8 Ways To Succeed With WordPress in 2013

It’s still early in 2013 and the year ahead has plenty of promise for thousands of businesses, or for individuals wishing to run a personal blog, but it’s still an ultra competitive market for everyonet. If you want to stand out you’re going to have to make sure your WordPress blog looks great and is easy to navigate. So, to help you along with this, here are some handy tips for a successful year ahead.

1. Have an attention grabbing landing page

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A good landing page provides a forum to speak directly to visitors to your WordPress site. If the visitor found your site using a search engine the landing page can present the specific information or posts they are looking for.

Landing pages also allow you to call visitors to action whatever the purpose of the page – getting people to subscribe to your newsletters and updates, buy a product, sign a petition, make a donation, or anything else that requires action from your visitors. They often work best when the design is stripped down with just the minimal information, with posts and forms relevant to your visitor, but giving enough of a taster to lead them to explore the site’s content in more detail.

2. Emphasise your titles and descriptions

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If you want your WordPress site to show up in search engine results you need to consider search engine optimization (SEO), especially in your titles and description. Search engines pick up on the words in your titles and descriptions, and these are also important once the results are displayed.

Viewers tend to scan through the first few titles and brief descriptions and quickly choose which sites to click through to depending on how interesting, relevant or enticing they are, so having eye-catching titles and description makes it more likely for them to visit your site.

3. Keep your sidebar clean and simple

Many WordPress sites feature overcrowded sidebars with a jumble of links, adverts, social media icons and archives, and as such can be distracting and unhelpful in achieving the aims of the site.

With this in mind, keep your sidebars simple with only the absolutely relevant and necessary widgets that relate to your posts –this helps get the responses and results you want from people visiting your site.

4. Only use necessary plugins

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Make sure that any plugins that you use are really necessary and improve your WordPress site – running lots of unnecessary plugins can increase the scripts and codes within your site and slow down its performance. Choose the ones you need and disable or delete any you do not.

You should also keep up to date with updates for your plugins – developers often improve and upgrade their plugins to increase performance and speed.

5. Use your images to attract attention and draw in visitors

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Images can be used to great effect within your WordPress site, providing visual accompaniment to the other content or, in the case of portfolio-style blogs, the images can be the main focus and reason for attracting visitors.

In a similar way to titles and descriptions, SEO can be applied to the titles, descriptions and tags of all the images used within your site, using words and phrases that you think will get picked up by search engines and attract the eye of potential visitors when the search results are displayed. When adding images to your media library use titles and tags with SEO in mind.

6. Make your permalinks readable and attractive

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When you adds posts, pages and categories in WordPress the URLs that are automatically applied feature question marks and many numbers, which are functional but not necessarily logical or readable for your visitors.

WordPress gives you the option to customize permalinks before you publish your posts and pages, creating URLs that are aesthetically pleasing, usable and forward-compatible. Ideally these links should remain permanent (hence permalink), so try to avoid editing the permalinks once the post has been shared – this helps return visitors find their way back to the relevant content.

7. Make use of your footer

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The footer can be useful platform for carrying extra information and content within your WordPress site design.

Footers often contain the copyright and date, who designed and owns the site, and perhaps the relevant WordPress theme if one was used as a template. But they have the potential to feature so much more that visitors may find useful – a blogger bio, glossary of terms used in the site, links to popular posts and pages or external web addresses, licensing info, blog RSS, social media and email widgets.

8. Keep up to date with WordPress releases

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As with plugin upgrades, it’s very important to keep up to date when WordPress developers release the latest version. These upgrades are designed to improve performance, fix any problems, upgrade and add new features – helping ensure your WordPress site is faster, better and aesthetically on it, will get your audience on the increase.

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