Setting up Your Ideal Web Development Environment With Plesk Essentials

Morning beverage ready. Mail and calendar checked. Daily meeting with the team done – It’s time to start your engines and crack on with your project. If you’re familiar with this sequence, it’s because you’re also immersed in the web developer’s everyday routine.

Carrying out your daily tasks might be an easy-peasy chore. But when it comes to beginning a new project from scratch. And setting up your web development environment, you might need to add on a few more steps. Before starting cooking up a new project, you must have all the ingredients sorted. That is, for example, prepare all the data and tools you’ll need along the way.

And indeed, there’s a significant amount of web development tools out there. But what tools are suited to web developers? How do you decide which ones to have in your toolbox? In this article, we’ll bring you some prime extensions and toolkits that will make your web development experience even better. Let’s get ready to know some of Plesk’s essentials for web development, DNS, security, SEO, server, and backup.

Organizing Your Toolbox

At Plesk, our goal is to make web development simple and easy. And its integrated platform with full development and deployment capabilities allows you to build, secure, and run servers and websites. But if what you want to know is how to level up your skills with great tools, here are some excellent examples. Let’s dig deeper:

DNS, Security, and Web Plesk Extensions for Web Developers

Plesk DNSSEC

The DNSSEC acronym stands for Domain Name System Security Extensions. It’s a set of DNS protocol extensions that sign DNS data to secure the domain name resolving process.

The Plesk DNSSEC extension helps make the Internet safer. Let’s see what it allows you to do:

  • Configure the settings used for key generation and rollover.
  • Sign and unsign domain zones according to the DNSSEC specifications.
  • Receive notifications related to DNSSEC records and keys.
  • View and copy DS resource records and DNSKEY resource record sets.

Docker

Docker is a handy software technology that provides containers. That means an extra layer of abstraction and automation of operating-system-level virtualization. As a flexible Plesk tool, Docker can help you perform a wide variety of tasks. But that’s not everything. Docker also removes the obstacles to adapt to new technologies digitally as it uses existing technologies. This way, it acts as an assistant between different operating systems and developers.

The extension also frees applications from system infrastructure. Allowing expansion in capacity through collaboration. Here’s more of what you can achieve with Docker for Plesk:

  • On-demand access to a vast range of modern technologies.
  • Upload a custom image or choose one from a catalog.
  • Deploy and manage Docker containers straight from the Plesk interface.
  • Install Docker containers locally or to a remote node registered in Plesk.

Web Presence Builder

If you’re a beginner in web development, Web Presence Builder is the right tool for you. It doesn’t require great HTML knowledge or graphic design skills. This tool helps you create professional-looking websites not bad, huh?

Web Presence Builder also provides a simple visual editor and a broad set of templates for different websites. Pick a page design that you like and your content template. And then add your text to the pages and publish the website. Here’s what you can do with this tool:

  • Create web pages.
  • Add a wide variety of content (text, images, video, scripts, and more).
  • Edit website settings (website name, keywords, icons, and so on).

Joomla! Toolkit

Up next it’s the Joomla! Toolkit. A complete toolkit to power Joomla! websites. With this toolkit, you can mass-manage, secure, and automate all your instances, extensions, and templates running on a server managed by Plesk. All from one single entry point. Here’s more:

  • One single dashboard to control, maintain and monitor all your instances.
  • One-click installer to download, initialize, and configure Joomla! from start to finish.
  • It hardens your site against all types of cyberattacks with its robust security scanner.

Plesk WordPress Toolkit

As a developer, you’re probably craving lots of features and intelligent tools that make your daily workload easier to digest. Well, we’re proud to say that our beloved Plesk WordPress Toolkit is definitely one of them. With this toolkit, you can focus on core tasks and automate the mundane ones. And substantially increase productivity, security, and efficiency too.  

The Plesk WordPress Toolkit is by far the most complete tool for WordPress admins seeking pre-configured solutions for the best possible performance. As well as an intelligent tool that helps to always keep their WordPress sites secure and up-to-date without breaking a live site. In case you’re not falling yet, here’s why using this tool is not only a smart idea but also a rewarding experience: 

  • Manage all WordPress sites on the server simplifying admin tasks.
  • Install, activate, update, and remove plugins and themes from one single dashboard.
  • Keep the highest level of security selectively securing websites.
  • Clone and stage websites to simulate changes before going live. 
  • Synchronize the changes between files and databases of different sites.
  • Optimize SEO for higher traffic and manage WordPress search engine indexing.

Smart Updates

A great addition to the Plesk WordPress Toolkit is the Smart Updates feature. This power-tool combo automatically updates WordPress core, plugins, and themes using AI. Here’s more:

  • Smart Updates clones and simulates your WordPress updates before performing them.
  • It mitigates the risk of hacked sites by running updates in a secure staging environment without affecting production. 
  • You can activate Smart Updates in WordPress Toolkit with a switch, as well as automate update analysis email notifications.

SEO, Backup, Cloud, and Server Plesk Extensions for Web Developers

SEO Toolkit

Along with the performance, a thought-out SEO strategy is fundamental to improve your search engine rankings. And with better rankings, more visibility, traffic, and conversions. 

Organic search can become your primary source of clicks, traffic, and revenue for your business. With the SEO Toolkit, you get all the tools you need to give your customers a chance to find you online. And help them pick your website over those of your competitors. We’re listing some reasons why you should use SEO Toolkit for your website:

  • Track SEO KPIs and check your website’s Visibility Score to measure your success.
  • Site Audit analyzes your site and gives you tips on how to enhance optimization.
  • SEO Advisor provides you a to-do list to improve your performance based on your Site Audit and Visibility Score.
  • Log File Analyzer will crawl your site and pages to help search engines rank and index them accordingly.
  • Check each of your keyword’s performance and compare it directly to your competitors’.

