Update: See WordPress Tips 2009 for a new & improved list
I’m not the first one to write a post that outlines major WordPress tips and tricks to implement into your WordPress site (or any kind of site for a number of these tips). Search engines will be much more proud to display your content if it follows some of these WordPress tips. In order to improve SEO on your blog, improve site speed, improve user-friendliness, and ease site management.
WordPress Tip 1. Use The Title Tag Correctly
Making the best use of your title tag can make a huge a difference in how people find your site. Search engines base the title in the SERP on your title tag and if you don’t sell the content in that one line, chances are you won’t sell it at all.
The following code enables your site to make better use of your post titles and blog description. Basically it says that if you are viewing a post, a page, or an archive that it should display the title of that page in the title tag and if it is anything else (i.e. the home page) then it should display the description of the blog. This means that you should make sure your blog’s description is very relevant to your site’s content.
WordPress Tip 2. Direct Bots To Your Content
You’ve got a lot of great content and you want people to find it in as many places as possible, but Google doesn’t like duplicated content – no problem. Michael Gray outlines how to organize your content in such a way that bots can easily find your content.
His advice is geared more towards brand new sites, but another solution is the Meta Robots plugin. This plugin blocks bots from following and/or indexing pages on your site.
For example, I’m using the Meta Robots plugin to prevent the indexing of these pages:
- The login and register pages
- All admin pages
- Author pages
- Date-based archives
- Tag archives
In addition I’m using the plugin to add
nofollow to these:
- Nofollow category listings on pages
- Nofollow category listings on single posts
- Nofollow outbound links on the frontpage
- Nofollow login and registration links
WordPress Tip 3. RSS Is Super Powerful
For the normal person RSS is just a really handy way to get their favorite blogs in one spot. Awesome.
However, what is even better is the resulting SEO of RSS.
RSS has the potential to push your content to SERPs quicker than not utilizing it. We all know that if you write a new post you’ve got to wait for the Google bot to come by and snatch up the new content and then display in the SERPs. WRONG.
What I’ve found out is that by utilizing FeedBurner, you enable your content to be pushed to SERPs nearly immediately. Your content hasn’t even been chached yet! Google recognizes that your content is fresh, and therefore may be more relevant to searches and gives it better results than others (others that you normally WOULDN’T beat).
So get yourself a FeedBurner account!
WordPress Tip 4. Post Frequently and/or Consistently
Bots know to return to sites more often when they recognize that content is being created…more often. This can ensure that all of your content is being indexed and tells search engines that you’re alive, producing new, fresh content. Even if you aren’t posting everyday, some sort of a routine is good to keep bots coming back regularly.
WordPress Tip 5. Site Maps
I’m not talking about the site map that you link to in your footer. I’m talking about the one-time-plugin-install that automatically creates a site map for you and pings the search engines, alerting them that you have new content. The best plugin for this is, of course, the Google Sitemaps Generator.
The site map is standardized and can be read by Google, Ask, Yahoo!, and MSN. Auto generate your site map and forget about it.
Download the Google Sitemaps Generator.
WordPress Tip 6. Secure Your Site
Matt Cutts suggested three things to lock down your site and keep hackers out:
- Prevent access to your wp-admin directory from unauthorized IP addresses via an .htaccess file
- Make an empty index.html file in your plugins directory to avoid people gaining access to your current plugins
- Always update to the newest version of WordPress so that publicly released security flaws don’t catch up with you
Matt sometimes posts some great WordPress tips as well, so check his blog out.
WordPress Tip 7. Speed Your Site Up and Don’t Run the Risk of the “Digg Effect”
Hopefully you’re writing good enough content that someday may be worthy of the “Digg Effect” (captivating so many people that your site goes down at a most critical point). Of course you can’t assure perfection without spending the big bucks, but there are some things to keep yourself alive during these times.
The WP-Cache plugin is the single-most common and easiest way to speed your site up. It simply caches pages as they are visited and automatically dumps the cache at a custom interval (default is an hour).
For more advanced methods of caching and speed improvement, visit Elliot Back’s “WordPress Improvement: Why My Site Is So Much Faster Than Yours”
WordPress Tip 8. For Media: podPress
There is no other plugin as easy to use for rich media than podPress. With this single install you can upload almost any media file (audio or video) and have it play via a player of your choice right in your blog – complete with an assortment of customization options. In addition, turn your media into a podcast and let podPress do all the work. This is a very powerful plugin and can be used in all sorts of ways.
I can’t wait to start using it more. Download podPress here.
WordPress Tip 9. Use a Related Posts Plugin
A lot of times organic visitors have found content that they like. Assuming they made it all the way to the bottom of your post (or wherever your choose to put it) they might encounter a list of related posts. This is nearly essential. Again, they found content they like, so if you’ve written other posts around the same subject they will most likely be interested in those as well. Keep people clicking and moving around your site.
Download the Similar Posts plugin.
WordPress Tip 10. Use the Yahoo! User Interface Library
One of the best things Yahoo! has done has been releasing the YUI Library. For a good number of benefits, you are better off creating your themes using this – you won’t regret it. Read my “Easy Workflow for Site Creation” post.
Hopefully I’ve been able to provide some useful tips. As more come in I’ll continue to compile them and share them with you as I learn. After all, that’s what makes WordPress so great!
Feel free to share your tips below!