What makes good SEO content?

What is the difference between a well optimized page and a poorly optimized page as far as a search engine is concerned? Great SEO hopes to accomplish these four things:

  • the content should be easy for a search engine to read;
  • it should be written for people, not robots;
  • proper formatting such as bold and italic text to help improve text;
  • the web page should use well structured HTML;

That’s really it! Everything a website needs to be successful (as far as SEO is concerned) can be summed up in those four points.

Privacy Settings

8 ways to hack an average WordPress website

It might not be easy for the average person to hack WordPress, but valuable websites are always at risk and here are eight common sense ways to protect yourself (and your online business) from attack.

Plugin and theme vulnerabilities

It’s not fair to pick on plugin and theme authors, they’ve contributed something to the community for free but, none the less the truth is that a poorly written plugin (or theme) can introduce security issues to WordPress. The solution? Know your code or trust the developers working on your website to know your code.

Poor password management

As I mentioned before, passwords are the weakest point of most WordPress websites. If your password is compromised, say goodbye to your website.

Website hosting companies

Hosting matters for more than just search engine optimization, but also for security. When you’re looking for a good host, don’t simply settle for the cheapest, look for the one that can offer you great service and quality hosting in addition to excellent security. I recommend WP Engine for hosting to all my clients in a large part because I have faith in their security.

Update everything, always.

There is fundamentally no excuse for not updating WordPress. A giant yellow banner appears across the top of your administration client whenever an update is available, there is honestly no excuse to ever have a plugin, theme, or the WordPress Core out of date.

Ever.

Seriously, I can not stress enough how vital it is that your website is updated regularly. If it’s not something you’re comfortable doing yourself, hire somebody to maintain your WordPress website.

Avoid commonly exploited vulnerabilities

Again, watch those passwords but also keep abreast of some of the more common vulnerabilities to a WordPress website, such as:

  • delete or change the ‘admin’ account on your website;
  • remove unused themes and plugins;
  • force https:// instead of http:// in the admin area;
  • add an .htpassword file to your admin area;
  • use proper file permissions for WordPress files;

Phishing attacks

It should go without saying that a WordPress website (either on .com or a self hosted) will never ask you to email your login credentials, or reply to a message with those details … but I’m going to say it anyways.

WordPress will never ask you for your password, except at the login prompt to your WordPress website.

Accessing sensitive files

WordPress has a lot of files and those files need to have their permissions set correctly in order to work, but if they’re set wrong it can also expose your website to hackers. The solution is to use .htaccess to protect your files. Moz.com has a great piece on updating your .htaccess file to protect WordPress.

Exposing your login as your username

When you write a post in WordPress, the theme often generates a link to the author page, which unfortunately includes a link with your username. For example, this post includes a link to http://thisismyurl.com/author/thisismyurl/ which clearly exposes my username.

If a hacker has your username, they have 50% of your security.

There are of course a couple of things you can do to get around this, IT Pixie has a great post on changing the nicename (what is displayed) of your user profile, or you can take my advice and never write under your admin account.

All in all, WordPress is a wonderfully secure platform but these basic security issues should highlight the need for you (and all website owners) to be vigilant in protecting your website.

Create internal links for better SEO

A great way to boost your search engine rankings is to create and optimize internal links to your own website. By creating links within your existing content to other relevant pages on your site, you’re helping search engines to better understand your own content.

Creating internal links also helps your visitors by presenting them with more detailed content, and the ability to find related content across your website. This will decrease your bounce rate, improve your rankings, and help your audience find your content.

Christopher Ross WordPress

How to be an effective blogger in five easy steps.

Being an effective blogger is about more than just writing great content and focusing keywords, it’s about learning to make the most of your day and not getting bogged down in the day-to-day process of maintaining a website.

You may think you have a lot of time, but once you start blogging it gets consumed rapidly.

Here are my five strategies for managing my blog, my time, and my personal life.

1) Know what you can do, and what you can’t. One of the best ways to be an effective blogger is to know what you’re good at, what you’re bad at, what you need to learn, and what you should give up trying to learn.  It’ll take time, but when you know what you’re good at (and what you’re bad at), you can often find other bloggers to work with to help shore up your weak spots.

Spend your time doing the things you can do well, but hire people (or barter with them) to help you be the best at every else.

Manage WP visitors image 300x197 How to be an effective blogger in five easy steps.2) Plan ahead, and learn to schedule your website updates for the best effect. It’s not just about learning when the best time to post to social media is, it’s also about scheduling your time to make the most of downtime. Learn to set aside a few minutes each week to write fresh content for your website, and use the built in scheduling features to automatically update your site later in the week.

This also allows you to take time to review your content with fresh eyes, find and optimize suitable images, and really thing about the content of your post.

3) Learn when good is good enough. Maintaining a blog is a huge undertaking, and one that most first time bloggers are ill prepared to truly understand. Blogging is about much more than writing a great piece, there is also the technical side to programming a website, maintain the analytics for a website, marketing, social networking, and countless other tasks related to your blog.

There will always be room for improvement but with so many moving pieces and areas of expertise, it’s important to know when good is good enough.

