable and poorly-secured sites and servers so they can use it for various nefarious activities, such as spreading malware, sending spam email, or causing damage to other sites.

Hosting your website on a shared server creates an even bigger challenge, as the security of your website could be compromised if a hacker gains access to someone else’s site on your shared hosting environment.

Despite the best efforts of website owners to keep their sites secure, many security measures can only be implemented cost-effectively by companies of a certain size and scale.

WPEngine blocks millions of nefarious attacks everyday using complex and holistic security measures. This includes getting early access to information from security companies, proactively monitoring the network for suspicious patterns and behaviors, performing internal and external scans of all servers on a daily basis, and more.

Additionally, WP Engine is only one of a few hosting companies worldwide that guarantees to clean things up for you if your site does get hacked. This promise to assume responsibility keeps the company on its toes and continually vigilant about maintaining the highest level of security at all times, including investing in new security methods.

WP Engine proactively keeps web sites secure with automatic updates for security patches and WordPress core updates, as well as performing security and malware scans to ensure that sites are free from intrusions. Additionally, WP Engine’s technical support team will notify you if your site is impacted by a security risk.

Learn more about WP Engine’s Secure WordPress Hosting.

Speed

With the exponential growth of mobile devices and mobile search, having a fast site has become an important factor not just for ranking higher in search engines, but also for increasing revenue and reducing visitor bounce rates.

Speed in technology has to be ubiquitous, from fast networks and fast servers, to fast loading applications, fast processors, fast operating systems, fast security rules, and so on.

WP Engine employs over 70 engineers and uses state-of-the art technology to ensure that all sites hosted on their network enjoy the fastest loading speeds and performance possible at all times.

You can see how fast your website loads and get free suggestions for improving site speed performance by testing your website with WP Engine’s WordPress Speed Test

WordPress Speed Test

(WordPress Speed Test)

Learn more about the WP Engine Speed Test.

Scalability

Staying fast, up, and available during heavy server usage and traffic spikes (e.g. getting 10x, 20x, even 100x normal traffic) is another important area that WP Engine continuously focuses on improving. Even if your website isn’t getting a lot of traffic yet, sometimes an unpredictable event happens (e.g. your site gets picked up by the media or a post goes viral) and your site gets an unusual flood of traffic.

Traffic spikes can also occur if your site is the target of a brute force attack. Hackers may not get through your security fortress, but your traffic will definitely increase. These types of situations will test your site’s ability to handle high traffic the most. If your server can’t handle this, it could fall over and your site will end up going offline.

Speed and scalability are related. If, for example, your site can be served 4x faster, then your existing hardware can handle 4x the amount of normal traffic. WP Engine has developed a unique and proprietary scalable system that not only serves websites faster, but automatically and dynamically allocates more resources to websites when needed without having to change the configuration of the hosting server.

Service

As the saying goes, “technology is great when it works.” Every customer wants their sites to be up and running all the time and for their plugins and sites to work without issues. When things go wrong, however, as they will from time to time, having excellent and responsive customer support is essential.

It’s no different with WordPress. Sometimes things will go wrong.

WP Engine employs expert WordPress engineers to look after the WordPress hosting needs of their customers and has a dedicated team of over 150 technical support experts who provide support around the clock by phone, email or live chat and can help customers with questions about their websites and WordPress issues.

WP Engine provides world-class support to customers with a commitment to improve their service through customer feedback and by continually investing in training their service and support team. New staff must undergo intensive training before they can join the customer support team and receive ongoing on-the-job training. WP Engine also encourages their team members to develop their expertise in specialized areas, such as SSL, WordPress Multisite, etc.

In addition to technical support, other services WP Engine provides to help make maintaining a website as easy as possible include:

  • Customer Education: WP Engine’s “Support Garage” provides customers with a host of resources that are available on-demand like webinars, online documentation, ‘how-to’ videos and interactive tutorials, etc.
  • Proactive WordPress Management: This includes managing core WordPress upgrades to make sure that websites are running with the latest version of WordPress, installing maintenance updates, and informing customers of any detected vulnerabilities with recommended courses of action
  • Hacker Cleanup Guarantee: Should something go wrong with your website, WP Engine guarantees to fix it.

In addition to providing customers with a fully managed service and excellent support around the clock, clients on higher-level hosting plans (e.g. Premium or Enterprise) benefit from additional services, such as access to a consultative onboarding team, a premium technical support team and a strategic account management team.

WP Engine’s service guarantee, then, can be summed up as providing the right type of help, with the right level of expertise, when customers need it the most.

