11 Essential WordPress Plugins for New Blogs | WordStream

WordPress Automatic Upgrade: WordPress updates pretty frequently, and older versions are vulnerable to hackers. WordPress Automatic Upgrade automatically updates you to the latest version of WordPress so you’re site is secure and up-to-date. And believe me, the last thing you want is to find out your site is infected with malware.

Ultimate Google Analytics: Gives you access to Google Analytics so you can the lowdown on all your site traffic data (which keyword people are using to find your website to which posts are the most visited, etc) and also get in-depth insights into your blog’s overall performance.

Askimet: Comes standard with every WordPress install, but you still need to activate it. Askimet protects your blog from comment spam and will delete any comments from your comment inbox that appear to be spam and are more than a month old.

Headspace: Now, some folks are partial to other SEO plugins, but I love Headspace because it enables you to easily manage a spectrum of SEO tasks. What really makes Headspace stand out are customizations options–such as the ability to drag and drop page modules (like meta tags)–to more advanced site modules, like displaying custom messages to first time visitors.

Breadcrumbs: Easily adds breadcrumb navigation to your site template, giving users more navigational choices and promotes better internal flow of link juice for SEO. NOTE: when adding the code for the breadcrumbs plugin, be sure to add it in the single.php file and immediately below <!–Begin Post–> for best results.

Robots Meta: Makes it easy to allow and disallow the search engines from indexing particular pages. You can create and edit your robots.txt and .htaccess from within your WordPress plugins dashboard and prevent dupe content and pages like internal search results and those pesky author archives from showing up in the SERPs.

Google XML Sitemap Generator: Generates a XML sitemap of your WordPress blog so it’s quicker and easier for engines to find (and index) every page on your site.

WordPress Database Backup: I’m sure you backup your WordPress files regularly, right? RIGHT!?!? If not, you really want to download the WordPress Database Backup plugin, which creates backups of your core WordPress tables as well as other tables of your choice within the same database.

Linkwithin: Increase page views and user engagement with this slick related posts plugin. Linkwithin is my favorite blog widget that links to related stories from your blog archive, pulling both links AND thumbnail images.

Social Sharing Plugins: For me, it’s a tossup between Share and Follow or SexyBookmarks. Bottom line is you want to include a means for users to share your content easily and these two are my favorite social bookmarking plugins. Share and Follow is more conventional, with its static row of social icons, while SexyBookmarks’ sharing icons are animated when you mouse over them.

Super Cache: When Matt Cutts recommends a WordPress plugin, you should probably take heed. This plugin improves site and page speed loading time by creating a cached version of your page in HTML (without having to access PHP), which lets you serve your visitors quickly. And since site speed is now a ranking signal in the Google algos, you should do what it takes to make your blog load faster.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure you update your plugins when you’re prompted to in WordPress. Out-of-date plugins are vulnerable to hackers. Also, be sure to delete any unused plugins, like the crummy “Hello Dolly” plugin that comes standard.

via 11 Essential WordPress Plugins for New Blogs | WordStream.

How to Search Engine Optimize WordPress

How to Search Engine Optimize WordPress
SEO Factors

1. Title tag

Title tag or the article title is one of the most important SEO parameters. That is what appears as the title of the post in search engine result pages (SERPs) and hence you should make sure that it’s relevant, has keywords, is neither too long nor too short, and accurately conveys what the content is all about.

2. Meta description

The meta description for your blog or a blog post is a short description that appears below the content title in SERPs. If the description is precise and informative, a user is more likely to click on the post title and hence end up on your site.

3. Content

Content, obviously, is the heart and soul of SEO. Great content can attract attention and links, and hence search engines would prefer showcasing it too. Plus, it is what your readers would like to read, isn’t it?

4. Keywords

Having a general understanding of keywords (words, sentences, or phrases) relevant to the content on your site and how to use them properly always helps.

5. Web host

The web host is what your site calls home and where the Googlebot comes knocking on the door whenever you publish articles. Hence, be careful while choosing a host for your site.

6. Site loading speed

Site loading speed is something bloggers recently started focusing on when Google announced that it would be treated as one of the ranking factors. The faster your site loads, the better.

7. Robots.txt

Robots.txt is a text file on your server that tells search engine bots what to index and what to skip. It’s better to create one and place it in your root directory. Here’s a guide to create a simple robots.txt file.

8. Sitemaps

A sitemap is basically a list of pages or URLs that the search engine’s crawler can access. Ideally, you should have both XML and HTML sitemaps on your site. WordPress users can use Google XML Sitemaps plugin to create an XML one.

9. Permalinks

The default permalink structure in WordPress isn’t that good. You can customize permalinks according to your preferences and for better search engine optimization.

