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How a digital publisher monetized 8X more in one month with WordPress scaling strategies

June 11, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • The project in a nutshell: A magazine-type website, monetizing programmatic ads.
  • Agency work scope: Build the platform from scratch, utilizing WordPress multisite functionality and RTK.io infrastructure plus numerous ad operation tools, migrate it to new hosting, and secure project scale.
  • Time frame: One month. 
  • Success indicators: Stability to scale to 8+ million user sessions per month with a monetization increased 8.5 times.

The Brand: Digital Publisher in Need of scaling

The project is a digital publishing platform, based on WordPress, utilizing the RTK.io  programmatic infrastructure and ad operations solution (Taboola and Outbrain). The website features authentic content оn popular topics like wellness, technologies, travel, sports, and entertainment. All articles are original and created by the media’s team of writers.  

Since launching in April 2019, the website’s monthly traffic has exceeded 8 Million users per month. Presently the website ranks globally around 23,000 in Alexa. 

How did the project start?

The client has been working with DevriX on a WordPress development retainer plan since July 2018. Initially, the website had an imperfect RTK implementation that dynamically assigned the ad unit slots according to some JavaScript logic. DevriX was hired to support and improve that old custom platform.  

But the owners were not satisfied with the business results – the monetization did not work as expected. While working on the project DevriX got more closely acquainted with the client’s goals and business operations. Both parties became aware of a clear growth opportunity. 

At that time DevriX was endorsed by RTK for building a super-fast and lightweight digital publishing platform for another major media. Soon after that, the client requested to upgrade their site with a similar solution. So at the beginning of March 2019, we started to build the whole platform from scratch, utilizing the Multisite WordPress feature.  

The challenge

Rebuild the whole platform  

When you run a digital publishing platform of this size, literally every second matter to a huge extent. The publishers’ business is very competitive and the margins are small. Every second the site is down thousands of dollars are lost and for every second delay in its performance, the loss is even bigger.  

Here is why when re-building this project, the client needed: 

  • A stable system to allow scaling traffic to several million user sessions per month 
  • Optimal integration of all programmatic platforms 
  • A reliable hosting solution and 24/7 maintenance to never allow downtime 
  • A seamless UX experience to engage and monetize the traffic

The solution

New digital publishing platform 

Just within one month, in April 2019, DevriX launched the new version of the WordPress website, utilizing the RTK.io technology, together with several other third-party native ad integrations. We created a faster and more stable platform, with quality code and technical solutions that enhance performance and monetize higher traffic.   

Here is how DevriX delivered the project to the above requirements: 

1. Build a multisite WordPress platform

We created a multisite network, allowing for the platform – together with all its programmatic implementations – to be multiplied into several digital publishing websites. The network is easily managed by a super admin and its potential growth is practically unlimited.  

Here is our one-month roadmap agreement with the client with a step-by-step description of the work done: 

  • WordPress theme selection
  • Child theme creation and adjusting it to the developed layouts
  • RTK implementation as a basis and ads being available on inserting a shortcode
  • Creation of several page layouts to serve ads
  • Infinite scroll layout
  • Gallery layout
  • Snapchat compatible layout
  • Quizzes pages 
  • Third-party native ads integration (Taboola and Outbrain, to name a few) 

The list of technologies and third-party tools and service integration is long but just to name a few: 

  • Pagely CDN 
  • RTK – for header bidding ads 
  • Amazon A9  
  • Taboola 
  • Outbrain  
  • Ad Lightning – to filter for bad ads 
  • OneSignal – for push notifications 
  • Google Analytics (through Google Tag Manager) – for tracking and statistics 
  • Facebook Pixel – for tracking and statistics 

2. Migrate the website to an upgraded hosting account 

To ensure the success of the project, DevriX partnered with Pagely to migrate the newly developed system to an advanced hosting with an upgraded plan that is a must to ensure scalability. 

We tested several different combinations and recommended the following hosting set-up: dedicated database (M4) on top of VPS-2 plus a larger dedicated database.   

3. Improve the ways the WordPress website was monetized 

DevriX also worked on improving the user experience of the new platform. Monetization was improved by producing optimized layouts for ad serving and an infinite scroll for all archive pages. All development was done with a focus on yield management and ad stack governance on behalf of the business owners. 

Success indicators

A solution that boosts monetization 

The technical solution described above allowed for the scaling of the project in the months to follow, scaling up to 187 million page views monthly and increasing its monetization more than eight times.

Fast and stable performance 

The new build ensured:

  • Increased speed: Currently, the site’s speedby Google PageSpeed tool, is 91/100 for desktop. 
  • Ultimate stability for high traffic: the site’s traffic back in March 2019 before the rebuild was about 1.4 million user sessions while for the second half of 2019 it was scaled up to eight-plus million monthly. 

User engagement and popularity

  • Improved UX solutions to engage users: The platform has an impressively low bounce rate of 7-8%, with an industry average of 15%.
  • Growing popularity: Currently, the platform ranks about 23,000 at Alexa, on a global scale 

That proves the excellent user engagement and content satisfaction, which eventually leads to higher ROI. 

Monetization

Ad-serving optimization is a big contributor to the project. The main success of this project was achieving the initial goal to increase monetization. Within several months the platform’s monetization grew up 8.5 times. 

Wrapping up

This project is a very simple example of how quality development may dramatically improve website performance and monetization. Before and after the build the client used the same combination of a content management system – WordPress – and the RTK programmatic platform. But the business results differ almost ten times. 

Last but not least, the digital publishing platform was created in only four weeks. That would not have been possible without the prior experience of both parties with the technologies and without working in a close partnership within a long-term WordPress development retainer.  

Mario Peshev is the CEO of DevriX, a global WordPress agency serving industries from publishing to automotive and airline. He is also a core contributor to the WordPress project, an Inbound Certified marketer, and a multi-disciplined business owner with a wide scope of skills. He can be found on Twitter @no_fear_inc.