Google PageSpeed Insights

As explained above, one of the main worries for web developers is site performance. Because after all the work you’ve put into your web development, you just want it to work smoothly and without any issues. But don’t panic – Here’s what you need to know to achieve good visibility in search engines. 

First of all, you need to create websites that are fast, useful to your visitors, optimized for all traffic, and most importantly, mobile-friendly. And secondly, you should monitor your sites with tools like Google PageSpeed Insights. It will help you analyze your website’s content and its performance to suggest specific improvements. Here’s how the PageSpeed Insights extension works:

  • Analyzes the performance of websites hosted on your Plesk server.
  • Assigns every website a desktop and mobile score depending on its performance.
  • Generates a report based on the results of the analysis and displays suggestions to optimize your websites’ performance.
  • Provides links in the extension UI to the suggested tools aimed at improving websites’ performance (for example, the mod_pagespeed Apache module).
  • Gives already compressed files to reduce the size of static files (free API key required).
  • Installs the mod_pagespeed Apache module and lets you configure it for your needs.

Plesk Cgroups Manager

Often, web developers suffer what’s known as the ‘noisy neighbor’ problem. For those who aren’t familiar with this concept, this issue occurs when a website on a shared hosting consumes all system resources and disrupts the performance of other websites.

To avoid this common problem, we recommend using the Plesk Cgroups Manager extension. This solution helps you deliver reliable and continuous availability. The Cgroups Manager lets you control the amount of CPU, RAM, and disk read/write bandwidth resources each subscriber or tier of subscribers gets. You can use Plesk Cgroups to:

  • Prevent consuming of resources of your server by some of the subscriptions on your shared environment.
  • Automatically set a limit of resource consumption, monitor it, and send email notifications when it exceeds a certain level.
  • Set limits at two levels – subscriber service plan level or subscriber level.

Backup to Cloud Pro

Last but not least, we find the Backup to Cloud Pro extension. This solution is for all web professionals that want to set up different backup schedules to the cloud effortlessly. What’s more, it allows you to focus on more exciting and innovative tasks as it automates your backup management. It’s easy to set up and you can secure your domains with Google Drive, Amazon S3, DropBox, DigitalOcean Spaces, and Microsoft OneDrive:

  • Back up the entire server, individual user accounts with websites or individual subscriptions.
  • Schedule backups.
  • Restore data from backup archives.

CyberDeals Sale – 50% Off Selected Plesk Extensions and Toolkits

Thank you for reading up to this point – As a reward, we want to share with you a sneak peek of what’s coming soon this November. From Friday 27th until Monday 30th, we’re giving 50% off all the extensions listed in the article as part of our CyberDeals sale. So if you don’t want to miss out on these unbeatable offers, stay on the lookout for new updates. And catch them before they fly! 

Tech Skills for a Changing World: The 5 Most Popular Plesk University Courses

The world is ever-changing, especially when it comes to technology. Gaining tech skills strengthens your resume and teaches you expertise in your chosen area of specialization. Online courses can help orient you by providing knowledge and expertise in specific technology fields. These courses also bring you close to real-world scenarios you can encounter so you get a practical understanding of how to troubleshoot problems. There are many reasons why training in technology skills works for your benefit. Let’s take a look at these reasons.

Why Should You Specialize in Tech Skills?

Specializing in tech skills proves that you are striving for both personal and professional development. It can help you irrespective of your current career level. If you’re just starting out, then you can undergo training to show your passion for learning and your interest in a particular tech field. If you’re more experienced, then advanced training will help you move forward in a changing world.

Tech training programs can help broaden your network as you will be in contact with both young aspirants as well as experienced professionals. Exposure to a broad network will open new opportunities for you.

Organizations always look for individuals who bring value to their company. Successful companies appreciate a continuous training mindset. Enrolling in tech training, taking tests or earning any certificates shows companies that you’re highly trained in a particular area. Your track record of learning new skills will help you establish professional credibility.

Plesk University offers many courses that can give you the ins and outs of different Plesk products. With some courses, you can also earn certifications. Check out our leaderboard of companies that have Plesk certified professionals. Did you know that access to all courses and exams in Plesk University is free? So, set yourself apart from your peers, choose your area of expertise, and join one of our most popular Plesk University courses. If you’re uncertain of what to choose, we’ve prepared a guide into 5 of our top courses and how they can benefit you.

The Top 5 Plesk University Courses

1. The Plesk Professional Course

In the Plesk Professional interactive course, you learn how to install Plesk Obsidian and use it to provide hosting services to your customers. You may as well ask what value will this add to your life, business, or resume. But don’t be dismissive – there are many reasons why knowing how to work with server management platforms is important. And it’s proven by a whopping 1,767 course completions.

First of all, technology has completely changed the way businesses work today. However, if you have a small business or are a solopreneur, you can’t always afford to have a separate IT department to manage all your digital processes. Who upgrades and monitors the servers and who troubleshoots problems as they arise? To ease these processes, you can either go to server management professionals who help in setting up and monitoring these crucial processes or you can learn the skills on your own. 

Let’s look at how server management is useful in more detail. You can use server management platforms to cut down costs. Instead of hiring people separately to manage servers, monitoring and management can be done by the platform. Hiring people can also be a challenging task for small businesses as finding the right staff always takes time. Depending on different pricing packages, using server manage platforms can result in comparatively lower skilled human resource costs. The best server management platforms also often provide you with the best support. On-call support with the best response time is usually included in the packages offered.

