We’ve written before about how using the WordPress (WP) blog platform is a great SEO strategy but we’re going to dig deeper now and bring you what we think are five WordPress essentials in terms of hosting packages, themes and plugins. WordPress has a Search Engine-friendly infrastructure, great design templates and plugins available (to increase the functionality of your website) and an easy-to-use Content Management System (CMS). Find out more …
Five WordPress essentials: Recommended web hosting packages
To maximise the SEO benefits of WordPress, we recommend that you host your WordPress blog on your own domain with a hosting package. Domain names often come free with the hosting package. WordPress works best when it’s in a rich hosting environment.
WordPress can be installed from within the control panel for many hosting services – the following are five that are the best at supporting WordPress enabling its full potential and are recommend by WP:
Bluehost: Auto-installation of WordPress, unlimited disk storage, monthly data transfer and host unlimited domains on 1 account, 1 free domain name, 2500 POP / WebMail addresses, 50 MySQL, 99% uptime guarantee and no hidden fees. Voted best support in 2004 – 2008;
DreamHost: WordPress auto-installation and upgrade, 1 TB disk storage, 10 TB bandwidth, free domain, unlimited databases, 3000 email accounts, unlimited domain forwarding and much more;
MediaTemple: WordPress one-click installer and enough high-speed storage and bandwidth to run a blogging empire.
GoDaddy: Hosting plans include to unlimited disk space, unlimited transfer, unlimited MySQL databases, unlimited websites, and 1,000 email accounts and plans start at just US$4.25/month.
Laughing Squid: Hosting plans come in three packages; Mega Squid, Ultra Squid and Super Squid. The daddy of the plans, Super Squid offers 4 GB disk space, 200 GB bandwidth, 5 MySQL databases, 50 email accounts.
Find out more about these hosting companies recommended by WordPress.
These hosting packages are all based in the US. However, if you are trying to attract the local market, you may want to find a locally based service provider as geographical location of the hosting is an important factor.
Many WordPress hosting packages offer shared hosting however this can be a trap – these usually come with too few databases and restrict the number of domain names allowed. Developer support should be a key focus when choosing web hosting.
Five WordPress essentials: Best themes for WordPress blogs*
If you are setting up a blog or a personal website, you may only wish to install a free WordPress theme to get you started. Some themes can be customised by adding different widgets and WP plugins.
You can also edit the template files, image files, style sheets, custom pages as well as any necessary code files to change the look and feel of your website to reflect your company’s branding or your personal style. Some WP themes also have advertising built into the theme.
|Mystique: Feature-packed theme with a solid design, built-in widgets and a intuitive theme settings interface.|
|Arjuna X: Translation ready, SEO focused, IE6-8, Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera compatibility, support for threaded comments, four widget bars, flexible sidebar, and more.|
|intrepidity: Highly SEO optimised and marketing driven theme with a fully customisable design. Theme options include custom header, footer and background images, logo uploader, custom home page, social networking integration and more.|
|eDegree°: Highly SEO optimized and fully customisable designs.. Theme options include custom header, footer and background images, logo uploader, custom home page content, social networking integration and more.|
|Motion: Dark and colourful theme with sweet transparency characteristics. Drop-down categories menu, 2-column layout and widget-ready footer and sidebar.|
Five WordPress essentials: Must-have WordPress plugins**
Plugins are tools to extend the functionality of WordPress and are designed by third party developers. When installing WordPress on a new site, there are five plugins you can’t do without. These include the following:
All in One SEO Pack: This generates Meta tags automatically, automatically optimises your titles for Search Engines, create canonical URLs and fine tunes navigational links.
Google (XML) Sitemaps Generator for WordPress: This creates an XML-sitemap of the blog that is supported not only by Google but also by Ask.com, YAHOO and MSN Search. The plugin supports all kinds of WordPress generated pages as well as custom URLs.
Dagon Design Sitemap Generator: This is another sitemap plugin that creates a user sitemap on your website.. This plugin is highly customisable from its own options page in the WordPress admin panel.
MaxBlogPress Ping Optimizer: When you create a new post, your blog will ping and notify all the ping services that it has been updated. This encourages Search Engines and different blog directories/services to index your updated blog properly.
Redirection: This is an essential WordPress plugin that manages 301 redirections, keep track of 404 errors, and generally tidy up any loose ends your site may have.
Five WordPress Essentials: WordPress copywriting tips to optimise your website
Search Engines have a preference for websites that are updated regularly with fresh content. Ways to do this are to create a company blog, add media releases, case studies and testimonials to the website and update the website with competitions and special offers.
The easy-to-use WordPress CMS makes it easy for you to add and edit copy on your website. Here are five SEO copywriting tips to take advantage of the SEO features included with the WordPress platform.
Permalinks: Create an SEO friendly permalink. Make the link your title minus the stop words (and, the, if, etc) with dashes (not underscores) between each word.
Title tags: Use your keyword in the post title. Important keywords should be used towards the start of the title tag as it has greater SEO value. 5 – 8 words are best.
Meta description tag: A meta description tag is a guide for Search Engines to use as summary text (beneath the title) when a site is listed in the Search Engines. Word counts should be aimed at 25-27 words and less than 165 characters in total.
Page headings: Make sure that your primary keyword or keyword phrase is included ideally at the start of the H1 heading. Use H2-H5 headings to optimise for secondary terms – make sure these are used as sub-headings.
Body copy: Insert keywords naturally and seamlessly into the text. Use your primary keyword as well as synonyms throughout the copy.
Contact us and find out more about how we can develop a beautiful WP website or blog that not only fulfils your design brief but will also delivers on the SEO goals for your website, drives quality traffic to your website and improves your conversion rates. WordPress was designed with SEO specifically in mind but with these WordPress essentials, you will be able to further customise your WordPress website or blog, enhance the functionality and improve the SEO.