The post How a digital publisher monetized 8X more in one month with WordPress scaling strategies appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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How to set up SEO on WordPress [Video]

February 11, 2020 No Comments

When you create a website, the goal is to share your products, services, or information with as many people as possible. And to do that, you need people to visit your website and see what it has to offer. However, when you make a new website, it won’t automatically show up on the first page of Google results. You have to use SEO to get there, and we’re going to show you how to do that with WordPress.

Watch the 15-minute video here, or read the text below. In this video, you will learn how to setup WordPress SEO in 2020.

Why is SEO important?

SEO strategies take search engine algorithms into account, helping you build your website’s authority and visibility. SEO is a must-have for any successful digital marketing strategy, whether you are using WordPress or any other platform.

Is WordPress good for SEO?

WordPress has been one of the most popular website builders for many years. It started as a blogging platform, but in the last few years, it has become more and more popular as a website platform.

  • It offers customizable themes and a wide variety of tools, extensions, and widgets.
  • It has some great website building tools that make it very SEO-friendly.
  • It is also an affordable platform with excellent technical support and lots of resources available.

WordPress suffers in some aspects when it comes to SEO, though. It is very complicated on the back end. You might need an SEO expert and a pro web developer, and research to implement more advanced SEO.

However, most cases will not require an expert as SEO can be set up on the platform. You will only have to choose a plugin and learn how to use it.

WordPress websites can also be negatively affected by Google’s mobile-first indexing. If you’re trying to decide what platform to use for your new website, you can learn more about WordPress and many others right here.

Step-by-step WordPress SEO setup: How to do SEO yourself on WordPress

We created a free video course that explains everything, step-by-step:

 

WordPress can provide a strong foundation for good SEO, but there are many things you can do to make your website more visible to search engines. Here’s a step-by-step list of how we handle SEO on WordPress.

1. Optimize URL structure

You will need to choose the correct permalink structure from the start, or you may have SEO problems later on. A simple way to structure your URLs is like this: yourwebsite.com/category/sub-category/product-page.

This URL structure is called “pretty URL”, and you can enable it from – Settings > Permalink menu inside of WordPress

2. Choose between www or non-www

Do you want a website that appears as “www.xyz.com” or just “xyz.com”? This doesn’t usually affect SEO, but if both versions exist, it will get you in trouble with Google. It’s mainly a matter of personal preference, but it’s something you may want to give some thought to.

3. Set up your site’s SSL Certificate (HTTPS)

The next step is to set up an SSL certificate, which is now required if you want to show up in search engines. As much as 90% of page #1 search results on Google will be HTTPS secure. You can do this with a free Cloudflare account. If you have questions about this, check out this step-by-step tutorial video to learn everything you need to know.

4. Install the Yoast plugin

Earlier, we mentioned that WordPress comes with many useful plugins that can make your life a whole lot easier. Yoast is one of the best plugins that do a great job. Thanks to its easy-to-use tools, Yoast can help you a lot with SEO and content optimization on webpages and blogs.

5. Verify Google, Bing, and Yahoo

Next, you should submit your website to search engines (such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo) and verify your website ownership to them. This way, you can track your website performance, view keywords, get alerted to broken links and linkbacks, and get a whole lot of valuable data regarding these search engines.

6. Optimize your XML sitemap (exclude thin content pages)

This lets search engines know when your site has been updated. Yoast automatically configures *XML sitemaps, making things easy for you.

Optimize your Robots.txt file—This is a file placed on your site’s server to instruct the search engine robots on how to crawl and index files on your domain. There are two ways you can edit robots.txt on WordPress:

  1. Use Yoast > Tools > Editor to fix it.
  2. If not available, install the ‘Virtual Robots.txt’ plugin

Note: Make sure to add your XML sitemap in the robots file.

Create HTML sitemap

Many websites can benefit from an HTML sitemap in addition to an XML sitemap. The ‘Simple Sitemap’ plugin makes this easy.

7. Optimize your site for speed

A good website is a speedy website. These days, websites need to have high-quality images and design, but they still need to load almost instantly, or you’ll lose visitors. Loading speed affects your SEO both directly and indirectly. We recommend an image optimization plugin like Imagify and a cache plugin like WP Rocket or Autoptimize. Also, it is a good idea to change the settings for minification, lazy loading, and CDN delivery.

8. Install schema markup

If you operate a local business, online store, or you are an influencer, this is very important. It helps search engines deliver valuable results to visitors searching for you on Google. Here are some of the plugins we regularly use and suggest for basic schema markup: All In One Schema Rich Snippets, WP Review, snip – The Rich Snippets & Structured Data Plugin, and Schema.

Bottom line

There are many ways to set up SEO on WordPress and optimize it to your needs. As professionals in the field, these are our suggestions. However, SEO is ever-changing. If you want to stay in that coveted top slot of the Google search, you need to keep up with the changes and continually optimize. Check out our SEO Management service to get affordable, all-in-one SEO assistance for your business.

Mike is the co-founder of Zima Media, a digital marketing agency specializing in SEO and paid advertising.

The post How to set up SEO on WordPress [Video] appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Going international with SEO: How to make your WordPress site globally friendly

February 7, 2020 No Comments

International expansion is an expected ambition for progressive websites. The online nature of this global reach means that the uncertainties, legal dangers, and cultural hazards are minimized. The world is at your fingertips, and the costs in reaching it successfully are minimal. The rationale for reaching out to a new audience, readership, viewership or listenership, maybe one of opportunity, exciting new prospects, high growth potential, or to escape a domestic audience that has become too saturated or competitive.

With only some limitations, the internet is a global phenomenon that effectively ties us all together with invisible strings. Send a Tweet from Prague and reply to it in Illinois. Publish an ebook in Seattle and share it with your friends in Beirut. There are practically no boundaries when it comes to sharing content online.

