4 Quick Online Marketing Tips WordPress SEO Newbies Should Follow

When it comes to marketing online a website is definitely an essential element of the equation. Before now, designing a website for your business was something only the technical people can do for you.

To get a website designed for you, you needed a big budget. But not anymore. These days nearly every one can set up their own websites. Thanks to software like WordPress.

WordPress is a website publishing platform used by over 70 million people around the world. It’s one of the most popular ways of setting up a new site. It has a lots of theme options and plugins that makes designing and customizing your website a breeze.

Out of the box, it also offers some basic ways to improve your new website’s SEO. This is really a good thing if you are just starting out on building your business website. But you don’t have to rely on those default features if you are looking to have the best results in search engines.

The good news is that you don’t have be some technical geek to get the best result from that website. If you’re going to set up a new WordPress site soon, or you already have one up but you’re struggling to optimize it for the search engines, then check out these quick and dirty SEO tips that you can apply starting now!

Quick and easy wordpress SEO tips for marketing online

1.    Use A WordPress SEO Plugin

Unless you want to spend weeks creating an SEO plugin, it makes sense to use one that’s already in use! I recommend the excellent “WordPress SEO by Joost” plugin. It helps you to customize the SEO settings for each post and page on your site.

You can also have it do an SEO check for you, and it will let you know where you might be going wrong. Nitch Marketing says that over a million people use this plugin every day and that it’s one of the best ones to use for any new WordPress site!

2.    Use A Good Quality Theme

The thing about WordPress is that some folks use the free themes from the WordPress Theme Directory. Many of those templates are fine, but there are some which are just trash.

I always recommend using premium themes from places like ThemeForest. You have a support network to contact if you can’t figure out how to customize those themes. And the best bit? The themes are SEO-friendly!

That means search engines like Google can “index” the contents of your pages with ease. From a logical point of view, everything makes sense to a search engine. But it also makes sense to human visitors too.

3.    Keep Your Blog Updated

When you set up a site using WordPress, you have the ability to write blog posts on it. Some people use their blog as a news section. Whatever you want to call it, you should make sure you keep that section updated.

Write good quality content and link out to relevant external sites where possible. If you’ve talked about a topic before, internal linking is also good for SEO purposes too. When you link out to other sites or pages on your site, be sure to add a text description for each link. That helps search engines determine what the content is on the linked page.

4.    Guest Post On Other Blogs

People that run blogs usually allow people to “guest post” on them. Most won’t charge for this facility, as it means they have fresh content added to their site without needing to do anything.

The content you write should be free of spelling and grammar errors. It should also fit in with the general theme of the website. And the most important bit? You should add a link to a relevant page on your site!

Guest posting is one of the cheapest ways of driving traffic to your new site. And if the site owner likes your writing, they will be more than happy to let you post more content!

Now that you know these “quick and dirty” WordPress SEO tips and tricks, it’s time to give them a go!

Setting Up Your Blog to Leverage the Power of Pinterest for Business

In our previous post, we looked at some very interesting stats about Pinterest and how this can help you determine what niche and demographics to target on Pinterest. In this post we want to look at your niche blog setup and your monetization strategies.

[NOTE: If this is your first time here please note that this is the second part of a series on building a business online using Pinterest.com]

How to setup your blog to leverage Pinterest traffic

Setting Up A Pinterest Targeted Niche Blog

For better understanding, let’s take this step by step, shall we?

Step #1: Get a Domain Name/Webhost

Though you can actually use free blog software like blogger.com and wordpress.com the truth is investing in your own domain name and web host will give you more value as a business.

In choosing your domain name there are a few things you must take note of. For example, your domain name should reflect your target keywords if you want to take advantages of the search engines in driving organic traffic.  Also adding the word “blog” to the domain name can make it more appealing to your target audience, for example, www.diyhomecraftblog.com

While many advocate a .com extension you can always go for a .co, .pw, .net, or even a .info if .com is not available. Any of these will do for what we have here.

Recommended: How to Choose a Domain Name That Enhances Your Brand

Once you’ve found a domain name that meets your plans, you can use NameCheap.com or GoDaddy.com to register it.

Registering a domain name using any of these two cost less than $10. However, if you purchase a web hosting account with BlueHost.com (Affiliate link) you’ll receive a domain name for free. Here are some of the features:

  • Disk Space                                   Unlimited
  • Monthly Data Transfer                   Unlimited
  • Websites (Domains)                      Unlimited
  • Free Domain Name                       First Year
  • Pricing                                          Starting from $3.95 / month

Click here to check the full details.

Step #2: Install a WordPress Blog

Frankly, wordpress is my preferred blogging platform for niche blogs. This is for various reasons. One, is the ease with which you can setup your blog using wordpress.org. For example if you purchase a webhosting package from any of the above recommended companies, installing wordpress is simple and can be accomplished in under 5 minutes.

Here’s a video guide on how to install wordpress using fantastico:

It is important, after installing your blog, that you change the default theme. This is how to give your blog a customized look. You can search the wordpress theme depository right from your admin dashboard and pick any one. However, if you want a paid theme (which gives you premium features) I recommend you take a look at ThemeJunkie . Their themes are not only of high quality but you can get a good number of them for a small investment.

Click here to check out some themes available at HappyThemes.com

NOTE: Magazine style themes are proven to work best with visually oriented traffic like the ones from Pinterest.com

Step #3: Optimize Your Blog with the Best of Free Plugins

Ask any wordpress fan any day and they will tell you that one reason why wordpress has become a darling of webmasters and bloggers is the availability of different plugins that can help you to do a whole lot things with your wordpress blog.

Though there are thousands of plugins available for your picking, it is important that you use only the necessary ones. The following are some of the ones I have used with outstanding success:

1. WP Edit  – This is the successor of the very popular Ultimate TinyMCE. It is very useful for content formatting. Once installed you have designing and styling features like shading, coloring, bolding etc.

2. Pinterest Image Pinner – This enables those who visit your blog to easily pin images on your blog to their Pinterest boards.

3. Pinterest Pinboard Widget – This is great to showcase your latest Pinterest pins on your blog as a sidebar widget.

4. Jetpack by WordPress.com – This is a multi-purpose plugin. You can decide to activate only the ones you deem necessary.

Some of the ones I have used in my niche sites are:

Sharing – Gives you share buttons to enable your site visitors share your content on different social media sites. This also has an option to automatically share your posts to G+, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter once you publish a new post. For me this is really top choice.

Contact Form – Easily add a contact form to your site for visitors to contact you.

Stats – Monitor traffic to your niche blog right from your dashboard.

There are a few others you can choose to activate depending on what you want.

5. Google XML Sitemaps – This will create a sitemap for your blog and also automatically ping the search engines whenever you add new content to your blog. This is really great for SEO and for driving organic traffic to your blog.

6. FV Simpler SEO – This is an alternative to all in one SEO plugin. I started using this recently but I have found it to be great for optimizing your content for SEO rankings. Simple to setup and use.

7. WP Pinner – A powerful and free plugin for scheduling your blog posts so they can be pinned at the time you choose. You also have an option to auto follow other pinners.

8. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) – A great way to cross promote related posts at the bottom of your blog posts.

9. Adsense Explosion – This one is essential if you are thinking of monetizing with Google adsense. With this you can easily add Privacy pages to your niche blog and also insert and optimize google adsense code to your site easily.

Depending on what you want to do you can always search for other plugins that will help you. The above are some of the very important ones I use regularly on my niche sites.

While installing the above plugins can greatly help you to do a whole lot of things, changing the header image is a sure way to give your niche blog a unique appearance – especially if you are using a free theme.

Related Reading: Put the WOW Effect on Your Blog with these WordPress Plugins!

There are thousands of free graphic software out there which you can use to create a simple header image. However, if you need something more professional then investing in a paid graphics creator is the best option.

Ok, that’s it for now. In our next post we will look at how you can find and create content for your niche blog and the type of content to focus on. Don’t miss it!

