Content Management Systems – WordPress and SEO Integrations

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Starting off strong, we’re taking a look at the number one Content Management System (CMS) on the internet. With good reason, WordPress has dominated the internet being host to 26% of the entire internet’s webpages. Yeah, 26% of the ENTIRE internet. It’s mammoth presence over the internet means it’s become a well-deserved favourite for open source CMS development, which in turn tends to attract those who are small to medium sized enterprises due to the modest cost for development. But there’s more to it than its popularity for both developer and user. Let’s take a closer look as to why this open source development behemoth is so popular and perhaps where it is lacking compared to that of its major competitors.

Beginners Welcome

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the number one CMS platform is also known for being the easiest to use. Proof lies upon it’s fantastic ‘What You See Is What You Get’ builder/editor. The WYSIWYG builder is a testament to how simple it is to immediately start creating content and publish it on the internet. WordPress come readily equipped with simple to use tools that allow content creators to build and design content as they see fit (within reason of course). Say you want to include some images or media to accompany your main content. Well, you can do that and within a matter of clicks, you can easily insert a piece of media of your choosing. What if you need to add a few external links in hopes of increasing the authority and ranking of your website. It’s just as simple, all you need to do is click on a button and paste the desired link. The beauty of the WYSIWYG builder is that it provides all the necessary tools to build content effortlessly in real time. Being able to visualize their idea of content via the builder allows creators to judge and assess their content at a glance. Saving a lot of back and forth when it comes to editing. But above all the entire process just works. It doesn’t matter if you’re accustomed to content creations previously or even if you’re a seasonal veteran for online content. The WordPress platform caters to all levels of previous experience and just makes the entire content creation process simple.

Plugins and Support

For those that are unfamiliar with the term plugin, it’s essential a piece of additional software that adds some functionality that is not originally provided. Let’s run with the SEO plugin Yoast as an example. If you’re on this website you must be aware of the influence search engines can have over businesses. The Yoast plugin is a great first step for modifying specific elements that make your content more search engine friendly. The plugin is known for its exceptional SEO capabilities and integrations that are pretty much invaluable to anyone wanting to dip their toes into SEO. The plugin is a clear example of how impressive some plugins are in terms of additional functionality. Without the plugin, we would be left with only what was offered by WordPress which is not a lot. At the time of writing this article, WordPress has amassed over 47,000 plugins found on the WordPress site. That’s an incredible figure considering you have plenty of options to choose from. What even more impressive is that figure doesn’t even count the other plugins that are available on third party websites (more on this later). With WordPress unprecedented popularity among CMS platforms, it’s safe to assume that the continued support for these useful plugins will continue until the foreseeable future.

Step by Step Plugin Installation

Still unsure how to install a plugin into WordPress? Don’t worry we got you covered, here’s a quick guide on the seamless installation process for plugins.

STEP #1 – Create a WordPress account and login into your website (well, yeah obviously).

STEP #2 – Great. Now head over to your dashboard and you see on the left there, the heading labelled Plugins, go on and give that a click.

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The Plugin heading located on the left of the WordPress dashboard

STEP #3 – Next you’ll be brought to the WordPress’ collection of plugins. If you know of the plugin that you want to install, go on ahead and just search for it in the search box. Otherwise take some time to explore some of the plugins offered through this method. You’ll notice a range of plugins that offer varying degrees of functionality and features. If you’re a tad bit overwhelmed and you’re starting to feel like Augustus Gloom from Willy Wonka, then have a quick read on WPBeginner’s list of 20 Must Have WordPress Plugins for 2015 for some direction.

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WordPress’ plugin directory

STEP #4 – You’ve tirelessly searched upon pages of plugins and you’ve come across a plugin that suits your needs perfectly. Once you’ve picked out Wonka Bar with the golden ticket the desired plugin, go on and download it. Remember to save it somewhere locally so you easily find it later on.

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An example when downloading the ‘Floating Social Bar’ plugin

STEP #5 – Navigate you way back to the WordPress Dashboard and click on ‘Add Plugin’ just underneath the Plugins heading

STEP #6 – Just to the right of the main heading you’ll see the ‘Upload Plugin’ button. Give it a click, find where you save the plugin and upload it. It’ll take a minute or two and once it’s done go on and active the plugin by switching on the ‘enable’ toggle.

