November 8, 2010 Author: Jessica
Have you been thinking about setting up your own WordPress site? Talking to other WordPress users, the general consensus is it’s easy! All you do is install and start blogging. Well that is true but everyone who sets up a WordPress site should be familiar with plug-ins.
Plug-ins are what I call enhancements to WordPress. They are like extra tools to make your site better, custom and SEO friendly. Only two plugins come with a standard installation and even these plugins can be removed if you don’t want or need them. Plugins are completely up to you. In this blog entry I’m going to discuss the four “must have” plugins.
The first plugin I recommend is Askimet. This plugin comes standard with every WordPress installation. Askimet works to block spam comments on your blog. Activating this tool is pretty straight forward. In the plugins section, click Activate under Askimet. Then go HERE for your key (this does require you to signup). Keys for Personal Blogs are free and non-personal keys are between $5-$15 per year. After submitting basic information for your type of blog an email is sent to you with the key. Back in WordPress there will be a red box at the top t of the page asking for the key. Enter the information and you’re done. Your blog is now protected from spam comments.
The rest of the plugins I’m going to refer to do not come pre-installed on WordPress. You must find them and install them manually. Don’t worry this process is easier than it sounds. There are two options for installing plugins.
1. In the WordPress plugin page, there is a search for additional plugins box. Type in the name of the plugin you want, click search and select install on the plugin you were looking for.
2. Outside of the WordPress admin console, locate and download the plugin you want. Then FTP the unzipped files to yoursite.com/web/content/wp-theme/plugins. Login to the WordPress Admin Console, navigate to the Plugins page and there is your plugin.
The Social Networking plugin that I recommend installing is AddToAny: Share/Bookmark/Email Button. This plugin adds a button to your blog posts that allows readers to share the posts on multiple Social Networking sites (like, twitter, facebook, etc) It’s a great way to let users help you get your blog noticed.
There are two SEO plugins that I would suggest to every blog user; Meta SEO and Google Sitemap Generator. Meta SEO helps you manage and add meta tags to your blog posts. After activating this plugin you’ll notice a new category in the left navigation of the WordPress Admin Console “Meta SEO”. This is where you manage your tags. To add tags to posts, either add a new post or edit an existing post. Scroll down beneath the content area of the post and you’ll see new features called Meta Keywords, Meta Tags, and Meta Descriptions, which is where specific post SEO information goes.
The other plugin, Google Sitemap Generator, does just that; it appends new posts information to an existing sitemap.xml and sitemap.xml.zip file. Before this plugin is activated, you need to create a blank sitemap.xml and a blank sitemap.xml.zip files to upload to your site. Place these files here: yoursite.com/web/content/. Activate the plugin and submit this xml file to Google Webmaster tools.
I have recommended four basic and very helpful plugins that every WordPress site should have; Askimet, AddToAny: Share/Bookmark/Email Button, Meta SEO, and Google Sitemap Generator. Although there are thousands of plugin out there, from my experience these four are the foundation to improving your blog.
Do you use any plugins similar to these? What are your core plugins?
September 28, 2010 Author: Jessica
SEO (search engine optimization) is essential to generate and manage website traffic. There are many questions about enhancing your website’s traffic with SEO. I’ve picked four great starting points to improve your SEO situation.
1. Robots.txt is a simple text file that helps manage search engine crawlers indexing your site and what to crawl or not to crawl. Search engine spiders are programmed to look for this file. The suggested location for the robots.txt in the same directory as your index file; generally the root directory.
Having your entire site crawled is not always necessary. Keeping crawlers away from unfinished pages benefits the site by preventing unfinished work displaying in search engines. Other areas of a site that isn’t necessary to index would be the following: directories with thank you or error pages, files that contain sensitive data (but not sensitive enough to password protect), and doorway pages. Setting up a robots.txt is a convenient and easy way to improve your website ranking and protect your site from being labeled as a “spam” site.
How to write robots.txt: http://www.outfront.net/tutorials_02/adv_tech/robots.htm
2. Sitemap.xml is a file that allows crawlers to index your site on a more advanced level. This XML file “draws a map” of your site enabling search engine spiders to help accurately rank sites and perform more accurate searches. Creating a sitemap.xml file can be done multiple ways. There are free sitemap.xml generators for smaller sites and Google Webmaster Tools can generate maps for larger sites. Once the file is created it is recommended to make an entry in the robots.txt file that informs spiders where the sitemap.xml file is located.
Free Sitemap.xml generator: http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/
3. Google Analytics is a free tool that has multiple uses. One feature is seeing which keywords are actually creating user traffic. This will allow you (or your marketing team) to improve keyword optimization. The better keywords you have the more web traffic you’ll have, which in the retail world can lead to more sales. Another feature is viewing which pages are getting the most traffic, which pages are creating high revenue, and which pages have a high bounce rate. Knowing page traffic will tell you where you should place important information and which pages need to be reworked. The last feature I’ll be talking about is who are your website visitors? Google Analytics will track new and returning visitors, geography location and referral sources. Understanding the geography of your visitors allows you to make smarter web decisions. For example, you wouldn’t sell snowmobile parts if your biggest audience is located in the Southern United States.
4. Google Webmaster Tools is a free tool that ties all the previous information together. From submitting your sitemap.xml, analyzing the robot.txt file, and improving your Inbound Linking Quality Score; why wouldn’t you want this tool in your toolbox of tricks? Instead of waiting for a Google to find your site, you can submit information to Google. Submitting information also gives you feed back of any errors and status updates with sitemap.xml and robots.txt files.
Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools can be integrated. When you setup Google Analytics you can submit this information to Google Webmaster Tools, putting more information in one spot.
Google’s ranking algorithm uses Inbound Linking Quality Score, which can be improved with relevant keywords in anchor texts. Google Webmaster Tools gives you the ability to see your Quality Score and analysis needed to improve this score. The benefits and features of Google Webmaster Tools are endless. So why wouldn’t you use this free and easy to setup tool?
Google Webmaster Tools: http://ask.enquiro.com/2008/why-you-should-use-google-webmaster-tools/
So there you have it. Four easy and free tools to help you get started with your SEO adventure. There are many SEO options, some are free some are not. Finding what works best for you depends on your goal, target audience and resources that you’re willing to use.
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