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Of all the content management systems out there today, WordPress is perhaps the most SEO-friendly. With WordPress websites, there is much that can be done to boost search engine optimisation, but conversely, it’s also possible to accidentally harm the ranking of a site without realising it. With this in mind, here are 12 site settings to bear in mind if your WordPress site is going to achieve its full search engine optimisation potential.
Before you can begin to build your pages and add posits, the blog page and homepages must be set up to go. When visitors arrive at your site, the home page is their first impression of your brand so you need to ensure it’s a good one. Ensuring these pages are set up properly before adding content, it’s possible to make your website more successful. WordPress by default puts the latest posts as its home page so you must choose the option for “static page” before selecting the page that will be the home page.
You need to choose a URL taxonomy that is scalable so search engines can more easily crawl your site and index it. Choosing a permalink structure is the best solution for any blog although several options exist so you should experiment to find one that best works for you. Choosing a structure that is custom for your site is the best course of action, so stay away from structures that are date-based. Permalink structures using name and day or day and month create a site architecture that is convoluted.
Dynamic sitemaps are key tools for all websites. They help the search engine to index sites and make them simpler for the user to locate the information they’re seeking. Conversely, static sitemaps are typically less effective, are harder to keep updated, and don’t offer scalability at the same level. There are lots of plugins that offer options for dynamic sitemaps and they offer various customisations.
Optimised images are essential for a speedy WordPress site. Optimised images offer a host of SEO benefits and plugins are the best and easiest way of optimising images, automatically optimising them as soon as they are uploaded.
There are a number of SEO plugins that offer a default setting for metal descriptions and titles which guarantees that every new page is fully optimised for search. This ensures your website remains visible and can be found easily by visitors.
Although comment sections and their SEO value has long been debated, they can certainly pose security risks. Comment sections are often used by scammers for adding links to other websites which may contain some malicious code. Also, hackers may attempt XSS attacks and SQL injections via online forms. Disabling comments sections may be a good idea if you lack the time to closely monitor them.
One security vulnerability that is common with WordPress is attacks on XML-RPC files. This file by default is activated for use when accessing the site remotely. Unfortunately, this means it’s a target for people who want to hack the site through the use of automated tools for guessing passwords and usernames before wreaking havoc through installation of malware, file deletion, or even the takeover of the whole site. If you deactivate this file, you can protect against such attacks.
It’s imperative as the site manager of a WordPress site to ensure your site is running smoothly, allowing all stakeholders necessary access. But not every stakeholder requires access to all elements of the website. If you set user permissions, you can give every stakeholder access only to the essential sections they require. This keeps your site well-organised while preventing any unauthorised changes being made.
Secure passwords alongside the enablement of 2FA (2-factor authentication) are the most effective way of making your WordPress website hard to hack. Hackers who attempt login attacks by brute force use long lists of passwords containing millions of passwords that are commonly used. If you choose a highly complicated password, those password lists can be rendered ineffective. Even if a hacker gains access to the password, if 2FA is enabled, there is an additional layer of security to stop the hacker from getting access to the site.
Brute force attacks occur if an attacker attempts to guess the user’s password through the repeated entry of different character combinations. One way of preventing these attacks is by configuring the WordPress site so that the number of login attempts is limited. By blocking the IP address of the attack after a set number of login attempts that are unsuccessful, the security measure makes it much harder for the hacker to get access to the site.
Many people fail to realise their plugins pose a risk to their site’s security. When plugins are outdated they may become vulnerable to exploits so choosing plugins that auto-update is good sense.
Overlooking a strong security plan for your website is something that nobody should do in the digital age of today. A key way of protecting your website is by ensuring you have taken daily backups. Should your website be hacked or experience a security breach, there’ll be an up-to-date copy of the website that can be restored. There are a number of plugins offering this service but it’s typically best to use a WordPress hosting that manages backups as that ensures they are being done on a regular basis.
When your WordPress website acquires more visitors over time, it couldn’t be more important to ensure that it has a strong foundation. If you apply the WordPress settings outlined above, you’ll find that you get off to the very best start with your search engine optimisation. You’ll also be taking a key step towards creating a website that is scalable and can grow along with your company.