The success of your website is largely determined by decisions you make at an early stage. Especially when you use a CMS like WordPress. This CMS is SEO-friendly , but ensuring the correct settings is not an unnecessary luxury. 

As an entrepreneur you often choose a specific theme or handy plugins. The advantage of this is that there is already a website in the base. You only have to adjust it to your own house style, content and page structure. This is also the disadvantage: you are stuck with this theme and its options. If you want to make an adjustment in the future, it is not certain that this will actually be possible within this theme. This can become a problem for the performance of your website. That is why in this blog you will find 12 tips that you can think about when launching and optimizing your WordPress website.

Our tips

» Tip 1: Choose a reliable hosting provider
» Tip 2: Enable an SSL certificate
» Tip 3: Use an SEO-friendly URL
» Tip 4: Choose an SEO-friendly theme
» Tip 5: Take it easy with plugins
» Tip 6: Check the visibility settings
» Tip 7: Enable Google Search Console
» Tip 8: Create and upload sitemap
» Tip 9: Perform on-page SEO
» Tip 10: Optimize the images
» Tip 11: Implement structured data
» Tip 12: Optimize the code

Tip 1: Choose a reliable hosting provider

As you have read in our previous blog, the Core Web Vitals are an important ranking factor. An improvement in speed is related to an improvement in ranking. Therefore, place your website with a reliable hosting provider.

But what is a reliable hosting provider? There are many variables that affect the quality of hosting. In any case, make sure that you choose a hosting party that hosts your website on a fast server, provides your website with an SSL certificate and offers support. 

Tip 2: Enable an SSL certificate

SSL literally stands for Secure Sockets Layer, which means that a secure layer is placed between a server and an internet browser, which protects the data. A CMS platform does not offer an SSL certificate. The easiest way to get an SSL certificate is to go to your web builder or hosting provider. This can then be arranged at server level. 

NB! Once the SSL certificate is enabled, it’s time to change your website address from http to https . Now that you’ve posted the new URL, your website is considered safe by Google. Don’t forget the 301 redirects from http to https as well . If you place your website with B&S Media, we will arrange this for you.

Tip 3: Use an SEO-friendly URL

WordPress provides a few templates for your URL structure, as well as the ability to create a custom URL template. Many of these templates are not SEO friendly. Our advice to go for the ‘post’ template (post name). This is descriptive and does not contain any parameters that mean nothing to Google. Therefore, it is the best choice for SEO.

Tip 4: Choose an SEO-friendly theme

WordPress lets you choose between thousands of free and paid themes. They all look great, but the themes are not always suitable for SEO. For example, there are themes that add too many unnecessary pieces of code, themes that don’t work well on mobile devices, or themes that are difficult to customize. This is detrimental to SEO. If such problems come to light when you have already chosen a theme, it is annoying if you have to choose a new theme again. This takes time (and money). 

To avoid problems, we recommend that you choose a theme that has been around for a long time and has good reviews. Of course we can also help you choose a good theme.

Tip 5: Take it easy with plugins

As soon as you run into a technical problem within WordPress, installing a plugin is an obvious and easy solution. Fine in itself, but each plugin can affect the performance of the website. For example, they make your website slower or prone to errors. In addition, some plugins also work against each other. 

As a rule of thumb, the fewer plugins, the better. Often there is an alternative solution available, without the use of unnecessary plugins.

Now it is not the case that you should not use any plugins at all. Some plugins are necessary and very useful. Just handle it carefully.

Tip 6: Check the visibility settings

Do you want to put your website live? Don’t forget to change your visibility settings to ‘public’ and ‘index’. If you do not do this, the website will not be visible and cannot be found in Google. 

Are you editing the website and it’s not ready for launch yet? Set the test version in which you are working to no-index. For example, Google cannot yet access the website during construction.

Tip 7: Enable Google Search Console

For tracking and improving performance in search results, Google Search Console is the ultimate tool. This tool gives you insight into performance, indexing, user experience, search improvements and security.

To use Google Search Console, go to the tool and enter your website’s URL. Google will provide you with a verification tag that you need to copy and add to your website’s code. From then on you can use the tool.

Tip 8: Create and upload sitemap

By using an XML sitemap, Google can see which pages your website consists of and then visit, index and rank them. WordPress does not generate an XML sitemap by default. That is why it is wise to add it to your website yourself. For example, via the Yoast SEO plugin. 

Often the sitemap is automatically refreshed as soon as a page on your website is created or deleted. So you don’t have to worry about this anymore.

Tip 9: Perform On-Page SEO

The website is set up, time to fill the pages. There are some things to keep in mind when creating new pages:

  • Use keywords from your keyword research.
  • Use <H> headings for both better ranking and a good user experience. Also include keywords in H1 and H2 headings.
  • Add a title tag and meta description. This allows visitors to see what you offer in the search results. You can also use keywords here.
  • Write alt tags with images. The alt tag describes the content of the image to the search engine. This way you also ensure that you can be found in Google Images. 

Tip 10: Optimize the images

With the arrival of the Core Web Vitals, pages are judged by their speed. One of the most important things, Largest Contentful Paint, is mainly about images. The faster the images load, the better your pages rank.

You can make the images on your website load faster by reducing the file size. Compressing is the first step of lightening. Using the right image formats is also important.

Tip 11: Implement structured data

Structured data is a system of HTML tags that helps Google better understand the content on your website. For example, you can provide your address details with structured data. You can also format the following parts with these HTML tags:

  • recipes
  • vacancies
  • events

Tip 12: Optimize the code

Finally, you are done building your WordPress website. Themes, plugins, and manual tweaks often leave a mess in the code. The ‘cleaner’ the code, the better for SEO. 

One of the things you can do is to improve code performance by minimizing the HTML, JS, and CSS files. This means removing all unnecessary formatting, things like dummy code elements, line breaks, and comments. Don’t you know much about this? Then hire a web builder. Coding is a profession in itself.