SEO in WordPress Revisited 2015

Since the huge melt down I had a few years ago with WordPress if I am honest I haven’t really put a great deal of thought or any effort into Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) because I don’t know when I came back to blogging here at Totalreach I wanted it to be an outlet for what mattered to me personally.  In the back of my mind I wanted it to become bigger and better than it was before but that reality of being that needle in a haystack loomed over me until now.

Showing all the elements that bring SEO together
What Matters in SEO

Yesterday I had played with caching and without having any stats for you now the blog does seem a little less responsive at times and faster at others, so without proper testing I can’t judge on my success there, at moment but it did reignite something in me.  As soon as I had sorted out the configuration and was happy it was working I wanted to do more.  I wanted to improve my blog which I hadn’t wanted to do in a long time.  I have wanted to post and produce new content but that want to do more technical things to the site just hasn’t been there.

YouTube was my friend again if I am honest it was the next video in the series of Craig Chamberlin, so I settled in listening to his video which was an easy listen I must admit because he wasn’t screen capturing this time it was more of a podcast/discussion with a guest.  This really worked out well for me because it allowed me to write-up my blog on WordPress caching well taking on tips.  There was a recommended plugin Yoast SEO and that was it I was downloading it and listening to what the video had to say.  The bit that hit me first while doing this was that how much things have changed in the few years that I hadn’t been worrying about SEO, for a start now people don’t worry too much about keywords anymore.  They still there but now its more to do with the quality of the post and social side of the internet, all though this isn’t news to me but it’s how much of impact the social side can have on those results.  Also the advice of not getting the archives indexed.

Not getting the archives indexed was a weird one for me because when I was really getting into SEO it was the school of thought then you wanted all your site indexed.  The revelation to me today was that you don’t you want all your posts yes but you don’t want all the archive pages that are created in a blog because it won’t be giving the visitor the information they are looking for really.  It will be giving them a list of posts on a given date or using a given tag in some cases as well, not the specific post/page they are looking for.  What’s the problem with that I hear you ask?  Yes the information they wanted is there but they have to look for it, and in that case you may lose the reading.

New Plugin installed now only time will tell if all my new changes to SEO to see if it makes a huge difference to my little site but only time will tell as you can’t rush the powers that be at Google to index the new link formats and other little changes I have made.

WordPress Caching

WordPress Caching

Background

WordPress Caching is what I have been working on today and this is a huge topic. What brought this whole thing about was the fact that a mate has just ventured into hosting his own personal blog (He is not new to blogging as he reviews for some well known sites but its his first move into his own).  While answering some of his questions as someone that has had a WordPress Blog for many years now albeit now master at it in the slightest but I know enough to get by I noticed caching and the fact that I didn’t do it.

The web hosting provider that I use as some CloudFlare stuff built into the CPanel and that was where I first noticed it yesterday due to the fact that I tend just log into my WordPress installation and don’t really deal with the back end of my hosting package now that everything is set up. This addition had looking into the service and I quickly realised ok my site isn’t visited by loads of people as of the time of this post but this could be something worth looking into.

So while setting up CloudFlare I have admit I ended up removing and adding my site multiple times because although I followed the instructions, the speed test sites kept telling me that I wasn’t running CDN which it should of said I was.  So last night I thought never mind, I’ll look into caching plugins and forget about CloudFlare and so that is what I did.

Plugins

WP Super Cache

Having given up on Cloudflare just not working right and to be fair to the service not giving them the full 24 hours to propagate my DNS settings for my site I went into using WP Super Cache.  While not really understanding which settings would work best for me I did some Googling and furious YouTube video watching to find out what would work for me.  I activated it and took the settings I thought that would benefit my server and site and ran with it.  To be honest I saw little difference in my personal browsing of the site and run some tests and although there was a little improvement not enough to warrant really keeping the plugin.  On further reflection though I do think that due to the lack of traffic to my site it could have caused the problem of which I would say that maybe you don’t want the cache expiring so quickly, especially as my site is updated 3 times a week at the moment.

W3 Total Cache

Not completely happy with the speed improvement that WP Super Cache gave me and to be honest with you the niggling feel that I should be using Cloudflare, I found myself browsing the WordPress Plugins and another caching plugin that was high up was W3 Total Cache and I thought why not lets give this ago.  Before installing it however I decided to YouTube it and found in actually fact one of the Tech Channels that I used to watch did a whole video on this plugin.  I was amazed with the amount of features it had and although WP Super Cache probably had them in there somewhere this was better laid out and while the guy was going through the plugin he admitted to being no expert but this was just what I was looking for.  The reason for this because the plugin has extensions where as WP Super Cache didn’t and one of those extensions supports CloudFlare.  With all this in mind though it does have some minimum requirements and you can check that your server is compatible with the features and it turns out although mine will running it won’t run in the most efficient way.  No biggy I thought lets give it ago what’s the worst that can happen, after watching this video I went through the plugin with ease and set it all up.

