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With so many WordPress plugins available, figuring out which ones to use can be a challenge. Once you start looking for advice, you will encounter a wealth of opinions, many of which conflict. Similarly, with so many themes available, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Sorting out the best plugins and themes can take an enormous amount of time. What is important? What is cosmetic? And what is simply a matter of preference? After scouring the internet for WordPress tips, these three stood out as the most helpful for building or improving your site.
- Install a caching plugin today, and make sure it is W3 Total Cache. People seem to universally love W3 Total Cache, which I like to think of as the little plugin that could. Easy to install, it drastically improves the performance of your site, most noticeably by loading pages so much faster. You may not realize the WordPress is a PHP based system. Without becoming mired down in technical terms, basically PHP pages are generated fresh every time someone clicks on them. W3 Total Cache caches every aspect of your site and those PHP pages are converted into static, cached content. This means the load time of your pages is greatly reduced and your web server will also perform better, even during high traffic times.
- Everyone can benefit from Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The basic principle behind SEO is that you have a search-engine friendly site with quality content and your page ranking and link popularity will increase. While do-it-yourself SEO is probably not as effective as working with SEO professionals, you can still benefit from some SEO practices, especially with the help of WordPress SEO themes and plugins. While certain WordPress themes are a bit more search engine-friendly than others, with the right plugins you can easily optimize pretty much any theme. If you want to go with one of the most recommended WordPress SEO themes you could choose the CopyBlogger Theme or the Neoclassical Theme, both by Chris Pearson, or the Elements of SEO theme. Once you install WordPress’s All-in-One SEO Pack plugin, you are well on your way to having an optimized site. Other important SEO plugins you should install are Google XML Sitemaps (provides easy indexing for the major search engines); SEO Slugs (takes common words, such as, ‘the’, ‘from’, and ‘you’, out of your slugs); and Trackable Social Share (adds icons that allow readers to share your content easily on several social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, or through direct communication, such as email and text). You should also browse through the plugin directory to see if you can further improve your site, and not just in terms of SEO.
- Check your settings. Each theme comes with default settings and while you would like to think it was exactly as it should be upon installation that is not always the case. To be sure, you should take some time to look over your Privacy, Discussion, and Permalinks settings. In the Privacy panel, make sure ‘I would like my blog to be visible to everyone, including search engines (like Google, Bing, Technorati) and archivers’ is selected. In the Discussion panel, enable trackbacks and pingbacks. Also, enable comments and customize them according to your preference. Lastly, in the Permalinks menu, set up Pretty Permalinks in the format you prefer.
Once you have selected a WordPress theme, installed some plugins, and customized your settings, you are good to go. Now it is time for the most important part, creating your content. This includes writing, graphics, useful links, and really anything you feel is relevant and valuable. Invest your energies in creating quality content that will capture the attention of your readers and have them coming back for more.