It’s official: WordPress now powers more than 25% of the websites in the entire world! And it’s not surprising that WordPress’ market share has been constantly growing. This content management system is blazing fast and extremely flexible.
Here are some of the best plugins that are easy to install, and then provide great benefits for your website, boosting its SEO and increasing traffic levels.
Problem: Big Bounce Rates Reduce Google Rankings
Let us assume that one of your website visitors performs a Google search, and then clicks a link that leads to your website. He reads your great article, but then he clicks his browser’s “Back” button, returning to Google. If four out of five people do this, for example, your website’s bounce rate is 4/5 = 80%.
Why is this bad? Google counts this metric and it will think that your website is boring, because people don’t take the time to read more pages. And if Google thinks that your site is boring, it will move it away from people’s eyes – maybe to the 3rd or 5th search results pages, where no one is looking.
So how do we fix this problem? We can get our website visitors to read more pages by showing them more articles, and this can be easily done by installing a “related posts” plugin.
When it comes to speed, nothing beats Efficient Related Posts (ERP). Install it, and then explore its settings – there’s nothing complicated in here.
Set tags for your blog posts, and then let the plugin do its job; it will pick and display the specified number of related posts which share the same tags.
ERP works fine, but if you are troubled by the fact that it hasn’t been updated lately, you can try Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP). It’s a great plugin, even though it’s a bit slower in comparison with ERP. Well, I guess that people who have less than 1,000 blogs posts on their sites won’t notice any difference.
Problem: Valuable Inbound Links Point to Dead Website Pages
Do you remember that furry kittens page you set up a few years ago? It had nothing to do with your business, but those kitten pictures were so cute! In fact, they were so cute that a CNN editor was practically forced to include a link to your page in her article!
Now you’ve outgrown the furry kittens stage, so you have chosen to delete that page. The bad news is that this has rendered the huge ranking power of that CNN backlink useless. A possible solution would be to recreate the page and put some content on it, but there’s an even better alternative: the 404 Redirection plugin.
Install the plugin, and then activate it – that’s all! The links that go to pages that don’t exist anymore will be redirected to the home page, boosting your website traffic and SEO results.
Problem: Broken Links Are Destroying Your Rankings
The Internet is a very dynamic medium. Millions of websites die each day, and if you were linking to some of them, you may have dozens of broken links on your own site right now.
Why is this a bad thing? Google wants to make web browsing a pleasant experience for its visitors, so it pushes the sites that link to unreliable sources of information (dead pages) out of the way.
The good news is that you won’t have to regularly check each website page; the Broken Link Checker plugin will do this for you while you are sleeping. And yes, it will email you as soon as a link gets broken, allowing you to keep the site in pristine condition.
How often should you tell the plugin to check for broken links? Don’t set the limit below 24 hours; sometimes, the sites you are linking to may experience some downtime issues, but they will probably get back online soon.
Problem: You Can’t Improve What You Don’t Measure
Activate the plugin, and then input your UA (tracking) code – that’s all! Then, you will be able to easily analyze your website traffic by accessing the Google Analytics web page. An even easier option is to install a Google Analytics app on your cell phone.
Problem: Your Blog Posts Aren’t Optimized for the Web
Did you know that Google hates keyword stuffing? This means that you shouldn’t obsessively repeat the targeted keywords in your articles. Nevertheless, Google loves relevancy, because it helps its web crawler categorize the information in an accurate way. This means that each blog post needs to include relevant, targeted keywords in its title, description and content.
I’m telling you, the Yoast guy (Joost de Valk) codes some great plugins. And since Yoast SEO powers over 1,000,000 websites, if you install this plugin you will be in good company.
Activate the plugin, and then choose a focus keyword – the keyword that you are trying to rank for. Then, choose a proper article title, H1 tag, meta description, etc.
Publish the post and see if all the “Focus keyword usage” criteria are met – that’s all! Don’t forget to optimize the old blog posts as well, of course. It’s not a complex process, and these simple changes will significantly boost your website traffic levels.
Problem: Your Website Doesn’t Attract Enough Visitors
Sure, you are writing great content, but if people don’t get to see it, then it’s useless. You need to get more people to read your Hemingway-like tech prose, and a 100% safe, effective way of doing this is to share links to it on social media.
You can do this manually, or you can use the NextScripts: Social Networks Auto-Poster (SNAP) plugin.
Simply add the log-in info for your social media accounts, and then you can forget about them for good. SNAP will post links to your accounts each time you publish a new article.
Problem: Your Website Doesn’t Load Fast Enough
Did you know that Google keeps track of your website’s loading speed? Actually, this factor has such a big importance that Google itself has built a tool – PageSpeed Insights – that measures the page loading speed.
Google’s tool also does a great job suggesting solutions that will increase the page loading speed. Still, if you aren’t a web developer, some of the suggested changes may be quite difficult to implement.
Fortunately, the W3 Total Cache plugin addresses several of these issues, and it does it on autopilot.
Test your website’s home page loading speed here. Then, install the W3 Total Cache plugin and activate it. Test your website again – it should load much faster now.
Bonus Problem / Solution: Your Website Lacks Advanced Security Features
WordPress is a hugely popular platform, so it’s no wonder that it has attracted lots of hackers as well. I wrote an article that shows how to make WordPress almost impenetrable a while ago. I have even created a free tool that helps with that, but if you are looking for an integrated solution, iThemes Security has what it takes to do the job.
The plugin has lots of options that will significantly harden WordPress’ security. The good news is that each option is explained in plain English, and you can always use your virtual friend (Google!) to learn more about a particular WordPress security option.
So there you have them: 7 + 1 plugins that will help boost your WordPress site, making Google love it and forcing it to send you more visitors. And the best news is that they are all free, so take the time to install and test them today.