Creating a Math Website Using WordPress
Post Updated: August 31, 2019
I am a novice in creating a website. I need to make this disclaimer first to make it clear that I am not an expert in this field and actually far from it. However, if I can do it, so can you! If you’re interested in creating your own website to have an online presence – for personal or business reasons, this post may provide some insights on how to get started. I sincerely hope that by sharing my experience, though limited in scope and based on a lot of trial and errors, it may inspire you to find your inner passion. At times, it’s the other way around. You might create your website first before you find your passion. It may sound counter-intuitive, but believe me, it happens. My goal here is to share the things that work for me.
Disclosure: Some links included in this post are affiliate links which means I will get some monetary compensation whenever you click the links and make a purchase. I do NOT write any paid reviews. All the products and services, free or paid, that I mention here are those that I personally use.
I will spare you with the details on how I got started. I registered the domain of this site way back in July 2011. My wife came up with the domain name after a few days of talking about it. Since I love spicy foods and math, she asked me, “Why not call it SpicyMath.com or ChiliMath.com?”. Long story short, I agreed to take the latter for obvious reasons. To be honest, this started as a hobby of sharing free algebra lessons online with the intent of being straightforward and practical in approach.
After a few years, I started seeing noticeable organic traffic from search engine results. Patience is truly a virtue. I then decided that it’s time to revamp the design of the site most especially for my mobile visitors. Currently, I am working on putting header tags and alt text on each of my images. It is a lot of work. But they said it’s good for search engine optimization (SEO), so why not? I’m getting there though, just at least 2,000 images to go.
Due to my limited knowledge, I truly never try to make the site look perfect. My goal was to just keep on going by creating new content and tweaking the site along the way to make it load faster. This is a growing site so the work doesn’t stop. I remain engaged by adding new math contents, fixing typos, correcting content errors (caught by me or by my very helpful readers), reducing the file size of the images, changing font sizes, and more! By doing all these, somehow I was able to create a website that gives me a modest revenue or passive income using AdSense and then transitioned to AdThrive (which I recently joined last December 2017) to manage my display ads on the site.
Tools and Services that I Use
Here’s the current setup of my site:
Our domain name, chilimath.com, is currently registered at Cloudflare. I pay $8.03 per year.
The cool thing is that I use Cloudflare both as my Registrar and DNS server.
WEBSITE APPLICATION FIREWALL & CDN
I use Sucuri to protect my website against malware and virus. I think it is the best in the industry.
When it comes to web hosting, I decided to use Managed WordPress Hosting by BigScoots. Their WordPress platform uses Nginx as the web server, Redis, Opcache, and more. The greatest thing about BigScoots is its friendly and knowledgeable customer support team. If you have any technical problems with your WordPress site, you can open a ticket and somebody will respond to your inquiry in a short time.
Maybe, for me, the most difficult part of creating the site is choosing the WordPress theme. There are just so many selections out there with different pros and cons. It’s mind-boggling. After a long hunt for the “best” WordPress theme, I stumbled upon StudioPress. With a little research to vet the company, I was convinced that I can invest in their products. Since then and up until now, ChiliMath is using Genesis Framework as the parent theme and Magazine Pro as the child theme. I never replaced the child theme because it took me weeks to get used to it and replacing it means another learning curve to travail.
Here come the plugins! Just looking at the number of plugins available for WordPress, saying I am overwhelmed is an understatement. I am usually methodical or intentional about what I do, but with plugins, I lost it. It came to a point when I had so many plugins installed, maybe at least fifty, and I knew it was a terrible idea. I had to stop and actually list all the plugins that I thought I need from the most to least important. Right now, I have narrowed it down to less than twenty-five plugins and I’m happy with it.
My List of Plugins:
- 301 Redirects
- Admin Menu Editor
- Atomic Blocks – Gutenberg Blocks Collection
- Cookie Notice
- Genesis Simple Hooks
- Genesis Title Toggle
- Kraken Image Optimizer
- Last Modified Timestamp
- Plugins Garbage Collector
- Redis Object Cache
- Simple History
- WP Crontrol
- WP OPcache
- WP Rollback
- WP Sitemap Page
- WP Word Count
- Yoast SEO
WEBSITE PERFORMANCE TOOLS
After all my hard work, it’s time to check if the site has an acceptable performance. For me the biggest question is, does it load fast enough?
My goal is to get at least an optimization score of 80 out of 100 in both mobile and desktop.
WebPageTest is one of the gold-standards in measuring your site performance. When you use this online tool, make sure to look for the results of your website’s First Byte, Start Render, and First Contentful Paint.
GTmetrix has been in the game for a long time. It’s very reliable to measure the performance of your site using this tool. It will also provide you with suggestions on how to improve your site speed and score. Based on my experience, if you’re running ads on your site, you will more likely get a low score because the ad units perform multiple external calls to render properly. Try deferring the loading of the ads which means your site should load 100% percent first before the ads start kicking in. Deferred ad loading made a huge improvement both in my load time and GTmetrix scores.
This is an awesome tool because it will test the mobile speed of your site. The results will show your site’s load time on a 3G network. My target is to get a load time of no more than 5 seconds.
KEYWORD ANALYSIS/RESEARCH AND TRACKING TOOLS
I mainly use these two online services to check the ranking of my keywords, perform on-page optimization, find opportunities to improve my site, and many more.
SEMRush has a complete suite of tools such as Domain Analysis, Traffic Analysis, Backlinks Analysis, Keyword Research, On-Page SEO suggestions, and more.
SerpBook for me is the best keyword tracking tool. The dashboard interface is very clean and straightforward yet powerful in its simplicity. My favorite part of it is that you have the option to track the rankings of your keywords with daily or bi-hourly updates.
I hope these help. If you find any errors, typos, or have any suggestions on how to improve this site, please don’t hesitate to let me know anytime using the Contact Me page located in the footer.