As usual let me remind you that if you don’t want to miss our next entry you can always join other esteemed readers who get our free updates by clicking the button below.

Your Turn: I will love to read and reply to your comments on this post on setting up your niche blog for Pinterest targeted traffic. Post your comments below.

Alright, on to…

PART 3: Content & Monetization Strategies for Using Pinterest for Business

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A Step By Step Guide on How to Migrate WordPress Site like A Pro!

Now, ask yourself this question, if anything happens to your wordpress blog right now and there’s the need either to re-install the blog or to migrate your wordpress site to another server, will you be able to handle it, seriously?

Of course, I know you could depend on your webhosting company to move the site to new server but as many of us do know,  many of these hosting companies could disappoint or most times takes too much doing what you want. Besides, it is really not a good idea to depend on your webhost to do this for you every time. There are times you would want to tell your host, bull sh*t and just do it yourself!

Anyway, whether you want to depend on your webhosting company or not, I think it is not a bad idea to have some knowledge of what to do if you need to move your wordpress site/blog to a new host or you just need to reinstall your blog because of one problem or the other. That is why in this post I have decided to reveal a system that I’ve used at different times to move my personal and my clients’ blogs without fail.

If you search Google for the phrase: “how to move your wordpress blog to a new host,” you’ll discover that different people use different methods to do this. The last time I did I actually received about 4 different methods! Unfortunately, most of these methods are very complicated. Some of them do not only require you to change some codes in the database but they also take hours or even days to get your site/blog up and running again.

However, the method I want to reveal in this post is simply the easiest and quickest I’ve found to migrate your site or blog without any hassle. You can actually move your wordpress blog in under one hour – from installing the new blog to making it live. I can say this with confidence because I’ve actually tried the other methods before settling for this one. Right now, it is the only method I use whether I’m working on my own or on a client’s site.

How to migrate wordpress site with ease!

Why Would You Want To Move Your WordPress Blog?

There are actually different reasons for this. For example, within the past 4 years I have had to move the Web Income Journal at different times. Here are some of the reasons (I’m sure you will relate to one of them!)

1. Move WordPress Blog To Another Domain Name

This was actually the first reason why I had to move the Web Income Journal. The blog started under the domain name www.themarketingmouse.com but after a couple of years when I discovered that that domain name was not doing well in the search engines based on the target audience I decided on a new domain name – www.webincomejournal.com – but instead of simply doing a redirect, I removed the old domain name and moved the files to the new one. [You can read that story here.]

So, this could be one reason why you want to transfer your wordpress blog.

2. Move WordPress Blog to another Webhost

This is another reason why moving wordpress may become necessary. Again, about a year ago, I had to move to a VPS hosting account after my previous host informed me that my blog has grown too big for a shared hosting package. Moving to that VPS plan was done seamlessly by the webhosting company (this was the only time my  web host did this for me!) but after about a year of running that VPS hosting package, I discovered I was not really getting what I paid for (in fact, the site was down most days and at a time it was offline for days. Here is the story!) and I had no option but to look for another host. That was when I moved to my present webhost!

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Let me quickly say here that though my present hosting plan is a shared plan, right now I’m more satisfied here than when I was running the VPS plan!  My blog now load faster and there are less outages! Besides, the problem of CPU (which was the main problem with my former host) has now become a thing of the past. I now have more bonus features which I never got even with a VPS package!

If you’re having problems with your present host or you just want to move your wordpress blog to a server that will help your blog load faster and that has amazing webhosting features, then I recommend you click here.

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From the above, you may need to move your wordpress blog if at any time you want to change your webhost.

3. If Your WordPress Blog Was Hacked, Or You Suffered a Crash!

This could happen anytime without any warning! Yes, I’ve been faced with these two situations at one time or the other. For example, one of my several blogs was hacked sometime ago and I had to reinstall the blog after cleaning up the damage. Also, I have done this for some clients who, while they were trying to do something on their blogs, mistakenly “touched” the wrong thing and suddenly everything came crashing down and re-installing the blog was the only solution!

NOTE: For you to recover from these two situations and get your blog back online in record time, you need a backup of your blog. So if you do not have a backup system right now it is important that you setup one. One thing I must point out here is that it is not advisable to have your backup folder in the same directory where your blog is installed. Using a backup system like Dropbox.com is a better alternative. Dropbox.com has a wordpress plugin that makes it easy to set and forget the backup process. Click here for more details about Dropbox.com.

Ok, so the above scenarios may warrant your moving your wordpress blog at anytime in the course of your blogging career. The good news is whatever the situation the method I’m about showing you here can take care of your need!

Besides, with this method you will be able to transfer your wordpress site to another server without any lose of rankings, link juice or worry about re-installing each and every plugin manually. Every blog customization was done on your blog before the movement will be maitained without fail!

You’ll definitely love this …!

How to Migrate Your WordPress Site without Any Hassles!

Before looking at the step by step guide let’s look at what you will need:

(a) A backup of your old MySQL database.

(b) A backup of your old wp-content folder.

(c) A backup of your uploads/images folder.

(d) A backup of your old wp-config.php File.

Please Note: – If you’re setting up your Dropbox.com account (or any other backup system) always make sure that the above files and folders are included in your backup. This way if you suffer a crash or any such thing, you’ll have them handy.

And so, let’s get on with the step by step guide:

Step #1: Take a Backup of Your MySQL Database

This is your current MYSQL database. You can either get this from your Dropbox.com backup or you can take a backup manually.

Here’s how to take a backup manually:

1. Log into your current hosting account. This is where the wordpress blog or site you are moving is located.

2. Locate the backup wizard. Click on this and take a backup of your database. Here’s a graphic of what is involved:

BackUp database using file manager

then,

Choose backup

Choose to backup database and not root folder:

Select MySQL database and not root folder

Please note: If you have different blogs installed under your hosting account you will need to select the particular blog you are moving.

3. Save the backup in a place where you can locate it later. The backup should be saved as a .sql.gz file.

Step #2: Download Your Needed Files and Folders

Again, these can be retrieved from your Dropbox backup or downloaded directly. Now, if you are to download the files directly,  you can use a third party file upload utility like Filezila (Free) or use the file manager in your cpanel.

Download using file manager:

1. Locate and click to open the file manager.

2. To download any of the files simply select the file and then click on the “Download” icon at the top of the page.

Download a file with file manager

3. To download a folder (for example the wp-content folder), first compress the folder by selecting it and then clicking on the compress icon at the top of the page:

Compress and download a folder

Confirm compression of folder:

confirm compress of the folder

and now the result:

The compression result

Once that is done, download as above.

Save all downloads where you can easily access them.

Step #3: Update Nameservers for Your Domain in Your New Hosting Account

If you are moving the same domain name to a new hosting account, the domain name must be setup under your new host. To do this, login to your clients’ area (that is, where your domain name is registered, and then change the nameservers to point to your new host.

Please make sure you do this after you have taken all downloads in step #2 above.

STEP 4: Update the Domain Name in the Downloaded Database File (Optional)

This is only necessary if you’re changing the domain name. If you are using the same domain name simply skip this step and move on to the next step.

1. To update the domain name, locate the database zip file you have downloaded and unzip it.

2. Open the file in your text editor.

3. Open your find/replace tool and then type the name of the domain you want to change in the “Find” area then enter the new domain name in the “Replace with” area.

Updating the domain name using a search and replace tool

4. Click “Replace All” and wait for it to update the records.

5. Save the file. Remember not to “save as” but simply click on “File” and then “Save.”

NOTE: Some text editors may break the serialized DB data stored in the file. To avoid this it is better to use a serialize-aware tool like Search-Replace-DB (https://github.com/interconnectit/Search-Replace-DB).

Step #5: Install New Blog

This will take you a couple of minutes using Fantastico or Softaculous.

