Optimising Images In WordPress – 9 SEO And User Experience Tips

Optimising images in WordPress is essential from both a search engine optimisation (SEO) viewpoint, and also to create a great user experience.  Attractive images make the site look more appealing, can break up chunks of text and can help get a specific point across to your audience.  And if they are handled properly, they can have positive impact on your SEO.

1. Professional images

Don’t be tempted to use amateur shots on your website or even in your blogs.  They suggest you haven’t given much thought or effort to making your site look presentable.  When optimising images in WordPress, you’ll need professional shots taken of specific products, venues or the staff that you wish to promote –  but of course you can supplement these with good quality stock images.

Nowadays you can find some great free stock images, as well as paid for images on a variety of websites.  If you’re not sure where to look, check out this great article.

2. Image resolution

Choose a good enough resolution (number of pixels) for images to show as good quality on large screens ie. not fuzzy or pixelated.  As a rule of thumb, images of around 1920 pixels wide are ideal for main banner images / full width images as they will be displayed properly on the vast majority of desktops. There is generally no need to upload images in excess of this

If your image is to enhance a blog post or page, images should be smaller to reflect the fact that they will be displayed at a smaller size.

Whatever the pixel dimensions of your image, ensure the file size is as small as possible – an easy way to do this is to save them at 72dpi.

3. File Name

Before you upload an image to your Image library, consider the page it will appear on.  Think in advance what the focus word of that page will be, and create a  file name to match.  This is the very first step in telling the search engines what your image represents.

In this example, the image is to be used in a blog, where the focus keyword is “WordPress website security”, and so the image file name is simply wordpress-website-security.jpg

optimising images in wordpress

Whatever the keyword you want the page to rank for, make sure it appears at the beginning of the image file name for improved SEO.

4. Title

The image title has no impact on SEO but enables you to add in more information about the image.

5. Alt Text

This is the most important field for SEO – it helps Google understand what your image is about, and hence the description you use must be in line with your focus keyword.  However don’t be tempted to stuff keywords here – keep the text clear, concise and relevant because if the image can’t be shown to a user (eg. they have turned off images in the web browser or are using a screen reader) the Alt Text is displayed to them.

In our example we have used “WordPress Website Security Tips”.

6. Caption

This is not essential in terms of SEO but can be used to show a caption to your audience under the image on your website – if you believe it will enhance the user experience, then add captions; if not, leave this field blank.

7. Description

Again of no benefit to your SEO efforts but you can add in descriptive details here, such as when the image was taken for example.

8. Image Compression

This is important for both SEO and user experience.  If your website pages contain large images, thousands of pixels wide,  it will make the web pages very slow to load. And that creates a poor user experience that Google frowns upon.  Nowadays loading speed is considered as a ranking factor – the faster the better.

optimising images in wordpress

 

optimising images in wordpress

Then when adding images to your web pages, you can simply choose the appropriate size for the page.

9. Automatic Image Optimisation

There are a wide variety of plugins that ensure you are optimising images in WordPress – they enable website images to be served at the appropriate size for the best web page loading speed possible.

We like WP Smush which handles all image resizing, optimisation and compression needs.

By simply setting the maximum image height and width, WP Smush will compress the files to reduce file size and scale them down simultaneously – with no loss of visual quality.

 

So there you have it.  9 straightforward tips to help you optimise images on your WordPress website – to keep your users happy and to help with SEO.

 

For more information about on-page SEO using Yoast in WordPress, check out this article.

If you require help with optimising images in WordPress – or indeed help with any other WordPress issues such as hosting, maintenance or migration – then just contact us.

 

6 Simple Steps to Speed Up Your WordPress Site

If you’re using a WordPress site, you have already made at least one good decision towards the online success of your business. Now you need to optimize your site’s performance to ensure that you get the best results from it, and one way to do that, is by enhancing its load speed.

A site that loads slowly, will result in poor search engine performance, reduced conversions and a loss of traffic. Research has shown a direct link between visitor retention and:

  • page speed
  • bounce rate
  • visitor retention
  • profit

Additionally, Google has acknowledged that page speed is used as a factor in rankings. Why? Because page speed affects the user experience. Users don’t want to wait more than 3 seconds for a page to be loaded, and therefore, fast pages will be ranked higher in the search results pages.

