If you have knowledge, a blog, and the focus to make 2015 your most successful year, that’s a winning combination. However, you have to have a WordPress site that’s properly designed and optimized if you’re going to achieve your set goals. Here are seven tips to do so:
1. Optimize Your Permalinks
You want links in your WordPress content to help drive traffic to your site. However, you have to do it right. If you check your settings in WordPress, the permalinks are often set at an inefficient URL structure; if you want them to be properly optimized, it’s best to change them. Using the new setting of Post Name or “/%postname%/” is the most practical option.
2. Select the Proper Theme
Picking the correct themes for your blog can be a chore. You might see something that looks good, but then you have to consider practicality first and foremost. What you may want to do is browse WordPress theme sites like Headway Themes or Themify and download a custom design. Select a theme that relates most to your industry and that will function in all browsers and interfaces.
3. Install the Right Plugins
There are over 30,000 plugins in the WordPress library, from media players to client portals. While plugins are a great way to customize your blog, too many can overload it; downloading ones that aren’t very useful is equally ineffective. When determining which ones you want, check its rating on the WordPress library, test its compatibility, and deactivate those that don’t work.
4. Tag Your Titles and Descriptions
You’ve likely heard the hype about optimizing your WordPress content, but it’s not just hype—it’s a necessity. Focus on your titles and descriptions, keeping them to a minimum of 55 characters and use specific keywords in your titles. Also, don’t use your brand name in the content unless it’s a major, worldwide brand on the level of the likes of McDonald’s; this isn’t meant to demean your company, but rather have you focus on developing specific keywords and content to improve your blog’s ranking.
5. Optimize Your Images
A picture is worth a thousand words, and this is no different on WordPress. However, images take up a lot of storage space on your server and can cause your blog to load slower, turning viewers away. That’s why you have to make sure to follow some optimization criteria. Along with confirming that they are JPEG files, make sure you use the WordPress thumbnail feature in the settings menu to configure your photos to the desired pixel size. And if you don’t have access to Adobe Photoshop, try online programs like Smush.it to reduce and optimize your file sizes.
6. Address 404 Errors
Few things will get viewers as angry as dealing with 404 errors and dead sites. Why do they happen? Well, it’s most commonly because there’s a bad link in the permalink structure or a coding error in the .php files; these small errors in meta data will make the site bounce.
Luckily, help exists in the form of plugins that can analyze 404 errors, such as Google 404 and 404 Notifier. Of all the plugins you install, a 404 error analysis one should be the priority.
7. Perform Analytic Data Tracking
What is especially important now is keeping track of who’s visiting your site. That’s because it lets you see who’s interested in your business and how you can improve your content to be more attractive. Every time you add a video or new posting, it’s wise to observe what content is working, if the optimized graphics are driving increased traffic, and who’s sharing your blog over other social media. If you’re hosting your WordPress site, tracking can be done using Google Analytics, but otherwise, just use the Jetpack stats program built into the WordPress site.
It can’t be stressed enough: WordPress is not just a blog site, it’s a digital business tool. Use the tips above and make it the best you can and it will help you be successful in 2015.