Many of our clients have asked us to redesign their websites using the WordPress platform. It makes it easier for them to log in and make the updates they need right away as opposed to waiting for the “web guy”. Keeping websites fresh with new content keeps your Google rankings moving in the right direction and allows you to achieve better organic rankings.
So being many of my clients have asked me the same batch of questions on how to get the most out of WordPress, I figured why not write a quick little post helping you get started on the right path towards success.
One of the first things you should do is setup your permalinks correctly. If you’ve already went ahead and started blogging or creating pages, you’ll see the links created by WordPress look something like this:
Looking at that you can tell right away that SEO is not the main focus. In order to fix that, all you need to do is got to your Dashboard > Settings > Permalinks. Select the post name option, which should look like the following:
Doing this will set your URLs to show the titles of your pages or posts, benefitting your SEO and should look like this:
Google Sitemap Generator
This is an awesome plug-in created by Google that generates XML Sitemap of your WordPress blog. Just install the plug-in, activate, and a sitemap is auto-generated and updated with each blog post. The file wil be placed in the root directory of your site and called “sitemap.xml”. You can then submit this sitemap using Google’s Webmaster Tools.
All In One SEO
This plugin is great in making sure all of your posts are setup for maximum SEO exposure. Once installed and activated, go to the settings page for All In One SEO and make sure all the initial information is setup – main site title, description and keywords. Once that is complete, every post should now have text fields near the bottom allowing you to input the title, description and keywords. This is essential in getting the most bang for your buck, especially for sites that include a blog solely to generate Google rankings.
Feedburner / Feedsmith Plug-in
The Feedburner / Feedsmith Plug-in detects all ways to access your original WordPress feeds and redirects them to your FeedBurner account so you can track every possible subscriber. Just another way to keep tabs on your site’s performance.
Jetpack WordPress.com Plugin
Jetpack has become a very popular widget and gives you a slew of plugins all in one. In order to use Jetpack, you will need to create a WordPress.com account, but it only take a few minutes, and you can name it after your site’s URL. After you’ve done that, install the Jetpack plugin and activate it by typing in your login information from the WordPress.com account you just created. Now that you’re all setup, you can take advantage of two important plugins Jetpack offers:
Site Stats does just what it’s called. It is automatically installed onto your dashboard and it will tell you how many views your site had, what pages were visited and keywords searched in Google that brought the visitor to your site. A quick overview of your site right on your dashboard is very important and can help you setup even more advanced SEO options to help your rankings.
Sharing allows you to add the most common social networking icons to any aspect of your WordPress site. All you need to do is go to Dashboard > Settings > Sharing and drag and drop which social networks you would like to be used by your visitors to help share your information. Check off what areas of your site they should appear in and you’re ready to go. Simple and easy.
In closing, this is not and end all for your site, but a very good starting point and the basics you need in order to get your site setup correctly and efficiently. As the life of your site gets older, you will be able to fine tune certain plugins and options, helping you grab your main demographic in Google and any other sites you need to make an impact on.