I want to assume that you know how to do this already so I’m not going to give you another tutorial about that here! However, here’s one VERY IMPORTANT thing you must do:

1. Open the wp-config.php file you’ve downloaded from the old install.

2. Locate the “WordPress Database Table Prefix” and take note of the table prefix. This is usually in the form of wp_. For example, in the graphic below the table prefix is, “pa_”

Wordpress Database Table Prefix

3. Now when installing the new wordpress blog deliberately enter a different table prefix. For example, instead of the “pa_” you can use “be_”.

STEP #6: Upload Downloaded Files from the Old Site

These files include:

1.    The zipped wp-content folder containing all themes and plugins from your old installation,

And,

2.  The zipped uploads/images folder

Please do not upload the wp-config.php file from the old installation.

To upload these files you can use FileZila but just as we did in step #2 above we can also use the file manager in your cpanel to do this.

1. Open your file manager and then delete the wp-content folder in the current installation. Simply select the folder and then click on “delete” at the top of the page.

2. Click on “Upload” and select the files to upload.

3.    Once the folders have uploaded, unzip them by selecting the zipped folder and then clicking on the “Unzip” icon at the top of the page.

Please note that you must do this before moving on to the next step.

Step #7: Drop (Delete) the New Database

This is the database of the new site you have just installed.

1. From cpanel locate phpMyAdmin and click to open

MyphpAdmin graphic

2. Select the database you want to drop.

3. Click on the “Structure” tab.

4. Locate the “Check All” link at the bottom of the tables and click on it. This will select all the files.

5. In the drop-down menu which says “With selected,” select “Drop.”

6. Click on “Go” and confirm when you are prompted to do so.

NOTE: This will remove the database of your new installed blog.

how to delete the database - graphic

Step #8: Upload New Database

Still working in phpMyAdmin, upload the database from your old site:

1. Click the “Import” tab.

2. Click “Browse” to select the .sql.zip database file you backed up earlier.

3. Click the “Go” button at the bottom of the page.

4. Wait for this to upload. Depending on the size of your database, this will take some time so be patient until it successfully uploads.

Upload old Database file

Step #9: Update wp-config.php File

At this point your wordpress site should be ready to go but you need just one more thing to make everything work.

Remember in step #5 we intentionally used a different database table prefix for our new installation? Now is the time to put in the correct thing.

Here is how to do it:

1. Open the file manager from cpanel

2. Locate the wp-config.php file and open it. Simply select it and click on the “edit” link at the top of the page.

3. When it opens look for the “WordPress Database Table Prefix” section and then change the prefix to what is in the old installation. For our example above we changed the prefix “pa” to “be_” We can now change it back to “pa_” and then save the file.

Step #10: Update Permalinks

At this point if you open your blog on your browser you will discover that your site is live with every customization and detail before you moved the site to a new host. However, if you try visiting any of the posts or a page you will discover that instead of opening an error will appear. This is because you have not updated the permalinks structure.

So, login to the blog dashboard (use the login details of your old blog) and update the permalinks structure.

Please note that the custom permalinks structure from your old blog would have been pre-filled in the box. All you need to do is click on the update button and you are done!

Step #11?

Congratulate yourself, seriously! You have just accomplished what many people will never attempt. So go on, pop some Champaign because you’ve just joined that special group of WordPress Pros! 🙂

Alright, this is the easiest way I’ve found to migrate your wordpress site/blog from one host to another without losing ranking or going through the pains of re-installing the plugins  one by one and also not working your blog customization again! I hope this is useful to you.

Recommended: The Untold Truth About Web Hosting That Every WordPress Blogger Must Know!

Now it’s Your Turn: This indeed appears to be the longest post ever on the Web Income Journal and I’ll love to know what you think of this post. Was it helpful? Did you learn something new from it? Do you need some more clarifications on the topic discussed? Feel free to share with us in the comments below.

Besides, I’ll appreciate it if you will use the share buttons below to promote the post with your online networks.

Resources:

1. Reliable WordPress backup resource – Dropbox.com

2. Reliable WordPress hosting company with great features and wonderful support – Arvive.com

3. Still don’t want to migrate your wordpress blog by yourself? Get professional WordPress help here! I’ll personally help you with this.

How to Customize A WordPress Blog Theme

In recent times, I have read many bloggers who, while offering tips for making an impact in 2013, advice that you have a customized WordPress theme instead of a free theme!

Now, I totally agree that having a customized wordpress theme is very important. However, I’m truly surprised that many of these bloggers who give such advice simply ask that you buy a premium theme instead of using a free one. In fact, they even go as far as letting you know what theme they are using that makes their blog theme “customized”!

Question please: Does having a premium wordpress theme automatically make your blog customized?

Frankly, I doubt that!

You may have bought a premium theme but that does not make your blog different from the many others using that same theme except if your premium theme is specifically made for your blog. But this I found not to be so in many of the blogs I’ve seen.

What Makes Your WordPress Theme A Customized One?

To answer this question, let me use the case of the Web Income Journal. Some time ago a reader in a comment said,

“I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one these days”

I’m sure that reader saw something different in this blog’s look and feel for him to ask that question. So let me use this post to answer that question and also use it to help you understand what it means to really customize your wordpress theme.

BTW, I want you to pay careful attention because within this post you will discover how you can have a customized theme for free!

Ok, since I have gotten your attention there, let me quickly say that the webincomejournal.com is running on a Theme Junkie premium theme but there is no other blog running on that theme like it out there!

Being very familiar with the themes from Theme Junkie, I can say that when I see a blog running on that platform I can know without blinking an eye! But unfortunately I must say the only thing that differentiates most of these blogs is nothing but the name, the blog logo and sometimes the color. And of course, the content! 🙂

But, I don’t regard as that customization.

Do You Really Want to Customize Your Blog’s Theme?

If you do, you have two options:

1. Go the DIY way, or

2. Get a professional to do it for you!

For me, I want the DIY way because I offer professional blog customization services and I know what I was doing!

If you want to do it the DIY way please make sure you know what you are doing else…!

Now, let me show you what I did to customize this blog’s theme even when it was already a premium theme!

First, compare the original theme as is and then the customized theme on the blog right now:

how to customize your wordpress theme

Can you see the great difference between the two? So, how did I do it?

1. The Header

a. Removed the categories menu.

b. Move the primary menu (pages) to the right of the blog logo instead of the top position it was occupying.

c. Changed the header background color.

d. Created a simple logo to reflect the name and mission of the blog.

Files worked on: header.php and stylesheet.css files.

2. Home Page

a. Removed the recent articles at the center top and put a code to show the top articles (this was really trick-ish!)

b. Changed the font and look of the titles.

Files worked on: index.php and the stylesheet.css files.

3. Sidebar

The default theme had 3 sidebars, the top sidebar and then a right sidebar and left sidebar nestled under the top sidebar. Didn’t liked it this way and so, I removed two of the sidebars and made it only one. I also removed some other codes thus making the sidebar less cumbersome.

I also changed the title font by changing the h3 font in the stylesheet.css file.

Files worked on: sidebar.php and the stylesheet.css files.

4. Footer

For this I did not just removed the default links and changed the look, I also moved the necessary legal pages here instead of including them in the top menu on the header. The links were also moved from the left hand corner to the middle of the page.

Files worked on: footer.php and the stylesheet.css files.

5. Single Post Page

A lot of customization went into this page. Changed the post title font and look, added the author’s gravatar  and also instead of using a plugin to show related posts, I got a php code to do this. Besides, I removed some other codes which I considered not necessary for me!

Files worked on: single.php and the stylesheet.css files.

6. Fonts And Title Links

You will notice also that column titles like the sidebar titles, blog titles and home links are also customized. All of these were done by changing the font sizes in the stylesheet.css file.

Now, How Would You Love Me To Do This For You For Free?