Conclusion

I’ve only had the caching system enabled and configured properly for about an hour so the jury is out on whether it will make a difference but I am hopeful after running some initial tests  have shown the caching to work, having taken a whole 5 seconds off load and also shown the CDN being active.  This huge because manually setting up CloudFlare hadn’t shown that and Super Cache didn’t have the option to use it.  Be warned though both these can/do edit your HTAcces file so it might be worth backing up a copy before installation of the plugins just so you can repair it if necessary.  So if you’re looking for a caching Plugin I would say W3 Total Cache is the way to go.

As always feel free to comment and share your thoughts and experiences with these plugins or anything related to WordPress Caching.

I will probably update you on the reports from CloudFlare once I have been using it for 24 hours.

 

Showing the Speed of my site
Showing the Cache Working see the difference on the Repeat View and First View

Here is the video that I used to configure the plugin with some changes due to my server specification.

Why I am going back to WordPress from Tumblr

Of late I am sure you’ve noticed that I have been putting together my content on my old WordPress.org blog.  After a good 1 year on Tumblr I just feel that WordPress is more of what I am looking for.  It just gives me more functionality and I won’t be loosing anything by converting back to WordPress because it links in nicely with Tumblr.  All my content will be still going to Tumblr just in link form.  I wouldn’t have made the switch if that wasn’t the case because I enjoy the community that it has and the audience that I have gained from it.
Will I be using WordPress.com when my hosting runs out for this current blog?  No because once you cost out all the features I would need it becomes more expensive with less freedom.  Has Tumblr really lost out to word press in my opinion? No I just want the freedom to configure my site and now that the Jetpack in WordPress allows you to automatically send the posts to Tumblr.  I am now getting the best of both worlds.
I would recommend Tumblr hands down if you’re a new start-up and don’t want to spend the money for your blog because it will already have an audience for you, you just have to do the tags right.  This post hasn’t gone the direction I wanted to however perhaps it will give you a good idea of why a switched and my thought process.

Reasons for Returning from Blogger to WordPress

If your regular followers of me you’ll know that I have had a blog for well over 4 years and in that time things have gone wrong and I have had to start again and then something new has come to my attention and I’d want to change again. While this is no different, I originally wanted use blogger because it was free right out the box and I wanted hassle free blogging, which it also did really well however there was just something there, that meant I really wanted to go back to WordPress and here is why I can think I wanted to go back.

Wordpress-logoWhile writing articles I found myself wanting to remember what articles were relevant to this and wanting to be able to link back to them, however if you want to link back to them they need to have direct relevance to your article not something that readers of the articles might be interested in. In WordPress, there are wide ranges of plugins that allow the related articles to be automatically generated based on the tags that are being used and Blogger just did not have that for me. This is something that I liked to use, to try to keep readers on my site and to give them more information that could be useful to them.

In addition, as a content management system WordPress has a lot more to offer than the Blogger Platform, it gives me the opportunity to expand further if I ever want to. I am not taking anything away from the Blogger Platform as it does exactly what it says on the tin, there is no maintenance to be done by you once your set up and ready to go which means you can concentrate on the material that you are pushing out. For that reason if you only want to make a blog with no ambition to make it anything else then it is the platform for you. However just like WordPress.com you are limited to what you can do which outside the box, which is why I am going back to WordPress.org on my own hosting package so that it allows me to expand the site if the time comes when I need to.

As for switching from Blogger to WordPress, taking all my blog post with me was dead easy; all I did was use the importer and followed the steps. It does leave me with one problem though and that is the fact that I have linked back to pervious articles in some of my articles would have had the blogger address to follow. As I am not a big blog at this point and the blogger address is, still active I am not going to go and look for the links and change them at this point. As I do not think, it will be a great problem.

The Importance of Relative Posts on your Blog

I must admit this isn’t something I had really thought about until using my latest Theme for my blog, however why are relative posts good for your blog.  Have you ever stopped and considered your end users, the fact that they are looking for a post on the net about something in particular and found that on your blog?  Well if they have found it on your blog the chances are you have other articles on this subject there too.

