Remember this though; the more plugins you install on your site, the slower it will potentially load. Therefore, keep plugins to a minimum, and only use ones that you actually need.
This plugin will create a default set of ‘legal’ documents for your site. Things like disclaimers, terms of service, privacy page, etc. I am no lawyer, so cannot comment on how good these documents are, but they are the types of documents you need to have on your site, so I think they’re better than having none. Search for “wp policies”
Google XML Sitemaps for Video
will create a separate sitemap for them that you can submit to Google Webmaster Tools; hopefully getting better indexing rates for them. As a bonus, Google likes to rank video highly in its search engine results pages (SERPs), especially YouTube, so if you have YouTube videos embed into your pages, you can get them indexed with this plugin.
Search for “video sitemap”
This one stands for ‘Yet Another Related Posts Plugin’. It basically creates a list of related posts, dynamically, for each post on your site. These posts can be automatically inserted after a post’s content, or you can insert related posts as a widget, meaning you can place them into any widgetized area of your template, for example, a sidebar. Search for “yet another related post”
Contact form 7
This plugin makes it easy to set up a contact form on your site. A contact form is an essential part of any website. Whether or not you expect your visitors to contact you, the search engines expect good sites to have this option. Search for “contact form 7”
This plugin is one I install on all of my sites. It looks after your WordPress database, optimizing it regularly, and sends you periodic backups via email (crucial in case you ever have a server crash, or your site gets hacked). Search for “WP DB Manager”
Keeping your WordPress install (and plugins), up to date is a good idea to prevent security holes in your site. This plugin will do just that, checking for updates periodically and then automatically updating WordPress and/or your plugins. I personally use this, but only have it set to update WordPress, not the plugins. Plugins can take a while to catch up once a new version of WordPress is released, so I prefer to manually update those once the authors tell us they are compatible. Later in the book, I’ll show you how to manually update WordPress
and the plugins. Search for “automatic updater”
Broken Link Checker
If your site has a lot out outbound links to other websites (by the way, linking to authority sites within your niche is a good idea), then this plugin can check your outbound links and tell you if any are broken. Google don’t like broken links on a site, and may punish you if you have a lot of them. Therefore, this plugin can help ensure this does not become a problem.
Search for “broken link checker”
Social Essentials adds social media sharing to your site. That is, buttons for your visitors to share your content on Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Pinterest, and Stumbleupon. It is a great idea to add this feature to your site, as Google are taking notice of social signals and using them in their ranking algorithm. Encourage your visitors to share your content!
To be honest, there are a lot of plugins with similar functionality, so if you already know of one that you like, use it instead of social essentials. Search for “social essentials”
Growmap or Akismet
These are two anti-comment spam plugins, i.e., they block spam in comments automatically. Install either of these and you’ll get far fewer spam comments. Of the two, Akismet (which comes pre-installed with WordPress), is the better option in my opinion, however, it is also commercial. Growmap is a free alternative. Search for “Growmap”
Pretty Link Lite is a free plugin (there is a commercial version too, but the free version is all most people need). What this plugin does, is allow you to setup redirects on your site. Therefore, if you want to use an affiliate link on your page(s), you could set up a link like mydomain.com/affproduct, and this would redirect to the affiliate site. Why bother? If you don’t know why you would want to do this, then you most probably don’t need this plugin. One other nice feature of it though, is that it tracks clicks on all of the pretty links you set up,
which can be very useful. Search for “pretty link lite”
Social Stickers is a neat way of adding social follow buttons to your site. Do you want your visitors to follow you on Twitter? Facebook? Google +? Pinterst? Quora? Social Stickers will add these buttons to your site. Search for “social stickers”
This plugin allows you automate the internal linking of content across your site. It is a plugin I use on all of my websites, because internal linking done manuallyis an almost impossible task. For example, when you add a new post to your website, you’d need to go and find all other posts that mention that topic so an internal link can be created. With this plugin, you setup the rules and internal links are updated automatically as you add new content.
More details from: http://ezseonews.com/wpseo
Getting you visitors to contribute content to your site is a great idea as it gets people involved with your project. VIA Curation does this by way of submission forms. From these forms, your visitors can submit articles, images and videos to your website. Obviously you get to moderate all submissions. More details from: http://ezseonews.com/wpseo
This plugin helps to keep your WordPress install secure against hackers. When this plugin is installed, even if a hacker gets hold of your username and password, they’ll still not be able to login. How’s that possible? It’s magic! No, not really, but it is clever! More details from: http://ezseonews.com/wpseo
The next plugin is WP Sticky. It allows us to ‘stick’ posts at the top of archive pages:This comes in handy for non-Genesis themes if you want to create introductions to category and tag pages (see later in the book for details on this). OK, that brings an end to my list of essential, and not so essential, plugins. Make sure you get the essentials installed before moving on. We’ll be starting to configure them very soon.
8. Keeping WordPress Up to Date – WordPress & Plugins It is important that you always keep WordPress and plugins up to date. Hackers typically look for exploits in WordPress, so updates fix any known problems, thus keeping your website protected.