10. Headings and Post Slugs

Headings and sub-headings in an article are important for readers as well as for search engines. Use them wisely. Regarding post slugs, you should make them short and keyword-rich (don’t overdo it though).

SEO Tools

1. Plugins

WordPress bloggers have this advantage when it comes to SEO. They can select from a wide range of SEO plugins that are built for WordPress. Some of the popular ones are All in one SEO, Platinum SEO, and Robots Meta. There are many more.

2. Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools let you know if Google is able to successfully crawl your blog, and about other issues it might encounter with your site. Upload your sitemap in the webmaster dashboard to get started. It is recommended though that you do it only after your site has some content.

3. Browser Extensions

There are a lot of browser extensions that help you to analyze your WordPress blog and optimize it better for search engines. SEO Site tools for Chrome and SeoQuake for Firefox are two of them that I use myself.

4. Google Adwords Keywords Tool

The Google Adwords Keywords Tool can show you the keywords relevant to your article along with the number of times they are searched for every month.

5. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a must-use tool for WordPress bloggers. Apart from showing general traffic stats, it’ll tell you what search engine keywords are driving traffic to your site, which you could further capitalize on.

Other SEO Tips

1. Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs refer to a chain of links that directs a visitor back to the main page. You could install Yoast Breadcrumbs for WordPress to get them on your blog.

2. 404 pages

404 or “Not Found” pages shouldn’t be ignored. Use them to lead the visitor to other parts of your blog. Here’s a guide to creating great 404 pages for WordPress.

3. Images

When it comes to images, you need to keep in mind mainly the alt and title tags (apart from relevancy of course). Descriptive alt tags are recommended by Google.

4. Linking

Linking to your own blog posts as well to other blogs not only provides more information to your readers, but is a good SEO step too. Do it as often as possible.

5. Anchor text

Anchor text refers to the text on the page which is being linked to a different page. The more connected the text is to the link, the better it is for your blog and the other page.

How Much Should You Focus on Search Engine Optimizing?

If you are newbie when it comes to WordPress and SEO, you might find all this a bit overwhelming. Well, SEO is a time-consuming process so I won’t say that you could get it done quickly. But here’s the thing: Don’t consume your days tweaking your site just for the search engines. You should instead focus on producing great content and building relationships.

While SEO is important, it depends on the content and not vice-versa. If the content is good and you can promote it well, it will attract links automatically.

Hope you found the above on-site optimization tips for WordPress useful. Do share your SEO tips in the comments.

via How to Search Engine Optimize WordPress | The Netsetter.

How to Make Money With Your WordPress Blog : Wealthy Affiliate Blog

How to Make Money With Your WordPress Blog

How to Make Money With WordPress: Don’t be boring!

There is nothing worse than reading lame content.  People tend to like reading things as though you are having a conversation with them.  This is what is known as “conversational speak”.  For example, the way I am talking to you right now is much more engaging than if I were to refer to you in technical terms.

Lame speak:

“People online make money with their WordPress blogs by an affiliate program that matches their content.”

Conversational speak:

“If you really want to make some money with your WordPress blogs, you need to consider who your customer is.  For example, say I am “Joe Blow” looking for a solution to get rid of a mole on my forehead.  What sort of program would I be looking for?  What sort of products will remove a mole and is there anything that is natural that can cover this up without me having to consider surgery?

Answer your potential customers’ questions or they will mozy along to a site that does.”

Write interesting content and people will actually read it.  If people want to read a technical definition of something they will go to Wikipedia.   Help people understand stuff and relate to things by talking to them as though you would your mom or your best friend.

How to Make Money With WordPress: Writing Should be FUN, relevant and unique!

How to Make Money With WordPress: Making Money From Your Traffic

The most effective ways to earn a significant amount of money from your WordPress traffic are:

(1) Affiliate Programs

There are many types of commission structured affiliate programs, but amongst the top are are Cost Per Sale and Cost Per Acquisition.  The most common is CPS which is usually commission % based, which includes networks like:

But there are also many networks know that pay per action.  For example an action could be someone filling out a form, taking advantage of a free offer, or filling out a survey.  Many affiliates are making a ton of money with both styles of affiliate programs, leveraging their WordPress blogs to do so.

I recommend that if you aren’t already part of them, you seek out these top networks for affiliate programs that are relevant to your “niche”.  Many pay very well and will be a nice inclusion on your WP blog posts.

