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How to safely change WP themes

Posted by on Aug 9, 2019 in Greg's SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to safely change WP themes

WordPress is one of the most used content management systems out there. The one thing that makes WordPress so accessible is its ecosystem, including the themes and plugins available. As a user, you’ll find hundreds of free and paid themes. Ease of use also makes WordPress an excellent choice for building a blog or business website.

In this article, we will focus on the steps that are required to change the WordPress theme of your website safely. If you have used WordPress before, you might know how easy and intuitive it is to change a theme, but new users may not find it so straightforward – and one wrong change can lead to site malfunction. This article will also provide some useful information for more seasoned users.

Step 1: Selecting a fresh WordPress theme

Even though this step is obvious, it is important to tick off. Getting a new theme can be a challenging task for those who don’t know how and where to get it. If you are looking for a free alternative, a good starting point is to check the free WordPress themes collection via the WordPress official repository. For paid options, Themeforest is one of the best places to look, with a vast collection of themes.

Before you choose a theme, always ensure that the new themes have all the functionality you need and that it is compatible with your current setup. Changing to a theme that breaks the site’s functionality can lead to unwanted problems.

Step 2: Backing up your website

The next step is to backup your website. This step should never be ignored – especially if you have a website with a lot of visitors. Smaller sites can skip the step, but it is highly recommend not to.

If you want to use plugins, we recommend BackWPUp, which is completely free but also very effective.

Step 3: Clone your website

The next step is to clone your website for testing purposes. It is also known as a staging site where you test out changes before pushing them to the live server.

If you are using WPEngine or GoDaddy, you get a one-click staging option. Each hosting platform has its own way to activate staging. For example, if you are using WPEngine, you can login in the dashboard and find the “WP Engine” option on the sidebar. There you will see the Staging option. Click on the option, “Copy site from LIVE to STAGING”, and you’re good to go.

If you are using other hosting platforms, do check the hosting documentation on how to create a staging website. In case of confusion, always take the offer of support before making any changes.

Step 4: Installing and testing the new theme on the clone website

Now, it’s time to install the theme on your clone website. However, before you do so, ensure that logging is turned on. Here are some of the things you need to do to ensure that the new theme works as intended.

WP_DEBUG

WP_DEBUG can help you list the issues with your theme. To enable it, you need to add the following line of code in the wp-config.php file:

define(‘WP_DEBUG’, true);

Plugins

Check whether all your previously installed plugins are working as intended. You may also want to install new plugins that you intend to use in future. This will ensure that the new theme is a perfect fit for your website.

Check on different browsers

Websites act differently on different browsers, so it’s always a good idea to test your staging website on popular browsers such as Chrome, FireFox, Safari and Internet Explorer.

Responsive/Mobile Check

Check whether the new theme is rendering correctly in mobile devices. (Go to “Customize” and you’ll see display options for a tablet and cell phone)

The checklist is not exhaustive, but you get the idea. In short, you need to make sure that the new theme works without breaking anything. Also, be sure to take your time while testing – there’s no need to be in a hurry and ruin everything. Take your time, and only move the staging website to the live site if you are 100% satisfied with the change.

Step 5: Installing the new theme on your live website

There are two ways you can install the new theme.You can move the staging website to the live site, but the simplest way is to install the new theme on your live website directly. When you do so, don’t forget to enable maintenance mode – this will let you make the changes without affecting user experience. Visitors, on the other hand, will also know ahead of time about the change.

Wrapping up

Changing a WordPress theme can be a trivial task, but it requires careful steps if you have a big website and don’t want to take risks. For a smaller site, the steps outlined in this article are also recommend as they will protect you from any malfunction later on. These five steps cover everything that you need to do to ensure that your new theme installation is as smooth as possible.

WordPress SEO – Pages vs Posts

Posted by on Aug 9, 2019 in Greg's SEO Articles | Comments Off on WordPress SEO – Pages vs Posts

Both pages and posts are important for SEO, but is one more important than the other?

It turns out that, according to the Yoast blog, the category archives obtain higher rankings in search engines than separate pages or posts. The post and the page are equally perceived. But when the author publishes several articles on certain subject, its category will most probably take the top rankings in search engines.

So proper organization of your site’s content is extremely important. The categories and category pages should be properly arranged so that Google could share the information contained on your site with Internet users.

It becomes more and more challenging to outwit Google nowadays. The search ranking algorithms became more intelligent. So Google doesn’t buy into SEO optimization tricks. Organic search rankings is a priority nowadays so your task it to provide information to it. Proper organization of pages and posts makes your site clear for Google. It should know what it’s all about.

