WordPress is an extremely powerful online tool and almost 30% of all websites online are now powered by WordPress. It’s a platform favoured by businesses of all types and sizes – WordPress caters for all.
Once you’ve created your WordPress website, you may think ‘well what’s next?’ By following our top WordPress tips and tricks, you’ll be able to get the best out of your website from the beginning by following our guide.
1.Make sure search engines can find your website
If you’ve created a new WordPress site, it’s likely that you’ve discouraged search engines such as Google and Bing from crawling your website whilst the site is in the creation stage. However, once your website is ready to go live, it’s vital that you then let search engines crawl your website.
To do this, go the Dashboard in WordPress, then click Settings, then Reading and then untick the Search Engine Visibility tick-box. This doesn’t mean that search engines will automatically discover your website but it’s important to boost your SEO.
2. Download SEO plugin (Yoast & all in one SEO)
There are thousands of amazing WordPress plug-ins available to help your website. To get the best SEO performance from the start, we advise that you download and install Yoast SEO. Yoast is a free to use tool that makes SEO for your website a whole lot simpler. All you’ll need to do is activate the plug-in in the ‘plug-in’ section in the dashboard.
Yoast SEO is designed for all WordPress users including beginners as it allows you to simply edit how your website looks in search engines with meta titles & meta descriptions. It even compiles your sitemaps for you automatically which is a huge boost for your SEO.
3.Reduce load speed by installing an image compressor
We all know how frustrating it can be if a page you’re trying to view is taking forever to load. A slow website could be the difference between making a sale and not making a sale. Not only that, but Google also uses page load times as one of the metrics used for ranking pages in search engines, so the faster your site, the more chance you have of ranking better.
Images on your page can affect your load speed so we recommend installing an image compression and caching plug-in to help your SEO. We recommend using WP-Optimize. It’s free and does all the hard work for you. All you’ll need to do is activate the plug-in in the ‘plug-in’ section in the dashboard.
4.Ensure permalinks are user friendly
Permalink is a technical term used to simply describe the URL of any given page on your website.
It’s best practice that your permalinks are set up correctly from the beginning, otherwise, it can be difficult changing URL structures when your website is live and populated with pages and posts.
Changing URL structures may lead to a high volume of redirects to the site. Even though the majority of websites have redirects in place. It is preferred (by Google) that the redirects are kept to a minimum.
Before you start adding blogs to your website, you need to make sure the permalinks used are user friendly.
To do this, go to Dashboard, then Settings and then Permalinks.
We recommend using either the Post Name selection or a custom structure of Category and Post Name. To create a custom structure, simply click the %category% button and then the %postname% button and then click Save.
This trick will keep your URL’s organised and help search engines understand what your page is about, therefore helping your SEO
5.Create XML sitemap
Sitemaps are critical for your SEO performance and it helps search engines find pages on your site that may not be found through internal linking.
Thankfully, the Yoast SEO plug-in organises your XML sitemap for you automatically.
To access your sitemap, go to Yoast SEO in the Dashboard, and once you’re in Yoast SEO, click Features. Scroll down to XML sitemaps, click the ‘?’ and then click ‘see the XML sitemap’. Here you’ll find your website’s sitemap.
So Google has the best chance of crawling your site, you’ll need to submit your sitemap to Google Search Console. Under the sitemap section in Google Search Console, you’ll need to submit the xml sitemap for your website.
6.Ensure your blogs have categories and tags assigned
Once your permalinks are all good to go, you’ll want to start adding some content to your website and the blog section is the handiest way to do this.
Blogging can be a really good way of conveying your brand’s message, showcasing your thoughts and of course improving your SEO performance.
When creating blogs, it’s important that you add the relevant tags and categories so that it keeps the blog section of the website organised and structured. To do this, when you’re editing the blog, create or assign your blog to the relevant category and tags. This option is displayed on the right-hand side of the screen.
7.Ensure all pages and blogs have meta title and description
Meta titles and meta descriptions are what’s displayed in search listings for your pages.
Moz advises that meta descriptions should be compelling and shouldn’t be duplicated.
To edit both your meta title and description, go to the back end of the page you wish to edit and then scroll down to the Yoast SEO section. In the Google Preview section, click ‘Edit Snippet’ and then you can edit your SEO title (meta title) and meta description.
Extra Tip: Make sure that your titles and descriptions stay within the recommended character count so that they don’t truncate in the search listings!
8.Ensure all images are tagged correctly in media library
When you are uploading new images to your website via the media library, it’s a useful tip to make sure all images are optimised correctly as and when they are uploaded. It’s important to add alt descriptions to your images as this lets search engines know what the images are and will help with SEO performance.
Another tip Site and Simple suggest is to change the filename of the image you’re adding to your site before uploading inline with the keywords used on your website. The filename will determine what the URL of the image will be so having meaningful keywords in the URL will aid your SEO performance.
9.Add excerpts to your blogs
Another handy tip for WordPress beginners is to add excerpts to your blogs. Sometimes WordPress displays the full article on the blog page which can mean that content can be duplicated which is harmful to your SEO. To avoid this, you should write a small excerpt about the post which briefly explains what the blog is about.
To do this, go to the post page you wish to edit, scroll to the top and select ‘Screen Options’ and tick the ‘Excerpt’ box. Once you have done this, scroll down and create your brief excerpt. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a brief explanation as to what the blog is about.
10. Ensure your site is secure and safe, checking if it’s SSL secure
Finally, and one of the most important tricks and tips for a WordPress site is to ensure that your website is SSL secure. An SSL certificate protects users’ personal information such as credit card details, usernames and passwords.
Having an SSL certificate not only improves your SEO performance but it builds customer trust and is a trust mark that 99% of customers will look for. If there’s no padlock in the URL bar then there’s a very high chance that customers aren’t going to purchase from you or trust you.
Installing an SSL certificate on your website is quite a technical process, so we include free SSL certification for a year as standard across all of our packages so you don’t have to worry.