Ok, I’m sure you will be interested in this. As I mentioned earlier, I offer professional blog customization for a fee here. However, as a valued reader of this blog, I have decided to give you the opportunity to hire my services for free! All I ask is this:

1. Tweet this post

2. Share this post with your LinkedIn network

3. Post a comment on this post expressing your thoughts about the post, and

4. You agree to give me a written testimonial once the work is accomplished. Of course, you are free to express your own opinion in your testimonial.

N.B. This offer is only for five persons and the theme to be customized will be provided by you!

Interested? So, what are you waiting for?

Over to You: Do you agree that customizing a wordpress theme goes beyond buying a premium theme? Have you taken time to customize blog’s theme or are you simply using it “as is”?

Put the WOW Effect on Your Blog with these WordPress Plugins!

4 powerful Plugins to WOW your readers!WordPress shares an existential problem with plug-ins. In fact as bloggers, we are very much accustomed if not dependent on plug-ins when it comes to adding some nice features in our wordpress blogs.

WordPress plug-ins are so easy to use and they come with so many benefits that you will be left with fewer choices once you disregard them. But WordPress plug-ins have their own share of shortcomings, like they can make your blog really heavy and sometimes, one plug-in may conflict with another thereby hijacking the performance of the website.Despite these disadvantages however, the advantages are far more numerous.

And so, to help you supercharge your wordpress blog and make it look smart and sharp so that it makes your readers go WOW! here are some hand picked plugins for you. Put them to use right now and set your blog apart from the pack!

1. WP Separate CSS: If you are an aspirant designer like me and much in the habit of making occasional changes in the look and feel of your wordpress blog by doing minor tweaks in the CSS file, you need a plugin that will allot you a separate space to try your fancy. With WP Separate CSS, you can have the best of both worlds. This small and nifty plug-in will let you write separate CSS with whatever editor you would like and that too without affecting the main CSS file of your wordpress blog. All you need to do is to create a separate .css file in the plugin directory and all the codes will automatically get included in the main theme CSS file.

2. WP Put The Meta: This plug-in is best for those who want to add a custom field to some posts without affecting the rest of the post in one way or the other. WP Put The Meta has got a nice addition for this purpose. All you need to do is to install the plug-in and then put this shortcode – [putthemeta key=””] into the posts where you would like to make the changes appear. The blank quotation field needs to be filled out with the name of the custom field. This plugin comes in handy if you are to add adsense code in a particular area of a particular post.

3. Be It Facebook Sidetab: Are you unsure and looking for a way out as to where to put your facebook like box, your worries will be coming to an end with this awesome WordPress plug-in coded named as – Be It Facebook Sidetab. This plugin will not eat up anymore space on your blog which is creaking under the pressure of so many diverse elements. Your facebook like box will be floating around causing least distraction and making it easier for visitors to become a fan. It comes with zillions of customization options and that means, you will be able to change the width, height and other things fairly easily.

4. Google Web Fonts for WordPress: If you want to change the font type but unsure about whether they are web safe fonts or not, this Google Web Fonts for WordPress can save hundreds of hours of man-work. With it, you will have access to almost 350 web fonts and that means, you would not rely on the same old and trusted fonts such as Times News Roman and Lucia. Though I have no personal grudge against them, there is no harm in making your blog post look good and impressive.

There you have it, my 4 wordpress plugins that will help you put that WOW effect on your blog. Do you know of some other plugins that will help you do something similar on your blog? Why don’t you let us know of them in your comment below?

WordPress SEO: How to Increase Your Link Popularity with One-Way Links!

SEO and Link Building

[UPDATE: This post is part of a series on WordPress SEO written way before Google introduces a whole lot of changes in the seo terrain including but not limited to Panda and Penguin updates, EMD update etc. Most of the tactics and strategies discussed in this post though still relevant are not effective as they used to be. You’re therefore advised to use the with caution]

Today I’m dealing with link popularity with special focus on how to create off-site seo one-way back links. Remember in the previous post on off-site search engine optimization I said off-site seo is nothing but acquiring links from other relevant and related sites. The purpose of course is to increase your link popularity which is important for your seo rankings. So in this post I want to expand on this and then give you some ways of creating those backlinks easily.

Link Popularity and SEO Ranking

Link Popularity? But What The Heck Is That, Anyway?

Ok, link popularity simply refers to the ranking that the search engines assign to your website or blog. It is a system created by Google but now virtually all the most popular search engines employ it to rank your web pages in their indexes. It is based, of course, on the discretion of the search engines who, using their secret ranking indexes, give status and ranking to sites that have links to their pages from related, quality sites. It is a simple formula indeed but it is an important one since it determines the ranking your blog page gets when a searcher enters a keyword into any of the search engines.

For example, while dealing with the subject of on-site seo we emphasized that it is important for you to research your target keyword phrases and then include them in your content, page title, url and description tags. Now think of a situation where 3, 4, or 10 other blogs all do this with the same keyword phrase. Will the search engines put all on the same ranking, say #4 on the SERPs?

No, of course!

So how do the search engines determine where to put each of these pages? It’s simply by checking their link popularity! This is why most times even when you have done everything about optimizing your blog pages for the search engines you’ll discover that another more bigger and popular site outrank your page on the SERPs even when they have not taken care of all the seo elements in their pages. The search engines are simply using their link popularity to outrank your blog!

Did I hear you say that’s unfair? But life is unfair, in most ways! 🙂

You don’t need to complain about that. Instead do what you should do now and maybe sometime in the future, when you’re as big as those other sites, you’ll also receive that unfair advantage!

The point I want you to understand here is that increasing your link popularity is as important as keyword research and creating killer content!

So, here are,

5 Off-Site SEO Strategies For Creating One-Way Links To Increase Link Popularity

One-way backlinks are definitely better than link exchanges. Here are 5 proven ways of creating one-way links:

(1) Get Listed In A Popular Directory Like Open Directory Project And Yahoo

This is one quick way of getting a high quality link back to your blog. If your blog/site is business-related, you will want to be listed on Yahoo though this will cost you around $300 a year. But the truth is, that will be money well spent. However, if it is non-commercial, the listing will be free, but it will take a whole lot of time and follow-up to actually get it listed. Open Directory on the other hand will give you a free listing whether you are business-related or non-commercial but be prepared to make a lot of follow-up inquiries before you see your site listed.  One thing you should note when submitting your blog for listing in any of these directories is to ensure that you select the most appropriate category.

(2) Write And Submit Articles To Article Directories

This is really a simple one-way link building strategy that many bloggers have overlooked. But used well, it can really help greatly in increasing your blog’s link popularity. Unfortunately, blackhat online marketers have over the years abused this system but not minding that you can use it to achieve good results if you want to. When recently Google “slapped” most of these article directories during the panda update many bloggers thought article marketing was dead. But that is far from the truth. Most of these article directories still maintain high search engine rankings and are still receiving a huge flood of traffic everyday. Getting a link from them could be a plus for your blog.

One simple strategy of using this system is by submitting your blog posts to the article directories a day or two after you’ve published them. Make sure that your blog post has been indexed by the search engines and then minimally rewrite the post and submit to any article directory of your choice starting with ezinearticles.com.

Note: It is important that you re-write the article a little just to guide against duplicate content issues. But that shouldn’t worry you since the article is already indexed on your blog.

(3) Take Advantage of Social Sites like Squidoo etc

Another powerful way you can build one-way back links for off-site seo is to create squidoo lenses, hubpages and free blogs on blogspot.com and wordpress.com. Just like you did with article submissions, you can rework some of your articles and post them to these sites with back links to your blog. Remember to link to both individual pages and your home page. The search engines frequently visit these sites and they will found your links in those places and will index them for your blog.

(4) Dedicate Yourself To Guest Posting

This is actually a new form of article marketing that has become very popular amongst bloggers. There are different advantages to guest posting as a blogger. But of all these the greatest is the link popularity you can achieve through it.  For example, guest posting on a dofollow blog like the Web Income Journal will not only expose your blog to other bloggers who frequent this blog but also get you a dofollow link in the process. Now think of guest posting in any of the a-list blogs out there! Ok, I can see your eyes already rolling with desire! ?

