If you’re a regular reader of my posts I don’t need to explain the value of a good blog for building interest and trust in your business. You’ll probably also know that I’m a massive fan of WordPress for the ease with which it lets you create and manage your content. But your blog, no matter how well written and engaging, is of little use if nobody can find it. Adding a few simple tools to your WordPress installation will make all the difference between content that nobody sees and content that powers your business growth.
Just think for a moment about all of the content being posted onto the internet every day – how significant is your latest post? The answer should be that it is highly significant, but only for a carefully targeted and minuscule percentage of internet users. That’s why managing Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is vital.
What’s more, it’s not sufficient to manage the SEO of your WordPress site as a whole – you need to manage the SEO on each post individually so that it registers in relevant searches. After all, every post you write will be addressing a particular segment of your target market with highly relevant content, won’t it?
Fortunately, managing SEO in this way is much simpler than it might sound as there are several highly effective SOE plug-ins for WordPress. The one I love is WordPress SEO by Yoast. You can find more details here.
Not only is this plug-in incredibly easy to install and configure, it’s also really easy to use. As I am writing this post I have a box at the bottom of my screen. Here I say what my main focus keyword or phrase is and I can see immediately whether I have used it in the most effective way. I can also write a unique SEO title and meta description for the post and immediately see how this snippet will be displayed on the Google search engine results page. Snippets that make sense make a significant difference to the number of people who click through to your content, so avoid using a random list of keywords.
Detailed SEO analysis
You can also access a detailed page analysis that looks at keyword density, how you have used headings and image tags and it will even tell you how readable your copy is. If you want things really simple there is a colour-coded dot at the top-right of the screen to tell you whether your post is green, amber or red from an SEO perpspective.
The All In One SEO Pack is also good. I use this on a client’s blog where the developer chose and installed this version. I don’t find it as flexible and user friendly as the Yoast version but either plugin will make a massive difference to your search engine results and the return you get on the time and money you invest in your blog.
WordPress social sharing
Effective SEO will help people find your posts using Google searches, but you need to do more. The second essential WordPress plugin is a social sharing tool. Again, there are several to choose from and people will have their personal favourites. The one I use is Sexy Bookmarks by Shareaholic.
You want people to share your content. So make it easy for them! This tool, and others like it, allows you to select the social sharing buttons that are most relevant and then displays a series of corresponding icons on each of your posts. So, once you post some new content, all you or anyone else needs to do to share it via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN, StumbleUpon or anything else is just click on the relevant icon.
Not only does sharing get your message out to more people, the extent to which your content is bookmarked and shared has a massive impact on your Google ranking.
Analyse your traffic
Once your blog is finely tuned for SEO and has a battery of social sharing options, you’ll also want to know how effective you are at generating traffic. That’s why my 3rd essential plugin is for Google Analytics. Again, Yoast has a comprehensive solution with this plugin which allows you to carry out comprehensive tracking of the behaviour of the people accessing your content. A much simpler solution, which allows you to insert your Google tracking code into the head section of each page is the Super Simple Google Analytics plugin.
Once you have Analytics installed you can monitor how many people are accessing your posts via Google searches, and which social media tools generate the most traffic. You can also analyse the popularity of different types of content, different headings and all sorts of fun stuff.
If all of this makes sense but you think you will struggle to find the time to make these changes to your blog, I’d be happy to help. Just click on the contact tab.
Over to you
What are your most effective WordPress plugins and do you have any experiences you’d like to share?
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