Additionally, as your company grows larger or if you’re planning to scale, the need for more servers grows. More staff is required to maintain and monitor server activities. Server management platforms are specifically dedicated to maintaining a greater number of servers. Knowing how to work with server management platforms saves you time, cost, and increases efficiency. An optimized server management platform automates regular administrative tasks, which can be time-consuming. This helps free your time up to perform other essential tasks.

2. The Plesk Associate Course

In the Plesk Associate course, you learn how to bundle infrastructure, Plesk, extensions, and services to create a managed WordPress hosting solution. Let’s take a look at how Managed WordPress solutions are a crucial add-on to the portfolio of services you can offer your customers. Or maybe you want to host your own WordPress. Either way, this is the course that can teach you the skills to do so and 1,461 course graduates agree.

Why is it useful to have Managed WordPress solutions? You need Managed WordPress to use WordPress efficiently as these solutions have the required resources and technology to maintain and update WordPress websites. The WordPress market share is 35% of all websites in the world. So, companies big or small want the management team that specializes in that Content Management System (CMS). Managed WordPress offers you many benefits, the most important of which are security, performance, and expertise on the platform. 

Ever hosted your own WordPress and woke up one day to find all those warnings and notifications for updates? Expertise is a crucial attribute when using WordPress. You may face extremely sophisticated security threats and down-time, which will ultimately affect your online presence and website performance. Managed WordPress acts like your hosting expert and takes care of these problems for you in the least possible time so that any losses are minimized. Wouldn’t it be great if you could gain this expertise?

The above points bring us to the next top Plesk University course:

3. The WordPress Toolkit Course

In the Plesk WordPress Toolkit course, you learn how easy it is to deploy, secure, and maintain a WordPress website with the WordPress Toolkit extension for Plesk. 

When talking about WordPress hosting, one of the first critical issues to address is security. A good Managed WordPress solution will provide you with the best security. Regular security helps in removing any malware present on your website. Hackers, bots, and other threats are tackled with the help of a specialized environment. The WordPress Toolkit is configured to do all of this for you with very little action needed from you. This is also a benefit when you want to offer Managed WordPress to your customers.

Additionally, if your business is growing or your customers are rapidly scaling, website traffic is going to fluctuate rapidly as well. Most likely you will require resources to keep the website running smoothly and avoid downtime if you’re scaling. Managed WordPress solutions take care of the smooth running of websites in such conditions. Crashing and downtime of the site can result in the loss of money and reputation of your brand and you want to avoid that at all costs. 

Last but not least is the issue of regular WordPress updates. WordPress releases updates on a regular basis. Keeping up with these updates is crucial for the high performance of your website. Excellent hosting management will help your site to cope with the updates and monitor how each update is impacting the website through automated tests. You’ll know if any issue is detected and have some action steps to follow to avoid downtime or security threats. Regular software updates also ensure high security for your website.

So, if you go for the WordPress Toolkit course, you’ll learn the tools to deal with the three most important issues – security, avoiding downtime, and regular updates – both for yourself and your business or your clients and customers.

4. The Plesk Obsidian: What’s New Course

The fourth course on our list is the Plesk Obsidian: What’s New course. This course is regularly updated and it showcases all the new features and changes in Plesk Obsidian. 

If you’re using Plesk every day and it’s a big part of your role, then this is the course for you. And if you haven’t kept up to date about Plesk Obsidian, now’s your chance. So, if you want to take a look at all the new features on Plesk Obsidian before signing up for the course, you can check out this guide

And so, on to the last course.

5. The SEO Toolkit Course

The fifth and final course on our list is the SEO Toolkit course. In this course, you learn how to use the SEO Toolkit extension to make your websites more visible by improving their search engine optimization (SEO).

Why is SEO important for your online presence? SEO helps in creating more visibility for your website or business. Good SEO management can drive more traffic to your website and a higher rank on search engines. SEO experts study and observe patterns that lead to higher rankings and the correct SEO tool can give you insights about developing better SEO strategies. Higher rankings lead to increased brand awareness, generating more leads, and ultimately increasing your sales revenue. With SEO tools, you also observe your site analytics, helping you to know your customers better and aligning your offers with their needs. You can also get to know where your SEO game is lacking.

So, there you have it. A wrap-up of the top 5 Plesk University courses for you to take this year. Build your skills and add more pizazz to your resume to take you to the next level! If you’ve taken any Plesk University course, let us know in the comments below. 

Until next time, arrivederci.

Next Level Ops Podcast: The Best Extensions for Your Website with Jan Loeffler

Next Level Ops Podcast: The Best Extensions for Your Website with Jan Loeffler - Plesk

We’re back with the third episode of the Official Plesk Podcast: Next Level Ops. In this installment, Superhost Joe speaks to the Pleskian Technology Mage, Jan Loeffler. Jan tells us about Plesk Lighthouse Extensions and why they’re super useful.

In This Episode: The Weather, Popular Plesk Extensions, SEO and More

In This Episode: The Weather, Popular Plesk Extensions, SEO and More - Next Level Ops Podcast: The Best Extensions for Your Website with Jan Loeffler - Plesk

If you’re unfamiliar with Plesk extensions, you’re probably wondering what Lighthouse Extensions are. To clarify, Joe and Jan dive right into the specifics, after updating us on the weather of course.

In general, Plesk’s extensions provide extra tools, features and services to users. Their purpose is to enhance the ways in which users work and interact with websites. In particular, they serve a useful role when dealing with specific website areas, such as SEO. So, the SEO Toolkit extension can help users in designing an SEO strategy for better visibility on search engines.

