One word changed my life forever one day back in late 2007. I was a blogger then, frustrated with a blogging platform that couldn’t satisfy my needs. Why didn’t I have simple root access to my blog, enabling me to change whatever I felt like? It was my blog, with my name emblazoned on the front page, yet I couldn’t command it to perform tasks not already pre-formed in its little e-head.
Ok, enough with the sappy story. For real now. Two years ago I took friend’s advice and moved my first blog from Blogger to self-hosted WordPress. I have never looked back. Today I would like to make the case to you that a WordPress blog is what you need to give your web presence the lift it needs. Let’s not talk about the hosting and the domain name purchase, and the code, and all that stuff. That is for another day. Let’s talk about a few features WordPress provides that will make it easy for you maintain an SEO-friendly blog.
First, WordPress makes changing your URL structure effortless. Why should you care about your URL structure? Well, would you rather be telling Google that your site is at "http://www.mysite.com/?p=123" or at "http://www.mysite.com/my-first-post/"? That is correct. You want to put your site’s best face on for Google, and WordPress makes it as easy as typing a few letters into a blank field. Brilliant.
Next, WordPress uses “plugins” to make a whole host of SEO tasks as simple as can be. One of these plugins automatically creates an XML sitemap for your blog, effectively giving Google a map to your site. This makes for a much faster indexing in the search engines, since it is never a bad idea to throw a bone (or a fly) to search engine spiders. Another plugin puts a little bit of text at the bottom of blog posts that contains a list of related posts. I like that one because it links to other similar posts I wrote in the past but maybe just forgot about.
By far my favorite plugin for SEO is All in One SEO Pack. This plugin takes some of the most important site optimization tasks that lots of folks just might not know how to do, and makes them ridiculously easy. These people might have heard that they need a good keyword rich title tag, good H tags, meta description, meta keywords, and so on. But they just don’t know how to change them. All in One SEO has a field for all those things, plus a bunch of other title formats and header options. Don’t even think about messing with code when there are plugins for things like this.
Finally, WordPress makes updating your main site content almost enjoyable. You already know that you need fresh content every so often to keep the search engines happy with your site. But writing a post in WordPress doesn’t require any knowledge of tagging, categorizing, pinging to notify others of your new content, or anything of the sort. You don’t even have to know how to write the code for a link. Perhaps that’s commonplace these days, but the process is simply seamless in WordPress.
If you are looking for a way to be able to accomplish some SEO on your own time, and you want a solution that will do pretty much anything you want it to, give WordPress a try. There are so many people out there designing plugins and attractive themes for WordPress that it’s impossible to keep track of them all. All I know is that you will find a solution that is a pleasure to work with, and it will do a lot of good for your site with the search engines.
For more blogging tips, check out Scott's recent post on 25 Freshest Summer Blogging Tips.