Category pages can be compared with landing pages.

It may seem strange that Google prefers blog categories pages to separate pages and posts.

However, it’s really so. And there are reasons for it.

Google gives preference to user intent and find-ability. The category pages show the right direction therefore they are more important.

The administrator of the site should care about the structure of the site to achieve better usability and findability. This is a common problem for many resources. The visitor comes to the site and doesn’t know how to find the product because the structure of the website isn’t clear.

This factor plays a very important role contributing to better SEO and search rankings.

It’s also important to remember about things enhancing search results such as their titles and descriptions.

Updating WP, Why and How to

Posted by on Aug 2, 2019 in Greg's SEO Articles | Comments Off on Updating WP, Why and How to

Updates include updating the WordPress core, themes and plugins installed on your website. Here are the reasons why:

SECURITY

If you don’t update your WP site, you’re leaving it susceptible to a hack attack. WordPress has a team offering security patches whenever there is a need for one.

SPEED

Some updates sent by developers help improve the speed of your website, so you’ll want to update wherever you can.

MORE FEATURES

Sometimes updates include expanded features, in order to add value to companies’ software.

BUG FIXING

Software gets updated to fix bugs that had yet to be fixed, so you’ll want to get updated on your themes and/or plugins so you don’t have any headaches caused thereby.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO UPDATE?

There are themes and plugins, but then there are also core files of WordPress. Without such files, your site wouldn’t function, so any update to the core is paramount.

HOW TO UPDATE WORDPRESS, ANYWAY?

A link’s almost always available under “Dashboard” -> “Updates”, but for core updates it can also be seen right under “WordPress Version” on the dashboard main page. (Make sure to backup everything beforehand, just in case something goes awry.)

AUTOMATING WORDPRESS UPDATES

It is possible for WordPress to update on its own, and doing so is very simple and easy – simply open your wp-config.php file and paste the following code:

define ( ‘WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE’, true);

Automatic updates for themes and plugins are possible as well, and all you have to do is go to your activated theme’s functions.php file and paste the following code snippets:

add_filter ( ‘auto_update_plugin’, ‘__return_true’ );
add_filter ( ‘auto_update_theme’, ‘__return_true’ );

Poor WordPress Security and Its Impacts

Posted by on Jul 25, 2019 in Greg's SEO Articles | Comments Off on Poor WordPress Security and Its Impacts

Many users are unaware of looming security threats, which leads to poorly maintained security and a lack of preparation. Here are the most common security threats WordPress users face and what they can do to combat them.

BOTS CAN DISRUPT YOUR ANALYTICS

By mimicking human-like mouse movements, cycling through random IP addresses, and switching their digital identities, bad bots fly under the radar, so they get away with a lot, from stealing data to publishing fake reviews.

Here are a few things to avoid them as much as possible:
. Rename your login page – this can be done with “All in One WP Security”
. Install “StopBadBots” and “Blackhole for Bad Bots” – these plugins work by “trapping” bad bots: if a bad bot tries to crawl your website, security measures are triggered and they end up with 403 “forbidden” errors.
. Use “Google Webmasters” to monitor any suspicious activity.

PEOPLE CAN STEAL YOUR ACCOUNT AND CREDENTIALS

Do you have an SSL? Does your website have a little lock icon next to your URL? If not, your info can be stolen by hijacking your connection between your PC and the server.

We can do this for you so you don’t have to pay a yearly fee – click <here> for more information.

OTHERS MIGHT RE-POST YOUR CONTENT

You want people to share your content, not copy and paste it; that’s because Google hates plagiarism. Two things to do here:
. Keep letting Google crawl your website and they’ll be able to tell your content’s original.
. If plagiarized, file a request with Google ASAP.

HACKERS MIGHT INJECT MALWARE

Besides installing a security plugin to avoid so-called “code injections”, simply keep your theme and plugins updated.

WordPress Speed Testing

Posted by on Jul 19, 2019 in Greg's SEO Articles | Comments Off on WordPress Speed Testing

You need to find out if your site’s loading just fine or not – this is fairly simple to accomplish!

1. PINGDOM

Pingdom is very easy to use and yet extensively comprehensive. For beginners, the summary box provides some useful data such as load time (in seconds), page size, your ranking among other tested sites, and a performance grade. Below said summary box, there’s additional info which specifically shows what’s fast and what’s slowing down your site.

2. GTMETRIX

GTMetrix works like Pingdom but provides even more data. Not only does it show what’s slow, but it even shows if there are errors (bad requests, etc.) which can also slow down your site and/or hinder its performance.