Enticing, right?

Here’s a simple guide for unrivalled guest blogging success:

(a) Read and understand the terms of the blog you want to guest post.

(b) Read a few of the posts on the blog to understand the direction of the content.

(c) Take a careful look at the comments to have a picture of the blog’s audience.

(d) Write your guest post with a hard hitting headline.

(e) Check your already published posts and put a link back to one of them in your guest post content.

(f) Write a killer byline at the end of your guest post with a link back to your blog (home page).

(g) Submit your guest post using the approved submission system.

If you’ll follow the above guide you’ll not only get your guest articles in some of the high traffic blogs out there but you will also succeed in getting some high profile backlinks to your blog. Over time you will succeed in increasing your link popularity.

In all of these bear in mind that the quality of sites will greatly enhance your link popularity. Besides, the blogs where you guest post should be blogs that are, in some way, related to yours so that, not only will your link popularity increase, but your customer/readership base may also be expanded.

(5) Organize or Sponsor Blog Contests

This is another powerful and quick way of creating one-way links to your blog. Usually for anyone to participate in the blog contest they will have to announce the contest in their own blogs with links to all the sponsor’s and organizers’ blogs/sites. You have the power of deciding the anchor texts with which they are to link back to your blog. Do a search on Google and you’ll see examples of such blog contest. Study how they are doing it and come up with your own ideas. For a wider reach you can always look for sponsors who will be eager to contribute some prizes to the contest.

Conclusion: Off-site seo strategies definitely takes time to add up. When you decide on a particular strategy ensure that you work on it for some time. A hit and run attitude will amount to noting but a continuous and dedicated approach will produce the right results that will increase your link popularity over time.

Over to you: How much of off-site seo have you been doing? On-site and off-site seo which one do you think you should focus on more? Let’s have your views in the comments below.

Off-Page SEO Strategies for More Rankings!

[UPDATE: Though this post was written back in 2011 before the many Google SEO changes in 2012 and 2013, the content is still very relevant and will help you understand what is required for off-page SEO. Read with understanding!]

For over 3 weeks running we’ve been dealing with the very important topic of wordpress search engine optimization. However, much of what we have covered so far touched on what is commonly known as on-page seo techniques. In this article therefore we want to turn our attention to those seo techniques and tactics that happen outside your blog also known as off-page seo strategies.

Now, it must be pointed out that though on-page and off-page seo techniques are two sides of the same coin they are actually approached differently. You must understand is that while on-page seo is mostly under your control, off-page seo is not. The reason is because on-page seo happens on your blog and therefore can be easily manipulated by you but off-page seo happen outside your blog out of your control!

However, there are a few things you can do to ensure that your off-page seo tactics produce the right results. But before touching on these things it is important that we have a clear understanding of what off-page seo really means.

Off-site SEO tactics that gets results

What is off-Page SEO?

Here is my simple definition of off-page seo:

Off-page seo is a search engine optimization technique whereby you focus on building relationships between your blog and other blogs through links with the mind of enhancing your blog’s search engine rankings in the SERPs.

The core of that definition can be simply rendered as, “building relationships with other blogs through links.”

Of course you know there are different forms of relationships being fostered online. Most of these are based on our interactions as humans using the social networking sites like twitter and facebook and through blogs or email. However, as much as these are useful to us as humans the online interactions between sites recognized by the search engines are the relationships based on the links between these sites.

The search engines places much value on these link relationships. For every inbound link pointing to your blog, the search engines count it as a vote for the quality of your content. It is a combination of these inbound links (votes for your content) and the on-page seo strategies (most of which we have touched in previous posts) that the search engines uses in ranking your blog in the SERPs.

The purpose of off-page seo therefore is to acquire as much inbound links as possible because the more inbound links your blog is able to acquire the more influence or authority it will have in the SERPs.

Off-Page SEO Techniques/Strategies

If you desire to effectively use off-page seo techniques to optimize your blog there are basically 3 things you must take into consideration . These are:

1. Who is linking to you?

2. How are they linking to you? and

3. How is your content being shared in the social networks and across the web?

1. Who Is Linking To You?

Off-Site SEO strategyFor sure, all links are not created equal. The reputation of the sites linking to your blog matters. For example, 30 inbound links from your friends’ blogs may be good but may not equate to just one link from a major publication or educational website. An educational website with a .edu domain or most of these major websites and blogs visited by millions of people every day provide more link juice than a simple blog that averages hundreds of traffic a month. Therefore a link from any of these major websites will give your blog more authority in the eyes of the search engines. Acquiring inbound links from such major sites and blogs should be something you will need to aim at.

Conversely, there are sites that you must avoid like a plague! These sites instead of helping your blog will only “tarnish” your blog’s image. Sites that fall into this category are content farms and adult sites (except you’re targeting that niche).  A link from any of these sites is always a suspect to the search engines. It is simply a matter of birds of the same feather flocking together if you know what that means!

The bottom-line? Be careful of who is linking to you or who you link to!

2. How Are They Linking To You?

How are the links pointing to your blog built? As I said before, you have little or no control over much of these off-page seo techniques and strategies. However, one essential factor that you must seek to have control over is the anchor text with which other sites link to your blog.

For example, if your blog is about photography and you’re able to acquire a link back from another site in the same niche with an anchor text like “expert photography tips” you’ll be getting more relevancy for your blog with those keyword phrases than a link like “visit Chadrack’s blog here.”

It must be pointed out here that as much as the idea of reciprocal links is good their value is certainly not as good as a one-way link to your blog. Simply exchanging links with other blogs is not of much value when trying to optimize your blog with off-page seo strategies. The strategies you should concentrate more on are one-way links and not reciprocal links.

3. How Is Your Content Being Shared?

With the explosion of the social media sites like twitter, facebook Google+, LinkedIn and other social networks sharing content online, the search engines have begun to gauge the authority and influence of any site through the amount of social activities on that site. In this wise, the search engines now regard a blog or site with its content massively shared on the social networks as more influential than one without any shares.

Of course this is understandable. Or is it not because someone like some content that he/she shares such a content online? So, the search engines are only trying to mimic humans and reward such content with high rankings!

The good thing is that you can capitalize on this by implementing social network sharing buttons on your blogs and encourage your readers to share your content with their friends, just as I’m doing here! 🙂

With a wordpress blog this is really simple with a plethora of plugins available to do so. But don’t forget the fact that your blog readers will be more open to share your content if they find it both interesting and useful. So again, the onus falls on you to produce useful and interesting content.

Ok, I’m sure you’ll want us to continue with this, or don’t you? Not to worry we’ll continue with it in our next post. In that post we’ll look at some practical ways of putting these off-page seo optimization techniques into action. Ensure you are here when that post is published. One way to ensure that is for you to subscribe for our free updates. You can do so using your RSS reader or by email in the box below.

Alright let me practice what I’ve been preaching here by asking you to help promote this article by sharing it with your friends and bookmarking it to your favorite social bookmarking sites. I’ll truly appreciate that. Ok, thank you for sharing!

Over to you: How much of off-page seo strategies are you implementing right now? On-page and off-page seo which one do you think a blogger should give more attention to?  Let’s hear your voice in the comments below!

WordPress SEO Keyword Myth Debunked

[This is Part 3 of our WordPress SEO Tutorials. Ensure you read the past issues as to get a bigger picture of what we’ve covered so far.]

This article was initially intended to cover wordpress seo keyword research. Unfortunately, like a broken record, I’ve continued to read blogs where the blogger tries to downplay the importance of using keywords/phrases in your content for seo purposes.

Since my intention in this tutorial is to make clear the what, the why and the how of WordPress blog seo, I did decided to write this article to show why you must not overlook the importance of keywords if you want some organic seo rankings.

SEO, Keywords and Creating Content for Your Human Readers!

Tips for small business collaboration

Ever heard the phrase: “Content Is King?” You definitely have!

