Austin WordPress Meetup Notes — 4/11/2011
- Tuesday April 12th, 5:30-8:30pm: Refurbished MacBooks for auction at Sherlocks (Burnet & Anderson)
- Karen Kreps also has a Macbook for sale.
- Saturday, April 16th, 11am-5pm: Hands-On WordPress class
- Join the community: Austin WordPress Google Group
Tips and Tools for planning and organizing the content of your WordPress site
All search engines, and the humans that use them, like logically organized, informative, relevant websites. Google, the most widely used search engine, provides guidelines for planning and organizing the content on your site.
In order to build a WordPress site that earns ‘Google-Love’ and turns visitors into fans, you need to have specific goals for your website, a solid plan for your content development, and an information architecture that delivers a good user experience. Here are some tips and tricks to get you started.
- Define the purpose for your site
- Are you selling products and/or services?
- Are you educating, entertaining, or informing the site visitor?
- Identify your goals for the site
- Make a list of things you want to accomplish with your website.
- Prioritize that list
- Identify your target audience
- Who are you trying to reach?
- What does your audience want to do when they reach your site?
- What do you want them to do?
- Create list of content topics and keywords
- Who are your competitors?
- What keywords do you find in their copy?
- What words or keywords would you enter into Google to find the products or services that you offer?
- What do your competitors offer?
- What can you do better than your competition?
- Brainstorm all the words you can think of that relate to your site
- Narrow down your list to the most relevant and significant.
- Who are your competitors?
- Divide the keywords into content categories
- Small sites should have around 10 major categories (Think KEYWORDS)
- Start sketching the structure of the site
- Draw a flow chart of the pages on site
- Put pages in boxes and draw lines between them.
- Create wireframes to figure out how pages relate to one another.
- How do you expect people to navigate from page to page and find the information they need?
- Look at competitors’ sites and see what they do right… and what they do wrong (and then do it better!).
- Make it easy for people to navigate your site.
- Planning and building your site navigation structure
- Write out your sitemap and plan where the pages of your website will go, and where each will link.
- Navigation menus should be consistent throughout the website.
- Don’t let users get confused!
- Top navigation bar should be limited to about eight links (or less!). More than that becomes cluttered or confusing.
- Every page should have a link back to the home page.
- Each page should be summed up with one or two keywords that then become your navigation labels.
- Be sure you can answer these questions for every page:
- Where am I?
- Where have I been?
- Where can I go?
- How can I get back to home page?
- Some site house-keeping tips
- If eCommerce: make it easy for your customers to give you money.
- Don’t make visitors register just to browse your site or see your services.
- Make sure your logo is in the same place on every page.
- Don’t link to under construction or unfinished pages.
- Develop a unified site design
- Content management tips
- Produce a content plan and use an editorial calendar
- what am I going to do with this site?
- What kind of info will I be posting?
- Who is going to read this?
- Why am I doing this?
- How often am I going to be posting new information? (Google spiders get bored… there needs to be new content regularly).
- User experience tips
- Create a visual theme that is consistent with your site’s mission and goals.
- Design easy-to-follow action steps for visitors
- You need a colorful Call to Action button — or clearly indicated instructions for a visitor to find, follow and do.
- Use the Plan-Do-Act-Cycle
- Once your site is live, find out how visitors actually use your site
- Be prepared to tweak things to improve their experience.
- Commit to treating your website as a business unity and follow a schedule for updating content
Tools for finding and organizing keywords
The Google Wonder Wheel is an option in google search results (scroll down and look for wonder wheel option in left-hand column; you may have to turn off instant search options off) can be a useful tool for search engine optimization and site organization. It generates top-level keywords based on search phrase; this can be a helpful tool for organizing your site, keywords to add to your SEO metatags, and the major categories on your site. It can even help you come up with a URL for a new site.
Google Ad Words can help you build a collection of keywords that gives you a sense for what your competitors are using. Look for keywords with relatively low competition and high number of searches. The goal is to figure out how to narrow it down to get to the specifics of what your clients are searching for. Once you have figured that out, use those terms in your site, giving useful information. Don’t just put it in your keywords… give people information, even if it’s in a FAQ.
KeywordSpy shows how many searches for specific keywords and cost per click. Common misspellings, pay per click competitors. Organic competitors did not buy ads but shows how often the keyword shows up in their site.
Google Alerts will alert you when your designated keywords are mentioned in a blog. This might give you ideas for sites with which you can network an create reciprocal website links, which helps with SEO.
Helpful WordPress Plugins
- Google XML sitemap plugin
- Sidebar plugin (creates vertical accordion menus)
- Yoast’s breadcrumb plugin
- E-Commerce plugin