(2) Google Adsense and Content Networks

Adding Google Adsense or adding ads from other ad networks to your blog can be a great way to earn money.  If someone clicks on the ads that are displayed on your page, you earn money.   We recommend using Adsense for this, but there are other ad networks that work well.  They include:

(3) Selling your own STUFF

There are many ways that you can sell your own products and services (or info) online.  If you have tangible products or used goods, you can use the following to sell them:

http://ebay.com
http://paypal.com

There are built-in plugins in WordPress that allow you to easily incorporate your eBay listings into your blog or to add a Paypal Payment feature on your blog.

Say you have a bunch of info on something and you think others would find it valuable and pay for it.  Maybe you know a lot about golf, maybe you know how to get rid of acne naturally…people pay for this stuff.  Create a PDF, and then put it on the Clickbank network as a merchant.

http://www.clickbank.com/sell_products.html (more…)

Online Demo | FlippingBook WordPress Gallery Plugin

FlippingBook WordPress Gallery Plugin

FlippingBook WordPress Gallery Plugin is a full integrated image gallery plugin for WordPress with page flipping effect. Allows you to create flash books with page flip effect directly from the administrator panel via a specifically designed interface.

Page Flip Image Gallery WordPress Plugin (Free GPL Version)

Limitations of the Free GPL Version

  • Contains the copyright label

Reqirements: WordPress 2.5 and higher ONLY

Download File
Size: 1MB

via Online Demo | FlippingBook WordPress Gallery Plugin.

SEO for WordPress – The Complete Guide

SEO for WordPress – The Complete Guide

Quick Facts

  1. There are 55 million blogs out there, if you don’t stand out you will have no chance.
  2. The first second of a visitors attention is the most crucial.
  3. Your main traffic should come to articles and posts inside your blog, not the home page.
  4. Search engine rankings relies heavily upon the quality and quantity of links to your blog when they determine the ranking.
  5. The best way to get links is by natural recommendations from other bloggers or web site owners.

Section 1: Optimize Your Blog

Usually the WordPress themes are well designed and structured already but there are a number of things you really should do to improve it for better optimization for search engines.

Using the best URLs

To enable the permalinks is easy and you have probably already done that, just go to Options -> Permalinks in the admin panel. But what format is the best to choose? The structure /%postname%/ – nothing else. This is best because your URLs to your articles should never change. And if you have it like this it does not matter if you change the category of the article or republish it with a new date, it will always be the same URL (more about that later). And if you happen to have two posts with the same title it is not a problem as WordPress will automatically add “-2″ in the end.

Have you been using the wrong format? Well, if your blog is not totally new you should not change. It is not vital and for the next time you make a blog you know how to make it right.

Handling URL Canonization

Every WordPress blog has an issue in which there are 4 different URLs for the same post and this has to be fixed to prevent dilution. Follow my guide on how to fix it here.

Title Tags

The title tag is the most important HTML-tag in terms of SEO.

Here are different versions you should use inside the <title></title> located in theme/header.php

Optimum ranking:
<?php if(is_home()) { echo 'Your blogs name | Few important words'; } else { wp_title('') ;} ?>

For branding purposes:
<?php if(is_home()) { echo 'Your blogs name | Few important words'; } else { echo 'Your blogs name:'; wp_title('') ;} ?>

The best title tag solution for advanced users

Either install and properly use the SEO Title Tag plugin or do the following:

  1. Download and install this plugin.
  2. Replace <?php get_header(); ?> with the context in header.php on single.php, page.php and category.php.
  3. Work out the best titles for the different versions and use the plugin to create different versions of category.php and single.php with their own versions of title tags. For example if your category with ID 5 is “SEO News” you could have the following title tag in single-cat-5.php:
    <title>SEO News: <?php { wp_title('') ;} ?></title>
    In category.php you could have: <title><?php { wp_title('') ;} ?> | Your Name</title>

Headings

Headings are defined by HTML with H1 (largest) to H6 (smallest). You need to use them in your articles when you write. Your article title should be in a main heading (H1), sub headings with H2 and small headings with H3.

Make sure that in theme/single.php this code <?php the_title(); ?> is wrapped in H1 so that it looks like:
<h1><?php the_title(); ?></h1>

If your theme designer already used a specific CSS design for the heading tags you can do like this:

  1. Open up theme/single.php and add <div class=”singleheadings”> to the top after <?php get_header(); ?> and </div> to the bottom before <?php get_footer(); ?>.
  2. Add then add for example the following lines of CSS to your CSS file:
    .singleheadings h1 {font-size:XXpx;font-family:XX}
    .singleheadings h2 {font-size:XXpx;font-family:XX}
    .singleheadings h3 {font-size:XXpx;font-family:XX}

You can change your quicktags by for example using this file instead (also add H2 to the file) so that you easily can insert heading tags when you write.