What about bloggers who, based on that phrase, argues a blogger does not need to concern him/herself with researching and optimizing blog content for keywords?  You know, they want you to simply concentrate on creating good content and allow the search engines decide where to rank your content.

Read things like that, right?

Indeed, it’s clear that those who consider keyword research as a waste of time have in mind the years when black-hat internet marketers gamed the search engines through keyword stuffing.

But frankly that is not what SEO keyword use is about. It’s clear that the search engines have evolved over the years and trying to game them with keyword stuffing would only produce negative effects.

In fact, with the recent Google Panda update, Google now considers human activity on your site as a crucial element for ranking any site. And what will produce this human activity?  The quality of your content!

But does that mean implementing keywords for search engine optimization purpose in your content is a waste of time?

I’m sure you’ve used the search engines to search for information before. What did you do when you searched for that information? Did you simply entered what came to your mind into the search box? Did you not first considered the information you wanted and then entered a phrase which you thought would best describe what you wanted?

Now what you entered is nothing but keywords or better still keyword phrases. This is what all of us do when we use the search engines. When we search for information on the search engines we do so with keyword phrases.  Your content must therefore be able to convince the search engines that it matches the words that people are actually searching for.

This is what effective blog SEO is all about! You should be able to tell the search engines in your content what it’s supposed to rank for! Without that every other thing you would have done to optimize your content would be lost.

This position was made clear in my previous article on how to strategically use WordPress plugins to enhance your blog’s SEO:

“Your blog’s title, description meta tag, content, keyword density and links form the essential SEO elements which the search engine spiders focus on when they crawl your blog. It is the information they gather from these elements that they use when they index your blog.

“Whenever someone request information through a search, the search engines check the keyword phrases used against the information indexed and returns the pages that best suit those keyword phrases. Because of this it’s important that you focus on these elements whatever the niche you’re targeting.”

Blog SEO, Keyword Phrases in Content – An Experiment!

To put what I have said so far to the test and to show that using keyword phrases in your content is very important, I did a little experiment while putting this article together.

I Googled the phrase: “wordpress seo strategy” (without the quotes) and here is what Google returned:

The graphic above shows the top 5 results for the keyword phrase “wordpress seo strategy”.

Of the 3,760,000 pages Google believes are optimized for that phrase my article on laying the right foundation for your blog’s seo strategy rank #5! And remember this article was written just a few days ago as Part 1 of this wordpress seo series!

Now do you think Google is wrong about this result? Did Google simply and randomly picked the pages shown in that graphic?

Alright, let’s take a look at what Yahoo! and MSN says,

For Yahoo!:

And, for MSN:

 

Ok, Yahoo! returned 296,000 and MSN 513,000 pages against Google’s 3,760,000. But in each of these results, my wordpress seo article rank #5 for Google, #5 for Yahoo! and #4 for MSN!

Surprised? You shouldn’t be! Of course I’ll be talking about the simple strategy used in subsequent articles when we’ll be talking about keyword research and content creation. But for now to let you know the importance of using your keywords right, I want you to take another look at those results.

Can you notice that one common thing with all of the pages returned is that the phrase “wordpress seo strategy” appeared bold in all?

That is the search engines’ way of assuring you that the information you searched for is what they have given to you! Seeing those keyword phrases is an assurance  that you are not getting SERPs that talk about what you’re looking for.

Still not convinced that keywords and implementing the right keyword phrases in your content is very important? Still want to believe some “guru” blogger with a list of 10,000+ subscribers who says you don’t need keyword research to drive traffic to your blog?

Ok, that is understandable. He’s a “guru” while I’m not! 🙂

But don’t be deceived. If you don’t have that type of list that brings traffic to your blog, you’d better make the search engines your best friends. And how you can do that is by giving them what they want and they would love you for it!

Keyword Research Empowers You To Create Just The Right Content!

Before I round off this article, let me quickly say that what we have said in this article is the basis of seo keyword research.  Doing a seo keyword research gives you the power to peep into the mind of your prospects so that you can know ahead of time what they really want. With this knowledge you’ll be able to create the type of content that they want to read.

It’s like creating a product. You don’t want to first, create a product and then go looking for those who want that product.

On the contrary, the wise thing is first, run a market research with the mind of knowing what the market wants. With this knowledge you can then create a product your target market would be eager to pay for!

So keyword research gives you the scientific knowledge that removes guess work from your content creation. With this knowledge you can strategically write your content with the keyword phrases “sprinkled” in to help the search engines determine where to place it in the SERPs.

Over to you: Do you consider optimizing your content with keywords as an important element in seo? Do you carry out keyword research when creating your blog content? Share your views with us in the comments below.

Hey, am I asking too much if I request you share this with your friends? Ok, go on and do just that. 🙂

How to Enhance Your WordPress SEO Elements with Plugins

This is part 2 of our WordPress SEO series. In part 1 we dealt with how you can correct WordPress default settings so as to gain more seo power with the search engines. You are advised to read it for better understanding.

So, on to part 2,

Do you know what essentials to concentrate on when it comes to wordpress seo?

Or,  do you know that the search engines are not so intelligent as to figure out what your blog content is about and that they need your assistance to do that?

What about this …

Do you know it’s what the search engines understand about your blog content that will determine where they rank it in the SERPs?

If you’ve not known any of these basic facts then you’ll need to read the next paragraph carefully because it is important if you want to optimize your blog for the search engines.

Your blog’s title, description meta tag, content, keyword density and links form the essential SEO elements which the search engine spiders focus on when they crawl your blog. It is the information they gather from these elements that they use when they index your blog.

That is worth noting because it should form the bedrock of your wordpress seo.

Whenever someone request information through a search, the search engines check the keyword phrases used against the information indexed and then returns the pages that best agree with those keyword phrases. Because of this, it’s important that you focus on these elements no matter the niche you’re targeting.

And so, in this article I want to present to you some  wordpress plugins that will help you deliver your content to the search engines in a way that will make it much easier for them to read it, understand it, digest it and then rank your blog well.

WordPress SEO – Using the Right Plugins

There are presently over 15,000 plugins that will help you do almost anything you can imagine with your wordpress blog. Most of these plugins are built to enhance particular operations of wordpress. One of such area is wordpres SEO.  We know search engines have a special favor for blogs because they are frequently updated and have lots of relevant content. But as we have said, wordpress default settings sucks when it comes to SEO. The use of these pugins therefore is to garner some more love from the search engines for your blog.

To help you digest this article much better I’ve laid it out under 3 major subheadings. These are:

1. Operation Related WordPress SEO

2. On-Page WordPress SEO, and

3. Link building WordPress SEO

For each of these areas you’ll be presented with various options of plugins that will enhance your work.

So let’s begin.

Operation Related WordPress SEO

One very important element Google uses in ranking sites is the site’s loading time. The reasoning for Google is that a slow loading blog is poor in terms of site usability. Some of the things Google takes into consideration here is the bounce rate and repeat visitors. Where the bounce rate is high and the number of repeat visitors is low, Google reasons that something is wrong with that site. It is a wise thing therefore to work on reducing your blog’s load time.

Unfortunately, most of the content in your blog contribute to this problem. For example if your blog has been online for some time chances are that it has acquired a huge load of pages, images, flash, videos and javascripts. Now, these have their good uses but they, nevertheless, have negative effects on your blog’s load time. But there are few things you can do to correct this.

Here are 2 suggestions on reducing your blog’s load time:

1. Use Cache To Retrieve Information

Most of the data that tend to slow down your blog like images and javascripts are data that are not dynamic. That is, they do not change quickly. The best way to ensure that this type of data do not constitute a problem to your blog is to implement cache. Caching is a simple way of calling data from a ready storage (cache). This way, resources are not wasted to generate it every time the same information is needed. By simply using cache you make the retrieving of information quicker.

There are various ways of implementing cache in your blog but the easiest way, and of course the wisest if you know nothing about coding like me, is to use plugins.