“Usually it’s like running a marathon. If you want to run a marathon, you don’t do it in one day. It needs consistent training and working towards this goal. The same is true for getting on the first page of Google.”, says Jan.

Well Jan, we hope that soon you’ll be able to run a marathon once more after this lockdown is over. We will cheer for you!

"Usually it's like running a marathon. If you want to run a marathon, you don't do it in one day. It needs consistent training and working towards this goal. The same is true for getting on the first page of Google.”

Jan Loeffler

Key Takeaways

  • What are Lighthouse Extensions? There are over 130 extensions in the Plesk Extensions catalog. The Lighthouse Extensions are the most popular among users.
  • Why are the Speed Kit and SEO Toolkit extensions important? As soon as you start selling something on your website, performance matters. If a website takes more than 3 seconds to load, many users will leave. Speed Kit analyzes your site and knows how to cache it. The SEO Toolkit gives you stats to narrow down the areas where your website performance can improve. It supports all major search engines: Google, Bing, Baidu, Yahoo, and so on.
  • How can users get started with Lighthouse Extensions? Some are pre-installed when you spin up a new Plesk server. And the Extensions catalog gives insights into the most popular extensions. Additionally, there’s an Advisor tool that helps users become more productive. It guides you along the value chain and recommends tools you can enable to get the best out of each step.

…Alright Pleskians, it’s time to hit the play button if you want to hear the rest. Or go to our Simplecast channel to listen to the full episode. While you’re there, take a peek at our previous episodes here and here. We’ll be back soon with the next installment.

The Official Plesk Podcast: Next Level Ops Featuring

Joe Casabona

Joe is a college-accredited course developer. He is the founder of Creator Courses.

Jan Loeffler

Jan is the Chief Technical Officer at Plesk.

Remember to update your daily podcast playlist with Next Level Ops. And stay on the lookout for our next episode!

Track SEO KPIs, Measure SEO Success with SEO Toolkit & Yoast

Measure SEO Success from these SEO KPIs

We’ve already seen how you can use Yoast SEO and Plesk’s SEO Toolkit to optimize your website’s content. Now we’re going to go one step further, and see how you can measure SEO success and ensure your efforts gain traction exactly the way you want.

You can never stop doing SEO because the online world is evolving quickly and your competition is constantly trying to steal your traffic. To successfully sell products or services online, you need to constantly ask yourself these questions:

  • How are we doing in the search engines?
  • Which keywords are doing well, and which aren’t?
  • Which keywords should we be optimizing?
  • What are our competition doing?
  • Can the Googlebot still crawl my site?

This is where SEO Toolkit steps in as your guide.

Why Do Keywords Matter?

Potential customers search for products and services using specific search queries. A lot of users phrase queries as questions like, ‘How to manage my WordPress website?’ or ‘Which control panel is the best?’

Search engines extract keywords from user queries, then match them against their database. Websites that match query keywords better have stronger SEO. And show up higher in search results. So your goal is to not only reach top keyword rankings on Google, but also to measure SEO success and maintain that status.

How to Track Your Keyword Rankings

The SEO Toolkit can help you find the right keywords and track how your site ranks for each important keyword. To monitor your website’s ranking and measure SEO success, first add keywords related to your product/service to Rank Tracker:

  1. Navigate to the SEO Toolkit main page
  2. Open the tab for the website you want to analyze
  3. Click on the plus icon next to the Rank Tracker link
Track Keyword Rankings
  1. Add the keyword(s) you want to track.
  2. Select the search engine(s) you want to check for your keywords.
  3. Add the domains of as many competitors as you want to see how your keywords rank against them.
  4. Click Add keywords.

The rank tracker will calculate the current rankings for your keywords.

Keywords Ranking

What this in-depth analysis shows you for each keyword is:

  • The keyword’s position per each search engine.
  • For which URL(s) the keywords rank, per each search engine
  • The list of rankings for you and your competitor’s selected keywords (only if you added competitors)

This helps you identify successful keywords easily, as well as find replacements to improve your visibility. To measure SEO success and SEO efforts, you can also see a quick summary of ranking information combined into meaningful categories, like this:

combined into meaningful categories Plesk

The Keywords indicator tells you how many times your website shows up in the first 100 results. Specifically for the monitored keywords in XOVI’s extensive database of common search queries.

Improve Keywords by Using Recommendations

SEO Toolkit bases its keyword intelligence on the XOVI database with over 25 million keywords. You can tap into this power and measure SEO success by requesting keyword recommendations. This will help you improve each piece of your content:

  1. Click Wizard on the main page of SEO Toolkit and select your website
  2. Click Next when you see the quick check results
  3. Add one or more keywords to the keyword field and select the search engine(s) you want to check against
  4. SEO Toolkit now lists suggestions for alternative keywords. You can add them to your list by clicking on the suggested item.
  5. Depending on your content, the tool will also suggest additional competitors you might want to watch.

By clicking Add keywords, you’ll see the keyword(s) you selected in your watchlist.

Keywords in your watchlist

Keep an Eye on the Competition

Rank Tracker lets you compare your website’s search ranking with that of your competition. You can then track that performance over time. Why should I care about my competitors? Your competitors are doing what you do. Which is why they’re competing for search engine rankings with your website, as well as for potential traffic from the search engines.