When it comes to your WordPress website, the one you’ve dedicated time, money and energy building, I expect that you will want it to possess the maximum global reach possible. This doesn’t just happen by chance and requires some key features within your site to make this happen. The following tips and suggested plugins should set you and your website on the path to international influence.

Four tips to help make your site globally friendly

1. Globalize your content

The foundation of an internationally appealing website is its content transcreation. This does not focus on the mere translation of words but ensures the recreation of meaning, intent, and context.

It is important to make sure that the meaning of the content does not change when translated into another language and does not convey your message wrongly. Cultural hazards are rife when it comes to the international expansion of any kind. To be accepted and welcomed in a different geographical area, you cannot afford to display misunderstood and potentially offensive content.

Unsurprisingly, over 73% of the global market prefers websites with content in their native language. If people cannot understand the content on your website, you cannot hope to keep their interest. In the same vein, inaccurate translations just won’t cut it. The best option is to find a content writer who can craft the copy in a specific language for better quality content.

2. Avoid rigid localized options

Some websites choose the default website domain and language based on dynamic Geolocation IP tracking. Others do not have rigid local settings and allow their websites to be accessed by users from anywhere. If you are hoping to reach as many readers as possible, this option is best. No matter the country from which your website is browsed, it can be accessed without limitations of location.

3. Avoid using text on images

Google cannot translate text on images. This is the same for logos, headings, and other information. This can be majorly off-putting for readers who do not understand some parts of your website. Further, no translator or software that runs on your multilingual site can translate graphical text. Therefore, avoid it altogether for the best results, or keep it to a minimum for a more international audience.

4. Localize checkout and shipping factors

Whether your WordPress site is an online store or sells software as a service that doesn’t require any shipping at all, your checkout process should be appropriately localized. Currency options are fundamental to users taking that final step to make the purchase. There are WordPress plugins available to allow for multiple currencies to be displayed and chosen from.

If you are giving the option of international shipping then inform the buyer beforehand whether or not the product is available for shipping to his local address. Make the option to convert the currency clear and choose a suitable API tool for currency conversions. In order to keep on track of abandoned cart figures, allow the user to view the delivery charges and taxes prior to checking out. Finally, remember that people from different locations are more comfortable with different payment methods- so ensure to provide multiple options.

Plugins to help make your site globally friendly

1. TranslatePress

This full-fledged WordPress multilingual plugin translates every aspect of your website. Its main feature is that it allows you to translate directly from the front-end. It allows you to easily switch languages during the translation- and the live preview is updated instantly. All translations of content, theme, plugins and even meta-data can be made without changing the interface.

It is ideal for manual translations. Do it yourself or assign a custom translator ‘user role’ to any user on your site. Users will then be able to translate as and when they want, without needing access to the admin area.

Lastly, the plugin creates SEO friendly URLs for all languages and boosts you up the local SEO results. Ranking well will make this extra effort to globalize your site worth all the while. Once you have established yourself as an authoritative and respectably ranking website abroad, you’re in and can continue the normal operation of your site.

2. Multi-currency for WooCommerce

As discussed, the need for multiple currencies on your international online store is unchallenged. This plugin allows users to easily switch to different currencies and make use of currency exchange rate converter with no limits. It can be used to accept only one currency or all currencies. Multi-currency for WooCommerce will enhance your site’s user experience and will do so for free. It’s a no brainer.

Implementing these can surely get you some good traction for your WordPress site on a global scale.

Feel free to share your thoughts and queries in the comments section.

The post Going international with SEO: How to make your WordPress site globally friendly appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Going international: How to make your WordPress site globally friendly

November 21, 2019 No Comments

International expansion is an expected ambition for progressive WordPress sites and ones of similar likes. The online nature of this global reach means that the uncertainties, legal dangers, and cultural hazards are minimized. The world is at your fingertips, and the costs in reaching it successfully are minimal.

The rationale for reaching out to a new audience, readership, viewership or listenership, maybe one of opportunity, exciting new prospects, high growth potential, or to escape a domestic audience that has become too saturated or competitive.

With only some limitations, the internet is a global phenomenon that effectively ties us all together with invisible strings. Send a Tweet from Prague and reply to it in Illinois. Publish an eBook in Seattle and share it with your friends in Beirut. There are practically no boundaries when it comes to sharing content online.

When it comes to your WordPress website, the one you’ve dedicated time, money and energy building, I expect that you will want it to possess the maximum global reach possible. This doesn’t just happen by chance and requires some key features within your site to make this happen. The following tips and suggested plugins should set you and your WordPress site on the path to international influence.

Four tips to help make your WordPress site globally friendly

1. Globalize your content

The foundation of an internationally appealing website is its content transcreation. This does not focus on the mere translation of words but ensures the recreation of meaning, intent, and context.

It is important to make sure that the meaning of the content does not change when translated into another language and does not convey your message wrongly. Cultural hazards are rife when it comes to the international expansion of any kind. To be accepted and welcomed in a different geographical area, you cannot afford to display misunderstood and potentially offensive content.

Unsurprisingly, over 73% of the global market prefers websites with content in their native language. If people cannot understand the content on your website, you cannot hope to keep their interest. In the same vein, inaccurate translations just won’t cut it. The best option is to find a content writer who can craft the copy in a specific language for better quality content.

2. Avoid rigid localized options

Some websites choose the default website domain and language based on dynamic Geolocation IP tracking. Others do not have rigid local settings and allow their websites to be accessed by users from anywhere. If you are hoping to reach as many readers as possible, this option is best. No matter the country from which your website is browsed, it can be accessed without limitations of location.

3. Avoid using text on images

Google cannot translate text on images. This is the same for logos, headings, and other information. This can be majorly off-putting for readers who do not understand some parts of your website. Further, no translator or software that runs on your multilingual site can translate graphical text. Therefore, avoid it altogether for the best results, or keep it to a minimum for a more international audience.

