About To Launch A WordPress Site? Here’s What You Need To Know About SEO
For a long time, I used to come across the word “WordPress” and its logo everywhere and I just assumed it to be a self-made making medicine that cures all ills; I was so functionally illiterate about what it is and how it is used but the more education I got on Search Engine Optimization, the more understanding I had of WordPress. It is probably the most used blogging and website content management system everywhere in the world. It is so popular if I ditched the word probably in my initial sentence, I would still be right.
WordPress is simply an online, open source website creation tool written in PHP, since its existence, website building and designing stopped being a strictly geek business affair and an everyday fun thing, so much so that you and I can successfully launch our blogs and sites with minimal technical efforts since it requires virtually no code writing or any special understanding of HTML. After choosing from the myriad of themes available on it to form the beautiful site designs you see on most blogs every day, your site is hosted on the WordPress platform, WordPress.com. This means you have no need for special hosting since your site simply runs on WordPress servers. There is no need for high proficiency in web designing; plus it is free. All it costs you is internet connection; but as simple and efficient as that sounds, WordPress is not really the install and run solution you think it is.
We often think it is a Search Engine Optimization tool that is ready made, this is not to say it is not the easiest CMS option. It is and still remains so which informs the reason more than half of the sites that run content management systems (CMS) utilize WordPress. It is versatile, easy to use and you can customize to your taste with the help of the countless plugins compatible with it and the themes on it.
These merits are things that make users believe that hosting your site on WordPress automatically creates Search Engine Optimization. This is absolutely not true. WordPress works but you have to get it working and put in other efforts to maximize search engine visibility. There are a number of easy and not too technical ways through which you can enhance your search potentials.
The first, like I mentioned before is to keep in mind that WordPress is not a use off the box tool. It is designed for optimum functionality only after you have put in your own efforts. There are lots of benefits you can get from WordPress, one of which is the use of themes. With an array of themes to choose from you do not need to design your web architecture from the scratch. Using the themes are also much easier because you do not need to write codes which is what every layman dreads the most; plus they are mobile compatible.
These features sound amazing but there are a number of things WordPress won’t do intuitively. One of which is the ability to cache automatically. Word Press does not cache which could make load time painfully slow. That, of course, does not augur well in a world where everything moves fast. Users always want a fast experience. It is therefore necessary to install plugins that enable caching. W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, Quick Cache, Hyper Cahe, WP Fastest Cache are examples of plugins that can make loading time faster even when users process lots of content on your site.
Another minus is that the permalink settings on WordPress are not optimized. The permalinks have to be adjusted to make your site’s URL easy to access. So there is need to edit the default permalink structure to something readable and ‘spellable,’ this will make it more user and search friendly. However if you need to change the permalinks of an existing site on WordPress, just changing it without first setting up 301 directs will result to 404 errors which will no doubt cause loss of traffic to your site. In order not to lose your visitors, make sure you set up a 301 redirect before you change your permalinks on an existing site. Finally, the XML sitemaps that updates when and how the site changes and how important a page is in relation to other pages are not automatically updated.
The second important thing has to do with your themes. The themes on WordPress are as numerous as you want them. The aesthetically pleasing pages can make your website look really beautiful just within minutes of applying it. Not to forget that many of the themes available on WordPress are free. Now, away from the beautiful architecture you will get; not every theme is search engine optimization friendly which a lot of themes claim to be. Themes will not make your site search optimized; only contents of high quality can. However there are a number of factors to consider when choosing a theme. The first and most important is speed. Whatever choice you make must be one that will load quickly. This is important if your site should be search friendly. A light weight code is another plus. Most amateur themes seem to have the consistent feature of bloated codes. Such stressful coding or even mistakes in the coding can make your site really slow.
Advisably, find a theme that has compact code even if it will come at extra cost. In recent times, themes are developed in HTML5 which is best for search engine optimization. The only clause with HTML5 themes is the multiple H1tags they feature. Your theme should also be mobile responsive. It is essential that your site be mobile optimized, so pick a theme that has built-in responsive capabilities. Lastly on theme, it is important to use a theme that supports schema input. Divi, Extra, Nexus, nimble, Fusion, and Explorable are just a few of the beautiful themes you can get on the WordPress themes gallery.
Search engine optimization plugins is another major one to consider. They are wonderful tools that help you customize here and there, help you add extra functions whether primary or secondary that your WordPress out-of-the box did not provide. They help you do search engine optimization but they do not really optimize your site. Plugins are quite easy to use since you do not need to write or access codes nor do you need any development knowledge to use plugins. All you need do is install them and they provide the extra functionality you need on your site.
All these features apply to SEO plugins but their functionality sometimes call for questioning. An SEO plugin might claim to optimize meta descriptions of your site but it is still necessary for you to write the meta description. Whatever results they bring, it is still highly recommended that you use SEO plugins. Yoast plugin is one of the many SEO plugins you can use. Yoast offers you a wide range of features that makes your web optimized. It focuses on key testing, gives breadcrumb support, and allows permalink cleanups while still allowing Google Custom Search, among other things.
The SEO All in One Pack is another effective plugin you can use. The plugin automatically optimizes your title for Google and other search engine among other functions of automatically generating meta tags, fine tuning your page navigational links and avoiding common issues of duplicate content found on WordPress blogs. The All in One SEO Pack also creates support for CMS style WordPress installations. You do not have to be a geek to use this plugin because it can be easily used with or without search engine optimization knowledge. All you need to do is install and it works for you. There is the opportunity to fine tune certain options for those who are advanced users of SEO.
Getting beautiful themes and installing plugins might be a good start to making your site search optimized but you really have to wield the control button. If you are a new WordPress owner, apart from the points earlier mentioned, there are other recommendations you have to take seriously. Make efforts to put good content on your page, I mean every of your page and when you have optimized every main page of your site, still produce more contents, contents that remain relevant even in changing times and trends, blog articles, guides, tutorials and so on. Articles that have more than 1000 words seem to do better than those that have less. Such articles get indexed, ranked and get faster and more traffic than the short ones.
Also learn more about SEO at every opportunity you have. The more understanding you get of SEO, the easier things get for you.
Lastly, plugins can be very tempting, one enhancement comes after the other and you want to use all you can. They are quite helpful but they can also slow you down when you use too many of them because they can add a lot of weight. You won’t want a slow site speed; so use minimal number of plugins. However don’t forget that WordPress makes your job of sharing content easy but it does not guarantee you a top spot when top ranking sites are ranked. You will get there though, know your SEO inside out, choose and adjust your plugins and cook up fascinating contents. You will get there.