STEP #7 – So that about it. You’ve just installed your first plugin (with more to come I hope). Either repeats Steps 3 – 6 to add some more plugins or now begin to customize and configure your plugin to make all the necessary adjustments.

STEP #8 – Some plugins will require some tinkering and configuring for them to work appropriately so give some plugins the attention they need. If you do happen to run into any sort of issue, just saunter over back to the Plugin’s Home Page and go on a search through their support forums. If not, create a post yourself and hopefully someone comes to your beckon call.

Plugin support

Let’s assume you’ve got a few plugins already installed. One day you happen to open up your WordPress dashboard and in the middle, you see the words ‘ERROR 462: PLUGIN MELTDOWN MODE IMMINENT’ (well maybe not really, but you get the picture). Now don’t be alarmed. While sometimes it can be hard finding a solution to a very specific problem we look towards the nearest form of help and or support. What makes the WordPress platform so great is the supporting communities surrounding certain plugins that offer help for these kind of situations. If you ever encounter an issue with your plugin, you can easily navigate towards the plugins own support forums for help. Just make your way to the specific plugins home page, scroll down a bit and over on the right sidebar you’ll see the ‘View Support Forum’ button. Give that a click.

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Located within a specific plugin, on the right sidebar

You’ll be directed towards a forum space that’s entirely dedicated to the specific plugin. It’ll be filled with questions and queries from past users who may encounter some issues. Try your luck and search to see if any previous entries match with your own problem. Typically these forums are filled with helpful users and often you may even grab the attention of the authored developer. Still, if you can’t find a previous entry the just go on ahead and make a post on your own. It’s these pillars of support that put confidence in the WordPress platform if any issues were to suddenly happen.

Themes and accessorising

It’s all about the outfit, some would say (well at least that’s what my girlfriend says when I’m wearing socks with thongs). Which is why how we present ourselves matter. When it comes to your WordPress website, to ‘dress’ it up to make it more alluring you may want to look at themes as a quick option. A theme is a ready made design template that can be easily applied throughout an entire website, eliminating the need to design and customize a website. It saves a lot of time by having all the assets adhere to stick format and follow a rule of consistency. Themes are mostly favoured to those who may be unfamiliar with the finer aspects of coding and design and simply wish to have their website not look drab and boring. But a quality theme can do much more than just looking incredibly well dressed. Some themes are designed with considerations to how the audience and users tend to engage with your content. While other themes may prioritize the speed of the website by reducing the number of assets in order to streamline the experience. So a theme can do much more than just look good, rather can shift how our content is engaged with our audiences even changing the behaviours of our audience.  So when you’re deciding on which theme you want to apply to your website, take these recommended considerations under your belt.

    • Content – Are you going to write a serialization of blog posts or illustrate your product line through a series of images and video? More often than not most themes will factor in the type of content you’ll primarily focus on. So you may find gallery oriented themes catered to photographers or basic themes that are more suited to lengthy blog posts. Also considering the large WordPress platform, you shouldn’t having a problem finding a theme best suited towards your content.
    • User Experience – Take a moment and put yourself in the shoes of your audience. How will they interact and engage with your content? Some themes are optimised for speed (reducing the number of viewable assets) while other themes factor in how content should be presented towards an audience. We regularly keep TestMySite bookmarked when we check on websites speed and mobile compatibility. A well-produced theme could very well affect those speed tests.
    • Platform – The rise of mobile phones gives us another platform to worry about. While some may favour browsing content on their computers, other may just as likely consume content via their phones. Can your website adapt and manage those mobile phone consumers? Do you offer a mobile only version that is catered to this audience? It’s also worth noting that browser compatibility may be an issue. It’s safe to assume that most will cover all the available browsers, it doesn’t hurt to double check its compatibility.
    • Support – Things will break. That a given. So it’s safe to assume this may occur with things on the internet. Before you install a theme that offers additional customizability options go ahead and look to see if they offer any type of support. Whether they be in a form of a guarantee or forums dedicated to the theme. It always gives a piece of mind knowing that if you are in need of help, there’s help readily available.  

 

Need another hand to install a theme on your WordPress website. No sweat.

