WordPress

Welcome To WordPress

Welcome To WordPress!

If you are considering building or improving your WordPress Site and are searching online to learn more about this incredibly powerful platform, you have made a very wise choice in choosing WordPress and in doing some initial research.

Welcome to the WordPress section of MarketingScoop! My goal is to provide you with latest most up to date WordPress info, a complete one stop shop for everything WordPress related.

WordpressWordPress will allow you to churn out websites with ease and not the type of websites that look like a flashback to the 1980’s but fully functional responsive websites that impress and wow visitors.

Can you imagine being able to get a professional website up running while not being a professional designer and knowing zero about code? Yes, it is entirely possible and simple at the same time. In fact, I am willing to bet you will have a lot of fun in the process and you may even become addicted to WordPress.

This is a journey and we are traveling together. While WordPress is probably the simplest platform ever in terms of creating websites, a little knowledge beforehand can go a long way. It is quite difficult to get WordPress wrong but every now and then little foibles can happen which can take a lot of time to fix or you may have to hire an expert to help you.

Forewarned is forearmed which is why we have everything covered so you can hit the ground running. First, we will start talking about what WordPress is and why you should be very excited about it’s potential to catapult you to blogging success. Don’t worry, this will be a technical jargon-free zone, however, I will include brief technical explanations for those that have an interest.

I will also discuss how to create a blog, so you can start blogging the right way, as well as the pitfalls to watch out for and some secrets to guarantee your success. Perhaps you’re unsure if you should start with a free blog or go for your own self-hosting solution. I cover all that and more as well as deciding what to blog about, no more spinning your wheels and going around in circles. The roadmap to success is right here.

There will also be guidance on theme selection, do you need paid themes, in fact, what are themes and how do they work. We will start with the basics leaving no stone unturned.

Plugins, what are they and how can they help my WordPress site is another subject that’s covered in simple terms. How plugins can take your WordPress site to the next level and give your site limitless potential.

There will also we be lots of tips and tricks as well as warnings on how to avoid a catastrophe. Yes, there is nothing as bad as that sinking feeling when you see your beautiful website and all your hard work vanish before your eyes and you realize there is a major problem. Don’t let this happen to you.

Finally, there will be advanced topics like Multi-site and how it can benefit you if you run or want to run a network of sites.
So pull up a chair, grab a coffee and get comfortable as we head to destination WordPress.


WordPress Themes

Now that you know exactly what WordPress is and which version you should choose, we will now look at one of the most exciting aspects of WordPress which is WordPress Themes.

Why are WordPress themes so exciting? The great thing about WordPress being open source which is something we touched on in our What is WordPress article, is that there are 1000’s of developers volunteering to make it as awesome as possible, which translates to 1000’s of high-quality themes for just about any scenario you can think off.

A theme is basically like a website in a box, but unlike those services like Weebly and Wix you are not locked into any reoccurring plan.Wordpress Themes

If I ran a nursery and wanted to build my WordPress site based on my nursery business, there would be no doubt 100’s of themes available. In fact, there is a theme for just about anything you can think off.

A WordPress theme will usually have lots of pre-built elements. This will usually be in the form of a home page, an about us page, a contact page, and depending on the theme it could have a booking form for a hotel or a menu page for a restaurant. The only thing you would be required to do is swap the templates placeholder content for yours.

That is why WordPress themes are exciting, because of the sheer amount of choice that awaits you and the fact that some of these themes are of an extremely high quality.

Free Themes v Paid Themes

For every free WordPress theme out there, there will normally be a premium version or a paid for version. Just because a WordPress theme will come free, it does not mean it will be limited or it won’t look good, I have built many a professional website using only free themes.

Very often the extra features of the premium version will be clearly displayed whilst using and editing the free version, this will allow you to make an easy decision on whether you would like to upgrade or not.

A lot of the time it will be an easy decision to make as the paid version will enhance the look and increase functionality.

For example, if we were building a WordPress site for a hotel, the free version will usually come with the basics to get you up and running, however, the paid version might include extra theme colors and a premium plugin for live guest support on the site and the ability to take bookings.

Now you could search and easily find similar plugins that will do these things for free but the convenience of having everything under one roof from the same developer is usually worth the upgrade.

As well as that, premium themes normally come with premium support should you be unsure about anything in relation to the theme.