To become – and stay – SEO-successful, you have to keep track of your competitors and how you’re doing in comparison. With SEO Toolkit’s Rank Tracking, you can respond to ranking changes quickly. Moreover, using the SEO Toolkit, you can always measure SEO success by having an overview of: 

  • Your main competitors
  • How your competitors and your website are ranking
  • If the ranking position of a keyword is improving or decreasing
  • The position history, as well as the position trend per keyword
  • Which competitor page is ranking best for the keyword. An opportunity to examine the page and analyze the SEO strategies your competitor uses
SEO competitors analysis

Additionally, you can drill into each competitor, checking their ranking and non-ranking keywords and associated trends.

Non-ranking keywords

Eliminate Errors by Analyzing Crawling Events

A crucial aspect of SEO optimization is making sure your website is accessible to indexing robots – aka crawlers – of search engines. If a crawler can’t index a page, it won’t be able to add your page to the search index.

Crawling failures can have many causes: the robot could be prohibited to crawl your site by your robots.txt or the hide-setting in WordPress. It could encounter an error, whether due to a typo in a link, web server overload or server failure.

To help you keep an eye on any issues with crawlability, SEO Toolkit analyzes the website’s log files daily looking for possible problems. You can see which search engines crawled the website, how many URLs they indexed, and how many errors they encountered.

Crawl Errors Analysis

The logfile analyzer provides meaningful reports on your web traffic. You can access your reports from the SEO Toolkit dashboard by clicking on the Log File Analyzer link, or from the bottom of the Site Audit overview.

Site Audit overview

First you should look out for any errors that have been reported. These can be web server errors where the HTTP status code begins with a 4 or a 5. In the example above, Google unsuccessfully tried to access the robots.txt file. Because it was missing, a 404 error was reported.

The Log File Analyzer also provides info on the redirects robots follow. This helps you identify outdated or broken redirections. You can use the frequently crawled URLs and directories to match this with your content. The Last Seen data lets you check if the search engine index is being kept fresh for your site’s pages.

Yoast SEO vs. Plesk SEO Toolkit Comparison Chart

In this article series we’ve given you an in-depth look at SEO Toolkit and Yoast SEO functionality. This chart offers a quick summary of all the features we’ve mentioned.

Yoast SEO Plesk SEO Toolkit
XML Sitemap Generate Check
Metadata Generate Check
Schema.org Support Generate Check
Content Analysis Yes Yes
Readability Analysis Yes No
Open Graph Yes No
Multiple Keywords Premium Yes
Internal Linking Suggestions Premium Yes
Canonical URLs Generate Check
Logfile Analysis No Yes
Competition Tracking for Keywords No Yes
Tasks No Yes
Report Duplicate Content No Yes
Report Crawling Issues No Yes
Support Premium Premium

If you want to take your SEO seriously, then you need both Yoast SEO and Plesk SEO Toolkit. These two tools complement each other brilliantly. While Yoast SEO focuses on helping you correctly set up WordPress and optimize content, SEO Toolkit takes a broader approach. Continuously checking the numerous different SEO factors across all your websites. Combined, these two essential tools put you on the road to SEO success.

How do you find working with SEO Toolkit and Yoast SEO? Are they reducing your SEO stress? Let us know in the comments.

Jumpstart Your WordPress SEO with Yoast & Plesk SEO Toolkit

WordPress SEO - Yoast and SEO Toolkit

Now we’ve established that, if you want your website to succeed, you need to understand WordPress SEO and implement best practices. If you’re a WordPress admin, you might think SEO has all been taken care of. But while WordPress does cater for SEO to an extent, there’s still more you can do to improve your website’s performance.

To keep up, you’ll need tools that’ll help you audit your website, and monitor its performance continuously. For this, we recommend the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin and Plesk SEO Toolkit. So let’s dive into how to use these tools so they can get your SEO started right.

Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin

Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin

With more than five million installations and counting, Yoast SEO rightly claims to be the #1 WordPress SEO plugin. Since 2010, Yoast SEO has been helping WordPress site masters improve their search engine rankings. Yoast SEO is among the top four downloaded WordPress plugins, and is likely to be already installed on your WordPress.

Plesk SEO Toolkit

SEO Toolkit is a Plesk extension which uses the power of XOVI SEO engine. This tool helps website owners improve their website’s SEO, and track their performance. Plesk SEO Toolkit offers insights into website rankings in search engines, as well as social media reach. You can also compare your websites to main competitors, plus receive advice on how to best optimize your website to attract more visitors.

Plesk seo toolkit

Take off with Plesk SEO Toolkit

If you’ve got an existing Plesk installation, you can just login and go to Server Management > Extension. Then Find SEO Toolkit and click Install Now. You’re now ready to start with the free version of the extension. Alternatively, you can buy a license and install it through Server Management > Tools & Settings > License Management > Additional Licenses.

Start with Plesk SEO Toolkit

You can now access the extension at any time through the SEO Toolkit link in the main menu.

If you’re new to Plesk – no problem! If you like, you can Download Plesk free from here. Then install it on your internet host where your WordPress site is located. However, you can also ask your internet hosting provider to install it for you.

The cool thing about the Plesk SEO Toolkit is that it can take care of all your websites hosted on the server where it’s installed. You just need to tell it which website to connect to when you start:

  1. Navigate to SEO Toolkit
  2. Click Wizard
  3. Select the domain of your WordPress website
Domain selection for WordPress website
  1. Click Next. The tool will do a first audit of your website and present the results. You can now follow through the next steps. But, for now, we’ll quit by clicking Skip wizard instead.

Now whenever you open SEO Toolkit, you’ll have direct access to your website(s) with an overview of all important SEO statistics and messages.

