WordPress has made creating websites easy for the average person. It’s very user-friendly and easy to update information, add pages and write blog content – which is what Google is looking for: fresh relevant content written for the human reader. But what many don’t know is all the freebies you can get with WordPress. And I’m referring to the self-hosted version (WordPress.org) not the free version (WordPress.com).
Which WordPress version should I use?
It depends on what you need. The free version (WordPress.com) is great if you’re just starting out and you want to establish yourself as an expert in your field before you start a company or have a domain name. You can add an “About” page and contact info. It also makes it easy to add social media and automate posting to the networks as soon as you publish a post. The downfall is that you can’t customize it without paying extra. You can upload your own banner graphic, but you’re stuck with their color schemes. They do give you a few themes to choose from, but you’re still limited with what you can do with it.
If you have a domain name and a hosting account like with GoDaddy, you can have WordPress installed for free. There are hundreds of themes to choose from. Pick one that allows you to customize the colors, background and banner, and add your logo and branding. You can always change the theme later on.
Great Must-Have WordPress Plug-ins
SEO By Yoast – This plug-in makes it easy to add meta descriptions and keywords for each individual post. It gives you a “grade” as to how optimized your post is and how to get the best SEO “juice”.
JetPack – This WordPress.com free plug-in has a lot of great features. You have to have a free WordPress.com account to use it. One of the best “modules” is “Publicize”. You connect your social networks and it will automatically post your blog posts as soon as they are published. Saves a huge amount of time! And they’ve recently added Google+! Make sure it’s set up to post publicly on G+ so it’ll get indexed in the search engine right away. Some of the other cool modules are subscriptions, comments, additional widgets, mobile site (Not bad for a free mobile site – does not work with all the themes.), G+ profile which establishes authorship, likes, enhanced distribution and galleries.
Related: 3 Reasons a Mobile Site Matters
Revive Old Posts – Once you have at least 20-25 posts you can set this up to randomly tweet out post titles and links at any given hourly interval. If you only have a few posts, set it for every 12 hours. As you get more posts done, you can have them go out more frequently. This really helps to get traffic to your blog. You can add hashtags and exclude posts that are time sensitive.
These next few are security and utility plug-ins:
Broken Link Checker – As you add posts and link to external sites, over time, those site may go away. This plug-in checks your site for broken links regularly.
WordFence – This plug-in is a firewall and anti-virus for WordPress
Limit Log-in Attempts – this is another that will catch those nasty robots.
You should blog at least 3 times a week to increase traffic to your blog. These plug-ins should make it easier.