WordPress themes can range anywhere from free as discussed, to a few dollars all the way up to $100’s. Normally the most expensive themes will be fully integrated e-commerce solutions or themes that come with a number of niche templates which will cover every eventuality.

I personally like these types of multi-niche themes as they normally have you covered for whatever type of website you would like to build.

Whether you choose a free or a premium theme will come down to your individual preference and your own needs. As WordPress and 1000’s of its themes are free, have a play around which will cost you nothing and then decide later.

Killer Tips For Choosing WordPress Themes

WordPress is a platform which is constantly being updated and a single update could cause an incompatibility issue with your theme. If you are relying on your website for business this could be an issue, especially if it is security related.

Thankfully most theme developers keep their themes regularly updated which is an important factor when spending money on a theme.

Always read the feedback and comments for a particular theme. As well as that, you will usually always see the regular updates in the developers notes on the theme page.

If the theme hasn’t been touched in a long time, you may want to avoid it, especially if you hold customer information on your website.


WordPress plugins

Previously I may have mentioned that WordPress Themes are some of the most exciting aspects of WordPress. Actually, it may just be plugins. You see, as I mentioned, a theme is like a website in a box, what you see is what you get but plugins give you the ability to go way beyond that.

Plugins allow you to take a basic good looking functional website and transform it into a show stopper.

WordPress Plugins in Detail

A WordPress plugin is a piece of software written in PHP code that you install on your WordPress site. You do not have to worry about the code or anything like that. When you choose your plugin, you just need to press install and then activate.

You can also think of a plugin as being just like an app. If there is an app for it there is a plugin for it. If there is something you would like your website to do, you can be sure there will be a plugin for it.

Just the other day I wanted to copy one of my WordPress website pages as I was building a similar page with just a few words that would be different. Copying and pasting from an existing page would have been a bit messy and I surprisingly could not see any option in WordPress to duplicate a page, so I searched for a plugin and around 1 minute later a free plugin was installed and my page was duplicated.

Currently, there are around 50,000 free plugins, you are only limited by your imagination. Some of the things you can do with plugins include, run a jobs board, add a contact form, start a forum, start an eCommerce (woo commerce) store.

It’s important to note that some plugins will run behind the scenes and some will run on site that will be visitor facing. For example, some plugins will allow you to add your own snippets of code if you are technically minded and some will increase your WordPress SEO performance of your site.

Free v Paid Plugins

Just like with themes there will be free and premium plugins. A lot of free plugins are very functional and work extremely well. Likewise, there are many excellent paid for plugins that can really take your WordPress site to the next level.

Again, as with themes, it’s important to ensure that the plugin you are about to install is compatible with the latest version of WordPress and is being kept updated. This information will be clearly visible on the plugin page as it will normally state when it was last updated.

A Word of Caution

When it comes to themes and plugins always install them from reputable developers with active feedback that you can see on the official plugin or theme page from within the WordPress dashboard.

If somebody provides you with a random link to the download latest and greatest plugin that you upload to your site, it could bring down the house. Yes, that’s right, your site could get wiped out and it is something I have experienced more than once.

There could be a bad line of code in there or worse still malicious code that hacks your site. If this happens, you will either have to do a complete re-install of your entire site and or have an expert fix it for you at a cost.


WordPress Hosting

Remember there are 2 ways to host a WordPress site. There is hosting with WordPress and there is self-hosting, Self-hosting is you taking care of the hosting yourself which is not as scary as it sounds.

When somebody refers to WordPress hosting, they will usually always mean self-hosting, as hosting companies can provide dedicated hosting just for WordPress sites which they call WordPress Hosting.

What is WordPress Hosting?

This could potentially get a little confusing so please bear with me. Let’s start at the beginning as it is important that you fully understand your options when it comes to choosing hosting.

A hosting company in the simplest possible way provides you with space to store your website when accessed by visitors in the same way you would rent a shop. The space a hosting company provides you with will be located on their servers.

Think of the servers as serving your websites to visitors. Before WordPress installations became easy you would have to go through quite a number of steps to install WordPress with your hosting company including creating the database.

Thankfully all that is now a thing of the past and there really is nothing more simple than installing WordPress. In order for WordPress to run smoothly, there will be a number of very basic requirements when I say very basic I mean almost every hosting company no matter which one you choose will usually meet those basic requirements.

