WordPress as a Content Management System (CMS)

Most people consider WordPress to be simply blogging software. This is understandable as it is the best software I’ve found for this purpose. But it is not limited to the realm of blogging alone.

WordPress logo

With a little bit of time and know-how, as well as the right plug-ins and theme, WordPress can be used as a Content Management System to great effect. In fact, the DIYOnlineSolutions.com web site that you are reading is a good example. We’ve set up a number of pages presenting our products, services and capabilities, as well as using the blogging capabilities of WordPress to provide new content and help in Search Engine Optimization ranking.

When starting out with a CMS-style WordPress installation, you should carefully consider the content that you want to present. This should be done anyway, whether you’re building a traditional HTML site, using WordPress or any other CMS software. Organize your important content into a few pages. Usually no more than five or six pages are required for this but be sure to use as little duplicate wording between the pages as possible. At a minimum, you would want, 1) a Home page that viewers would go to when they first come to the site, 2) a Products or Services page, 3) an About Us page introducing your company and giving reasons why your customers should work with you and only you, 4) a Contact Us page to invite your new customers to get in touch and ask more specific questions about your products and services. If you have a large number of products with distinct categories, you may consider using separate pages for each — but again be very careful about duplicated content, as that can harm your SEO ranking.

Once you have your pages set up the way you want them, start blogging. Even for businesses, blogging can be an important part of your site’s strategy and content for a few reasons. First and foremost, regularly posting new content to your web sites causes the search engines to notice. The more often you create new content on your site, the more often the search engines will come and crawl it. If they’re crawling your site often that means that your new content is getting into the search engine indexes faster. And the faster your content gets into the indexes, the faster it will be available to your viewers when they search for it.

Secondly is the human factor. Blog posts have the effect of creating a more natural interaction between your company and your viewers. Rather than having a bunch of “marketing speak” on your pages, you can create more casual content which many viewers today find more appealing.

And thirdly, blog posts invite customer interaction. When you post something about a new product or a recent event that your company participated in, your viewers can comment on it. Viewer comments not only add to your site’s ever changing content, but make them feel like they’re important to your company’s success.

WordPress is a powerful system. With a little know-how and the right plug-ins, this power can be extended to the use of driving your entire web site with a professional look and ease of use for your customers. And with WordPress being free along with so many useful plug-ins — why spend thousands of dollars having a custom web site developed when WordPress can do the job just as well? And with some of the web sites I’ve seen — do it even better.

What Are WordPress Plugins

vLog with the 2 nerds, Jennifer Cloake and Dave Jesch…in a segment of Forbidden Love- Tech and Marketing Series.

So what are WordPress Plugins?

Plugins are tools that allow you to change the behavior of WordPress.

What can plugins do?

Plugins are used to make WordPress do what you need it to do and customize it for your business.

Plugins can do anything from adding Google Analytics to your web pages, or adding an entire shopping cart to your WordPress web site.

Still have questions on plugins?  Feel free to Ask Jenn

Focus on Social Media or SEO?

YouTube vLog: Dave and Jennifer, your 2 Nerds, discuss whether to focus your marketing efforts with SEO or Social Media.

Some say focus on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and some say Social Networking is the way to go.  Well, which is it?

A discussion on where to start — Should you focus on Social Media first, or Search Engine Optimization?

Bottom line is that you should focus on what you WANT to do- followed by what you’re good at.

If you’re more social and feel comfortable doing Social Media, then start with Social Media.

If you’re more technical and like SEO then you should begin your online efforts with SEO.

Doing something that you’re not comfortable with will feel like work. So if you concentrate on what you’re interested in, either Social Media or SEO, then it’ll come more naturally and easier.

If you have questions, send Jenn a Message on Facebook.

http://www.facebook.com/jennifercloakenerd

Let Web Site Sit for SEO

Dave Jesch, DIY Tech Nerd, and Jennifer Cloake, DIY Marketing Nerd discusses how letting your site sit can help you earn SEO (Search Engine Optimization) points with Google–  Another episode of “Forbidden Love- Tech & Marketing”:

Just setting up your web site without putting up a whole lot of content can actually help you when it comes to SEO.

The age of your domain name is part of what search engines look at when it comes to the importance of your site and how you will rank. So purchasing your domain name and putting up a simple landing page — before you plan out the rest of your site’s content — can help you in ranking better with the search engines.

HTML Meta Tags

Someone was asking the other day how our Facebook Like WordPress Plugin is different from others. So I started explaining  how the plugin writes so called “meta tags” into the HTML headers- something I haven’t seen in others.

When describing meta tags, most people’s eyes sort of glaze over. They don’t really know what they are and yet they are an important part of SEO- Search Engine Optimization. So I thought I’d give a little bit of detail on them.

What are Meta Tags?