SEO statistics

Installation for Yoast SEO

In WordPress – navigate to Plugins > Install new, find Yoast SEO, click Install Now, then Activate. You’ll see a new menu called SEO.

new menu called SEO

Now start the Configuration Wizard found on the Dashboard of the General page. It’ll show you all the relevant basic SEO settings step by step:

  1. Activate site for indexing through search engine spiders
  2. Select the type of site
  3. Enter information about the company represented for use in Google’s Knowledge graph
  4. Select whether pages should be shown in the search results. This controls which content will be included in the sitemaps (see discussion below in the section ‘Creating XML sitemaps’
  5. Select if there will be single or multiple authors
  6. Set up the template for page titles
Set up the template for page titles

Your basic settings are now complete. But you can return to the configuration wizard anytime if you need to change any settings.

Using technical WordPress tuning tools

Once installed, you’re finally ready to get down to the exciting business of SEO.

Connecting to Google Search Console

After adding your website to the search console, Google needs to verify your website belongs to you. Yoast SEO makes this easy:

  1. Choose the verification method HTML tag
  2. Copy the meta tag in the box
  3. In WordPress – open SEO > General > Webmaster tools
  4. Paste the code in the Google field and click Save Changes.
  5. Go back to Google Search Console and click Verify.

Google can run into problems with your site when indexing it. But the Google Search Console tracks and displays these errors, and alerts you whenever something critical happens. It can also guide you through possible solutions.

Creating xml sitemaps

It’s best practice to let Google know about the pages and posts you want indexed by submitting a sitemap.

Yoast SEO takes care of this automatically. You can verify this by:

  1. Navigating to SEO > General > Features
  2. Finding the toggle XML sitemaps and expanding the box
  3. Clicking on See the XML sitemap to view the file that was generated.

Yoast SEO will update your sitemap automatically when you add or remove a page, post or category.

XML Sitemaps

Creating Canonical URLs

Yoast SEO renders the correct canonical URL for almost any page type in a WordPress install automatically.

If you ever need to change it for a specific piece of content – be it a post or a page – you can do so in the content settings.

SEO Auditing with Plesk SEO Toolkit

Plesk SEO Toolkit enables you to keep tabs on everything SEO-related on your website.

The Site Audit feature lets you do a quick SEO check as a first step.

  • To start the site audit:

Click Wizard on the main page of SEO Toolkit, then select the domain you want to check and click Next.

The Site Audit will show you immediately if all of your important settings are correct.

settings are correct - Plesk
  • To do a complete scan:

Open up the domain tab on the main page and click Site Audit. Then click Rescan <domain>.

The scan can take some time to complete, depending on the number of pages your site contains. The results show as a summary of your site’s health.Below that you’ll find a detailed listing divided into Content, SEO and Technology. For each item, the tool displays the state (ok or error), the number of occurrences, and its importance.

The power of Site Audit is in the large number of details it checks automatically. On everything from blocked elements through to problems with indexation, server errors, issues with canonicals, loading time, and content audit. Noone could ever keep all of these in mind, let alone check them manually.

Seo Audit

You can drill down into every issue to find the exact place, setting or page where the issue was found, together with recommendations for solving the problem.

H1 missing - solving the problem

But there’s more! To help you keep track of all fixes, Site Audit creates tasks and task reminders for you.

Seo task reminders

Site Audit rescans your site automatically every 20 minutes. All you have to do is come back regularly to see if any issues need your attention.

SEO Auditing for Yoast SEO

It’s important to make sure that while your site changes and grows over time, you preserve its optimal state. Both Yoast SEO and Plesk SEO Toolkit can help you do this well.

If the Yoast plugin finds any issues with SEO on your site, it’ll show you a message on the dashboard. However, if everything is fine it’ll look like this:

SEO Auditing for Yoast SEO

Otherwise, you’ll see a warning message along with information on how you can resolve the issue:

Problems - resolve the issue

Getting your content right

Are you happy with the results so far? Now that we’ve covered the technical side of things, it’s time to use the power of these two SEO tools to create and optimize content.

1. Audit your Content with Plesk SEO Toolkit

SEO Toolkit’s Site Audit component runs periodic checks on your site, and your content. You’ll find all issues related to content on the Content tab in Site Audit. The Tasks component also helps you work on content issues by creating a list of recommended tasks to help you improve your site’s SEO. Actionable insights cover issues with duplicated content, defective links, missing H1/H2/H3, title tags, and more.

Audit your Content with Plesk SEO Toolkit

To quickly check on recent issues and stats – simply visit the start page of SEO Toolkit where you’ll see the overall health score, as well as the number of open and already completed tasks at a glance.

2. Optimize your content

Yoast SEO supports you with content creation right where you type it. So at the bottom of the page or post editor, you’ll see the Yoast Meta Box. From here, it’ll help you by analyzing your text and document settings on the fly and presenting you with any issues and recommendations it finds.

Optimize your content - Plesk

In the box, you’ll see an instant overall rating of how you’re doing in terms of SEO and Readability –  indicated by the red, orange or green icons.

3. Understanding Yoast’s SEO Analysis

In the section SEO analysis, you’ll find a list of all details checked and issues found, together with clear recommendations on how to fix them. This gives you an idea of which problems to tackle first.

3. Understanding Yoast’s SEO Analysis - plesk

The features in the Yoast meta box can also help you optimize the meta-information for a page or post.

Open the section Snippet Preview to check how your search result will look in Google SERPs. You can also edit and optimize the title and description.

snippet preview plesk

Don’t forget to create a highly-focused meta description – since this is the text Google uses to display a summary of your page in the SERP. Both the title and description have a recommended length, as indicated by the green or red line below the editor box. The SEO analysis tool also automatically checks the readability of your text, taking into account sentence length, use of active vs. passive voice, and the Flesch reading score.

