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Top 5 WordPress Plugins

January 2, 2009 Category :Web Development 0

If you are a web developer looking for a solid content management tool to use for your website, I highly recommend WordPress 2.7.  It’s an amazing open source CMS tool that has been available for free download since 2003.  Yet, it’s only been in the last two years that I’ve seen some pretty significant leaps that make it consistent recommendable.

Recently, it’s become tremendously easy to install and make automatic upgrades your blog using WordPress (thanks Keith!) and I actually use it for all of my clients who are trying to build their first blog or simple content site on the web.

Because WordPress is easy to install and navigate (and there are a number of free themes to get you started), I highly recommend that anyone with a good amount of HTML experience give it a whirl.  If you don’t have HTML experience but are a small business owner or potential blogger – let me know.

Of course, my Top 5 WordPress Plugins all rotate around good Search Engine Optimization practices and improving the user experience so that both the blog visitor and the blog owner get more value from the website experience.

#1 All in One SEO Pack

Anyone who is anyone will have the plugin on their top plugins list.  It’s a great WordPress Optimization for Search that naturally helps catalog and effectively organize your webpages for search engines.

Search top plugins for WordPress and you’ll see how popular this one is.  (In fact, you’re probably already searching for good plugins).  It’s amazing to me that WordPress hasn’t bundled this plugin with the initial download so it automatically adds ability to create unique title tags and descriptive URLs.  The plugin works so nicely and provides a measurable, noticeable difference when it comes to being found via the search engines.

#2 Permalink Redirect

You never want to loose link equity if you don’t have to.  Whenever you move pages around your site and change the url you are inadvertently uprooting a valuable investment and giving it away.

If you ever need to rename a post or change a link, this great WordPress redirect plugin automatically creates a 301 redirect so that you can safely maintain all of the value through your link building and SEO efforts.  Without it, your visitors could be linking to broken content and you will be throwing away valuable link equity unnecessarily – and who wants to do that?

Broken Link - 404 File Not Found - Browser Error - Dead Link

Broken Link - 404 File Not Found - Browser Error - Dead Link

#3 Google XML Sitemaps

If you want to give your site a little Search Engine kick, get this quick and simple WordPress XML Sitemap Optimization Plugin to help Google keep tabs on your valuable content.

This XML Sitemap file will be updated every time you post and give search engines a single place to look for new content.  Once you’ve enabled this plugin you want to make sure you register your sitemap with all the search engines using their various webmaster registration tools  so that when they crawl, they can utilize your XML sitemap for new indexable content.

  1. Google Webmaster Tools
  2. Yahoo! Site Explorer
  3. Live Webmaster Center

The nice part of this plugin is that it gives WordPress the power to auto-generate or you as the user can manually set your post’s individual value.

#4 WordPress Database Backup

In general, having a great back up can save you from unfortunately loosing your data.  I recommend this sturdy WordPress Database Backup Plugin as a simple way to quickly and effectively create backup files so that you can restore your blog in the event that you loose your site goes sour.

If order to get the best out of the plugin, make sure to backup your data regularly.  At this point, it’s a manual process but I’m hoping they come out with an automatic backup shortly.

#5 AdSense Manager

If you decide to sell advertising with Google AdSense, this plugin works great.  There’s nothing too flashy and although there’s nothing tremendously amazing about this WordPress AdSense Manager – you can do most things via the plugin when directly in Google’s AdSense Manager.

Google AdSense

Google AdSense

But it provides a quick way of adding ad blocks to your website through the Appearence > Widgets menu.  Also, having all the AdSense Manager options available within the WordPress tool can help save time when making a quick ad change.

Bonus: Setup Feedburner!

This isn’t neccesarrily a plugin, but I thought it would be good to include, as setting up a feedburner feed gives your audience the option of quickly and easily staying up-to-date on your posts without having to manually visit your website everyday.

Obviously, more tech-savvy folks use RSS feeds to keep track of all of their favorite blogs but I regularly come across surfers who haven’t yet grasped the RSS revolution and would rather stay updated through regular emails – which can be done for free with Feedburner’s Email Syndication.  There’s also plenty of other tools from Feedburner to help grow your visitor traffic.

Note: If you are using an analytics tool to track visitors, adding an email feed will lead to an immediate drop in site visits but overall it will provide a better user experience that – in time – will reap greater returns for your site.

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Ongoing Website Performance Optimization (Paid & Organic)

January 26, 2008 Category :Web Analytics 0

The other day a co-worker sent this article about monthly, ongoing SEO work being dead. Lately, I’ve been contemplating the value of an ongoing search engine optimization versus a search engine marketing plan and their respective return on investments over time.  Everyone knows to begin doing SEO work on your website through meta data and title tags but how long should you be focusing on purely organic search results?  When should you begin looking into doing paid search through Google Adwords or Yahoo! Search Marketing?

In fact I rough plan to help decipher when a website should be focusing on organic search engine optimization and when they should focus on paid search engine marketing for the best ROI.

Pre-Launch: Spend lots on SEO development before you launch the site Metadata standards, H1/H2/H3 Heirarchies, friendly urls, xml sitemap, 301 redirects, internal content rich urls, etc.  Build a solid foundation for good organic search crawling so that a year down the road you won’t need to uproot all your existing

SEO Phase 1: Confirm your indexation for major search engines, get search referring data from analytics tool, make sure those keywords are in your meta, content, and H1, start blogging regularly (weekly), sign up for Webmaster Tools so you can tell what search queries your site is showing up for (prepare to be surprised).

SEO Phase 2: Confirm that SEO practices for meta, H1, content, friendly urls, press releases, blog schedules, etc.  These should be checked as you develop your ongoing publishing process to ensure quality.

SEM Phase 1: With what you know from referring organic search data in your analytics tool, build paid search engine marketing campaigns on successful keyword searches and other keywords that should’ve been successful on search.  Make sure to use unique and relevant landing pages for each keyword group.

SEM Phase 2: Analyze and SEM Campaigns and looking deeper into competing campaigns and websites.  What are they doing that you could learn from?  Do this too, where neccessary.

MVT Phase 1: Use results of paid search campaigns and abandonment data (from analytics tool) to begin planning some multivariate testing options for your main landing pages.

MVT Phase 2: Continue with your paid search campaigns while implementing your different landing page variations.  Use your results to optimize the effectiveness of your campaigns.  Don’t forget to continue following best SEO practices.

Well, there you have it.  My ultimate plan for overall website performance optimization.  Feel free to comment and let me know what you think.

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