Once you have successfully installed WordPress you are proud of yourself! You are a WP beginner and here you are launching your first website that you are about to share with others. But before you do that, especially before you share your website's address with Google, you should pay attention to a few small details that are very often overlooked by beginner website authors. Below you will find some of the most common mistakes that you will not make again.
Basic SEO optimisation
SEO optimisation often decides about to be or not to be a web page. In a situation where your website deals with popular topics or you have a company with a lot of competition on the web, skipping this aspect can be fatal. A common mistake made by new webmasters is lack of friendly url's on the page and lack of titles and meta descriptions.
Friendly url's that contain key phrases related to subpages give an additional signal to the Google search engine about the content of the page and strengthen its positioning. In order to activate friendly addresses go to section Settings > Direct Links and check the option Entry name as in the screenshot below. You can of course choose another format or create your own, but for most applications the one I have indicated is sufficient.
Title and meta description
Search engines use this data in their indexes by also publishing it on search engine results pages. If you have a poorly prepared title, the page will probably also rank poorly. Let's see how it looks like with an example. Below is a Google result about my website. I have marked the title in red and the description in green.
Not only is this clear to searchers, but it also gives a clear signal to Google about the content of the page in question.
For example, see what a search result looks like if you neglect this topic.
As you can see, this is a restaurant website, so it is not a hobby website but one whose task is to attract customers and generate profits. Totally neglected aspect of fundamental SEO optimization is undoubtedly not good for this restaurant. The website is there because it is, but why shouldn't it generate more traffic and attract more new customers? This is the purpose of business websites! Probably the owner entrusted its creation to a company or person who completely ignored this element, and since he himself does not realise that anything is wrong, it has been like this for over a year now (you can check on Wayback Machine).
The title and meta description is an extremely important aspect that you cannot overlook. If you do, please do not admit that you used my tutorials ?
How to deal with it?
By default, WordPress simply puts the title of the page or article into the meta title tag, unfortunately there is no way to define it independently as with the description. The solution is to install an SEO plugin that will effectively solve this problem.
Personally, I usually use the plug-in Yoast SEO. This is one of the most popular extensions for optimising your site for SEO, so I recommend you check it out. Another very cool plugin is All in One SEO Pack. I use this one less often, but it's also a good choice - you may find it more to your liking than Yoast for me. Test it out.
After installing any of these, every page, every post will be enhanced with the ability to edit the title and meta description. In the case of the Yoast pole, it looks like this:
By entering a title and description the plugin will show you whether the text length is optimal. Text should not be too short so avoid headlines consisting of 2-3 words. The title should be one concise sentence conveying the essence of the page/subpage and the description should be an extension of it. Try to prepare both elements in such a way that they are interesting for someone who finds your page in search results. If the description is bland, despite the fact that the page may be high, it will have fewer clicks than pages with weaker positions.
If you can't get enough of it, you'll have to take it.
Another sin of newly minted webmasters is experimenting with lots of plug-ins. They are easily available and even easier to install which is tempting because if you can do it and for free, why not use it. As a result, WordPress is overloaded with plugins that suffocate and slow it down, increase code errors and expose it to various external threats. The plugins you install are extensions created by people with widely varying experience. Some of them are of poor or even terrible quality. So try to install only what you actually need and choose well-established extensions that are developed by their authors. If you want to test a plugin I suggest you do it on a separate WP development installation. Once tested, uninstall the plugin whenever you don't intend to use it.
There are many more mistakes, but the ones I have mentioned here are the key ones in terms of website effectiveness. Reading my articles you will surely catch them, but here I would like to mention one more very important one. Very often owners of new websites forget about security. In most cases it is due to ignorance, but unfortunately I know some sites where an informed person did not do anything with their knowledge.
What does it mean to care about safety?
- only use strong passwords, under no circumstances use dictionary or simple passwords. Yes I know you already have a lot of passwords and pins to remember, but you can always use programs like Keepass and the like.
- Keep your website software up to date. This includes wordpress, plugins and themes. Updating is extremely easy because you just click one button and WordPress will take care of the rest. You just need to find the time and click ? Find it.
- use trusted extensions and themes (mentioned above)
- remove plugins and themes you don't use (I've written about this before too)
By following the above you will reduce the risk of hacking to a minimum. You will not eliminate it in 100% because the truth is that there is always a wicket somewhere and it is only a matter of time before it is found, but if you carry out regular upgrades, they also seal such wickets in addition to the development itself.
Take care of the above elements at the very beginning so as not to step into... something unpleasant with your website. It is supposed to bring you benefits and joy, not be a ball and chain that you drag around because you have to and an additional worry.
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