4. Localize checkout and shipping factors

Whether your WordPress site is an online store or sells software as a service that doesn’t require any shipping at all, your checkout process should be appropriately localized. Currency options are fundamental to users taking that final step to make the purchase. There are WordPress plugins available to allow for multiple currencies to be displayed and chosen from.

If you are giving the option of international shipping then inform the buyer beforehand whether or not the product is available for shipping to his local address. Make the option to convert the currency clear and choose a suitable API tool for currency conversions. In order to keep on track of abandoned cart figures, allow the user to view the delivery charges and taxes prior to checking out. Finally, remember that people from different locations are more comfortable with different payment methods- so ensure to provide multiple options.

Plugins to help make your WordPress site globally friendly

1. TranslatePress

This full-fledged WordPress multilingual plugin translates every aspect of your website. Its main feature is that it allows you to translate directly from the front-end. It allows you to easily switch languages during the translation- and the live preview is updated instantly. All translations of content, theme, plugins and even meta-data can be made without changing the interface.

It is ideal for manual translations. Do it yourself or assign a custom translator ‘user role’ to any user on your site. Users will then be able to translate as and when they want, without needing access to the admin area.

Lastly, the plugin creates SEO friendly URLs for all languages and boosts you up the local SEO results. Ranking well will make this extra effort to globalize your site worth all the while. Once you have established yourself as an authoritative and respectably ranking website abroad, you’re in and can continue the normal operation of your site.

2. Multi-currency for WooCommerce

As discussed, the need for multiple currencies on your international online store is unchallenged. This plugin allows users to easily switch to different currencies and make use of currency exchange rate converter with no limits. It can be used to accept only one currency or all currencies. Multi-currency for WooCommerce helps enhance your site’s user experience and will do so for free. It’s a no brainer.

These tips and plugins will help you achieve your international SEO goals. Wish to add more tips and plugins to this list? Mention them in the comments.

The post Going international: How to make your WordPress site globally friendly appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


7 common SEO mistakes most WordPress bloggers make

October 16, 2018 No Comments

WordPress initially started out as a ‘blog-only’ platform and now that it has extended as a full-fledged Content Management System, it remains a popular blogging platform. WordPress.com blogs have over 409 million monthly viewers who looked at 22.4 billion pages per month this past year.

This standalone fact is enough to justify the popularity of WordPress as people’s favorite blogging platform.  

WordPress does provide a lot of helpful features for blogging enthusiasts who are looking to start their own blogging website. However, inexperienced bloggers do commit some mistakes in spite of all the online help available. In this blog post, we will review the most common SEO WordPress mistakes that bloggers commit out of either ignorance or sheer carelessness. Regardless of the reason, these mistakes affect the search engine ranking of their blogs and even their online reputation. 

So, let’s explore seven of the most common SEO mistakes made by WordPress bloggers. 

1. Not using the right SEO optimized blogging theme 

If you are new to blogging, you might have missed out on the information that WordPress offers SEO optimized themes for your blogs which are highly helpful when it comes to the quest of online rankings. If you are not using an SEO optimized blogging theme, you are obviously a step behind than the others who are relying on them. There are a lot of SEO optimized blogging themes for WordPress that you could choose from such as DiviMagPlusJevelin etc.  

2. Missing on an SEO optimized contact form 

Even if your WordPress blog is in its initial phase, it needs to provide a point of contact to its followers, even if they are less in the count than expected. A contact form serves the purpose just right. Your contact form is a conversion driver and optimizing it for the right SEO keywords will help your visitors easily find your blog, hence amplifying the traffic. 

3. Not buying a domain 

Are you running your free blog using WordPress with the default blog address you were allotted with? If the answer is ‘Yes’, you might not be pleased with what we are about to tell you. A blog or even a website runs well only when it runs as per the need of its target audience. A proper domain name provides an identity to your blog and prepares a path for the visitors to lay their expectations. Not buying a domain can damage the traffic expectations of your blog and kill its overall Search engine ranking. 

4. Not optimizing blog images 

A great blog comes to being only when its relevant content is paired with original and high-quality images. However, a lot of WordPress blog and website owners forget to tap the optimization of these images. It is very important to optimize the images you use in your WordPress blog. It helps your site load faster and even enhances your Google PageSpeed score. 

To optimize your blog images, you can seek help from WordPress image optimization plugins such as Smush ItEWWW Image Optimizer, and TinyPNG. These plugins will help you compress your images without affecting their resolution and also take care of their SEO optimization. 

5. Choosing the wrong keyword 

Your blog’s reachability depends entirely on the Keyword chosen by you for its Search Engine Optimization. Keyword Research might be a very extensive concept but it can do wonders for your blog’s SEO if done in the right manner. 

You have to work on an SEO Keyword strategy for your blog in a manner that you are using  Keywords that define the subject of your content, are low in competition yet are commonly used by visitors for finding the information they are looking for. Finding Keywords that fit the bill for all these requirements can be quite a task and might overwhelm certain users. As demanding they might be, they require your focus or the attention if you are looking to rank your blog well.  

6. Not focusing on loading speed 

Your online blog’s loading time will highly affect the traffic on it and also the site abandonment ratio that follows if your blog takes a lot of time to load for its visitors. A loading time above 2-3 seconds can lead to a lot of visitors abandoning your blog.

If you really are serious about your blog’s loading speed, you must get a Caching plugin for your blogs such as W3 Total CacheWP Fastest Cache or WP Super Cache. These plugins are easy to use and they make your WordPress blog speedy as well. You must also not refrain from investing in a reliable web hosting service because they tackle your blogging website’s server side issues and have their fair share towards your blog’s overall performance and speed.  

7. Not focusing on content and readability 

Probably one of the most important aspects of your blog is the content that you push through it. It needs to be of a top-notch quality when you are looking to commit no SEO mistakes in and around it. Make sure the following things about your blog’s your content: 

  • Create original content that is relevant as per the audience. 
  • Make sure that this content is readable and provides a ‘takeaway’ for the target audience. 
  • Blogging consistently will help you have a stable traffic on your blog. Use plugins like the Editorial Calendar to blog regularly. 