HOW TO DIAGNOSE AND FIX ANY PROBLEMS FOUND IN YOUR SPEED TEST RESULTS

After testing, what should you do with the information? Diagnosis is actually quite easy.

1. POOR HOSTING

Hosting performance is paramount because if the server’s slow then so is your website. If it’s taking too long for your host to respond to the initial request, you might need to look for a different web hosting service.

2. POORLY CODED/BLOATED PLUGINS

Plugins are great as long as they don’t hinder your site’s performance – the “Plugin Performance Profiler” (developed by GoDaddy.com) scans your installed plugins and checks for any site-slowing culprits. You’ll also want to delete any plugins you don’t or no longer use.

3. POORLY CODED THEMES

WordPress Themes do need to be eye-catching but also high-performance; this means you want to be careful about any that have too many styling options and shortcoding. One we recommend that’s feature-rich but does extremely well is “OceanWP”.

5. NOT USING A CDN

Please use CloudFlare. It’s incredibly nimble as a Content Delivery Network, and it starts at the great price of $0.

6. POOR THIRD-PARTY SERVICE

Sometimes your site might have to use Third-Party content (content from another server). This can result in poor performance because, not only is the number of HTTP requests increased, but your site’s dependent on another server to load fast.

Manage Your Communication with Clients on Your Website

Posted by on Jul 8, 2019 in Greg's SEO Articles | Comments Off on Manage Your Communication with Clients on Your Website

WordPress is certainly a great tool for you if you’re looking to grow your business, but it’s not enough to just have a nice site. You need to be able to communicate with visitors and/or clients. Luckily this isn’t hard at all to do.

LIVE CHAT PLUGINS

You want to do this because it can help you convert visitors into clients. Giving clients different options to get in touch with you will help them feel like they matter to you. That’s where live chat plugins come in!

. WP Live Chat Support – This free plugin allows you to chat either directly (i.e.- without being routed through a 3rd party), or through a hosted server. The free direct chat option is a good choice if you have a small business and don’t expect too much website traffic.
. LiveChat – A feature rich paid plugin designed to work with all WordPress site builders. LiveChat allows you to engage customers as they enter your site with a chat box prompting them to connect. LiveChat also provides several apps for your customer service team members to engage with customers, including Windows, Mac, iOs and Android.
. JivoChat – A chat plugin focusing on Omnichannel customer engagement. This allows you to channel all of your different modes of communication through the app, including email, Facebook, phone and live chat. This is a good option if you’re looking for simplicity and consistency in your different communication channels.
. Tidio Live Chat – A plugin that allows you to chat live with customers or use chatbots. Tidio Live Chat stands out with its simple installation, meaning you can get it up and running in very little time. Tidio Live Chat is a good option if you’re looking for a quick install.

CONTACT FORM PLUGINS

Live chat isn’t the only thing you can use – Contact form plugins are the best for a situation where Live Chat can’t be used, e.g. after-hours.

WPForms – A plugin focused on simplifying the form creation process with its ‘Drag and Drop’ interface. WPForms provides an easy to navigate user experience and plenty of templates to choose from, making it a good choice if you are looking for a plugin that doesn’t require a high level of technical skill to use.
Ninja Forms – Another plugin focused on smooth customer experience and a range of features. Ninja Forms comes in free and paid versions, and provides a high level of customizability. With an unlimited amount of forms in the free version, it’s a good choice if you’re looking to start with a plugin that you can upgrade later on.
HappyForms – A relatively new plugin based on the extensive experience of the Theme Foundry. HappyForms is another user-friendly option that offers free and paid versions. HappyForms is also relatively light on code, meaning it runs smoothly and is a good choice if you’re looking for a simple experience.

Metrics to Help Maximize The Value of Your Content

Posted by on Jul 2, 2019 in Greg's SEO Articles | Comments Off on Metrics to Help Maximize The Value of Your Content

Companies are making a large amount of content without considering which works and which doesn’t. There are metrics that can be used to find that out.

CONTENT PRODUCTION CYCLE HEALTH

In this case you need to track:

. The average length of production – start tracking time from the start of your content creation to the end of it.
. Delivery rates – track what content’s delivered on time and what’s late.
. Content coverage gaps – you need to first align your content to be in the consumer’s interest/s.

THE REACH OF YOUR CONTENT

In this case you need to:

. Measure engagement by each type
. Measure traffic by sales channel category
. Measure referrals
. Measure engagement by content type
. Measure engagement by sales stages
. Measure engagement based on buyer persona.

