This guest post was written by Hayes Potter, the 13 year old web developer and programmer that gives webmasters tips on protecting their website from common hacking techniques. If you have webmaster or WordPress knowledge and are interested in writing a post for Hack WordPress, please contact us.
Today I want to tell you some very simple tips to keep your WordPress site running smoothly and easy ways to keep readers coming back.
First you should always keep your site running well.
- Try to avoid things like “Under Construction” and “Coming Soon!” for pages or new site features.
- Keep everything organized.
- Set categories to divide your posts, don’t cram everything in one page and create multiple pages for more organization.
- Make everything obvious, don’t keep your visitors guessing where the Contact page is.
- Always make sure your site is actually fast and not keeping your visitors waiting at a white page, 6 seconds waiting is fine in life but online it’s like an eternity.
For more in depth help on speeding up your site take a look at my tutorial by clicking here (see there’s another hint, “by clicking here”, easy and simple).
Next keep your readers interested and intrigued about your content.
- Always post top quality content.
- Don’t post about your cat, new boyfriend/girlfriend, or that awesome YouTube video you saw recently.
- Short isn’t bad, sometimes short stories that are to the point are better than long lengthy stories full of unneeded details and side stories.
- Make your articles into a series, keep your readers guessing on what your next article is about, but don’t write enough information in one article or the post is basically obsolete.
- Stick to one niche in your blog. If your blog is about blogging tips, why are you posting about that new computer that just came out?
- If you have a lot to say, say it. Don’t just write the bare minimum as long as the content is relevant.
- Most readers simply scan anything you write, so adding pointless information (even if it somewhat pertains to the article) doesn’t help much.
For some more simple ways to keep your readers visit my tutorial by clicking here.
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day! Also a big thanks to Kyle Eslick for having this awesome site.
I’ve always loved WordPress Hacks for the practical advice they offer, a recent example of which would be changing WordPress Permalinks to be more SEO-friendly. Thus, I guess you can say I was inspired to talk about my own experiences with SEO. I’ll explicitly say this right now – I’m no qualified SEO expert, and the stuff I’m about to offer you isn’t going to work 100% of the time. I pulled off many of my traffic spikes by choosing the right images for my posts. With almost every post, I try to include relevant images. Some are screenshots that I’ve created myself, but most are images I take from other places on the web. I have personally discovered that the images that bring in the most traffic are usually already found on the first page of Google Images and are perfectly timed.
What’s so great about using images as opposed to worded listings?
Let’s think – why the heck would you want to use images to draw people to your site in contrast to worded listings? Firstly, every blog author out there would be thinking to target words that the chances of one particular blogger (us, in this case) making it to the front page is slim to none. Also, in many cases, there are much bigger sites and blogs that target the same niche that we happen to be in which have higher PageRanks and incoming backlinks, making the chances for us to appear on the first page even slimmer. Secondly, WordPress makes it soooo easy to optimize your images for search engines that it’d be impossible for you to not try out.
Alright – what do I have to do?
Firstly, resolve to add maybe around 2-3 images for every post you make from now on. I’m not going to lie – this isn’t a one-image thing that you can nail, but rather like all SEO, it is a process and good habit that you can commit to. Those 2-3 images could be from a variety of search engines I suppose, but I’ve only given Google a try. Search for a picture of whatever you happen to be writing a post about, then try to select images from the first page on Google Image results, and copy the URL of the image and paste it right into WordPress’ Insert Image tool.
Yep – it’s fine to do that, but you have to remember to give credit (I do this in italicized text right below my image).Whoops, a special thanks to David Robertson for pointing it out, it’s actually not fine to use just any picture on Google Images – you have to ask for the author’s permission or use an image that’s not copyrighted (when in doubt, use Yotophoto or SXC.hu). Speaking of credit, this is where most people make the mistake when it comes to using images effectively. When inputting image options, be sure to actually input an image description in the “Image Description” field. As an amateur, I used to input the source URL into the description. As you can figure, I didn’t get any hits at all from those images. The image description is actually the text that will appear on the search listing (surprise – well it was for me!). For example, if you are using a Final Fantasy XIII image, I suggest using “Final Fantasy XIII” or “Final Fantasy XIII Character” as the description instead of a credit “Source:http://blahblahblah.com/image.jpeg”, which I suggest relocating underneath the picture. A little blurb about timing – when Microsoft was bidding for Yahoo!, I had written a series of posts tackling the subject. Sensing that this would make for great SEO, I used my cunning to input Yahoo!’s logo into my posts (to be honest, it was dumb luck that time). The next morning, I was shocked to see hits flooding into my blog via that link – wow, I had learned the power of image SEO. I recently ended up writing about how Sony turned their fortunes with the PS3 around, and fitted in various games I thought would end up fixing their fortunes. Thus, I found a picture of Final Fantasy XIII, and wow – tons of hits from that one. I believe that was my most successful one ever, actually.