Here is a list of a few you would want to check out:

WP Super Cache – Many bloggers tell of how wonderful this one is but I’ve never had any success with it! I tried implementing it a couple of times but each time it changed the blog’s appearance. This to me was not good enough. However, like I’ve said, many bloggers have some very good words about it. My only advice is, use with care and ensure you get good guidance unless you know what you’re doing.

W3 Total Cache – This is a newer alternative to WP Super Cache. In fact, it is presently rated far above all others.  But unfortunately again, my experience with it is nothing different. Ok, maybe I’ve problems with the settings and nothing stops you from checking it out.

Quick cache – This is the one I’ve found to work without any problem so far. If you’re technically challenged like me, then I advise you go for this one.

FV Gravatar Cache – Every WordPress blog today uses gravatars in the comments. Unfortunately, gravatars are not very good when it comes to site optimization because every gravatar image is a new HTTP requests (a page with 100 comments would have 100 additional HTTP requests. Funny right, but the trut is that while you’re working to have more comments on your blog, you’re unknowingly working against your blog’s SEO?). Ok, that was on a lighter mood. But nevertheless, gravatars are a big problem. But Cache Gravatars will give you the power to cache all gravatars locally thereby reducing their load time.

WP Smush.it! – Ok, this one is not a cache. Its work is to optimize your images, by reduce the image file sizes thereby improving performance. If you use graphics a lot, like I use on this blog, then WP smush.it is the plugin for you. On your first install, this plugin will automatically optimize every image in your images folder. Subsequently, every image you add to a post will be automatically optimized once you publish the post.

2. Optimize Your Blog’s Database

Most times the cause of a slow loading blog is not the size of the pages or images but the database tables. To overcome this problem the database tables should be optimized from time to time. The following are some of the plugins I have found useful for repairing and optimizing your blog’s database:

WP-DBManager – this plugin actually has different functionalities. It has a database backup, database repair, etc. With WP-DBManager you simply schedule and forget, and the plugin will take care of all the work automatically. It is a plugin that every blog must have.

WP-Optimize – This is database cleanup and optimization tool. Some of the things you can do with this plugin is removing post revisions (one big culprit of a bloated database), comments in the spam queue and un-approved comments with just a few clicks. Additionally you can use it to rename any username to another username with ease. For example: If you want to rename default ‘admin’ username to ‘someothername’ the plugin will do it for you.

TentBlogger Optimize WordPress Database – This is another simple one to implement for optimizing your blog’s database. As seen on the plugin’s page, the goal of this plugin is to be the easiest and most intuitive optimization process for your blog. It simply optimizes your WordPress MySQL database with a click of a button and then lets you get back to writing! It’s intuitive! It’ll let you know if you need a “tune up” by giving you a message that you should optimize. If not then you can just get back to writing!

On-Page WordPress SEO

The importance of using your target keyword phrase in your title tag is a search engine optimization strategy that everyone agrees on.  It is one way of telling the search engines what your content is really about. Of course many bloggers will want you to believe that simply creating and publishing content is enough to rank high on the search engines but that is not really true. Whenever someone makes a search on the search engines, they want to know what your page is about before returning it in the SERPs. To know this they check your page title slug, the headline and the content against the keyword phrase the searcher is using.

For example, I did a search with the keyword phrase “make money blogging” and here’s what the search engines returned. Note the titles and the descriptions.

The first one is actually an ad so we are not taking that into consideration. But note carefully the ones I’ve marked as #1 and #2. Look at the titles and the descriptions. Now take a look at #3 and #4.

If you are the one searching for information on “make money blogging” which of these ones will you click on? Is it the one ranking #1 or #2? Or will you go for #3 or #4?   You may want to give your answer in your comments below!

But for clarity sake, that graphic tells us one thing, leaving the search engines to determine what they should index for your article is a gamble you must not take. This is because what the searcher sees in the SERP will determine to a great deal the traffic that will come to your blog. It doesn’t matter its position in the SERPs.

The purpose of the following plugins therefore is to help you “instruct” the search engines on what to focus their attention on once they are on your blog and then index what you want. Used effectively these plugins will guide the search engine spiders to pay special attention to your blog titles, descriptions, links and tags.

SEO Slug – In part 1 we learnt how to enabled custom permalinks using your post name (title) as the slug. As much as that helps in creating SEO friendly URLs, there is however another flaw in WordPress that this plugin takse care of. WordPress is built to take the whole title of a post as you entered it and simply add dashes between the words to create the permalinks. Unfortunately the search engines hate this with a passion! They prefer something short with your keyword phrase contained in it. What this plugin does therefore is to strip common words like “what”, “you” or “can” out of your post slug to make it more search-engine-friendly.

NOTE: I must say that I prefer using the url shortener on the writing pane to do this. For one it gives me the power to choose what I want to put in the post slug and again it’s a way of using less plugins thereby reducing the load. However, if you feel you don’t have the pleasure of handcrafting your post slug, then using this plugin is a good decision.

For example, I’ve shortened this post slug from:

http://webincomejournal.com/3178/wordpress-seo-part-2-enhancing-your-blog’s-essential-seo-elements-with-plugins.html

to:

http://webincomejournal.com/3178/wordpress-seo-using-plugins.html

Cool right?

All-In-One SEO Pack – This one, as the name implies, is truly an all-in-one solution to most of the problems of WordPress’s on-page SEO. Most of what you need for an optimized blog is packed in this one. With it you will be able to put your post and page titles before the blog name which is good for SEO.  For your blog home page you will be able to choose a title tag, description, and target keywords. This is very important because the home page usually hold different posts targeting different keyword phrases. Left for the search engines they will simply pick whatever comes handy and most times that will not be what you want! Just as we have seen in the graphic above.

Again using this plugin you can actually choose a different title for your human readers and another one for the search engines.

For example this article is titled: “Wordpress SEO Part 2: Enhancing Your Blog’s Essential SEO Elements with Plugins!” but for the search engines I’ve used, “Wordpress SEO: Optimize Your Blog like the Pros Using Plugins!

You can check that by simply looking at your browser’s title bar. Read this post how I did that.

Here are some alternatives to All-In-One SEO Pack:

WordPress SEO by Yoast
Ultimate SEO
Platinum SEO Pack
HeadSpace

NOTE: Recently I started using WordPress SEO by Yoast and have found it to be a great plugin. Apart from the above mentioned features in All-In-One SEO Pack there is a powerful feature that I’ll be writing about in a later post. If you’ve not used this one before you’ll do yourself a lot of good if you’ll try it out!

SEO Friendly images – One powerful on-page SEO tactic that is very important is using the ALT and TITLE tag for your images. Why you should do this is because the search engines cannot read the images on your pages. The only way you can tell them what the images are is using the ALT and TITLE tags. This plugin saves you the time of manually adding a title and alt every time you add a new image. Besides, once you activate it, it will automatically optimize all the images on your blog.

Link Building WordPress SEO

Another crucial element in search engine optimization is link building. This consists both off-site links pointing to your blog from other blogs and on-site links linking your blog posts one with another. Indeed most times the off-site links cannot be controlled by you. But you can take full control of the internal links structure which will impact positively on the rankings of your blog.

The good thing is that there are some plugins that, when used, will effectively funnel link juice within your blog thereby giving your interior pages the ranking juice needed to get on page one of the search engines.

Here are a few:

Internal Link Building – As the name suggest, this plugin allows you to maximize the internal contextual anchor text links, which are incredibly powerful. It also has the options of using a variety of anchor text. To use simply go to “settings” and then add the keywords and the post slug you want to link within your blog. This is really great for SEO.

An alternative to internal link building is SEO smart links which will automatically link keywords and phrases in your posts and comments with corresponding posts, pages, categories and tags on your blog.

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) – This one is quite common on blogs and that is because of its usefulness. Its purpose is to display at the end of a post a number of relevant posts that are related to the current one. Doing this leads to visitors reading more of your content thereby staying longer on your site.