Speed Up Your WordPress Site In Six Simple Steps

1.   Choose the right host

A reliable web host that uses DNS and is configured specifically for WordPress is crucial for your site’s performance. Your site should be hosted on servers that understand WordPress.

2.  Choose the right framework

When it comes to choosing the right framework for your WordPress site, you can’t go wrong with Genesis. It is made for WordPress and it uses the latest best practices in terms of code for best functioning. Additionally, Genesis offers responsive themes, which automatically change its resolution based on the device on which it is viewed. Since a large percentage of consumers view sites on mobile, it will open your site up to a whole new market.

3.  Install a clean theme

Clean coding is key to a fast WordPress site, and that’s why you should opt for the cleanest theme you can find. You can rely on StudioPress to deliver just that, with every single theme they create.

4.  Install a caching plugin

W3 EDGE provides an awesome plugin, known as W3 Total Cache. This tool provides fragment caching support for Genesis-powered sites.  It provides increased control over granular caching and enables faster load times.

5.  Be picky about your plugins

With so many different plugins at your disposal, it is tempting to install as many as your disk space will allow, but don’t.  Stick to the basics, and keep only those plugins that you need for your site to function as it should. With that, be sure to only install plugins that are supported and that use solid, clean code.

6.  Optimise your images

Large images take longer to load, especially if you receive a lot of traffic to your site. Therefore, you should optimise your images and compressing them in order to reduce the amount of bandwidth used when they are loaded.

There are many ways to do this, including:

Photoshop – Reduce the size of your image to the exact dimensions required on your site, and choose the most appropriate format. Select low compression settings.

WP Smush.it – Another cool WordPress plugin, Smush will take all the legwork out of compressing your images.

These simple tips should help you to speed your site up significantly. You can test the speed before and after, using Pingdom.

WordPress Plugins – 10 Essentials Every WP Website Deserves

The beauty of WordPress plugins is that they can be simply installed on your WordPress website to increase its functionality.  By itself, the core WP system is lean, and functions on the bare essential coding.  But by installing carefully selected WordPress plugins, you can create a mean machine which functions precisely as you need it to.

You may need a live chat option, an eCommerce option, a sign up form option – there are thousands of plugins to match your needs.  But here we’re focusing on 10 essential WordPress plugins that every carefully nurtured WP website deserves.  These will help your website function optimally and will improve its search engine optimisation.

SECURITY                        

1. Sucuri Scanner

wordpress plugins sucuri scanner

This plugin is a toolset for security integrity monitoring, malware detection, audit logging and security hardening.

2. WP Security Audit Log

wordpress plugins wp security audit log

This plugin allows you to keep an audit trail of all changes made on your site. Very handy if you have multiple users with access to your site.

3. iThemes Security

wordpress themes security ithemes

This plugin (formerly Better WP Security) gives you over 30+ ways to secure and protect your WordPress site.  It also offers advanced features for more experienced users to harden WordPress security even further.

 

CAPTCHA

4. Google Captcha 

Prevents spam login registrations and spam comments whilst letting real people get through easily – they simply need to confirm that they are not a robot before they submit a form.

google captcha plugin

BACK UPS

5. BackUpBuddy 

wordpress plugins backup buddy

Essential to backup your WordPress site and content – one of the most fundamental good practices for all WordPress websites.

 

EASE OF USE

6. Duplicate Post

wordpress plugins duplicate post

This plugin allows you to clone a post or page, or edit it as a new draft – making life so much simpler!

 

OPTIMISATION

7. Smush 

wordpress plugings WP Smush

A great plugin to easily optimise your image file size to improve website performance and boost your SEO.

8. Hummingbird 

wordpress plugin hummingbird for wordpress optimisation

Hummingbird checks your whole site to find ways to improve loading speed – from file compression and size reduction to browser caching.

9. W3 Total Cache

wordpress plugins w3 total cache

A plugin to help with SEO and performance optimisation of your site via caching.  However it is difficult to develop the site when cache is enabled so better suited to small businesses that make infrequent site updates.

10. Yoast SEO 

wordpress plugins yoast seo

A great helping hand to get your website fully search engine optimised.  It guides you through your on-page SEO by prompting you to define a focus keyword, and ensuring the page URL, SEO title, metadescription and image Alt Text are all relevant to this keyword.

This great guide for using Yoast in WordPress should give you all the information you require.