To learn more about WP Engine’s unique service, we recommend watching this free webinar: The Four Ss Of Managed WordPress Hosting

WP Engine – Testimonials

WP Engine customers love their hosting service and support. Here are just some of the testimonials we have found from happy WP Engine customers:

”WP Engine empowers WordPress developers like myself to not only control the build quality of a website but also the online operational effectiveness of a website. I’d like to say thank you to James and the team in Shoreditch – London.” BEN LLEWELLYN, WORDPRESS DEVELOPER SINCE 2006

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”Nothing but positive things for WP Engine. Honestly, it is refreshing to see a service that does deliver on what it promises. There is a reason that we list this service atop our rankings right now! The experiences here have been nothing but positive and there is no beating the lightning speeds that you get here. Keep up the great work!” MARC DUROE, top5wphosting.com

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”WP Engine has amazing customer support, and if you contact these guys for anything (ask Trafton if he’ll marry you) they will respond quickly and friendly. One of WP Engine’s philosophies is, “Kicking ass at your job is the only salesforce we need,” and I think WP Engine exemplifies that.” After all is said and done, WP Engine is a solid host, and now my host of choice for any new web development projects I have.” ERIC BINNION, ART OF BLOG

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”The team at WP Engine is exceptionally responsive. We switched from VPS.net because expert support, in WordPress, was and IS a top priority. Five stars, no doubt!” MATTY CRESCENZO, treatingpain.com

WP Engine – Choosing A Hosting Plan

WP Engine provides a number of managed WordPress hosting plans to suit your needs and budget …

WP Engine - Managed WordPress Hosting Plans

(WP Engine – Managed WordPress Hosting Plans)

For more information, go here: WP Engine – Managed WordPress Hosting Plans

Choosing a hosting plan and getting started with WP Engine is easy.

First, visit their site and select a hosting plan

Select A Hosting Plan

(Select a hosting plan)

Next, select options (e.g. annual or monthly hosting, extra site, speed boost) and enter your details …

Select options and enter your details

(Select options and enter your details)

Enter your billing info and click the ‘Create my site’ button to set up your account …

Enter billing info and set up your account

(Enter billing info and set up your account)

Once your account has been set up, you will have instant access to the WP Engine User Portal

WP Engine User Portal - Dashboard

(WP Engine User Portal – Dashboard)

The User Portal is a unique feature of WP Engine. Unlike other types of hosting control panels (e.g. cPanel), WP Engine’s User Portal was developed specifically for managing WordPress applications inside WP Engine’s hosting environment.

After logging into the User Portal, you will have access to all of the major features this service has to offer (note: some features like CDN [Content Delivery Network] and SSL [Secure Sockets Layer] are only available to specific hosting plans) …

(WP Engine User Portal – Installs screen)

WP Engine’s User Portal includes various sections like:

  • Dashboard: Get access to monthly reports, system status and useful information posted on WP Engine’s blog.
  • Installs: This screen lets you access vital information about your WordPress installation, such as server IP, number of visitors, bandwidth usage, storage, SFTP (Secure FTP) logins, domains, CDN, backups, redirect rules, logs, SSL, utilities, site migration tools, and more.
  • Page Performance: Run Page Performance tests for speed insights on your site and access helpful tips on how to optimize your site for optimal performance. You can also schedule recurring tests.
  • Users: This section displays all users with access to your WordPress installs, their email addresses and account access level.
  • My Account: See your account details, plan type, payment info, contact info, and invoices.
  • Help/Support: Contact support via their 24/7 live chat, create and view support tickets, access helpful articles and interactive walkthroughs, and more.

WP Engine – Additional Info

The video below contains additional info about WP Engine …

[xyz-ihs snippet="WPEngine"]

Getting Started With WP Engine

If you are still planning your WordPress website and haven’t decided on a hosting service yet,  we recommend getting started with one of WP Engine’s managed WordPress hosting plans.

If you already have an existing WordPress site hosted on a non-managed WordPress hosting environment and would like to move your hosting to WP Engine, the process is easy and can be done very quickly.

WP Engine not only has a custom site migration plugin and tutorials, they also offer assistance and support with your migration.

Learn how to move your site to WP Engine in less than 30 minutes.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the benefits of choosing a managed WordPress hosting service to host and manage your WordPress website.

To learn more about WP Engine and get a special bonus discount on your hosting plans, go here: WP Engine – Managed WordPress Hosting (Special Discount Link).

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