Of course, the hits continued for a few days, but after the Yahoo! buzz and Final Fantasy XIII hype cooled, I didn’t receive many more hits.
A grain of salt..
Is there any particular reason why the images aren’t always targeted? Yep – and here’s why: from firsthand experience, when was the last time you Googled an image – and actually ended up looking at the site material? You can’t remember, right? Neither could I. Thus lies the weakness in image SEO – the traffic-to-reader conversion is very low. I’m sure that of the thousand visitors I had received, a couple would have stopped and read some of my other material, and I’m grateful that they would do that. As a relatively new blogger in the blogosphere (a mere year!), I really don’t have as much traffic as other blogs such as Engadget, Gizmodo, and Hack WordPress, so I found image SEO to be a Godsend to me. If you’re looking for ways to get more traffic, image SEO is a great way to add to statistics. But, the last thing you expected up my sleeve was…
A little trick to counter that grain of salt
Of course, I had to figure out a little solution to this grain of salt thing. After all, I couldn’t leave you hanging there, could I? I remembered the last time I stopped to look at a site for a random image, it had a huge header at the top with the text “If you came from Google Images, read this!” I then ended up spending a few minutes to glance at that bottom frame – I never actually returned, but they had me for a few moments there. This is a minor landing page strategy, and might not be embraced by all in the blogosphere, as it does take away from the quality of your original post. I don’t know about you, but usually I don’t have the time to change it because I am either already working on another post or because the spike is over by the time I notice (a couple of days later, usually).
Image SEO is a great way to draw spikes of traffic to your blog, and if you’re good at it, the same people might end up coming twice on different image results and as a result, stop to read your blog. Look at it this way – even though the traffic-to-reader conversion rate might be a bit smaller than usual, at least you’re getting an extra couple of readers. And all it took was finding someone else’s image and some luck (now that I put it that way, it sounds easy, right?). Either way, if you want to give it a try, do it over a period of time – say, a month or so. That gives you around thirty (on average) posts with 2-3 images, some bound to be quality ones. That gives you around 60-90 images out there in Google Images – I believe that at least one of them will end up drawing huge amounts of traffic. How about you? Have you ever experienced a spike in traffic due to your simple image SEO? Or are you feeling a bit skeptical? I welcome everyone to comment – I’m looking for constructive criticism, but also for discussions (please, no flaming).
Edit: Check out this followup post by Herbert Lui: Copyrighted Images and Ideal Solutions.
This guest post was written by Herbert of Digital Media Break, where he writes about the latest digital technology.
If you don’t have a lot of coding knowledge, you probably find that you use widgets a lot for your sidebar content. I know many bloggers have come to rely on widgets and now WordPress 2.5 has changed some things.
If you would like to learn how to use widgets in WordPress 2.5+, I recommend you check out the WordPress 2.5 Sidebar Widgets Guide over at WordPress Max. He does a good job of getting you used to the new look and feel of the new WordPress widgets system.
If you aren’t very technology-savvy, or just prefer to easily setup/upgrade your WordPress installations, there are a number of web hosting services that now support one-click installation of WordPress via Fantastico.
I’ve yet to find a good list, so I figured that it was time someone put one together to help these people know which web hosts they can choose from. Here are a list of web hosts that I have managed to confirm support WordPress installation via Fantastico:
- A Small Orange
- Ace Net
- Total Choice Hosting
Does your web host support Fantastico? If they aren’t on the above list, let me know in the comments below!
Matt Cutts is most commonly known for his job as the head of the Google Search team, but the guy also appears to know a lot about being a webmaster. A couple of days ago Matt wrote a post titled Three Tips to Protect Your WordPress Installation where he details three things you can do to help avoid having your WordPress blog get hacked.
Here is the first tip:
Secure your /wp-admin/ directory. What I’ve done is lock down /wp-admin/ so that only certain IP addresses can access that directory. I use an .htaccess file, which you can place directly at /wp-admin/.htaccess . This is what mine looks like:
AuthName “Access Control”
deny from all
# whitelist home IP address
allow from 126.96.36.199
# whitelist work IP address
allow from 188.8.131.52
allow from 184.108.40.206
# IP while in Kentucky; delete when back
allow from 220.127.116.11
I’ve changed the IP addresses, but otherwise that’s what I use. This file says that the IP address 18.104.22.168 (and the other IP addresses that I’ve whitelisted) are allowed to access /wp-admin/, but all other IP addresses are denied access. Has this saved me from being hacked before? Yes.
Click over to check out the other two!