Conclusion

A lot of experienced blog owners do commit technical and onsite SEO errors and then look for SEO agencies and content marketers to take care of their blog’s SEO. However, the most common mistakes can be easily avoided by creating a checklist of the must-haves. 

Analyze your WordPress blog today and see if you are committing any of the mistakes mentioned above. Hopefully, you’ll be able to tackle them and remove them from your blog at the earliest. Once you have a solid SEO content strategy and a perfect plan of action for your blog’s SEO, you will definitely be able to refine and improve the overall SEO performance of your WordPress blog.

Search Engine Watch


Most common, yet troubling WordPress errors and their solutions

June 30, 2018 No Comments

Running a WordPress website or a blog is exciting. The thrill of being able to share your content with your audience at ease is the driving factor in why WordPress powers over 30% of all the websites. A people’s platform, WordPress is a popular Content Management System (CMS) for new and experienced users alike.

WordPress however, does offer its fair share of issues that trouble its users. Some of these issues are generic and can be addressed with small amendments. Other complications with the system demand a technical learning curve to solve. This article highlights the common issues and how to solve them.

Issues with themes and plugins

Themes and plugins are essentially the structures that support WordPress’ framework. Users often have to deal with issues related to them.

Theme issues:

  • Theme installation failed
  • Missing stylesheet
  • Sample data import errors
  • HomePage not similar to the demo etc.

The root cause of such theme related issues could be that something is missing in the zip folder or you could have simply missed uploading the root theme folder.

For sample data import errors, you can try any of these solutions:

  • Once you have activated the theme, make a check and ensure that your theme includes custom post types and taxonomies
  • If you fail to import media, you can open the sample data in a text editor and try and locate one of those files and test the link in your browser
  • Alternatively, you can get in touch with the theme developer and share your issues if you are unable to address them successfully.

Plugin issues:

Regularly updating and ensuring that you download plugins from reliable sources can reduce risk. However, some errors still creep in which can be dealt with in the following manner.

  • Some plugin updates go along with the latest update of your WordPress version. Make sure you don’t miss them.
  • Plugins can be complex to set up and require careful configuration. Make sure that you are meticulous with the plugin documentation and follow instructions.
  • Always upload your plugins to the right folder: wp-content/plugins
  • If everything else fails, get in touch with the Plugin developer to seek your answers.

Lost WordPress admin password

Losing your WordPress site’s login password can cause real issues.

If you can successfully retrieve it through the emailed link request – you are one of the lucky ones. A lot of WordPress admins never receive these emails in their inbox.

You can try resetting the email and password through the phpMyAdmin option. To do so, you will have to login to your cpanel, locate the phpMyAdmin and select the database option of your WordPress website.

  • Click on the wp_users table to enter a new username and password
  • Move to ‘Functions’ and click the MD5 option as it highly recommended
  • Save the changes and you will be able to access your site’s admin dashboard.

Another way around this is to edit your theme’s functions.php file. Make the following additions and save the file to upload it. You can login to the dashboard and remove the code from the file after yet another upload.

wp_set_password(‘DesiredNewPassword’,1);

A hacked WordPress site

A hacked WordPress website is unfortunately a common issue. It can only be dealt with by the implementation of a robust website monitoring security system and with a WordPress security plugin in place. You can also try hiding your site’s login page or integrate 2-factor authentication to make sure that you have ample time to act before your website is attacked.

The white screen of death

The most common WordPress error is the ‘white screen of death’. To make sure that things get back to the normal, you can try checking if your existing theme or the installed plugins are facing some compatibility issues. This method however could result in a lengthy process and requires you to deactivate all the plugins and reactivate them one by one to figure out the one that has been causing the trouble.

If you have been locked out of your dashboard, you can go the FTP way.

The other way of fixing your site’s white screen of death error is by increasing the PHP memory limit via FTP where you will be prompted to edit your wp-config.php. All you need to do is add the following code snippet at the bottom of the wp-config.php file

define( ‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘256M’ );

Dealing with spam

Spam is a recurrent issue faced by many new WordPress site owners.

The only way to deal with spam is by downloading and installing anti-spam plugins such as the Akismet plugin. You should also make sure that you cut out user-generated spam on your site’s group or forums to keep the situation under control. Eliminating spam is generally a great way to speed up your WordPress site.

Error 404

One of the most irritating WordPress errors is where the site posts return a 404 Error when your website is unable to locate a page that you are trying to access. To fix WordPress posts returning 404 error, you can generate a new .htaccess file by navigating to Settings > Permalinks. Just remember to  click on save changes.

Error establishing a database connection

If your website has been hacked or if there is an issue with your site’s web host provider, your website might run a message mentioning an error establishing a database connection.

To fix the issue, you can check your wp-config.php file to see if any of the information such as the username, database name, password, and host are all correct and not missing.

If the error continues, you can try repairing the error by adding the following line to initiate the repair of the database. Just be sure that this code is removed from the wp-config file to avoid public access.

define (‘WP_ALLOW_REPAIR’, true);.”

However, if everything is intact and the error prevails, you can seek assistance from your host provider regarding the error as it might be taking place due to issues at their end.

Conclusion

There are unfortunately another hundred WordPress errors that demand a space in this article, but we have captured the most common ones that can be dealt with easy tweaks. These errors occur to make sure that all your website elements are in their right places before it’s too late to make a change and your website might go missing, entirely.

 

Pawan Sahu is a digital marketer and passionate blogger at MarkupTrend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to select the best caching solution for WordPress

April 24, 2018 No Comments

There is no denying that the existence of an appropriate website is justified primarily by its loading speed: the faster, the better. Forty-seven percent of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less, which is quite a task to accomplish as a new website owner.

Interestingly, even a single second of delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions, and Google’s algorithms favour fast-loading websites in the form of search engine rankings. With so much at stake with regard to your website’s loading time, the pain is real. So, how does one make sure that WordPress websites are fast to load?