Internal metrics are important as well. Make sure to look at:

. Month-to-month internal views
. Month-to-month internal downloads
. Internal shares
. Shares of asset via email or social
. Referrals earned

THE ROI OF YOUR CONTENT

Content scoring measures how effective your content is or is going to be at getting conversions. You have to:

. Define alignment on the buyer’s journey – this means you make content based on what your consumers are or will be interested in.
. Assign scores to content types – the first and the last sort of content you publish should have a score placed on them based on how effective each is.

Leveraging WP Site Traffic

Posted by on Jun 27, 2019 in Greg's SEO Articles | Comments Off on Leveraging WP Site Traffic

Let’s say you’ve just created a new blog for business purposes – now you need users to visit it and check out your content, products, or services. Attracting high-quality traffic is very difficult due to competition. Here are a handful of tips to attract said traffic.

FOLLOW GOOGLE’S GUIDELINES

“Google Webmasters” provides plenty of recommendations for content on your website, but here are just a few of those:

. Write with the Readers’ Interests in Mind

A hard-sell copy isn’t going to work because users tend to like reader-focused content. Write something that the target audience is interested in reading. Customer-centered content is also good too.

. Post Regularly

You do have to post something at least once a week.

TRY TO MAKE CONTENT THAT CAN GO VIRAL

Often, a certain subject or event ends up getting talked about vigorously, so articles and other content pieces that contribute to that conversation get a lot of attention. If you would like to try making this so-called “viral content” yourself, here are two ways you can do that:

. Use a Content Discovery Tool to Identify Popular Topics

This’ll help find the best-performing content pieces on the Internet. You can even search for these pieces using keywords pertaining to your blog and adjusting the time period.

. Use the Most Common Features of Viral Content

This has to be: Content written on positive topics that invoke amusement, laughter, and awe; Video reviews of popular products or services; articles that start with “Top 10” etc.; and, Quizzes, generators, and other interactive content.

CREATE INTERESTING HEADLINES

Headlines are tremendously important because they’ll intrigue visitors into more likely visiting your blog or post. In order to do that you’ll need to:

Refer to readers in your headlines, e.g. use “you” and “your”
Use promising words like “free,” “easy,” “better,” etc.
Use numbers, e.g. “5 Things You Should Say to Your Loved One Right Now,” “4 Signs He’s Cheating on You,” “8 Things You Need to Know about the New iPhone,” etc.

LINK BETWEEN POSTS

The reason to do this is because it makes visitors spend more time on your website and explore it. Amazon.com does the same thing with “Similar Products”. Also, having internal links allows for increased traffic by having people visit more pages on your blog.

COLLECT VISITORS’ EMAILS

Email marketing’s a great way to provide people with new content on demand. A lot of websites have a subscription form for this exact reason. Get a subscription form set whereever possible.

OPTIMIZE FOR SPEED AND MOBILE

This one is obvious and stated before but couldn’t be any more important. Users want things fast and they want a website to be readable, something that’s impossible without a mobile-friendly website design.

SHARE POSTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

This is great for increasing your content’s visibility! Make sure to use visuals whenever you place new content on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Also make sure to Interact with those who engage with your posts.

WRITE EVERGREEN CONTENT

Evergreen content is simply content that stays relevant for long periods of time. News gets irrelavent very fast, so don’t write about it unless it’s company-specific news (business anniversary, new product/service, etc.)

Best WP SEO Plugins

Posted by on Jun 21, 2019 in Greg's SEO Articles | Comments Off on Best WP SEO Plugins

There are plenty of great plug-ins, but the ones on this list will enhance your SEO efforts.

1. SEO Yoast

This plugin’s probably one of the most used and popular WordPress SEO plugins by over five million websites. One of its best features is the XML sitemap management which allows you to easily create your own sitemaps. You don’t have to code and then fix it if something in’t working.

For content lovers, there’s the content optimization snippet preview which allows you to add your keyword, meta description and meta title to preview them as they appear on search. You also get tips and indications whether your content needs more on-site optimization, including reduction of keyword stuffing.

Moreover, Yoast SEO helps you identify and avoid duplicate content so you don’t get penalized by Google.

2. SEO Framework

Here’s another great plugin for small businesses instead of big companies. The interface looks like it’s integrated into WordPress, so it delivers fast SEO solutions and it’s time efficient. Not to mention that interacting with it feels very natural.

It has an AI built making it very interesting and it automatically optimizes your pages, so it gives you lots of possibilities to create a better website. It comes preconfigured but also gives you the option to change any settings you want. You can improve search results and the social presence too.

