Choosing a Theme
Deciding which theme to use depends a lot on what your particular WordPress site is designed to do. Setting up goals (business goals, not just Google Analytics goals) for your campaign early can help make the theme selection a little easier. A website is a form of advertising and advertising is an investment. Getting ROI from your website depends on setting it up for success beyond just SEO. Traffic is extremely important, but turning that traffic into a rabid readership should be your initial target. More about this later.
Short Term Goals
I want to create content worth sharing. “Great content” is more than just words; it’s an idea that the best stuff will rise to the top, increase readership and be propelled by fans, not manual link building. Great content has a few characteristics and you should ask yourself these questions before you hit “publish”:
- Is my content unique enough? You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but everything you write should stand on its own. Some of the best content is a continuation of a conversation that starts somewhere else. Instead of just replying to a great article via a comment, think about writing a response to something great in the form of a blog post.
- Is my content a resource? That’s a loaded question you should consider very carefully. A resource doesn’t have to be a Wikipedia-style page of content, so a more appropriate question might be, “Does this page do at least one of the following: inspire, educate, entertain, encourage or meet some other need?”
I created this website for personal branding, but that isn’t the primary goal. I’m getting married in 2013 to my wonderful fiancée, Dana and we’d like to own a house within a year. These are perhaps 2 of the most expensive goals one can have and, at 32, I better get cranking. Here are my personal and professional financial goals:
- Continue training, researching and developing new strategies for WebiMax and its employees;
- Effectually monetize this website via Adsense;
- Effectually monetize controlu.me via Adsense, my website about video games;
- Promote new business for WebiMax via this website, networking and speaking engagements
Each of these goals have their own long lists which I’ll be happy to share with you when the time comes. I chose a theme that I could easily customize and use to show off some videos I appeared in: Swatch by Woo Themes.
If you use WordPress a lot like I do you probably have a set of plugins you use with every installation. The goal of your website can also influence the plugins you choose, but there is one plugin I use in every installation: WordPress SEO by Yoast. Regardless of which keywords I’ll choose I know that I need to prepare my website for SEO on an architectural level. This means eliminating potential duplicate content from the start by using Yoast’s plugin to set certain page types to “noindex, follow”.
There are multiple ways of giving Google and other search engines directions on how to handle what it finds on your website. Plugins like WordPress SEO make it easy, but it can be helpful to understand what’s going on behind the scenes in case you’re using something other than WordPress.
Categories and Tags
Without some advanced customization, category and tag pages are just variations of the archive.php WordPress template. These pages usually just contain lists or snippets of actual pages. In my opinion, I’d rather have my actual content pages get all of the credit from external and internal links, rather than much of the link flow being lost to pages containing thin, duplicate content.
Once saved, you can see how Yoast’s plugin updated the archive.php template with new instructions for search engines. Noindex, follow is a request to Googlebot and other spiders to exclude this page from its index yet pass link flow to other pages it finds during its crawl.
You can also see another SEO benefit in the source code above: a canonical URL. Sometimes a web page can be reached with more than 1 URL which results in potentially duplicate content and link flow loss.