Caching is an efficient solution

Caching serves the purpose of creating and keeping a static version of your website and serving it to a requesting visitor when they access your website for the second time or more. It enhances your site’s user experience by swiftly presenting the static version without any delay.

This delay, otherwise, is simply caused when a visitor is trying to access a website from their browser and all the website elements such as the posts, slider, headers, CSS files, JavaScript, images, videos, etc., take their own time to get downloaded on the browser. When caching is in place, your website is ever-ready to deliver a cached/static version – quickly.

If you are new to website creation, how do you implement Caching on your website? What are the ways and means? Are their tools that can help you do it?

To start, you must test your website for its speed monitoring using tools such as:

These tools are a great way to figure out anything that might not be going well on your website’s backend when it comes to its loading time and similar issues. Since WordPress websites have their own share of down time owing to a number of factors, you cannot always act laid back when it comes to the performance and WordPress security of your digital property. If you would like to learn about striking a balance with your WordPress site’s security apart from its performance, you can read more here.

Broadly divided into two, WordPress Caching can be determined as:

  1. Browser Caching: Reducing the load on the server is a great way of optimizing your website’s speed and that is what Browser Caching does. It reduces the number of requests per page, resulting in the superpower where your website loads faster.
  1. Server Caching: Used by websites that have spiked traffic rates, Server Caching is largely about when data is cached on the server itself, helping with the loading revisions.

The best plugins to incorporate caching onto your WordPress site

You can choose from the following list of plugins to manage caching on your WordPress website.

  1. WP Super Cache

Total number of downloads: 2+ million

One of the best caching plugins in the WordPress repository, WP Super Cache is a great cache management plugin. Generating static HTML files for your WordPress website, the plugin serves cached files in three ways, which are based on speed. It employs methods like Apache mod_rewrite and a modification of your .htaccess file to serve supercached static HTML files.

 

  1. W3 Total Cache

Total number of downloads: 1+ million

Highly recommended by web hosts and developers, this plugin has continued to reign the WordPress caching market for a number of years. By employing browser caching, it renders pages quickly, which results in reduced page load time, and further garners more page views and increased time on site.

A great plugin in itself, W3 Total Cache contributes to improvement in your site’s SEO, offers content delivery network (CDN) integration, and overall user-experience on the WordPress site.

  1. WP Fastest Cache

Total number of downloads: 600,000+

The plugin serves the usual caching functions, offers SSL and CDN support, allows Cache Timeout for specific pages, enable/disable cache option for mobile devices and for logged-in users. Available in over 18 languages, the plugin does not require the user to modify the .htacces file and is pretty simple to set up. However, it does not currently support WordPress Multisite, but it is hoped that the plugin developers are working towards introducing this. Also, their premium version has much more to offer.

  1. Cache Enabler

Total number of downloads: 40,000+

Working its way to improving the performance of your website, the Cache enabler plugin offers WordPress multisite support. Its disk cache engine is efficient and fast and the plugin can be easily setup. One of the unique features of this plugin is its ability to create two cached files: plain HTML one and gzipped (pre-compressed files). It also offers the features of clearing the cache in either a manual or an automated manner.

  1. Hummingbird Page Speed Optimization

Total number of downloads: 10,000+

A great speed optimization caching plugin by WPMU Dev, the Hummingbird plugin features file compression, minification and full-page, browser and Gravatar caching. It also provides performance reports for your WordPress site so that you can maintain its speed. Its scanning feature keeps a check on files that might be slowing your site and provides probable fixes.

NOTE: While caching is great, you will also need to implement other efforts if you really want to increase your website’s speed. Some of the things that you can easily do are:

  • Invest in a reliable web hosting service and go with a hosting plan that suits the size of your business website
  • Getting a CDN service is a great way to cater to your site visitors from various geographical locations without having them to wait up a bit too long for the server to fetch your site data
  • Declutter your website’s database, uninstall plugins and themes that you no longer need
  • Always use a WordPress theme that has been optimized for speed.

Conclusions

Website speed matters, and caching is one of the easiest ways out there to accomplish a fast loading site. Since your site’s speed has a direct relationship with user experience and the traffic it drives in, it follows that search engine optimization also slides in. Therefore, you must direct all your efforts into making sure that your website is capable of impressing its visitors with an unmatched speed.

Lucy Barret is an experienced Web Developer and passionate blogger, currently working at WPCodingDev. 

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14 essential WordPress plugins to improve SEO

April 14, 2018 No Comments

SEO is often a long and convoluted process which takes time, dedication and expertise.

Therefore, anything that can simplify or speed up aspects of a campaign are welcome additions: cue plugins! If your website is hosted on a WordPress CMS, then you are fortunate enough to have access to a plethora of handy plugins.

But with over 54,000 plugins to choose from, selecting the most appropriate and effective plugins for your SEO needs can seem a bit overwhelming. Luckily for you, in this article we have picked out the 14 WordPress plugins which we believe are essential for improving SEO.

From general all-rounder SEO plugins to those engineered for more specific tasks, our recommendations will cover a range of SEO needs.

1. Yoast SEO

We’ll start with the all-rounder SEO plugins and arguably the most well known of the lot. Yoast SEO is an exceedingly popular plugin for fulfilling SEO needs, and is suitable for total newbies and seasoned pros alike.

Yoast is easy to use and intuitive, making it possible for anyone to work with. Its traffic light system provides detailed guidelines, which is perfect for those who are new to SEO.

Its only main downside is that sometimes the plugin does not analyze the entire page – if, for example, part of the content for a particular page sits elsewhere within the CMS. Not an issue in itself but can cause clients to have a temporary meltdown when they see a sea of red alerts.

Nevertheless, with its powerful content analysis abilities, Yoast is my personal recommendation for an all-rounder SEO plugin.