Flesch reading score - plesk

DIY SEO

Hopefully this guide proves that you can confidently tackle SEO yourself – with the help of two SEO tools: Yoast SEO and Plesk SEO Toolkit. Not only do these tools remove the burden of tweaking the technical aspects of SEO, but they also actively support you in creating fully-optimized content.

Next up: How to analyze your on-page SEO success for WordPress.

Gain traction with Google by checking keyword rankings, comparing your site with competitors and ensuring crawlers can do their job properly.

We’d love to hear your experience of working with Plesk SEO Toolkit or Yoast SEO. So let us know how they’ve helped you optimize your WordPress website in the comments below.

How Formerly Skeptical IP-Projects Turned Direct Plesk Partner

How IP-Projects Turned Direct Plesk Partner

What makes our customers and partners tick? We asked Michael Schinzel, Managing Director at IP-Projects and long-term Plesk partner about what made them choose us. Seems it was a shift of perception, proper support when in need, and open discussions about prices. 

Who are IP-Projects?

The hosting company IP-Projects focuses on personalized direct customer support and its mantra is to solve the needs of its customers. And these very customers asked specifically for Plesk. Why? Because they prefer a user interface that allows them to create and manage domains within seconds – within a single platform.

Watch Michael Schinzel tell the full story of how the “rather small or medium-sized” IP-Projects powered up with Plesk. 

So, based on a pure cost /benefit analysis, Michael says IP-Projects opened up to Plesk. But it was not an instant decision.

Initial Reservations of Plesk and Change of Perception

The start was not very optimistic, as IP-Projects was rather reserved towards using Plesk. The perception was that it was a rather confusing and complicated management panel, some time back in 2011. Therefore, Michael recalls, “until the time when our former license partner had ceased to cooperate with Plesk, we did not deal with your company intensively.”

Michael Schinzel from IP-Projects

IP-Projects go from fear to finding something special in Plesk.  

“In our experience, there is no other hosting control panel with such a diverse offer.”

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“Only in 2014 did we become a direct Plesk partner. From that point on, Plesk established itself as a real alternative to the free dashboard we were using.” 

Finding Solutions to Critical Issues

Plesk is an added layer over IP-Projects’ server infrastructure. Their numerous enhancements such as the SEO Tools, WordPress Toolkit and Joomla! Toolkit, are also valuable add-ons for IP-Projects customers. They discovered it to be a great choice due to our management interface. But one of the strongest arguments for using Plesk is the technical support offered free of charge for direct customers.

“[Plesk Support] created several service tickets for a range of issues. And some were not even 100% coming from the Plesk hosting panel. We always received excellent support from the customer care teams. Without any additional costs. This is how we discovered that Plesk has become a reliable partner in the recent years”

Michael Schinzel

Good Value for Money

When it comes to Plesk pricing levels, Michael Schinzel believes that startups should benefit from a pricing tier dedicated to this category.

Good value for money - Plesk Panel

“This way they would be able to offer new providers good conditions to buy Plesk licenses. For example, a special discount for 1-2 years for direct partners.” 

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With such a settling offer in their pockets, companies on the same range as IP-Projects could build a customer portfolio faster. And once secured, they can scale up by choosing from Plesk’s solutions portfolio. Nonetheless, IP-Projects moved smoothly past this specific initial challenge. And Plesk played a key role in this regard.

How? Plesk is always open to discuss license prices and other possibilities of cooperation with customers. IP-Projects listened to its customers, as does Plesk. They both met halfway. However, being open to price negotiation is not all.

Plesk support for direct partners is the other top differentiator. Faster and leaner operations for direct partners generate happier customers – And this provides great value for money.

Not tried Plesk yet?
See how a free 14-day trial can help your business.

Are you a reseller?
You can sign up for exclusive Plesk Partner Benefits.

Are You Making Any of These 10 Website Launch Mistakes?

Website Launch Mistakes

You should consider your company website the essential bridge connecting your clients to your business. It’s the go-to platform where potential customers can find all the relevant company info, your products and services, and a way to get them. And while many businesses have now grasped the fundamental importance of investing in a proper website, there are still 10 common pitfalls that can hinder your website’s performance and success.

Vital security measures

1. Missing vital security measures

Online security has become a key factor users look out for when accessing new websites. Think of features like SSL, providing a safe, encrypted link between browser and server, or a CAPTCHA, stopping unwanted bots. Not investing in them can mean unknown sources interfering with your business website performance. In turn, poor performance will very likely result in scaring away potential clients.

Update WordPress plugins

2. Forgetting WordPress plugin updates

As with any system, the different features that make up WordPress require regular maintenance. Failing to do so can slow your website way down and even make certain functions not work properly for their users. So it’s vital for your business to find a tool to update these plugins regularly, such as the popular WordPress Toolkit. Because this lets you mass-manage instances, plugins and themes instantly and from one place. Among many WordPress Toolkit benefits, you also get a staging environment to test new features before they go live.

No scalability

3. Not planning for scalability

Any online business aims to get the biggest customer base possible. So naturally, it’s important for your website to be built in such a way that you can later scale. For example, having enough server power to handle a surge in traffic. And having efficient data backup to manage mass information flow. Note that it’s always better to account for this from the start because it will become very difficult to upgrade a website at the last minute.

Plesk’s control panel works as a scaling tool, allowing businesses to grow over time. Hosting providers can manage their clients and servers across different infrastructure setups, even tailoring it to their business needs.