3. Broken Link Checker

This plugin parses your whole website and shows you how many broken links you have. You can find said list in a new tab of the WP admin panel – “Tools” -> “Broken Links”. Whenever you find them, there are some actions you can take: “Edit link”, “Unlink”, “Not broken”, and “Dismiss”.

4. All in One Schema Rich Snippets

This plugin can be used to improve the appearance in search engine results with rich snippets. The plugin can be used at its best for schema implementations, such as Recipes, Events, People, Products, Articles and so on.

Using it will give more accurate information to search engines about your website, help your results stand out in SERP and give you a competitive advantage.

5. Rank Math

This plugin helps you optimize your content and outrank your competitors. One of the coolest things is that it supports schema-based themes and also AMP pages.

With Rank Math you can check lots of errors and get a lot of information for your website:

. easy setup using the step-by-step installation and configuration wizard;
. rank tracking option to follow your keywords positions and LSI keyword integration;
. advanced website analysis section to spot any errors that need to be fixed;
. a modular framework so you can have complete control of your website;
. smart redirection manager;
. 40 monitor that identifies and fixes any 404 pages;
. internal linking management and suggestion;
. Google Search Console Integration;
. Easy configuration for rich snippets and so many more.

6. All in One SEO Pack

Here’s an easy WordPress plugin for beginners and small businesses that want to improve their website and increase their rankings, but it does has advanced features and an API for developers; for example:

. XML Sitemap support;
. Google AMP support;
. Google Analytics Integration;
. Webmaster verification options for Google, Bing, and Pinterest;
. Automatically generated meta tags;
. Built-in API and compatibility with a lot of other plugins;
. advanced canonical URLs and many more.

7. SEOPress

This simple fast and very powerful SEO plugin has loads of features that you can easily enable or disable as per required:

. Discover your suggestion for your content through Google’s suggestion.
. Fine tune with a content analysis tool.
. You can track Google event and traffic from the dashboard.
. It is very easy to create and manage 301, 302 and 307 redirects.
. You will be able to check the performance of your site with Google page speed.
. It allows you to implement Google structured data, such as product, article, event, local business, review, video, course, recipe and so on.

Optimize Your Posts before Publishing

Posted by on Jun 18, 2019 in Greg's SEO Articles | Comments Off on Optimize Your Posts before Publishing

Optimizing for SEO is a process of improvement/s, especially when it comes to your webpage or blog content. Here’s a list of recommendations on how to do that.

USE THE BEST TITLE FOR YOUR ARTICLE

You don’t want to write something with a title that’s boring or too long, so make one that’s instantly catchy but is also 50-60 characters long.

It’s easier than you think! If you search “Title Creator” or “Title Generator” you’ll be able to make plenty of good headlines for your post.

USE THE BEST PERFORMING KEYWORDS

This is easy to do as well! Simply go to Google’s very own Keword Planner Tool and find a keyword that’s not too short but not too long, and has plenty of search volume. After that, make sure to place those specific keywords in the title, the post’s URL, and the article body in the first 100 words or first paragraph.

MAKE SURE TO USE H1 TAGS FOR YOUR TITLE

H1 is the tag Google’s search engine looks for when forming its search results, so make sure your title has it! You really only want to use H2 and H3 for distinction within your article.

BUILD METADATA FOR ANY IMAGES / VIDEOS IN THE ARTICLE

Metadata explains an image or video to Google’s web crawlers. This info (in the case of an image) is the title, alt text and its caption. Metadata can also help site visitors should an image fail to load. WordPress is able to add all this in the Media Library.

MAKE IMAGE SMALLER TO MAKE IT LOAD FASTER

This can’t be stressed enough: make sure your post loads fast for viewers, and the best way to do that is to size your images properly.

MAKE CONTENT ENGAGING

Just like your title your content needs to be engaging as well. One way is to add links in your content.

MAKE PARAGRAPHS SHORT/SHORTER

Google and SEO experts say that shorter paragraphs are easier for Google to crawl for. It also makes reading easier too, because most readers scan the article before reading it. Make sure complex sentences are simpler to read (by using Grammarly, Ginger and HemingwayApp) but also highlight key points in your article.

MAKE SOCIAL BUTTONS EASY TO SEE AND USE

Social media are huge traffic sources to share content, so make sure such buttons are visible (nearest the top as possible) so users can share your posts. A plugin can do this automatically for you!

USE SEO PLUGINS

Yoast is a perfect example! It helps you form SEO-friendly titles and descriptions (metadata as well), recommends where to place your target keyword, and provides tips as you write.