WordPress is popular
If you already have a WordPress website, you are not alone. It is the world’s favourite CMS (Content Management System). If you are thinking of creating your first website, WordPress is a good choice. Here is a checklist of tips to help you get better results from the software.
WordPress was launched in 2003. A entire industry has grown around it, in terms of theme developers, plugin creators and support specialists.
Google loves WordPress
Google search loves WordPress websites, as long as you follow the advice below regarding themes, plugins, loading speed, content etc.
WordPress was originally created by Matt Mullenweg as a blogging platform, so it revolves around content creation.
WordPress is a first class content creation platform. Google loves content. Particularly new content. Therefore, WordPress and Google are symbiotic, as long as you are a content creator.
A WordPress theme provides the look and feel of your website. This includes layout, images, brand colours, fonts etc.
It is super important, from an SEO point of view, that your website displays properly within smartphones and other mobile devices.
Why is this the case?
Because Google has a mobile first indexing policy.
Google begins by looking at the mobile version of your site and it then ranks your website.
So here is a top tip: ensure that the WordPress theme that you choose is responsive. ‘Responsive’ means that the theme will work on mobile devices.
Secondly, begin by designing your website for mobile. Ensure that it works on smartphones and other mobile devices first.
There are thousands of themes available. Many are free and some are paid for.
When you load WordPress for the first time, you should find a free theme within Appearance / Themes.
An example being: Twenty Twenty-One.
I have used this theme (and previous versions) in several of my websites and it works well. For example my MailChimp training in-house and open courses website was built in Twenty Seventeen. It looks fine, loads quickly and is responsive.
There are tens of thousands of WordPress plugins available and more are being created every day.
Popular plugins include Akismet (anti-spam); forms (numerous plugins offer form creation capabilities including Formidable and Ninja Forms); Google Analytics (so that you can get analytics working throughout your site): Jetpack (site performance and many helpful features); Mailchimp (email marketing); Yoast (which helps with SEO); and WooCommerce (ecommerce).
When you think of something that you would like to do within your website, you may well investigate the plugin options. I know, as I have eight WordPress websites.
The challenges of having too many plugins start with website loading speed, as plugins can slow your site down.
Bear in mind that loading speed is a Google SEO ranking factor.
Look for plugins that have had a large number of downloads (i.e. 1 million+) and that have a good star rating.
There are numerous plugins which will help with SEO. For example Yoast, which is straightforward to use. You can enter the Title Tag and Description Tag via Yoast. Title Tags are read by Google and well written Description Tags (although they are not read by Google), help with click through rates.
Minimise the size of your images files. This will help with page loading speed. It will also help to provide a better experience for your website visitors.
For PNG and JPG files I recommend TinyPNG.
In addition, you could try installing an image compression plugin.
Website loading speed
This is a significant SEO ranking factor. Your WordPress website should load quickly. You can find out how it is performing by using the Uptrends website speed test.
Write a blog
This may be the reason that you are interested in WordPress. After all, it was originally launched as a blog platform.
However, many WordPress websites do not contain a blog. This is an opportunity missed, as Google loves a blogger.
If you are blogging as part of your SEO strategy, it is better to write long form posts (like this one).
Enable Comments and always respond to comments. Visitors to your website are more likely to return, if they have interacted with you, via comments. You are welcome to comment on this post, by the way. 🙂
Promote your blogs via social media
* If you include a ‘Featured image’ within your WordPress blog, the image will display properly in LinkedIn, Twitter etc.
* When you share a post in LinkedIn, add 1st degree contacts’ names; they will be alerted and are likely to comment
* When your social media contacts comment on your blog, respond to their comments
* Include social media sharing buttons within your blog, just like I do
Social media interactions can help your SEO results, by the way.
PS Nigel Temple offers WordPress training and a WordPress website TurboCharge session.