Shared WordPress Hosting v Managed WordPress Hosting

When you sign up for hosting and choose a basic package for a few dollars a month, you will normally be signing up to shared hosting. What this means is that your sites will all share server space. This is fine for most beginners just starting out but performance will not be optimal compared to dedicated hosting in which your site will have its own server.

Usually, if you are running a business and expecting a lot of site traffic it is recommended to go with a dedicated server.

When you choose shared hosting, the vast majority of all hosting companies will now provide a very simple and one click install of WordPress. In the case of my host, I fill out some basic details like the domain I want to use and the website name, then click a button. About 5 minutes later I will get an email to my brand new WordPress site.

Hosting companies are now offering Managed WordPress Hosting. This is basically just a fancy way of saying that they will provide you with a WordPress installation with optimal security and performance settings. They will also keep WordPress, it’s themes and plugins automatically updated for you. Needless to say, this will come at an extra cost which is usually a lot more than the standard shared hosting one-click install plan.

Do you really need to pay more for Managed WordPress Hosting? I don’t think so no unless again you are expecting a lot of traffic and you intend to use as a business. Shared hosting works well and always has done. Also, there are many plugins which can keep your site safe and keep it running fast.

If you feel Managed WordPress Hosting is for you, then that’s fantastic if you feel the extra costs will benefit you.


WordPress Multi-site

The chances are that you have probably never heard of WordPress multi-site before. WordPress Multi-site is one of the most underrated and often overlooked features of WordPress and in many cases its incorrect use can lead to issues.

What is WordPress Multi-site?

WordPress Multi-site is a feature which lets you create a network of sites under the one single domain. For example, under www.JimBobsAutos.com we could have Arlington.JimBobsAutos.com or NewHaven.JimBobsAutos.com.

The great thing about Multi-site is that it allows you to administer all the sites and site tasks from a single dashboard. There will be no need to remember different logins for different sites since you can add and remove plugins, control user access, and add themes from a single location.

Multi-site is a great solution for streamlining the work involved in managing a number of different sites on the same network.

Is Multi-site Right for You?

To get the full benefit of WordPress Multi Site it is best to use this feature to manage sites which have common features. Maybe you have custom applications and are running the same themes for a number of sites. If you have a single main website and then sites to support physical locations that would be ideal for MultiSite.

If you are running sites with different themes and applications with no commonality between the sites that is where complex issues can arise and MultiSite would not be suitable.

There are also a number of different themes which are intended for Multi-site use.

Multi-site Alternatives

There are many plugins out there that perform the same function as Multi-site which you should also consider as well as WordPress management programs.

If you do plan on running Multi Site it is recommended that you consult a Multi-site consultant at first, especially if you are planning on running a lot of sites. Remember it is important to scale within your resource limits in terms of your hosting provider.

In relation to that last point, it is important that you choose a hosting company which has a good track record in Multi-site Hosting, as the last thing you will need is for every site on the network to go down.

Conclusion

When used under the right circumstances it can be a very powerful feature, just be sure that it is right for you and your sites. It also helps to speak to professional before deciding on whether you should proceed with Multi-site or not.


How to Start A Blog

A blogging journey is one of the most exciting adventures you can embark on. What can start out as a simple hobby can potentially become a viral sensation. In the same way that YouTube vloggers do not normally bank on international fame when they begin their simple amateur vlogs, the same can be said for a lot of bloggers who have made it big and turned a hobby into an empire.

As a beginner, you may be ready to begin your own blogging journey but you may have a lot of questions running around your head and be unsure about a lot of things and possibly even confused. Fear not as this article will set you on the best course for success.

Are you excited? You should be.

To Be Passionate or Not?

One of the first decisions you will have to make is what to blog about, you may even already have some ideas or you may be completely at a loss. In blogging lingo, we call this niche selection. When it comes to niche selection people will generally fall into one of 2 camps.

Blog about what you are passionate about or research and blog about something which has massive potential.

If you are an avid long-distance running enthusiast and you want to blog about this, there is no doubt that you will find it easy to produce bucket loads of content on a daily basis, which is great. The problem is, some people struggle to come up with something they are passionate about which can lead to frustration and they usually fail to make a start.

