2 simple WordPress tips

Building a few new WordPress sites this week got me thinking about all the stuff I’d learnt over the past 2 years.  Some things I still see many bloggers and website owners doing less well on their own sites, which are pretty simple to resolve.

No nofollow

Image via Wikipedia

No-Follow Links

Many people are unaware that a while back, WordPress made all links that appear in your blog’s comments nofollow effectively meaning that their usefulness in terms of pure SEO is severely limited.  In fact the only reason I can think of for nofollow links being useful is that it tells SE’s that your backlinks are more natural than if they were all follow links.

Generally speaking, if you submit a good post, and have a website in good standing, people will naturally comment.  Adding some controversy in, and comments should flourish.  However, some readers may be on the fence about making a comment especially if they’re link building themselves.  Don’t assume that just because someone is link building that they’re contribution won’t be valuable.  In these cases it would be nice to know that they’ll get back some link juice for adding value to your site.

This is where the Do Follow plugin comes in.  It strips out the nofollow element from the links people leave within their comments.  Will this invite spammers?  If you use the GASP plugin, then this impact should be fairly limited.

Long-tail Web Addresses

Every post you publish within WordPress has its own unique URL.  By default, this normally looks like this: http://www.leadingroute.com/?p=123.

Not exactly pleasing to the eye, nor to search engines.  The ?p=123 part does nothing for your site and gives no information to your readers about what they’re going to find there.

You need long-tail web addresses.  Be careful about implementing this on an existing site thats been around for a few years.  Making the following change without putting proper redirects in place can harm your rankings if its already built up credibility on the web.  If this is you, and you need some help, drop me an email or leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to help further.

Fortunately, introducing long-tail addresses is easy as pie.  When you’re logged into your admin panel, scroll down to Settings -> Permalinks.  Click on the Custom radio button and type the following /%category%/%postname%/.  This will now use the title of your post within the URL.  Much better for all concerned.

Let me know if this has helped you by leaving a comment below.


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Business that use a free Gmail/Hotmail/AOL/Yahoo/Sky/BT email address

I came across a forum post today which I just had to add some comments to.  It was about how some businesses still use free email addresses to conduct business.  Worse still, they display these email address, e.g. brendra@btconnect.com on their business cards and websites.

In 2011, this just seems lazy to me.  Unlike many, I don’t automatically believe that they’re new to business or not serious about their business.  To me, its more about not caring or not knowing any better.

The reason I think its not necessarily an indication of a new business is because I’ve come across a 20+ year old lettings agency in Scotland who used their ISP’s @aol.com address for their clients.  Most of their clients were local and communicated by phone and post, so email was hardly used.  Even still, for the £5 per year and 5-10 minutes it would take to set up an email forwarding address, it just seems lazy.

They have clearly given at least a little thought to their email address because it was MyCompany@aol.com (obviously I’ve replaced the actual company name with ‘MyCompany’ for the divs out there), just not enough to purchase a domain and doing it properly.  In my opinion, for this family-run firm, it was probably because they don’t know how but had I had another relatively similar lettings agency I could choose to work with that had their own domain-led email address, it may have been the deciding factor – all else being equal of course.

There is a misconception that you need a website to have your own domain-led email address, but this simply isn’t true.  You need a domain yes, but not a website – the distinction is important for old school (read non-Internet age) business people.

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Why this one?

I’m sure I’ll be asked this question, so I thought I’d start out by sharing why this website has been started.  My existing blog is more about the company, Leading Route Ltd. but I often feel there is other stuff that I’d like to write about that simply isn’t a right fit for that blog.  That in a nutshell is why this site exists.

Over time, this will be populated with little nuggets from other experiences, thoughts or random musings I have had or come across.  For regular readers, I should be able to educate, inform, scare and even amuse you from time to time.