Step by Step Theme Installation

Step #1 – We assume you’ve got WordPress installed and loaded up. So head on over to your dashboard. Over on the left sidebar, click on the Appearance heading, then follow through to Themes.

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Step #2 – You’ll be presented with a few choices to pick from. A lot of interesting options that cater to different mediums of content. If the sheer amount of options are too vast you can narrow your options by clicking on the gear icon. It allows the narrowing of options by layout or even color. 

Step #3 – If nothing on through WordPress’ portal really grab your attention a better option may be to searching through a third party website (more on this soon). If you do find what you’re looking for, go ahead and download it and save it somewhere local on your computer.

Step #4 – Navigate back towards your Dashboard and go back to the Themes page. Upload your chosen theme. Then simply click on Activate to apply the theme to your website. Head back to the Theme’s section of WordPress and click on Upload Theme button. Find your downloaded theme, and upload it to WordPress when prompted.

Step #5 – That should about cover it. Go preview your website and see how your content works with the new theme. If your selected theme didn’t turn out how you imagined, just simply deactivate and repeat steps 2 – 4.

Themeforest

We’ve mentioned just before that some plugins and themes just aren’t available through WordPress library. Some of the more lucrative, premium themes are found through third party websites. Reputable websites such as Themeforest. The only catch being is that now themes come with a price. But you may be asking yourself, why should you pay for a theme when there’s thousands of freely available options. Well stick around for a bit and we’ll go through some of the advantages that some premium themes have to offer.

If it’s your first time at Themeforest you may be suddenly overwhelmed by the sheer number of tools and assets offered for different platforms and applications. Let’s stay on topic and focus on the WordPress themes. By now you should’ve noticed that a lot of the available themes vary in pricing schemes. Some aimed toward small enterprises that are more budget friendly while other themes seem to cater toward large enterprises and are priced quite competitively. The rationale behind some of these pricing schemes is the extra services that accompany these premium themes. For example, when purchasing a theme from Themeforest at the minimum you may be given the guarantee of support, future updates as well as the assurance that the highest of quality has been met by the developers. Also, more of the competitive themes are scalable, meaning they can and will handle a lot of assets if needed.

While some of you may still be unconvinced let’s run through the biggest advantage offered by these premium themes. At face value, some view themes as a quick method for dressing up a website. It’s simple, quick and easy. This may be sufficient to some but to others that are in need of some extra customizability and a little more finesse these premium themes may be what they’re looking for. Themes that are often free and readily available offer a site-wide template adhering to their own rules and standards for design. But if you’re unhappy with a certain element for whatever reason, you’d just have to compromise and deal with it. Most premium themes offer the ability to customize individual assets while still maintaining consistency throughout the initial theme. Say you weren’t happy with the background color behind the banner of one of your landing pages. Some themes give you the ability to modify and change these small elements to your choosing. For those that want the ultimate sense of control for a website but just don’t have the technical expertise, premium themes offer a quick fixIf you still don’t feel comfortable forking out money for these premiums then that’s ok. Just know that you’ll have to settle for a theme that is closest towards your preferences.

 

SEO Capabilities – The YOAST Plugin

If we’re going to be talking about Search Engine Optimisations and plugins, special mention needs to be said for the Yoast plugin. Known for it seamless capabilities for SEO and WordPress it’s quickly become an invaluable tool for any website on the WordPress platform. Built from SEO professionals with years of experience, you can be assured that the plugin has the necessary capabilities to accomplish the needs for managing high search rankings. This handy plugin enables users to quickly and easily modify certain assets that have a certain influence over search engine rankings. Areas such as meta descriptions, titles, and even keyword focus are all areas that can be modified upon through the Yoast plugin. Those who are familiar with the basic understandings of SEO practices can all attest to how editing these certain aspects can weigh importance over search rankings. Let’s take a look at why the Yoast plugin gets a big thumbs up from us.