Navigation

Most of the link power is coming to the home page of your blog and gets distributed evenly among the rest of the links on that page. So in additional to having a good navigation structure for your visitors also do the following:

  • Have links to the most important articles and pages from your home page. That can easily be achieved by making a category with your best articles and using the WP Category Post plugin to make a list of them on the index.php file.
  • Install the Related Posts plugin and have your articles link to similar articles.
  • Also link yourself to previous articles you have written.
  • Place the attribute rel=”nofollow” on links that are totally useless for search engines such as to RSS feeds for the blog and comment links. In case you want to remove the nofollow on the comment links make sure you check the author links before approval as it is important that you don’t link to bad sites from your blog.
  • You should not have hundreds of external links on the home page, if you have that I recommend that you place them on a separate page.

Site Map

A Site Map is where your visitors go to navigate and find specific articles and posts on your blog. It is also a place for search engines to find links to all your pages on your blog.

Use my article on how to make an automatic WordPresss Site Map and add one for your blog. I prefer that you make the first version in the guide.

What about a Google Sitemap?

It is not needed. There is no reason for a WordPress blog with a proper navigation structure to submit a Google Sitemap other than for information purposes. A Google Sitemap does not improve your ranking, only crawling, and that is not a problem.

Design

Everyone has different tastes about design but here are points to think about when you design your blog:

  • Keep the design simple, very simple.
  • Have the body text big with big and clear headings.
  • For some reason blogs are not liked in the big social network sites (like digg, reddit etc) so make your theme unique and try to make it look like a site and not a blog.
  • Make sure nothing steals attention from your text.
  • The text width should not be longer than one and a half alphabet, even shorter.
  • When a visitor reaches an article on your blog, the text should be seen instantly. Have the text as far up as possible. A visitor should not have to scroll to reach the content.
  • If you are not making decent money with ads I suggest you to erase all ads you have on the blog.

References to follow:

What About the Meta Tags?

There are various WP plugins out there for this but to be honest and frank I can tell you that they are not worth the effort. The meta keywords tag are not used anymore (or extremely little) in the ranking calculation and while the meta description tag can show up in the SERPs I consider the snippet of text the visitor gets being better.

CSS Positioning

It has been said that by providing the important content first in the source code it will make a positive difference in your search engine ranking. I am not sure if this is true, but it won’t hurt to do it. For example on this blog the navigation on the left is in the bottom of the code.

Section 2: How to Craft Your Articles

You should read the entire section of Authoring High Quality Content by Mr. Fishkin but I give you here a very quick summary as it relates to this article.

First the most important quote:

One Great Page is Worth a Thousand Good Pages

While hundreds or dozens of on-topic pages that cover sections of an industry are valuable to a website’s growth, it is actually far better to invest a significant amount of time and energy producing a few articles/resources of truly exceptional quality. To create documents that become “industry standard” on the web and are pointed to time after time as the “source” for further investigations, claims, documents, etc. is to truly succeed in the rankings battle. The value of “owning” this traffic and link source far outweighs a myriad of articles that are rarely read or linked to.

Write articles or posts that serves as a stand alone document. This means there is everything valuable collected on that page on that specific topic. For example a stand alone document on “SEO for WordPress” should have everything on that page and the reader should not need any other articles on that topic.

Better 1 great article that you revise 10 times than 10 smaller ok articles.

To do this you can also rewrite and republish your old articles with the current time to show up again as the latest article.

Include links to more reading if applicable

Withing or at the end of your article you should link to other sources so that the reader can read more if he is interested. You can also use this as sources if you got your writing materials from other places.

Headlines

You should write the kind of headlines to your articles that:

  • Contains important keyword combinations or phrase for ranking
  • Describes with great interest what the article is about
  • Makes the reader want to read it and clicks on it in the SERPs
  • And is short and to the point

Section 3: Increase User Interaction

  • Use polls from for example Poll Daddy.
  • Increase the commenting field for longer user comments and better interaction. This also provides more unique content to your articles.
  • Install the Subscribe to Comments plugin.
  • Actually do reply to your commenters and answer their questions.
  • If you revise an article based on a comment, do link and give credit to the commenter.

Section 4: Get Links

  • The art of writing the kind of content that get natural links is called link baiting. See my article on that with a list of ideas here.
  • Post your link baits on the major social network sites such as digg, reddit and the others.
  • Install my Link to Me Textbox WordPess Plugin which provides an automatic HTML box of code for easy linking to you.
  • Regularly link and reference other bloggers in your field in your posts to get attention from them. You loose nothing of it and many of them will return the favor and link to you. Also comment on their blogs to make them discover your blog.
  • Read and follow my Link Building Guide

via SEO for WordPress – The Complete Guide.