The thing is you do not have to be passionate and be actively involved in a niche to blog about it. There is plenty of information online and your initial research will arm you with everything you need to make your blog a complete success, although a passing interest does help.

Should I Use a Free Blog?

Normally when I advise on aspects of blogging, decisions will normally come down to personal choice. However, in this case, I am going to flat out recommend to never use a free blog. A free blog is a service like blogger in which they will host the blog for you and you will not need a domain name.

Imagine that you have been working on your blog for years pushing out 1000’s words of content with a massive following and then one day its lights out because you broke a minor rule. Or worse still you are approached by a big company that wants to write you a fat check for your blog, wait, you can’t sell it because it still belongs to blogger.

Basically, a free blog gives you no control no matter how hard you have worked on it. The alternative and best option is to sign up for cheap $3-month hosting and buy a domain name for $10. You will then have full 100% control over your own blog. You will still have to abide this hosting company’s terms and conditions but it would have to be something quite serious for them to shut you down.

Domain & Hosting

The next option is to choose your domain and hosting. The domain name will totally come down to personal choice. You could use your own name, it could be the name of your business or it could be a play on words. There really is no right or wrong but try to keep it simple and catchy. If it is something you have to spell every time you tell somebody about it then you may need to rethink it.

For hosting companies for every good review of a hosting company there is likely to be 10 bad reviews. There is no one hosting company with only good reviews, that’s just the way it is, so don’t waste your time going round in circles looking for a hosting company.

I have been with companies for years that have huge numbers of bad reviews and I never had a single problem.

As a beginner most basic hosting packages will suit your needs so just choose a company that has had some good reviews recently and what works for your budget.

Once you have hosting install WordPress and begin your blogging journey.

SEO

Thinking About SEO For New Website

Are you launching a new website? There’s no better time to think about search engine optimization than prior to launching a new site. By giving consideration to your on-page optimization factors, you can increase your chances of achieving top organic search results.

To prepare your site for easy indexing, be sure to follow these basis guidelines:

1. Design your site in html or similar format that minimizes the use of java script and flash. The more complex you make your code, the more difficult it becomes for the search engine spiders to read your content and prescribe the appropriate Google PR to your web page.

2. Make sure that your meta tags are coded properly and include the Robots.txt tag. Many individuals downplay the importance of meta tags. Although meta tags themselves won’t drastically change the organic ranking of your site, they do create the display text users will see when your site appears in search results. If your meta tags are search engine optimized and compelling, you increase the changes of improving click-troughs.

3. Apply the proper tags to your page. H1, H2, and H3 tags are a great wall to call attention to your content and promote your keywords and keyword phrases. Try to use each tag at least once, but don’t force the issues. You want your text to flow and appear normal.

In addition to ensuring that you’ve made your page easy to access and presented text that is optimized, you also want to consider other factors that can help long-term with your SEO efforts. So often, web designers get caught up with on page factors, that they overlook the requirements for establishing a foundation that supports long-term initiatives.

In particular, consider adding pages that you can add to over time that support link building and accessibility for search engine spiders. Be sure to include:

1. An html sitemap and an xml sitemap. Including a sitemap on you site makes it easy for search engines to access all of your website pages and index your site accordingly. Your sitemap should be in both html as well as xml. Although users would not access the xml sitemap, search engine spiders use this version to crawl websites. Additionally, key search engine submission resources like Google’s Webmasters Tools require xml site map versions.

2. Include a partners page. Previously referred to as a links page, the partners page is essential for reciprocal linking. This strategy isn’t as powerful as developing one-way links, but until your site has been assigned a Google PR, one-way links can be difficult to acquire. So begin your link exchange program with a partners page that allows you add or remove link quickly and easily.

3. Submission pages that encourage new content. One of the most powerful seo techniques is the addition of new content. Make it easy for your users to add or submit content to your website. When search engines see new content, they rejoice. Don’t underestimate how important it is to make it simple for your browsers to add or submit content.

When focusing on search engine optimization, especially with a new website, follow the basic ideas outlined above. There are a number of other factors to consider as well. However, you should always start with a strong foundation – a site design that meets basic SEO standards but one that also supports your long range search engine optimization goals.

Internet MarketingSEO

Is SEO Really Free?

