WordPress is a free and open blogging tool, with a free basic version and additional plug-ins and options for those who require more specific services.
Once you have your WordPress blog installed, you need to log in to the WordPress administration area. Here you can write posts and articles, manage comments and have conversations, customise the theme of your blog and apply the usual search optimization techniques (SEO).
Here is a list of 10 things that you should know about WordPress, from the simple and obvious, to the more SEO-specific points. Keeping these in mind will help you use the tool in the most efficient way and attract traffic.
- All you need to get started is an e-mail address. You’ll get your own WordPress address, which will take the following form you.wordpress.com. You can switch to a custom address later if you want. There are also various designs for your blog included in the free package—called Themes. The free subscription allows for 3GB of file storage—the equivalent of around 2,500 pictures!
- Plug-ins are one of the most popular features of WordPress. The database consists of over 18,000 different plug-ins, some of which are particularly useful for SEO. The additional features including adding your own domain name, extra storage, custom designs, video press, ad-free and guided transfer for various prices, ranging from $13 a year to $290.
- WordPress has multi-user and multi-blogging functions, which can be particularly useful for the promotion of your own website. Instead of just leading your own blog, you can set up a whole blogging community, controlling and moderating all the blogs from one dashboard.
- WordPress has an integrated statistics system, which provides you with up-to-date info on how many people are visiting your blog, where they come from and which search engine terms are the most successful in attracting visitors. It also lets you see which blogs or topics are the most popular. This can be very useful as a market research tool to gather information on what your target audience is most interested in. You can then adapt your blog, website and product offering to these parameters.
- It’s easy to track replies to your comments by adding Widgets to your sidebar—simply drag and drop them into your sidebar. When you’re signed in and leave a comment on the website you will also be notified of any follow-ups to this comment, so you can easily follow each conversation no matter what topic your blog it’s on.
- Tagging your blogs is very important. Tags that you add to your posts are automatically added to the WordPress global tag system and tag surfer. This helps drive traffic, because the users that are interested in a particular topic will be directed to your blog post by clicking on the keywords you have tagged.
- It’s also important to tag your images to let the search engines know what they are displaying. If you use a lot of images in your content, the simplest way by far is the SEO Friendly Image plug-in. Once you download it, it can be found under Settings. You can tag the title, name and category of your image. Photos can be easily uploaded from such services as Flickr or Photobucket, and you can also embed videos from YouTube or Hulu.
- WordPress exists in 50 different languages, which makes it particularly useful if your company is based in more than one country or targets audiences that speak languages other than English. In order to change the default language in the front and back end versions of the tool, open the wp-config.php file in your root folder. Find the following line: define (‘WPLANG’, ”) and replace it with define (‘WPLANG’, ‘bg_BG’), where bg_BG is the locale code of your country.
- WordPress uses a built in comment and trackback spam technology called Akismet. It blocks spammers from leaving comments on your blog. It also shuts down spam blogs that try to sneak onto the website, so you don’t have to worry about your own spam protection.
- WordPress has a feature called Pages, which allows you to easily create web pages, links to which will be automatically added to your sidebar. This can be very useful for promoting your company—you can create a profile page to make it easier for your readers to find out more about you and your product, rather than redirecting them to your website every time.
WordPress is an easy way of raising your profile on the net and attracting extra traffic to your website. Don’t forget how important social media is for SEO and use all the tools that are available to get the maximum exposure to your target audience. Of course, as with any other tool, using WordPress alone will not achieve the desired results, so you need to be intelligent about putting together all the different SEO techniques to make the most of the opportunities on the net.