WordPress has been leaving no stone unturned to be the most prominent content management system across all major platforms. The beauty of WordPress lies in the fact that it is open-source platform and it has been developed with PHP and MySQL.
In addition to being an open-source platform, WordPress has got some of the exceptional themes and plugins that ultimately elevate the robust functionality of this content management system.
Whether you are a business professional, a budding developer, an aspiring designer or a creative SEO writer, having the relevant WordPress knowledge can take you to the new horizons when it is about SEO-optimized WordPress website development. This platform is going to amaze you with its flexibility that is almost null in similar other options. Talking particularly about the universal WordPress stats in comparison with similar platforms like Drupal and Joomla, the former scores a whopping 38% that is more than enough to prove the efficiency of WordPress.
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Among all these years, WordPress has been highly acclaimed as the best platform when it comes to ranking any website on the web. However, you will be amazed to know that it took a couple of strenuous efforts to make WordPress an actual SEO-friendly platform. And of course, there are skilled developers to accomplish the job for their clients. In the attempt of making WordPress SEO-friendly, the platform is optimized, upgraded, enhanced, and improved with a number of add-ons in the form of plugins, themes and some added functionality.
Let’s go together on the journey of getting familiarity with the technicalities, which helps your WordPress website get even friendlier with different search engines. There are hell a lot of efforts needed to invest in this direction and here is the explanation of the ins as well as the outs right here in this write-up. Here comes the procedure with a steps by step guide.
1. Pre Development Tips
A. Discouraging the Search Engine
It is the earnest wish of every website owner to get his/her website’s pages indexed by the search engines but not in the case when a website is in the development phase. It is generally suggested to discourage search engines to crawl your website at this very phase as your incomplete website does not get registered on the search engines. The job is easy to accomplish through the reading settings page.
One can start it by clicking on the “settings” then pressing the “reading” which will offer some exclusive options that decide how your content is viewed. There is also the settings for blocking search engines. This, however, is just like requesting Google and other search engines to not include your site in search results.
Even blocking search engines from crawling your website, visitors cannot be blocked from the same, but the admin can arrange the settings by developing a .htaccess password easily.
B. Permalink Settings
We all are familiar with the permalink and those who do not have the familiarity allow us a minute to explain the same. Technically, a permalink is the web address to link specified content. These URLs are permanent and never change; hence, termed as “permalink”. Through the Settings Permalink Screen, you can choose the default permalink structure.
Options can be chosen from common settings or can be custom made as per choice. After making the changes, do not forget to save the changes. The option for creating custom URL structure for permalink and archive improves the usability, forward compatibility, and aesthetics of your links. The administration screen will appear as:
There you will encounter with the options including “default”, “Day and name”, “Month and name”, “Numeric”, “Post name”, and “Custom structure”. Depending upon your custom choice, changes can be made to following categories.
C. Configuring SEO plugin
- Yoast SEO:Configuring SEO plugins will matter for the overall WordPress SEO, including a fully optimized website. Among an overwhelming list of plugins available, here is a quick guide to configuring the robust WordPress Yoast SEO plugin.
The first ever step is to install the plugin by going to the WordPress admin area. On the left-hand side of the dashboard, you will have a menu with the option Plugins. Clicking on the plugins > add new option will serve you with a list of plugins (if installed any so far). Here you can search for the plugin you need to add and then click on the “Install Now” option to install the WordPress Yoast SEO plugin. Click “OK” on the pop-up menu after the installation is done. As soon as you are done with the following procedure, you will have a screen as shown below in the link.
There you will find an “Activate Plugin”, and clicking the same will help you accomplish the task with ease. Your WordPress Yoast SEO plugin will be included on the left-hand side, at the bottom of the menu.
- All-in-one-SEO: This is another plugin to accomplish the same task. Its installation will follow the same procedure as explained earlier for the WordPress Yoast SEO plugin. For a clear understanding, have a look at the following link.
D. XML sitemap
Including XML sitemap is an easier way for you to include pages in the search index much faster by boosting the XML sitemap. Some of the plugins that can help you create XML sitemaps for better indexing are:
- XML Sitemaps: It generates XML sitemaps easily and also sends notification to the search engines after they are updated. Unlike other plugins, it also stores the cached sitemaps in the sitemap folder.
- Google XML Sitemaps: This plugin generates a special XML sitemap that lets the search engines find the blogs with ease and rank them. It supports the custom URLs as well as the pages generated by WordPress. The search engines are notified everytime, a new post is created on the website.
There are a number of ways available to create Sitemaps over your WordPress website; However, here is a brief explanation of the same with the use of WordPress Yoast SEO plugin. Because of default setting, WordPress does not enable XML Sitemap functionality, thus you need to turn it on. In order to perform the task, go to SEO > XML Sitemaps to check the box in order to enable XML sitemap functionality. WordPress SEO will offer a number of options to configure the Sitemap. Depending upon the settings required you can choose the same and then click on the “Save settings” option.
E. Reducing Image Size
Now that you are done with including XML sitemaps, it is now time for reducing the image sizes. Images do take greater space over the website and thus, the solution lies in optimizing the images with the help of some really helpful WordPress plugins. With WordPress, the best feature is that it has got a useful thumbnail feature that helps in developing three different sizes of the uploaded images.
Users have also got the option of configuring WordPress settings to create preferred thumbnail image. For example, one can configure WordPress settings to create 150*150 pixel thumbnail image, a 300*200 pixel medium image, as well as 600*600 pixel large image. Right from taking help of Photoshop to using MAC enabled ImageOptim application, there are a number of ways to accomplish the task.
Additionally, there are plugins too that help in image optimization. There is one exceptional plugin called WP Smush Image Optimization that helps in considerably reducing the image size.