4) Learn when to spend time, and when to spend money. A lot of the decisions we make about blogging come down to the expertise we have (see above), vs. the time we have to put into our websites.

5) Be social. Blogging is about being social, and communicating with others in the community. As a website developer, I read countless articles weekly by people across my industry as well as my interests but as a successful blogger, I take the time to comment on articles I’ve benefitted from.

Also remember to link, both to your own website, and to interesting articles across the web. It helps your social media presence and search engine optimization, but also helps build your reputation in the community, and adds value to your posts.

How to schedule a blog post in WordPress

How to schedule a blog post in WordPress

Scheduling blog posts in WordPress is a great way for bloggers to increase their overall effectiveness by taking advantage of downtime to create content for their sites.

With scheduled posts in WordPress you can add several posts at once, and release them on a schedule to optimize your social impact.

Here’s how you do it:

How to schedule a blog post in WordPress How to schedule a blog post in WordPressAfter you’re done writing a new article in WordPress, edit Publish Immediately and change the date to publish on your schedule!

  1. look at the top right area of your page, and click Edit;
  2. change the time and date to a future publishing date;
  3. click the grey OK button to save your changes;
  4. Click the blue Schedule button to publish your changes in the future!

That’s all there is to it!

Whale

Deep linking to buried content will improve website traffic

I think it’s always a great idea to include fresh content on your website, either by routinely updating the pages, or by including a timely blog but there’s also something to be said about deep linking to evergreen content on your website.

What is deep linking?

Deep linking is a fancy way to describe linking to content beyond the homepage of your website, in particular to blog posts and pages that may not receive a lot of traffic on your site but you want to push visitors towards.

In the case of evergreen articles (posts that are always fresh), it’s a great idea to link from your content to them in order to help add value to a post, or explain a complex concept to your audience. For example, when I mention a site specific plugin in a WordPress coding article, I always link to a tutorial article to help visitors who are new to the concept.

Remember, if you’re not willing to link to your own content … why should anybody else?

Airshow

Use great keywords, and phrases.

Stuffing your web page content with keywords will get you nowhere. If you try to mention a keyword in every sentence, the major search engines are going to notice you … but not in a good way.

Google actively discourages keyword stuffing which it describes as “refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results“, so before you push too many keywords into your website content, remember that search engine optimization is about helping the search engine spiders to notice you, and index your content properly … not tricking them!

Crayons

How to backup (or migrate) your WordPress website

A few months ago, I crashed a MacBook Pro and lost everything I owned. It was tragic, but luckily I had a backup from a week earlier and the crisis was avoided. The same can’t be said about the average website. When people lose their websites, there often isn’t a backup, and there’s nothing your web developer can do to save you.

Instead, let’s look at a handful of methods for avoiding loss and how a few simple steps can save you a lot of pain if your website is hacked, or lost.

Backup plugins

There are a handful of backup plugins out there, and WP-DB-Backup which, as the name implies will backup your WordPress database but what it won’t do is restore your WordPress backup. For that, you’ll need phpMyAdmin or a similar SQL tool.  This is great for technically focussed WordPress users but a little too complicated for the average user.

Another great plugin that I love is WP-DB-Migrate-Pro by Delicious Brains. This is a paid plugin, but it’s excellent for syncing two WordPress databases. On a practical level, this is more of a migration tool than a backup tool but it accomplishes both so well that I love it.

Backup services

Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com has a service (bundled with JetPack) called VaultPress which will allow you to backup your WordPress database to their cloud services.

ManageWP has a powerful backup solution as part of their hosted maintenance service, it’s one of my favourite features and I’ve written about ManageWP before.

Hosting backups

Some hosting companies, such as ManageWP include a comprehensive backup service for your WordPress website.

When it comes to WordPress backups, what really matters is that you’re confident both in your website backups, and your ability to restore those backups after something has gone wrong.

Ladies Learning Code Hamilton

Intro to HTML and CSS in Hamilton

If you’re in Hamilton on February 15th and would like to learn the basics of HTML, CSS and other simple website building tools please take a look at the first ever Ladies Learning Code to be held in Hamilton, Ontario.

WHY an Intro to HTML and CSS?

If you are looking to get your feet wet when it comes to programming, then this is the workshop for you. HTML and CSS are the backbone of all websites, and knowledge of them is a necessity if you are interested in things like web development, creating marketing emails, or even blogging! The web without HTML and CSS would be would be a world without colourful, pretty websites, not to mention the web applications we all use daily. It’s easy to learn, and was designed so that everyone – even non-programmers – can do it. No fancy programs are needed, just Notepad and a web browser!

The event is February 15th, 2014. Tickets are on sale at EventBrite.

Be careful to ensure your content is original.

When you’re looking for a boost to your search engine rankings, the best way to ensure you get great content is to ensure that it’s original content.

Avoid the temptation to copy and paste, or do generic rewrites of popular articles. If you have to quote another article, be sure to include a link  back to that original article to ensure that you get the link juice, as well as the respect of your community.

WordPress website developer, and consultant.