Accessibility

4. Failing to account for accessibility

In an age where users can access a website from any OS, browser, or device – we all need to make sure we’re available everywhere and to everyone. It would be quite damaging if a business website is designed in such a way that it loses compatibility with, say, iOS devices. Because this essentially eliminates an entire section of potential customers interested in your services. So make sure any device, OS and browser can access your website.

Website Audit

5. Forgetting to undertake a website audit

Website audits are a full analysis of all the different issues that may impact your website’s visibility in a search engine. This is especially important when considering marketing campaigns, because a website audit can help your business uncover weak factors that impact performance.

SEO

6. Skipping SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process where one optimizes their websites so as to receive higher natural rankings in search engine results. And with the online market becoming increasingly more competitive, SEO is a key tool for business to stand out.

Not implementing SEO on a website relegates it to lower position on a search results page, meaning that business can miss out on a considerable number of potential customers. Since SEO can be quite extensive, we recommend that beginners install the SEO Toolkit on Plesk to get started and get found online.

Sitemap

7. Ditching the sitemap

A site map is essentially a list of pages that make up a website and is considered a tool for search engine bots to crawl your website and index it. When a page gets indexed, it makes it more easily searchable in a search engine, thereby increasing its visibility. Therefore, if you don’t submit a sitemap to a search engine, you’re effectively limiting your website’s visibility.

Marketing strategy

8. Not having a marketing strategy

Choose your content carefully as it sets the tone for your brand, but make sure it ties in well with your marketing strategy. No marketing strategy makes sales attempts messy. If your mission doesn’t make sense to your potential customers, they’ll find it difficult to engage with your brand. Meaning that ultimately, they won’t convert.

Ignoring analytics- 10 Website Launch Mistakes - Plesk

9. Ignoring Analytics

Website analytics give businesses valuable insights about their audience, like age, location, and preferences. They can also reveal visitor behaviour, like each website session’s duration, which pages are the most popular and how a visitor arrives at your site. Use this to build a complete profile of your target customer so you can cater to their needs better with your product, service and content.

Social proof

10. Forgetting your social proof

When it comes to online businesses, everyone looks for proof of its legitimacy before engaging further. These include client testimonials, means of contact, including physical addresses and actual phone numbers, and most importantly active social profiles. Businesses who focus so hard on the actual product that they forget their social community, end up losing customers to competitors. Perhaps competitors who were more engaged.

As you can see, launching a business website isn’t as simple as plugging in and hitting the ‘on’ switch. You need to plan for all of the above and more well in advance. Since they all have the potential to increase customer traffic and your overall business success.

Do you agree with all the points we mentioned above? Have we missed anything? Your opinion counts. Let us know in the comments below!

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New Plesk Extensions on the Loose: April Edition

New Plesk Extensions

Every month, we release new extensions into our Plesk catalog. Ones that let you expand the platform’s versatility and customize it according to your needs. With more tools and features, you’ll get even more help growing your business and offering a better service to your customers.

RcodeZero Anycast DNS

You can use this extension to improve your domains’ availability across the world. Want to be accessed anywhere globally? Then pick and choose the domains you want to sync to the RcodeZero Secondary-DNS.

A 24/7 operations center provides round-the-clock support. And the DNS Anycast service is available in 6 continents with more than 20 locations. With unlimited DNS queries and support for all DNS resource record types, the world is your oyster.

Throw in DDoS mitigation service and 2 independent Anycast-clouds, and you’re looking at a highly reliable, performant and extremely secure web service for your domains.

Revisium Antivirus for Websites

Revisium Antivirus for Websites

A fully-featured malware scanner, absolutely free? Yes. Then throw in premium features like scheduled check-ups and one-click automated cleanup, and you’ve got one of the best antivirus offerings on the market.

The Revisium Antivirus extension supports sites running on WordPress, Joomla!, Magento, Drupal, MODx, Bitrix, as well as any PHP-based CMS and static HTML websites. It will help keep your site safe from any type of malicious backdoors and viruses, webshells and hackers’ tools, blackhat SEO pages and phishing pages.

The premium version offers one-click automated malware cleanup, and both scheduled and on-demand website checks. Detailed reports complement the offering. Then there’s the free version of the Revisium Antivirus which packs useful aspects, including a full-feature malware scanner.

Plesk Advisor

Ok, so not exactly new, but expanded site-wide and revamped. Out with old Security Advisor and in with Plesk Advisor. Advisor is your one-stop-shop for active and passive maintenance of your server. The little owl is your virtual assistant that constantly monitors your servers and consolidates issues and recommended resolutions. All to keep your servers and hosted websites spry.

Advisor regularly rates your server for diligent maintenance. And it automatically scans your server for any issues or threats regularly, while giving you recommendations to resolve any open issues. This extension also prioritizes the most urgent actions for you. Significantly easing the burden on your decision-making.

This extension rolled out with the new Plesk Onyx version in March. See what’s new on the platform after the latest update.

SEO Toolkit

Now this is what was missing from Plesk. The features we provide in the SEO Toolkit set it apart from the competition. Not many competitors offer server-based logfile analyzer, or a free base plan to get you started on your SEO journey.

Add site audit and rank tracker features, and couple those with a dedicated SEO advisor, and you have a winning combination of SEO power tools to rocket your website to the top of SERPs. 

This major SEO extension is yet another New Plesk Onyx feature born during the March update. Find out more about how the SEO Toolkit can benefit your sites and business here.

In the meantime, that’s a wrap from us this month. Stay tuned for another extension rundown in the May edition.