All WordPress websites need to be given the very best chance – in terms of performance, security and SEO.  And we believe these 10 essential WordPress plugins are deserved by absolutely all WP sites!

We are experts in all things WordPress, and if you need any help or support with your site – hosting, maintenance, optimisation or migration – then just contact us.

Using Yoast in WordPress – Simply, Logically And Effectively

If you’re using Yoast in WordPress, are you confident you’re using it properly?  We love Yoast but know that many people don’t use it to its full potential – so let us guide you through the process.

Firstly, let’s clarify that Yoast is a great WordPress plugin which helps the search engines find your website in response to relevant keyword searches.  It also gives you control over how the search engines display your results in the search engine listings.

And why is this important?

a) You want your website to show high in the list results when someone searches using keywords relevant to the products and services you offer

b) You want customers who see your listing, to be sufficiently interested in what you have to say that they feel compelled to click through to your website.

 

However Yoast can only work as well as the information it is given to work with.  And to understand this, you need to appreciate a very fundamental concept about on-page search engine optimisation:

Each web page has unique content – so ensure you optimise each page with a unique keyword (or keyword phrase)

 So for example:

Page URL – Assuming you have set up your website logically, the URL of each page should contain the main keyword which describes what the page is all about

Page Content – Similarly the content of the web page will relate to the main keyword, and will be “supported” by supplementary keywords which naturally flow within the text.

This keeps things nice and simple for the search engines – they can easily understand what each page is about, and when to offer it up to someone who is searching for things that appear on your page.

 

Using Yoast in WordPress

We’ll take our own website as an example to show how using Yoast in WordPress can be wonderfully simple and logical.

Our WP Support Specialists website is a fairly simple layout – we have a range of services, and each has its own unique page with its own unique url.  For example our Emergency WordPress support page:

https://www.wpsupportspecialists.com/emergency-wordpress-support/

Using Yoast in WordPress from WP Support Specialists

It’s pretty clear when you look at this page that the content is all about providing support to people who are in the throes of a WordPress emergency.

But the important thing is for the search engines to be just as clear – and this is where using Yoast in WordPress is going to help us out.

 

 1. Dashboard

In your dashboard, you’ll see all your pages.  For this draft Emergency WordPress Support page, you can see that the SEO column has a grey circle – this shows that no Yoast SEO has been undertaken.

We’re going to use Yoast and get that grey button turned to green.

using yoast in wordpress

using yoast in wordpress

 

2. Yoast Overview

Scroll down beyond the page content until you find the Yoast section which looks like this.

Using Yoast in WordPress from WP Support Specialists

As you haven’t added in any text yet, the system is automatically creating a title and description to be shown in search results.

Without using Yoast our result listing looks like this:

 

Using Yoast in WordPress from WP Support Specialists

Not bad – but not perfect.  Look how the description gets cut off half way through a sentence.

 

3. Setting the focus keyword

First of all, we need to define our “focus keyword” for the page. This in itself does not help with search engine rankings, but it helps focus the mind when ensuring the page is properly search engine optimised.

For our website, we’re going to set the focus keyword in Yoast as “Emergency WordPress Support

Using Yoast in WordPress from WP Support Specialists

4. Write your SEO title

In Yoast, the page title you create here will be served to the search engines.  It will help tell the search engines what the page is about AND will be displayed in the search results.

The focus keyword should appear at the beginning of the SEO title, and supplementary words should appear afterwards. It’s always a good idea to get your business name shown her for branding purposes.

Use as much of the character count as you possibly can, to show searchers exactly what you have to offer.

Yoast helpfully ensures you don’t overdo the character count.

Compare this – where the character count is spot on

Using Yoast in WordPress from WP Support Specialists

to this – where the sentence is too long and will get truncated in the search results:

Using Yoast in WordPress from WP Support Specialists

 

5. Create Your Metadescription

Interestingly the metadescription won’t help with SEO rankings.  However it will help with click-throughs!

The metadescription is your chance to make your entry stand out from the competitors – and persuade people to click through to your website

To keep focused on the page content, it’s recommended that the focus keyword appears near the beginning of the metadescription.

So for us, we’re going with

using_yoast_in_wordpress_6

Note how Yoast helpfully shows whether we have gone over the character count or not (we haven’t).

 

6. Image Alt Text

Ensure that any images on the page have been optimised – most importantly the Alt Text should include your focus keyword, but having a relevant file name will also help with SEO.

