Home » Blogging, Hints and Tips, Technical

7 Steps To Optimize A Blog

7 November 2009 No Comment

Now I should mention when I refer to “blog”, I am in fact referring to the wordpress blog software. It is an amazingly adaptable, easy-to-use and SEO friendly platform that I use for almost all my sites. And after using wordpress for so many sites there are 7 steps I take every time when setting up a new blog.

1. Update the .htaccess file

Some of the following changes require access to your .htaccess as well as many future changes you may make to your site. So I make it a point to add the following code to my .htacess file. If you don’t have a .htacess file simply open up notepad and save as .htacess with the follwing code.

# BEGIN WordPress

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} ^wp-content.*
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} ^wp-admin.*
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} ^wp-include.*
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]

# END WordPress

2. Update the blog address.

I use fantastico to install my wordpress (which is an awesome cPanel feature). But it always installs to the address http://website.com. I prefer to have http://www.website.com. I don’t think it makes a difference for SEO to have it either way, but it is far more common to include the www in the URL and for me personally, it adds legitimacy to a website. So in the wordpress admin area, I go to settings > General and update both the wordpress address and the blog address to include www in the URL.

3. Update my permalinks

In terms of on-page SEO I think the two most important factors are the keyphrase being in the URL and the title. That’s why you don’t want your article with your “keyphrase” to be on a url that looks like this: http://www.example.com/?p=1. So I always set my blogs to use a URL structure http://www.example.com/keyphrase. To achieve this you need to visit your admin area again, go to Settings > Permalinks. Check on the custom structure tab and enter /%postname%/.

4. Activate askimet

Askimet comes preinstalled with wordpress but is not activated. Askimet is basically a comments filter that will automatically detect most spam. In my experience it’s about 99% right and saves a hell of a lot of time compared to filtering comments manually. To setup in your admin area click on Plugins. Then on the askimet plugin click activate and enter your wordpress API key. If you do not have one you can obtain one by visiting http://en.wordpress.com/profile/.

5. Update the ping list

Now this is probably not necessary but I like my site to be as visible to as many people as possible. So I always add more ping services to the default setting of http://rpc.pingomatic.com. To update your ping list go to settings> wirting in your admin area. At the bottom of the page is a text area where you can copy and paste the Ping list I use below.


6. Google Sitemap Plugin

The following two plugins and Askimet are the only plugins I use on EVERY site. The XML Google Sitemap plugin is important in ensuring that google bots properly crawl and index your site. You don’t want them missing any pieces of information. Google sitemap is fairly straight forward to install and includes a very simple installation file so I wont list the steps here.

7. All in one seo pack

This is the other Plugin I always use. It allows you to edit the sites title, meta description, and meta keywords. The best thing about this plugin is that you can also edit pages and post individually to optimize them for the search engines. Again this is another simple plugin to install and includes simple instructions.

These simple 7 steps are a must on all of my wordpress blogs. Many of my blogs that have done well in search engines and generate large traffic would not be nearly as successful without the 7 changes above.

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