The plugin is easy to activate with on the website by going to Settings > Media. Now whichever image is uploaded will get optimized automatically.
F. Social sharing
Now that you have completed the image size optimization step and have got some real experience on optimizing the images with the help of plugins, it is now time for you get introduced to social sharing techniques obviously if any blog post is added. Do keep in mind to use plugins as there is no other way to accomplish the task more professionally. Right from the pile of so many plugins considered exceptionally well to use for social sharing purposes; here is a note on the two used mostly.
- AddToAny Share Buttons: AddToAny Share Buttons include the option to share posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, Linkedin and other such social networking sites. Being a universal sharing platform, it manages the job effectively.
- DC Simple Share Buttons: DC Simple Share Buttons include a set of social sharing buttons that load faster. The buttons do not use external sources to load. It has been written in PHP, HTML as well as use the CSS. It also includes the option of showing buttons on posts and pages.
It is good to utilize these plugins in order to get the work done appropriately. Including these social sharing buttons will play a significant role in reducing the bounce rate, thereby retaining the site visitors. Hence, consider using the aforesaid plugins.
G. Related posts for WordPress
- Related posts for WordPress: With related posts for WordPress in use, it gets extremely easy to link related posts with just a click only. It shows related posts without compromising on the speed of the website.
- Contextual Related Posts: Another exceptional plugin that helps in displaying related posts on WordPress blog. It additionally supports thumbnail, widgets, shortcodes, etc. It is counted among one of the most feature-rich plugins in the similar category.
- Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP): Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) is the apt choice for you in order to display posts, pages, and custom post types related to the current entry. It is helpful in creating a variety of units that include content recommendations or Feed display.
- Stars rating: Including stars rating upon your website offers an ease to the visitors to rate the website including blogs and other such posts. Comments are one option for visitors to express their browsing experience; however, it will take some time and thus, including star rating is the best option. Check these plugins to include the same feature.
- Rating-Widget: The plugin is an exceptional one to include five-star review system. It can be used for rating posts, pages, comments, author review rating, custom post type rating, and much more.
- Yet Another Stars Rating: Yet Another Stars Rating is another exceptional plugin to star rate posts and related comments with utmost ease. It is considered an ideal plugin for making your own review and let your visitors rate the same.
I. Plugins Speed Test
Speed is one important consideration to keep in the mind while you are focusing on WordPress website development. Google also favors the websites that take less time to upload on the web and for the same reason, it is important to test a website for speed. Here is a review of three outstanding plugins that can be used for similar purpose.
- Plugins Speed Test: This used, shows impact of installed plugins (only for those located in the official WordPress plugin repository) on your blogs’ speed. In other words, with this plugin, you can easily determine which plugins from the WordPress plugin repository are less resource intensive, and which ones can slow down your WordPress blog when used.
- WP Super Cache: This plugin is used to generate static HTML files for your WordPress blog. This file will be presented to a number of users and thus, the majority of the users will be served with static files.
- W3 Total Cache: This plugin is one of its kinds to improve the page speed and visitors’ experience too. W3 Total Cache helps improve user experience by improving server performance as well as decreasing the website load times.
There are a plethora of testing tools available that will help you can analyze the site speed. Among various other tools the two reputedly used are:
These tools are designed to offer real insights on the overall performance of your website in addition to providing actionable guidance to optimize the site speed. All you need is analyze the speed of your website by entering the URL on a predefined tab. It shows the performance score, page details, and so many other insights of any given link.
With the site testing as the concluding points, this was all about the pre-website development tips that are important to consider. Just follow the considerations that have been piled up here. The tips are sure to bring an ease and an exceptional site development experience.
2. Post Development Tips
Getting done with pre-development tips is winning more than half the battle. It is true that you have come across the most difficult phase of website designing but there is more to work on under the post-development tips. Now that your website is almost ready with checking it even for site speed, it is now time to concentrate on post-development phase. For ensuring the success of your website in advance, do work on the following considerations:
Adding and updating the meta tags on the post and pages is important so that search engines could better read a page. Plugins are there that help users set title, meta description, and other meta tags to be unique on different page. Thus, they can be used to accomplish the following tasks easily.
Title: 60 char
Meta description: 160 char
- Open Graph Meta: Adding Open Graph Meta is another recommendation as it influences a site’s social media performance, which of course, matters for better visuality of the websites. It needs a mention that adding and updating the meta won’t directly affect the on-page SEO performance but is sure to provide the benefit in the long run.
Canonical tags are important to include as they specify the source URL of the given pages to the search engines. These tags also specify whether any given page has its own content or there are duplicate elements in the same. These tags are easy to make and can be structured for the pages you wish to be recognized by Google. The tags can be made as:
<link rel="canonical" href="https://www.forexample.com"/>
Analytic tools needs to be set to get the timely report on website traffic. Since the launch of Google Analytics, it has become an easier task to get visitors’ reports including the time that visitors spend on your website, the amount of pages, geographical location of website visitors, details of keywords, and much more.
Webmaster tools plugin again needs installation over your newly developed website. Google webmaster is an outstanding tool that shows how Google looks your website. It works to correct crawl errors, search queries, blocked URLs, malware, and other such information. More to this, Google Webmaster tool can also be used for submitting a page to Google.
This is all for the pre and post-development trends for making your WordPress website more SEO-friendly. Well, there are thousands of plugins that helpfully contribute to making any given site friendlier with the search engines as well as the visitors. Additionally, each site is unique and so is the range of requirements. Hence, the SEO strategy may slightly differ with different sites in action. Hence, know the requirements of yours pretty well prior to adding a related plugin for the same.