Using Yoast in WordPress from WP Support Specialists

 

7. Yoast Analysis

Now it’s time for the big reveal!

If you’ve focused on your focus keyword, got your URL and content spot on, and followed the Yoast steps as outlined above, you should see the following in the Yoast analysis:

using_yoast_in_wordpress_8

GREEN LIGHTS ALL ROUND!

If for any reason, you’re seeing an amber or red light, then check the reason why (did we say Yoast is really helpful) and simply put the problem right.  Then check the analysis again.

Once you get into the swing of using Yoast for WordPress we’re sure you’ll agree that it is a great SEO help – keeps you focused on the what you want to tell the search engines about the pages in your website.

And furthermore, your tailor made metadescription is sure to help drive more traffic to your website!

 

If you have any questions about using Yoast in WordPress or any other WordPress questions, why not drop us a line? We’re sure we’ll be able to help!

Read more about Yoast plugin for WordPress.

10 Essential Steps To Add Products To WooCommerce – Made Easy

We’re often asked by people using the WordPress WooCommerce plugin how to add new products to their store. And the good news is that it isn’t tricky so long as you approach things logically.

To help out all you WordPress newbies who want to keep their eCommerce store up to date, we’ve put together this simple guide.

Firstly from your dashboard, navigate to Products > Add Product

Then you can add the product name at the top, and choose the category where the product belongs on the right hand side.

 

 

1. Add Product Tags and Product Images

Scroll down the page. You’ll find the section to add product tags on the right hand side.

You’ll need to set product image in the section below, and the product gallery is where you can add additional images.

 

product tags and product images in Woocommerce wordpress

 

2. Add Product Description

Scroll down the page…down, down, down. At the very bottom you’ll find the Product Short Description where you can describe your product in glowing terms.

 

product description on Woocommerce wordpress

3. Choose Product Type

 

add product data to woocommerce wordpress

Firstly you need to understand the different types of product.

  • Simple Product – this covers the vast majority of products you may sell. Simple products are shipped and have no further options. For example a book.
  • Grouped product – a collection of related products that can be purchased individually and only consist of simple products. For example, a set of six drinking glasses.
  • External/Affiliate product – one that you list and describe on your website but is sold elsewhere.
  • Variable product – a product with different variations, each of which may have a different SKU, price, stock option, etc. For example, a T-shirt available in different colours and/or sizes.
  • Virtual product – one that doesn’t require shipping. For example, selling a service.
  • Downloadable product – similar to a virtual one but where customers are given a downloadable file. For example, a PDF magazine, ebook or photo.

Once you have identified the type of product you are selling, you can choose the right option.

 

4. Add General Information

 

product prices on woocommerce wordpress

  • Regular Price – add in the regular price of the product.
  • Sale Price – add in any discounted price (if applicable) which can then be scheduled to run at certain dates.

 

5. Manage Inventory

 

inventory on woocommerce wordpress

SKU (Stock Keep Unit) tracks products. It must be a unique identifier for each product and must be formatted so that it is different to post ID numbers.  Since post ID numers are numerical, it makes sense to create SKUs using a mix of words and numbers eg. TS01 T-Shirt 01

Click on the “manage stock?” checkbox to enable stock management for the individual products and define whether to allow back orders.

If you click on the “Sold Individually” checkbox, the system limits the product to one per order.

 

6. Define Shipping Details

 

shipping woocommerce wordpress

Simply add in the weight (kg) and dimensions (cm) of the product.

The Shipping Class  option is used by certain shipping methods to group similar products.

 

7. Set Up Linked Products

 

linked products woocommerce wordpress

This section allows you to cross promote your products. You can choose:

  • Up-sells – recommend an alternative product to that being current viewed (better quality / more expensive / more profitable)
  • Cross-Sells – promote other products, based on those currently in the basket
  • Grouping – make the product in the basket part of a grouped product
  • Related products – link to related products which will be shown on the product description page

 

8. Set Attributes

In this section you can assign details to a product such as weight, colour, size etc.

Once you have chosen an attribute from the select box, click “add” and assign values from the drop down list. Alternatively add a new “value”, then save attributes.

 

attributes woocommerce wordpress

If you leave the “Visible on the product page” unticked, the information won’t be shown on the frontend.