If your like me I can’t find one main area to blog about it is something that I do just to air my opinions on all different kind of things so I admit my blog can be all over the place.  That being said though everything is all tagged and categories so it’s not necessarily a bad thing.  The thing I realised about relative posts was that they offer something different, at the bottom of every post people can see similar articles that could interest them and not only that those links can be used to for search engines as well.

With Google’s new updates to their Panda software and the emphasis on content quality rather than popularity as much, you have to think that relative posts have to be a good thing because it is sending the spider to content that is hopefully relative to what it was going through and hopefully increasing the quality factor of the content.  That being said I could be wrong as I am no specialist.

In conclusion though for me relative posts are a must as they give your readers somewhere else to go on your blog after they have read what they wanted on a like-minded subject.  As the problem with any blog or website getting for that matter people just get the information they want and leave they don’t tend to explore the site as much, so by having this features your increasing your chance that they might stay on your site longer and therefore be a returning reader.

What are your views on this subject?

WordPress Jetpack Review

As you know I have a self hosted WordPress blog which suites me down to the ground being the fact that I like to change things and also have full control over my content rather than having to adhere to terms and conditions.  That being said though WordPress hosted blogs come with so many features out of the box that its self hosted installation doesn’t and when I saw Jetpack there was the answers to my problems.

While it’s a bit of an exaggeration because you can achieve the same results by installing a number of plugins but who really wants to do that if you can get away with installing one.

The features that come with this plugin are:

  • Simple, concise stats with no additional load on your server. Previously provided by WordPress.com Stats.
  • The WP.me URL shortener.
  • Hovercard popups for your commenters via Gravatar.
  • Easily embedded media from popular sites like YouTube, Digg, and Vimeo.
  • For the Math geeks, a simple way to include beautiful mathematical expressions on your site.
  • A widget for displaying recent tweets. Previously provided by Wickett Twitter Widget
  • Your readers can easily share your posts via email or their favorite social networks. Previously provided by the Sharedaddy WordPress plugin.
  • Your writing will improve thanks to After the Deadline, an artificial intelligence based spell, style, and grammar checker. Previously provided by the After the Deadline WordPress plugin.
  • and many more to come!

Now I must admit I installed it just to try it rather than really wanting to use it as I thought if it holds the features WordPress.com uses there must be something in there and after about a month of using it, it has been great.  The stats are no longer complicated and too much information to bother checking, as my previous plugin for that gave me details about every single user and I wasn’t really interested in that I was more interested in how they got to my blog and what articles interested them.  I can’t say I was that worried about what screen resolution they were using and operating system although very interesting facts.

The other feature that really sticks out for me is the proof reading, I know my written communication isn’t the best and that I have really enjoyed using Windows Live Writer but this jetpack gives better spelling and grammar checking than its offline counter part, so for that very reason it has got me back using the backend of my WordPress blog to produce content.

What I will say about this plugin its nothing exciting however what it does offer it is very good at and in my opinion it is a must have for any blog.

Any plugins that you really like or recommend let me know in a comment.

Privacy Twitter and the Courts

The truth is no matter what service you use on the internet they have terms and conditions and in those terms and conditions it will state that they reserve the right to pass on information to the law enforcement agencies when they are requested if the situation warrants it.

Now with the latest privacy and legal issues surround an internet company being Twitter we have seen them actually standing up to the courts in order to give their users warning to the fact they are giving over the information so they are capable to get their defence in order.  Now what is wrong or right with this is not what we are looking into as I read this article from the Guardian I started to really think about the bad press Twitter had been receiving for giving up users information.

Yes the internet is one of those things that because doesn’t stay in one country it is available world wide and we have covered this that laws from one country might not be the same in the other and could effect the content produced.  The problem with Twitter is the fact that it is just a platform where you send out information as a comment, which means does that mean its gossip?  In the UK we have something called freedom of speech so we are able to say what we want within reason to friends.  The argument with that is Twitter is the same to that but the only problem is its on a public scale.

Twitter is a minefield because it doesn’t meet conventional media outlets, but have you ever stopped to think that if Twitter has this issue what about WordPress.com and Google which was brought to light in the article had given out information to the authorities without causing a fuss and you would of thought they meant not notifying the owner of those accounts. Although I must stress that we do not know that for fact.

So in your opinion should these big companies go to court on your behalf if you break a law or should you be held responsible?

Or more importantly should the companies warn you before they give out the information to the authorities?

My answer would be they should warn you and you should take responsibility for what has been published.  However this also depends on the nature of the law you have broken and whether it directly applies to you according to where you live.