Hello again everyone, I’ve been invited back by our fantastic content team to write another article for you kind folks. So today is Friday, which is everyone’s favourite day of the week. It’s getting very close to Christmas which means everyone’s minds are a little… distracted. WordPress isn’t exactly at the top of everyone’s Christmas list. I even took a few minutes to make our site ‘festive’ by adding some falling snow cuz’ you know…
Most businesses have turned their emails to “out of office” and marketing emails are falling on deaf ears. We’re doing quite a bit of TLC on our server getting it ready to hit the ground running in 2021. We’ve updated a few clients websites to build on their SEO over the festive period. scheduling blog posts until the New Year to keep people updated. It gives everyone some light reading to help bridge the gap between Christmas meal courses, naps and constant drinking.
HO HO SEO!
The festive period gives businesses a good amount of time to review their own website and reflect on the analytics of the year. To see where you’ve done well and where they could improve. For us, it’s a chance to see which campaigns of our own and our clients could be further optimised.
We’ve gone through our pages and redone the SEO making sure to target the specific terms that we are looking to rank highly for in the first few months of the new year. Specifically the Graphic Design page. This will allow us to push traffic through our WordPress website and allow us to track their journeys to see which pages work and which could convert better.
This is something we recommend all our clients do in preparation for the new year. Carefully review your analytics, work out a new strategy and implement it across your website.
If you’re a WordPress user or your website is on a WordPress CMS then Yoast should be your best friend when it comes to SEO, especially Yoast Academy. Yoast Academy is a hive of information and guides you on how to become an SEO expert. It also provides tools and videos to help you get your website to the place you want it to be.
If your website hasn’t got Yoast and you’re a WordPress user then what are you waiting for?! Talk to us today about how to get Yoast installed on your website – We’ll even install it for you for FREE!
Say it ain’t snow!
Over Christmas, it’s a good idea to look back at how well you know WordPress. I’m sure you’ve made one or two mistakes that perhaps cost you a few hours of work. Once I decided it would save me some time to not write my “Alt” tags on some images on our website. I figured we needed it to go live quickly and I could go back and add them later.
Of course, I forgot and our website had about 60 or so images without any kind of SEO on them at all. In the eyes of Google, I’d missed a huge factor in terms of SEO and I’d added our website to their naughty list. Unfortunately, this meant not only were we going to be getting coal this Christmas, but we also weren’t going to be ranking anywhere. Huge oversight.
Now I’ve gone through and corrected this now but it cost us maybe a month in rankings. It could have meant that we didn’t get business or even worse we lost business to our competitors. I’ve been reading up on my knowledge of WordPress. In doing so it will ensure I’m always ticking the right boxes when it comes to our website.
I‘m going to break down some of the most common mistakes that I see when working on websites. These could and should all be avoided. So without further ado, I present our…
Christmas WordPress Naughty List
1. Outdated Plugins
The first one is pretty common. I see it way more than I’d like too. There’s nothing worse than logging into a clients WordPress website who’s looking for you to do some work for them and their left-hand sidebar is littered with those little dark orange markers with a number in. These let you know how many notifications or warnings there are on that specific part of your website.
Sometimes you’d expect to see maybe one or two dotted on the taskbar from a plugin notification. I’ve seen some as high as 16 or 17 on the plugins section. Firstly how is a website even functioning if it’s using that many plugins? Secondly why, if it’s using so many is someone not keeping a constant eye on the website. Checking, updating and generally overseeing everything on the site should be essential. This would make sure that all the plugins work seamlessly together in harmony with no conflicts? Regular backups on the website need to be taken to ensure a rollback can be implemented if needed.
This allows you or your website developer to update the plugins regularly to ensure your website is always secure. Always use the latest versions as these contain vital bug fixes and vulnerabilities. If you don’t back up your website and one of the plugin updates causes a conflict then you can’t roll your website back. Therefore potentially you run the risk of losing or badly damaging your website. If you don’t use it already we would recommend UpdraftPlus for backups.
Again this is one that happens a lot not just on WordPress websites but on all sites. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve gone shopping online and on their website I’m greeted by a fantastic looking website but the URL says something like “https://www.mysite.com/about-us-3“.
Can you spot what is wrong with the link? 3?! 3! Why is there a 3 at the end? Some may argue that this really doesn’t affect the websites SEO much if at all but for me personally, it’s a term I like to call #LinkLaziness. If you’re going to make a super special website don’t fall down by forgetting to rename your permalinks.
Your website should hit the same high standards throughout. Don’t forget to check the permalinks!
3. Oversaturated plugins
Plugins can be your best friend however they can also be your worst enemy at times. When used efficiently they can really help businesses, allowing them to make backend changes from a simple user-friendly GUI.
If used too much they can cause some serious issues and vulnerabilities that could end in a website flatline. Make sure you check the plugins you are using are necessary. Read up on what you need to add to your website and see if you need a plugin to do it or if it’s something a developer can implement for you.
Sometimes paying one for it to be done properly is much better than botching it yourself. If the plugin is necessary please make sure that the author is a reputable one. check the reviews, the number of downloads, the support and even the comments. These can all be alerting factors when downloading a malicious or poorly maintained plugin.
Over 30% of our website maintenance work is helping to salvage people whose websites have fallen victim to this. Please be safe out there and if in doubt give us a call!
Depending on the type of website you own comments can be a great way to get feedback, engagements and interaction going on your website. The problem is they seem to be an easy target for people spamming backlinks onto websites. You’ve probably seen it before where you read a great guide for SEO but at the bottom, there are spam comments about viagra or something similar.
This usually occurs when the WordPress administrator either hasn’t turned off comments or isn’t moderating them before they get posted. Turn ‘Moderate Comments ‘ on easily from within the Settings > Discussion menu on the left-hand sidebar. Ticking this ensures these types of comments never make it onto your live site and can be marked as spam at a later date.
A useful resource if you do not need comments is “Disable Comments” a plugin that I use regularly on our clients’ websites.
5. Editing plugins
This is probably the biggest frustration for me when it comes to development. You can access a plugin’s code through the inbuilt editor within WordPress however this doesn’t mean that you should. Plugins update regularly especially if you have more than a few plugins on your website.
If you need a change to a plugin you should NEVER go into that plugin’s code and edit it directly no matter how much code you know. These plugins update and everything that’s coded into that section is lost, even if you have a copy of it saved locally to paste it back in other code on it may have changed so you break it further.
A lot of developers fall victim to this and then have to answer to their client when they get the inevitable call of panic. Be safe and always write your amends or fixes into a child theme. If you need help or advice on child themes then let us know. We’d be happy to discuss this more on the phone or over a coffee!
Get In Touch!
I hope this guide has been somewhat useful for those of you who are still online during the festive season. If you have any questions or would like to chat about any of the topics mentioned in this blog post or any other blog post for that matter then give us a call on 01926 814 547 or alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org!