2. All in One SEO Pack

A popular alternative to Yoast, the All in One SEO Pack plugin was actually created prior to Yoast, and therefore built up a dedicated fanbase in the initial years. It provides much the same tools and features as Yoast, but the general consensus is that All in One SEO Pack is slightly less user-friendly than its main rival.

Ultimately it comes down to personal preference. Many people are a fan of the traffic light system deployed by Yoast, as it provides a whole host of handy, actionable tips for you to implement.

Alternatively those red, orange and green lights may drive you up the wall, in which case you may want to consider the All in One SEO Pack, or even our third suggestion…

3. The SEO Framework

The SEO Framework is an alternative to Yoast and All in One SEO Pack. It provides an automated and fast SEO solution, plus it is unbranded, meaning a clean interface. Many users find it less bloated than Yoast, therefore arguably more efficient for the user.

This particular plugin is not quite as accessible as Yoast, but it is by no means difficult to use. Accordingly, it may pay to have at least a basis of SEO knowledge for this plugin.

In short, stick to Yoast if you’re a complete beginner, but if you’re confident with the basics, The SEO Framework is a viable alternative.

4. Redirection

Setting up redirects for broken links or deleted pages is key in maintaining a solid user experience.

Redirection is a useful plugin that allows you to handle all kinds of redirects from one easily accessible place. Quickly create new redirects, manage your current redirects and tidy up any loose ends.

5. Smush Image Compression and Optimization

Page speed is probably one of the biggest headaches when optimizing a website and image size is the most common reason for slow loading times. However, if you have a website that is extremely image-heavy, then the thought of manually compressing each image is probably enough to make you want to quit your job.

Well, don’t do that. Because a plugin called Smush exists and aside from being the best-named plugin on this list, it’s also incredibly useful. Smush Image Compression and Optimization compresses all images on your site at the touch of a button.

You also have the option to resize them while you’re at it. It’s perfect for increasing that pesky page speed with minimal effort.

6. W3 Total Cache

Continuing the theme of page speed, W3 Total Cache reduces load time, increases download speed and improves conversion rates. As a result, it helps to improve the overall performance and speed of your site.

With the stamp of approval from numerous high profile websites and industry leaders, what more do you need to know? It’s a no-brainer.

7. WP-Optimize

Another tool for helping you with a website spring clean. WP-Optimize cleans up your WordPress database, making space and improving its overall efficiency. A more efficient database means a better performing and faster site.

8. Google XML Sitemaps

An XML sitemap helps the search engines to crawl your site. Anything that makes life easier for the search engines is generally worth doing. The Google XML Sitemaps plugin allows you to create a sitemap quickly and easily, without the need for using a third-party tool.

Don’t forget to submit your XML sitemap to Google Search Console. We also recommend trying Google XML Sitemaps for Video and Images.

9. Broken Link Checker

It’s in the name – the Broken Link Checker identifies any broken links on your website.

Broken links can undermine your overall link structure and provide a frustrating user experience. This plugin allows you to uncover any broken links and take the necessary steps to fix them.

10. All In One WP Security & Firewall

Search engines take site security very seriously. The worst kind of user experience would be one which ends in a virus or other form of malware. If your site gets hacked, then it could have a highly detrimental effect on your rankings.

The aim of the All In One WP Security & Firewall is to prevent this happening and keep your website as safe as Fort Knox. On a related note, make sure you invest in an SSL certificate while you’re at it.

11. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP)

Search engines take into consideration how quickly users leave your website. It’s therefore worth spending time trying to lower your overall bounce rate. As part of this, you should ensure clear call-to-actions and provide somewhere for users to naturally go once they are finished with a particular page or post.

For blog content, related posts are perfect for retaining users. Ideally, this functionality would be integrated into the design of your blog.

However, if not, then the Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) is a handy alternative and uses an algorithm to determine the most effective related posts. Great for user retention and lowering that bounce rate.

12. All In One Schema.Org Rich Snippets

Schema markup can bring some serious SEO points your way. Although there is no evidence that the markup itself is a ranking factor, just the appeal of having a more enticing appearance in the SERPs through rich snippets should be enough.

It is normally best to implement schema manually, without the use of a plugin. However, the All in One Schema.Org Rich Snippets plugin can help bridge the gap in the meantime until you get around to it.

I know it’s one of those tasks that gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list, but there’s no time like the present!

13. Akismet

Akismet is the most popular plugin to deal with spam comments and is useful in preventing those weird and wonderful comments. From an SEO perspective, it stops potentially harmful links appearing in the comments on your site.

Too many of these links could associate you with bad neighborhoods, as although the links are in the comments, they are still coming from your website. They are therefore best avoided at all costs.

14. AMP for WP

With the news of Google’s mobile-first index and the knowledge that over half of website traffic is via mobile, you need to implement Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP for short) if you haven’t already. The AMP project is an open-source initiative that provides an easy way to generate web pages which will load quickly and smoothly on mobile.

The AMP for WP plugin automatically adds Accelerated Mobile Pages functionality to your site, therefore making it faster for mobile users. It’ll save you a lot of hassle.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of plugins to improve SEO, but these are our personal recommendations. It’s important to remember not to go overboard with plugins. Avoid cutting corners by choosing to use a plugin over achieving better results manually.

Nevertheless, installing and activating a selection of carefully chosen plugins can make the SEO process more accessible, fast and effective.

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The 10 most common WordPress SEO challenges and how to solve them

August 30, 2017 No Comments

If you’re new to the business of SEO and are just figuring out how to optimize your WordPress site for search, navigating the landscape of SEO can seem like a nightmare.

You’ll have seen a thousand different articles on SEO: on-page optimization tips, off-page optimization tips, SEO basics, email marketing tips, etc. online and implemented them – only to see them fail, or worse, backfire.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. SEO can be tricky, and there is always a huge scope for overdoing or underdoing things. While I can’t fully solve this problem for you, I’ll make an attempt to round up the most commonly faced SEO challenges with WordPress so that you can look into your site and make some amends.