All Category SEO Updater – This one works in tandem with All In One SEO to deliver high quality SEO for your main category pages. With it you’ll be able to further customize category pages as well as additional SEO function.

One big alternative to this one is TentBlogger SEO Categories which optimizes your permalink structure at the category level to make them as functional (and pretty) as possible for both your users and the search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) that index your content!

How about off-line links?

As I mentioned, the off-site links cannot really be controlled by you but there are a few things you can do to have some good links pointing back to your blog. With the popularity of social media you can actually use these to put your blog content out there increasing the chances of your content being noticed. If this is done well and the right buzz is created about it in the social media sites, it can help your blog’s rankings. (If you want a software that can help you easily do this, then check out the Magic Submitter. It’s a powerful tool for building one way links using the social media sites.)

Here are some plugins that will help you get your content out there:

BWP Google XML Sitemaps – This is a powerful plugin I discovered recently. A few weeks ago I had problems with Google XML Sitemaps. In my search for an alternative I came across this one and now nothing is going to make me go back to Google XML Sitemaps! Get the details and download here.

cbnet Ping Optimizer – This is another critical plugin you should install as it corrects another of wordpress’ default problems. . Every time you edit a post WordPress by default sends a message to your ping lists. Unfortunately this can label you as a spammer if not done well. So it’s either you take control or you run into problems. This plugin will help you out.

WP OnlyWire Auto Poster – This plugin will syndicate your blog posts to over 20 social networking sites simultaneously using the OnlyWire infrastructre when you publish a post. It is indeed an automated way of increasing your blog traffic overnight.

Read this post to discover how OnlyWire auto poster works.

Now, a Word of Warning!

Before rounding off this article it is important to sound this note of warning. As you’ve seen in this article your blog load time is very important seo-wise. Too much of plugins can cause more harm than good!  Instead of using too many plugins a wiser option is to get a search engine optimized wordpress theme like the Genesis Framework. With Genesis Framework most of the functionalities of these plugins are already built in making their use unnecessary.

Conclusion: This list of wordpress SEO plugins is by no means exhaustive. You can use the 3 subheadings laid out in this article to search for more. Indeed the list may be overwhelming but once you’ve mastered how to use them you’ll be able to better present your content to the search engines. Using these plugins will truly improve your wordpress blog’s seo potentialities making your content more visible which could lead to more traffic from the search engines.

Oh, before you go on to post your comment, don’t you think this is worth sharing? Just want to say you can encourage us if you’ll only help promote it by sharing with your friends. Better, linking to it will be greatly appreciated! 🙂

How to Lay a Solid Foundation For Your WordPress SEO Strategy

[As I mentioned a few days I’m starting a series on WordPress SEO. This is the first in the seriess.  I encourage you to signup for our free updates so that you do not miss this series. I bet you don’t want to. So let’s begin…]

I truly love the analogy of a building when it comes to building a blog.  Your blog as your online storefront must be built on the right foundation else every thing you will be in vain. For this reason I want to start this WordPress SEO series by discussing how you can lay a solid foundation for your blog’s Search Engine Optimization strategy.

But what has a foundation got to do with blogging, anyway?

Good question.

As a blogger it’s certain that you passionately believe that the search engines love blogs for various reasons. But unfortunately, WordPress blogs suck SEO-wise when used with the default settings! That is why I want to start this series discussing a few ways you can ensure that your optimization efforts produce the right results.

How to Design an Effective Squeeze Page

The Essence of Blog Search Engine Optimization

First, I think it is proper to take note of why you should optimize your wordpress blogs for the search engines.

For one, optimizing your blog for the search engines is one of the most important strategies you can employ to drive organic (free) traffic to your blog. As I’ve mentioned before, organic traffic is the crème de la crème of traffic because it’s natural and targeted. But before the search engines can send you organic traffic they will need to identify specific keyword phrases that are relevant to your blog.  And it’s SEO that will help you strategically put the relevant keywords phrases on your blog.

But as I’ve said wordpress seo sucks since they are not built to rank high on the search engines by default! They need a little “assistance” from you to do that! And so a little tweaking is needed to put your target keyword phrases in your blog’s home title and in every page.

I know you were expecting a lesson on keyword research and content creation snce we are talking about seo. Never worry, that will definitely come. But the truth is, that’s just part of the game. To ensure that the effort you put into your keyword research and content creation is not in vain you must first ensure that your wordpress blog is laid on the right SEO foundation. And that’s what we want to do in this article.

2 Simple But Powerful Steps To Fortifying Your WordPress Blog against SEO Leaks!

At the home-front there are some very simply tweaks you can apply as to ensure that your wordpress blog is maximized for the search engines. There are actually three basic things you’ll need to do here. These are:

1. Use A SEO WordPress Theme

Presently WordPress has over 1,400 free themes in its theme directory. Besides these, there are thousands of other paid themes. Unfortunately not all of these themes are optimized for the search engines. In fact many of them have too many codes that may not only slow down your blog but hamper the search engines crawling your blog correctly. This is not good for search engine optimization. So if you do not know much about optimizing your blog or you simply don’t want too much work optimizing your blog, the first thing you should do is to get a SEO wordpress theme for your blog. PrimePress is a free wordpress theme that you may want to consider if you are short on the cash and wants a free optimized wordpress theme.

However, if you want something more professional and that comes with more optimized features, then you may want to go for the Genesis WordPress theme [affiliate link ].  Genesis is a Framework theme which means it comes with child themes that empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Whether you’re a novice or advanced developer, Genesis will give you the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation for building any WordPress blog.

You may have heard many bloggers speak good of the Thesis theme but that’s if you love designer-filled tweaks. But if you’re not a designer but want something that can give you not only the right design but also the right search engine optimized features then Genesis is the right choice.

2. Optimize Your WordPress Default Settings

As mentioned earlier by default WordPress blogs are deficient when it comes to search engine optimization. For example the search engines do not like long url strings and in ranking websites/blogs they give more regard to websites/blogs that use their relevant keyword phrases in the url.  Unfortunately wordpress default settings violate these rules! To give your wordpress blog some goodwill in the sight of the search engines therefore you simply need to give it a little “touch up.”
Here are two things you should do:

a. Change The Default Permalinks:

WordPress actually have a simply way of overcoming the deficiency of not including, in each blog page, the relevant keyword phrase. To fix this:

Go to Settings >> Permalinks

Then *Select Custom Structure, and put

/%postname%/

Simply doing this is enough though some bloggers will advocate adding the categories like:

/%category%/%postname%/

 b. Include A Robot.Txt File

Another simple but very important seo tactic that wordpress, by default, has overlooked is the inclusion of a robot.txt file. The robot.txt file simply tells the search engines how to treat your blog, what parts to spider and what parts to index. Though it seems to be a simple thing, but it does help your blog’s rankings. So before you do anything about keyword research and creating your blog content, create a robot.txt file and upload it to your blog’s root directory. Even if your blog is already up and running but you have not uploaded a robot.txt file, you should do it right away.

To create a robot.txt file, right click anywhere on your desk top and create a new text document. Name this document robots.txt and enter the following inside it:

User-agent:*

Disallow:

Now upload it to the root directory of your blog so that it can be located at:

=> http://www.yourdomain.com/robots.txt

For more details about robot.txt files go to http://www.robotstxt.org

That’s about it for now. Of course, there are other things you need in order to structure your wordpress blog very well for the search engines but we will discuss those when we talk about how you can give your wordpress blog some unfair advantage with the search engines in our next article. Right now make sure you put these few tips into use.

Not laying this foundation for your wordpress blog will only make your seo efforts appear like someone attempting to chop down a tree with a blunt cutlass! 🙂

So over to you: Have you done anything to correct your wordpress blog’s default settings? Do you know any reason why the wordpress team have continued to use these default settings even when they know that they are not good for the search engines?