Making Sure Your Website Gets Visitors
Episode #10 of the course Build a website and online brand quickly and cheaply by Rob Cubbon
We can make various tweaks and improvements on our site to ensure that this happens automatically.
We have touched on keywords and SEO already. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it’s the practice of making your website “search engine friendly” so that you are returned in as many online searches as possible. Keywords are the words you type into Google when doing a search.
We’ve also touched on plug-ins. A WordPress plug-in is a piece of software that can be added to a WordPress website to provide extra functionality.
There’s a plug-in that will help you with SEO called Yoast’s WordPress SEO. This plug-in gives you complete control over page titles and meta descriptions for all your pages. It also helps you with setting up Google Webmaster Tools, Facebook Open Graph meta data, Twitter card meta data, and loads more.
Make sure your blog post titles and content are unique, relevant, and keyword-rich (although don’t “keyword stuff”). Add subheadings to your blog posts and pages, write alt (alternative) text for your images, and most important of all, create quality, relevant, and shareable content.
Google Webmaster Tools
A sitemap is an XML file that lists the URLs (pages) on a site—it sits on the server with your websites and informs the search engine robots where all the content is.
Yoast’s SEO plug-in also enables you to generate an XML sitemap, and there are other free plug-ins that will generate a sitemap as well with a single click.
Once your sitemap is generated, you should register it with Google Webmaster Tools to make sure Google has indexed all of your pages.
Google Webmaster Tools also gives you valuable information about the keywords you are ranking for. Plus, it will alert you if it suspects your site has a virus, is hacked, or if your site contains any broken links or errors.
Google Analytics gives you indispensable information about how many people visited your site at a specific time, what pages they viewed, for how long, and so much more. Most people use Google Analytics for visitor statistics.
You can go to Google Analytics and you’ll be given a tracking code that you need to put on every page of your website. This is usually very easy with WordPress depending on which theme you’re using.
Speed is of great importance to your visitors; no one wants to wait ages for a page to load. A fast-loading site will also help your rankings in the search engines.
Make sure the file sizes of the images on your website are as small as possible. There are a number of online image editors that will do this for you.
Plus, there are many server-side settings that can be tweaked by your host to ensure faster page delivery. You can use Google’s PageSpeed tool on your browser to see what could and should be improved on your site’s pages.
You can also install a caching plug-in that will speed things up, like W3Total Cache or Super Cache. Liaise with your host to find out which caching plug-in would be best for the server you’re on and which settings to use.
You should make it easy for your visitors to be able to share or like your blog posts. I always include the most popular social media share buttons (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and because it’s Google, Google Plus). There are a variety (you could say a baffling array) of plug-ins that create these buttons.
But, as with everything to do with your website, take each step at a time. You should be continuously improving and updating your website.
In the next lesson, I’ll be giving you a few more “must do’s” of basic website good practice.
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