Meta tags are HTML. They’re found in the <head> section at the top of your page. Meta tags take the following form:

  <meta name=”{type}” content=”{contents}” />

So that’s what meta tags are — that’s great. But what do they do?

How Are Meta Tags Used

Meta tags are used by search engines to help determine what your web site is about. They give information on the contents of the page, how the page should be indexed and the preferred URL to use when referring to the page.

Types of Meta Tags

There are four basic meta tags types that are in common use. There are actually dozens of them, some not important and some obsolete. They are:

  • Description – Describe page; 250 characters.
    This tag is used to fill in the description that is listed in the search engine’s results page. The description tags is not required. If you do not declare one, then the search engines will create a description from the contents of your page. So if you want to be able to specify exactly what your page’s content is about, then you should use one.
    Example: <meta name=”description” content=”This is my description.” />
  • Keywords – Declare keywords; 25 words or phrases.
    This tag is used to help describe the keywords that you are targeting for your page. Most web crawlers (the programs that scour the Internet for content to add to search engine indexes.) now ignore this tag, so it is considered of lesser importance. This is because most search engines today look at the contents of your page in order to find the keywords.
    Example: <meta name=”keywords” content=”comma,separated,keywords.” />
  • Canonical – Specify Canonical URL
    This tag is used to describe the recommended URL to use for the current page. This tag is used when you are displaying content in multiple ways, such as an archive page of blog posts, and the individual blog posts. Why is this important? It helps to guide the search engines to a single URL as the source of the content — otherwise the search engines would see the same content in multiple places and think that you’re repeating yourself. The Canonical meta tag can also be used to tell the search engines what your preferred domain is, as in domain.com or www.domain.com.
    Example: <meta name=”canonical” content=”http://www.mydomain.com” />
  • Robots – Declare Search Engine indexing behavior
    This tag is used by the search engines to determine what actions should be taken with the current page’s content. Some of the values that can be put in the content area are “follow” and “index.” If you want search engines to index your page, use the “index” directive. If you don’t want the page to be indexed, you can use “noindex.” The “follow” directive tells search engines to follow the links on this page in order to find more pages to include in their indexes. The default values are “index, follow” — so if that’s what you want, you don’t need to specify a robots meta tag.
    Example: <meta name=”robots” content=”index,nofollow” />

As mentioned before, there are other meta tags and their names can be almost anything. Most of these other tags are used for very specialized search engines. An example of this would be the “abstract” tag, which was originally intended to indicate the abstract, or short description of a professional paper or thesis. It’s not wrong to use these other meta tags but they should be used when actually necessary. Otherwise, they will only cause your web pages to increase in size but provide very little value.

The meta tags used for the Facebook Like WordPress plugin are only used by Facebook to get additional information about the page in order to add that information to someone Facebook News Feeds. If your pages are not using the Facebook Like Plugin, there is no reason to include these tags. If you’re curious about what these tags look like you can read Facebook’s Documentation on the Social Graph, which is what they call their Like button feature.

How to Add Meta Tags to Your Blog

There are numerous WordPress plugins that you can use that give you control over the meta tags for your site. The one I feel that works best is the All in One SEO Pack. This plugin allows you to fill in keywords and descriptions as well as specify any additional meta tags that may be required by your site.

Conclusion

Meta tags are not difficult to use. With the proper WordPress plugin, you can have control over the contents of your meta tags and be able to describe your pages and content to the search engines to work for your SEO strategy.

How to Evaluate and Improve SEO

Stephany Crowley of e-datingexperts.com asks the following question on the INeedMyNerd.com Facebook group:

“How to evaluate and improve my SEO without tanking the great rankings and traffic I’ve enjoyed for years by accident.”

There are two sides the the SEO equation: on-site, and off-site. Both are important in order to improve your ranking.

For on-site SEO, your first step is to determine how you’re doing right now. Google has some tools to help with this. If you haven’t already signed up for Google’s WebMaster Tools, you should do so. There, you can find out how Google views your site: what keywords they associate with you (whether you’re specifying keywords for your pages or not), your geographic target area and more. You can also specify a site map and see if Google is having any problems crawling your site.

Using Google Analytics you can see what people are searching for and how they are finding you and also find out if you’re getting a lot of bounces. If you’re already seeing some success on certain pages, knowing how customers find you can help you in focusing your content on those pages so more people can find you.

While any changes to your site can effect your rankings in the short term, having more focused keywords and better content will help you in the long term.

For off-site SEO, you should focus on getting links to your site. While all links are good, some are better than others. You should focus on links from sites that have a higher Page Rank than you do and are preferably discussing the same topics. If you sell flowers, it doesn’t do you much good to have a link from a site that sells cars. Getting a link from a site that talks about flower arranging or growing flowers is better. A few links from well-respected sites that are in your same industry will count for a lot more than a hundred low quality links from random sites.