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Setting Up A Content Management System

Key Metric:
Content pieces published per month.

Why it Matters:
You need to reliably publish content in order to attract new people to your site.

Final Result:
Team members can easily create, preview, and publish content on your site.


Set up your blog using a static site generator (Gatsby) and a headless CMS (Netlify)

Using a static site generator and headless CMS for your blog will eliminate most of your speed and security problems. They make it easy to publish new content, add code snippets (like retargeting and analytics), update your stylesheets, and customize everything about your site.

Of course, you can choose to use different solutions (WordPress, for example) to set up your Content Engine. These solutions work fine, but we typically recommend Netlify and Gatsby. This setup can be hosted for free using Netlify or GitHub Pages, and the ongoing maintenance is much lower than server-side solutions like WordPress.

Install plugins to improve performance and add tracking

Because Gatsby is a very popular static site generator, plugins already exist for most features that content marketing teams need. Having the right plugins in your Gatsby site will ensure that your site adheres to Google’s Web Vitals and will lead to better search engine rankings in the long run.

Here are a few of the plugins we recommend when getting started:

There are plenty of other helpful plugins which you can learn about here, but we’ll share more about the basics of search engine optimization for your content later in this course.

What if I already have a blog set up on my domain?

Don’t reinvent the wheel. If your CMS works for you and it performs well, there’s no need to spend a month migrating to a static site. Website migrations can be very delicate, so consult with your engineering team or an external specialist before you start this process.

If, on the other hand, your CMS is restricting the amount of content you can produce or its poor performance is hurting your ability to rank well in search engines, you should move off it as soon as possible.

One decision you will face then is whether you’d like your blog to be located on a subdirectory (/blog) or on a subdomain (blog.yourdomain.com). There are different viable approaches, depending on the role your blog plays for your business. But, if you’d like to implement the systems tought throughout our courses, our clear recommendation is to have your blog located in a subdirectory on your top-level-domain. The reason being that, over time, your published blog content will receive backlinks from external sources and we’d rather have them benefit our top-level-domain than a subdomain.

Search Engines “see” subdomains as separate entities. So, if we’d receive a lot of backlinks to our subdomain, we’d then have to generate a lot of backlinks to our top-level-domain from our blog subdomain. Which means we’d have to link to our “main website” as often as possible from our own blog. Which, depending on the type of content we have published, can make sense in a lot of cases, but won’t make sense 100% of the time and might be perceived as very pushy.

What about publishing on Medium or LinkedIn?

Publishing your blog posts exclusively to a third-party platform like Medium, Dev.to, or LinkedIn is tempting because it’s easy, and they offer a built-in distribution network.

That said, it’s not a good idea as they won’t help your primary top-level-domain’s ranking in search engines. Links on these platforms are usually “no-follow links,” so they won’t pass much value to other resources or landing pages you reference from them.

If you already have content on these platforms, we recommend migrating it to your new blog and deleting the content from third-party platforms.


Copyright © 2021 Manuel Weiss and Karl Hughes. All rights reserved.