Fortunately, WordPress makes it easy to know if there are any updates to the core program itself, or any plugins and themes that you have installed. If a WordPress update is available, you’ll see the notification in the Dashboard at the top & center.
As you can see from the screenshot, some themes, like Genesis, also show its
update notifications at the top of the Dashboard too, directly under the
To update WordPress, you can just click the ‘Please update now’ link and follow the simple instructions. There are other visual cues in the dashboard that also notify you of various
updates. If a plugin update is available, you’ll see a number appear next to Plugins in the left sidebar. The number tells you how many plugin updates are available. Finally, there is a quick way to see all updates in one area of the Dashboard. Click on the word ‘Dashboard’, at the top of the left sidebar, and the menu opens. Directly under the ‘Home’ link is a menu item called ‘Updates’. Again, you’ll see a number next to it if there are any updates available. Click on ‘Updates’ to be taken to the updates screen. This can have up to three sections. At the very top, if a WordPress update is available, you’ll see an option to install it. Under that, if plugins are available for update, you’ll see them here. Simply check the plugins you want to update, and then click the ‘Update Plugin’ button.
At the bottom of the page, if a theme has an update, you should see it listed here too (though that will depend on the theme and where you got it from). Again, check the theme(s) you want to update, and click the ‘Update Themes’ button. If you prefer to have the updates done for you automatically, check back in the plugins section of this book, where I mention a plugin called Automatic Updater that can do this for you.
9. Duplication on Category, Tag & Other Archive Pages As mentioned at the beginning of this book, these pages are the root of many SEO problems. Let me show you an example of this. I’ve created a dummy post for a fictitious gift website. The post is called ‘Gift ideas for children’, and it’s in a category called ‘children’. After posting the article, here is my homepage:
The title of the post is actually a hyperlink that will open a page which contains an exact copy of the article. That means we now have two identical copies of the same post, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Look at the screenshot above under the title where it says ‘Posted on July 3, 2013’. That date is a hyperlink to the date archive. Clicking on it takes me to a page that shows all posts that were published on that date. Here it is:
The same full post again.
Go back to the homepage screenshot. See at the bottom of the post where it says ‘Posted in children’. ‘Children’ is the category, and the word ‘children’ is a hyperlink. If I click that, it takes me to the children category page:
10. Menus & Site Navigation
Visitors like a site with good navigation and Google likes a site that keeps its visitors happy. Of course, there is more to it than that. Good navigation on a site will help the search engines find, and even categorize your content. On a website, there are various places where navigation can appear. These typically include:
1. A menu above the site logo.
2. A menu below the site logo.
3. A search box in the same area as the site logo, often off to the right.
4. Breadcrumb navigation underneath the page header, but above the
webpage opening header.
5. Links to other pages within the body of the content, as in-context
6. After the content of the page, maybe as a ‘related articles’ or ‘You
may also be interested in these’ types of link lists.
7. A menu in the left and/or right sidebar.
8. A menu in the page footer.
Where you put your navigation may be determined by your choice of WordPress template. For example, some templates offer positions 1 or 2, but not both. Others offer both positions. And some may offer two navigation menus in
position 2, but none in position 1. As for the search box, this can appear in the logo area, or in the sidebar. I’ve even seen them in page footers. Therefore this diagram is only a rough guide. Before we look at how to create the various forms of navigation in WordPress, let me mention one thing. Create your navigation for human visitors, not search engines. That means using the most logical and aesthetically pleasing links in the menu. Do not, under any circumstances, stuff keywords into your navigation menus and links. For example, if you had a website about prom dresses, and had sections on your site to various brands of prom dress, you might be tempted to use something like:
Notice the repetition of the words ‘Prom Dresses’. Why do you think some webmasters do this? Is it to help their visitors? Well, considering the whole site is about prom dresses, I’d assume not. This is done purely for the search engines for two reasons:
1. In this menu, the phrase ‘prom dresses’ appears five times in the hope that the page would rank better for that term. In the good old days of pre-2011 SEO, this would have worked. Today it’s more likely to get you a Penguin penalty.
2. Each item in the menu will link to a page on the site. That link uses anchor text (the text you as the visitor see for any given link). In this type of menu, the keyword-stuffed anchor text is there as an attempt to boost the rankings of the page the link points to for its anchor text phrase. Say if this site had 100 pages, each using the same prom dress menu. This means each of the five pages in the menu would have 100 links pointing to them. That’s 100 of the exact same anchor texts. Again, pre-2011, this worked. Today it does not, and this tactic will come back to bite you (or do Penguins nip?).
TIP: Look at the ‘SEO’ on your site. If you cannot say with 100% that you have done it in your visitor’s best interests, then get rid of it. This goes for site navigation, content, and internal linking between pages, etc.
OK, with that said, how do you implement navigation into WordPress? Well, there are a number of different ways.
You can use plugins. You can also use the menu system built into WordPress. In many cases you will know exactly which links you want in a navigation area. These links are usually fixed and rarely change. In this instance, I recommend you use the menu system built into WordPress. On other occasions, you might want a list of the most recent posts, or posts related specifically to the current one. These menus are constantly changing as
new content gets added to the site, and are therefore best handled with plugins.