 

9. Advanced Bits n Bobs

 

advanced product information woocommerce

This section enables you to:

  • Purchase note – enter an optional note to send the customer after they purchase a product
  • Menu order – Customise the ordering position for this item.
  • Enable/ disable customer reviews for this item

 

10. Set Up Gift Card Option

If you wish to set a product as a gift, simply tick the Gift Card checkbox.

 

set gift card on woocommerce

 

And there you have it!  You have successfully added a new product to your WooCommerce ecommerce store and by simply publishing the page, it will be visible to your website visitors.

If you found this guide useful please share on your preferred social media site below or send to a friend in need via email.

Best WordPress Plugins 2016: Expert Picks + Never Before Seen Hacks

If you’re looking for advice about the best WordPress plugins to use in 2016, we’re sure this great infographic from Matt Banner at On Blast Blog is just what you are looking for.

From the crucial WordPress plugins that all websites should be using – think Yoast SEO and Backup Buddy – to recommendations for niche websites for food, fitness and business bloggers, this infographic is chocabloc with great ideas and advice.

It even includes some beginner and advanced WordPress hacks that could well help you manage your website with ease.

Read on and enjoy!

Wordpress Plugins
Credit: On Blast Blog

Cross Site Scripting Vulnerability in WordPress

A cross site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in WordPress has been reported which affects multiple plugins.  This has come about due to the erroneous use of certain popular functions used to modify and add query strings to URLs by developers.

Security company Sucuri has checked nearly 400 plugins and found a number contained the vulnerable code*.  However since there are thousands of WordPress plugins available, some of which are likely to be affected, everyone with a WordPress website should take immediate action to ensure their website is secure.

Action to be Taken:

  1. From your wp-admin dashboard, update out of date plugins now
  2. Check regularly for updates to WP plugins that you use and update them as soon as possible

If you want more information about this vulnerability and how to keep your WordPress website secure, please visit these links:

https://blog.sucuri.net/2015/04/security-advisory-xss-vulnerability-affecting-multiple-wordpress-plugins.html

http://wptavern.com/xss-vulnerability-affects-more-than-a-dozen-popular-wordpress-plugins

*Plugins confirmed to be affected by the XXS vulnerability

Alternatively if you need any assistance from WP Support Specialists, just Contact Us

Top 5 WordPress Plugins

One of the main reasons why we love WordPress, is that it is completely scalable to your needs. Whether you want a simple personal blog, or a full-scale e-commerce store online, you can do it with WordPress. Added functionality is added to the WordPress framework by means of thousands of free plugins, and numerous premium versions. Thus, it allows you to create a completely customisable site at a fraction of the cost and without knowing much about coding at all.

Today, we’re going to look at some of the best plugins available for WordPress.

#1 – WordPress SEO by Yoast

Unless you’ve lived under a rock, you know just how important search engine optimisation is to driving traffic to your site. SEO by Yoast is here to make it easy for you. It is a complete SEO plugin for WordPress that incorporates everything: sitemaps, meta descriptions, image titles, image titles, page content optimisation, and much more, in the free version alone. The premium version includes Video SEO and the Video SEO manual plugin, as well as Local SEO to help you achieve the winning edge in Google Maps.

#2 – Gravity Forms

Another feature-rich plugin, Gravity forms integrates with various third party services to bring a better user-experience to your site. You can now easily incorporate PayPal and other services into your site by building forms and embedding them into your WordPress site.

#3 – BackupBuddy

Everyday, hackers are becoming more savvy, and hundreds of sites are targeted every day. Sometimes we make mistakes, deleting the wrong files, or causing files to become corrupt. Sometimes, our plugins malfunction. However, BackupBuddy can quickly help you recover from a crash or other problem.

#4 – WooCommerce

This e-commerce plugin is widely reviewed, tested and certified and it can be used to sell anything in any way you wish. Bundled with a range of payment gateways including Paypal, it offers a range of options with regard to shipping, inventory, reporting, marketing and tax.

#5 – W3 Total Cache

We live in a fast world, and users don’t want to wait more than 3 seconds for your site to load. Use W3 Total Cache, the only performance optimisation framework on WordPress, to increase your page speed and improve the user-experience for your visitors. This plugin is used on some of the best known sites, and recommended by the biggest web hosts.

These are just some of the amazing plugins available to make your website more awesome. Speak to us if you’re looking for a specific plugin.