 

Keyword Focus

People who are familiar with how the SEO industry operates understand that we we live and breathe keywords and the keyword setup. They act as the foundation of an SEO campaign, much like the foundations of a house. A good place to start optimising content is to research some highly desirable keywords and embed those within content on your website. Yoast comes in and highlights the need for certain pages on your website need a keyword focus. By notifying any content creator that the researched keyword should be implemented into crucial areas that influence your search rankings. Let’s take  ‘APPLES’ as an example and should become the sole focus on one of your pages. If you were to go ahead and put ‘APPLES’ into the Keyword Focus area, Yoast will suggest key areas that your focus keyword should be included in. So areas such as URL name, the frequency of the keyword and meta description to name a few are really important areas where your keyword should be included. It’s these areas such as these that search engines will crawl through looking for keywords. Your progress towards including focus keywords in the important areas are highlighted through a green, yellow or red indication. Red meaning these certain areas needs to have the keyword included. Whereas the green indication means you’ve done all that’s necessary. Above all, this serves as a great checklist for making sure that your content is search engine optimised.

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Here’s a handy checklist to keep on hand when you’re producing your content.

  • ‘Focus Keyword’ mentioned within the first paragraph
  • % of Keyword density
  • Meta description under 120 characters
  • ‘Focus Keyword’ including in Headings
  • Number of Outbound links within
  • Recommended word count
  • Focus keyword within meta description
  • Focus keyword within URL
  • Focus keyword within media assets (images, video titles)

Readability Scale

The element of what makes your content deemed as quality can mean a number of things depending on who you ask. One approach taken by Yoast is that your content should be written at a level that is easily understood by the majority of the population. Meaning that the language and format used should lie somewhere between short and simplistic (aimed towards below high school level) and lengthy filled with technical jargon (university level and above). The idea is to not alienate the largest portion of an audience by using a type of language that can deter said audience. But if our content is more aimed towards a niche, a very specific topic then, by all means, be liberal with your technical jargon. However, a good rule of thumb is to aim for the majority by striking a balance of language used within your content. The Yoast plugin gives a clear indication of your content and where it lies upon the spectrum of readability. For more on the fascinating topic of readability and the scale developed, head on over to BoastinBiz for more information.

Sitemap

There are many other important considerations when it comes to how our websites fare towards search engine rankings. While Keywords take precedent over most, some elements such as having a Sitemap often gets overlooked. A sitemap is a simple visualisation of how your overall website is arranged. It displays the website’s entire layout as well as showing how pages logically flow from one to another. Not only is a sitemap crucial for the management of your website but it’s a considerable element that search engines tend to look at when determining your search rankings. Google’s algorithm naturally seeks out new content and wants to get this content into their SERP’s as quickly as possible. The sitemap allows Google to identify new content much quicker without having to crawl the entire site to do so. With the Yoast installed, this process can be easily done through a series of clicks. For more on the matter go check outs Yoast’s simple tutorial.

Breadcrumbs

Let’s say you found a new website that you’ve fallen in love with. You’ve noticed an absurd amount of time has passed since venturing deeper into this newfound website. At that moment you’ve remembered something important and need to go back a few pages, but you’ve gone so deep now you’re 12 pages in and 3 categories over from where you originally started. A simple fix to this situation is to enable the Breadcrumb feature. It just so happens that Yoast has this functionality as one of their services.  Breadcrumbs work by visually displaying a journey path of the pages you’ve most recently visited. Instead of the tedious process of pressing the ‘back’ button 3 times (1st world problems), you can simply click on the page and directly travel to your desired web page. This added functionality offers greater convenience towards short term navigation. However this simple functional is always greatly appreciated on websites that have a vast collection of web pages that are in desperate need of a quick navigation. To enable this function it requires some copying and pasting some code, so head on over to Yoast tutorial for the full details on the matter.

 

After reading through all this, by now you should have a great understanding of what makes the WordPress so popular as a Content Management System. It’s exceptional builder/editor is now what we consider to be the benchmark when it comes to content creation. Providing all the necessary tools needed to create content while allowing the freedom and control content creators absolutely adore. Also, worth noting is the wonderful community of developers who tirelessly continue to produce amazing plugins and themes for the WordPress platform. The passionate and dedicated community show their faith in the platform by the having continuous updates and support that allow users the ongoing use of these helpful assets. Special mention needs to be said for the Yoast plugin. Without this helpful tool, we wouldn’t have the leisure of easily implementing simple yet effective SEO techniques towards our content.

 

 

That pretty much wraps up WordPress time in the spotlight. In cased you missed it, we’re turning this into a serialization. Next, we’re taking a look at Joomla. If you’re looking for something that offers more features and functionality then Joomla may be what you’re looking for.