The important thing to understand here is that the same factors can prove to be a boon as well as a challenge when it comes to SEO. The key is to understand your own website intricately and devise plans depending upon what works best for you. Listed below are a few things that are commonly done wrong.

1. Finding the right theme

Ask yourself, how did you choose your WordPress theme while creating your website? Odds are you picked the most visually attractive theme that you thought would appeal to your customers.

Another common mistake people make is picking the most premium or commonly-used themes, as they think these are shortcuts to success. This is where you’re going wrong. Many complicated themes are filled with poor code that slows down your website. And loading time is a small but significant factor that affects your SEO rankings.

So pick a theme that works best for the nature of your website. Minimalist themes can be just as effective as complicated themes. And remember to check how often these themes are updated; you do not want an outdated theme dragging your site down.

2. The plugin game

WordPress plugins can truly be a boon for website SEO. But people tend to overdo it by adding too many of them and as a result, the website becomes heavier and slower to load. In order to improve user experience and your website ranking, it is imperative to pick and install only the right plugins for your website.

Multiple plugins also tend to occupy excessive server resources. Therefore, many managed WordPress hosts do not allow websites that consume too many resources.

3. The sitemap issue

As a basic WordPress website doesn’t give you too many features and controls, you’re bound to install SEO plugins, most of which have the option of sitemaps. You can even create multiple sitemaps by getting additional plugins to allow you further control over your site.

But here’s the problem. Many people forget to submit their sitemaps to Google Search Console. Once you fail to do that, search engines stop recognizing your sitemaps and needless to say, you won’t show up anywhere despite all your customized plugins.

4. Link stuffing gone wrong

Adding links to your site is one of the most important SEO tactics, and can do wonders for your website ranking. Many themes come with pre-set links to help you out. But there are two ways this can go wrong:

  • Over stuffing – Nothing overdone is attractive, and adding links is no exception. Adding too many links can distract your user and also turn them off your site. A good rule of thumb to go by is using up to 20 links. This way you’re well within your bounds.
  • Stuffing nonsense – The relevance of the content you feed to your customers is more important than you think. Offer original and relevant content that is useful to your customers so that they spend more time on your site, thus improving your rankings.

5. Schema gone wrong

Schema markup is the primary code that allows Google (and other search engines) to understand what your website is about. You showcase your Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) so that Google can run it through its algorithms and display your site if it has local relevance. So this is the single most important thing that helps Google understand who you are and what kind of services you provide.

This obviously improves your rankings and visibility. But if you get this wrong, it could work against you, as it confuses Google.

The best way out of this challenge is to gain a deep understanding of how Schema works. Various online resources can help you learn that. For starters, you can check-out the ‘Organization of Schema’ page to look for the list of most common types of schema markup and the ‘Full Hierarchy’ page for the schema types that you will need.

6. Underestimating alt text for images

People often focus all their attention on optimizing text content and miss out visual content, i.e. images. It’s a big blunder. Without fail, make the time to give your images proper names and descriptions. This will go a long way in improving your site’s functionality, accessibility and ranking.

So if you’ve overlooked this, rename all your images now and add proper descriptions. Another shortcut to do this is using the SEO Friendly Images WordPress Plugin.

7. Wrongly done permalinks

Despite the huge amount of information available on permalinks over the internet, it is one of the most difficult things to get right. And your website takes a really big hit by doing this wrong.

So here’s an over-simplified tip for you. The ideal permalink will allow you to include two very basic yet important things: post name and category. It should look something like this: “/%category%/%postname%/“.

What this does is allows search engines as well as your site visitors to clearly understand what your website is about.

8. Ignoring H1 tags

As your webpage grows, you might end up having a lot more duplicate content than is advisable. Even if this doesn’t affect you initially, it will in the long run.

With growing popularity and content, you might feel you have no option but to use the same H1 tags for multiple pages. But this makes search engines alert and eventually averse to your site. So as far as possible, get precise and innovative and provide only unique content for your site.

And don’t even think of employing the age-old technique of overusing keywords in your meta tags. This might have worked in the past, but Google is very smart and now identifies it.

9. The sin of using duplicate content

It’s not an exaggeration when I say it’s a sin to use duplicate content. The problem is that you might be doing this without even knowing that you are.

The most common mistake in this department is over-categorizing and over-tagging: Google identifies content with multiple common tags and flags them as duplicate content. As a rule, a post should typically be in no more than one or two categories, and tagging should be limited only to the most relevant topics covered in the post.

Furthermore, if you find no obvious way in which you can tag a specific post, don’t tag it. Not every post needs tagging.

However, it is easy to tackle this. WordPress offers plugins like All-In-One-SEO or SEO Plugin Yoast to avoid this error. These plugins add ‘No Follow’ tags to pages that help search engines categorize pages appropriately.

10. Forgetting internal links and related posts

Linking one article to other relevant content across your site increases the average time spent by a user on your website, and also acts as a search engine ranking signal. However, adding unrelated links or poor-quality content will do the opposite and put them off.

If you do not wish to use too many internal links, another smart way to go about it is by adding related posts. Get a plugin to pick the right kind of posts to display as related posts to keep your relevance and integrity intact. The best way to do this is getting the right balance between internal links and related posts.

So read this article through again and thoroughly examine your SEO practices to identify how many of these aforementioned things are you getting wrong, and how many you are doing right.

Another factor that significantly affects your user experience is your host. A slow host will increase your loading time and therefore affect users. Keep this in mind while picking your web hosting company.

Your goal should always be to give your visitors rich quality and relevant content, delivered in the right manner and at the right speed. That is the only true way to keep your customers happy and run a thriving website.

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WordPress is Doubling Down on HTTPS in 2017 by @MattGSouthern

December 2, 2016 No Comments

In 2017, WordPress will start introducing features which require websites have HTTPS available.

The post WordPress is Doubling Down on HTTPS in 2017 by @MattGSouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.


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