Search Engine Optimization Can Cost You…

I’m often asked by companies how much they should be spending on search engine optimization. As you can imagine, the answer to such a question depends on a large number of factors. An SEO budget could be based on the number of web properties you’re managing, how much work there is to do, and who will be doing the work for you.

Despite popular belief, search engine optimization is not free. Many times, individuals try to compare SEO to pay-per-click or search engine marketing, but the two are very dissimilar. Many of the costs associated with search engine optimization are involved in labor, site development, and acquisition of in-bound links. Unlike PPC, search engine optimization does not work on a pay-per-click basis.

The costs associated with SEO begin with an expert analysis of your existing websites and web pages. Additional costs are related to competitive and keyword analysis. Many web site owners consider doing these types of activities on their own. In many instances they can, however they will need tools to do so. These resources aren’t free because they solve a need. When thinking about a do-it-yourself type commitment, you often spend valuable time – which has a monetary value, and money paying for helpful online tools and resources.

Don’t underestimate the value of your time or the time that others are spending on search engine optimization related tasks. You should determine the costs of these activities in order to truly realize and manage your expense. Often times, you can hire a resource for much less per hour than you’re spending to do the necessary tasks of keyword research, competitive analysis, or link building.

Once you have completed a thorough review of your web site, completed the necessary analysis, and have determined the keywords you are going to optimize for, the true work begins. And this work can be very costly. Again, you have to consider the time you are spending on SEO related activities and how much it’s costing you by not focusing on other, more challenging opportunities. The process of link building is an arduous one and can be outsourced to expedite the process or simply lower costs.

Online tools can also be helpful in determining or prioritizing tasks. Once you have specific tasks defined, locate a resource that can save you money. This may be a software application that helps you submit your URL to directories. It could be an article writing service that can do the heavy lifting for you. It may even be an outsource solution for finding link partners and managing link exchanges. All of this link building takes work and requires a good deal of time. So consider your options and choose the one that is most cost effective.

SEO is not free. You may consider it less expensive than other forms of online marketing because you’re doing much of the work on your own. However, you should consider the value of your time and alternatives for reducing your workload and improving results. Whether you are thinking about online resources or additional individuals to do many of the repetitive tasks necessary to build in-bound links and corresponding page rank, your analysis should consider costs and benefits. Even though SEO is not free, it’s worth every penny.

Internet MarketingSEO

Search Engine Optimization Provides the Greatest ROI

Today it’s understood that you must have a have a high quality website for your company. So my question is why there are so many enterprises that do not focus their attention on optimizing their website?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be defined as improving a site’s list ranking on various search engines. When your site is optimized to the fullest of its potential, it will be listed above all competitors. Potential clients come to your site first, to see what you have to offer as opposed to your competition.

SEO is free, has great results, and is rewarding. As a free source of business, the internet allows companies to really capitalize on the open market. Tremendous opportunity knocks, and those who answer can take full advantage of what the internet can offer their company.

Once you own your domain and have it hosted (usually by an Online Marketing Company), you can make any changes you wish. Having your company available online is a free way to market your company over the internet. A key feature of your company’s website is it can be used as a free online marketing tool. The only cost you incur is the time you put forth to gain maximum exposure for your site. However, that time put forward now will pay off in the end on a regular basis.

When you as a website publisher take the time to optimize your site (or hire someone optimize it for you), you are building your companies market value. The higher you are listed on search engine results, the more respect you will gain as a company. As a consumer, the mind can not help to think that the websites listed on top are the best. So why not spend the time to be atop of the competition?

When your site is listed above competition; the chances are more in your favor to win the business. The reward you will receive upon completion of your site being optimized will show itself. Web surfers will be stopping in to see what your business has to offer which in turn will lead to more business. If you use your site to your advantage, then it can be a great way to function as a lead generator.

Optimizing your web site really plays a large impact on your Return on Investment (ROI). This is mainly because your investment is time and your return is money. The only thing you are risking is a missed afternoon of golf. Some businesses that have the resources are using Google Adwords as opposed to taking the time to use SEO.

Google Adwords functions the same way your site can function if optimized. That is by listing your website at the top of the search criteria results. However, you must pay for the placement you want under Google Adwords where SEO is free. Google Adwords has still been proven to be an effective marketing scheme to attract more viewers to your site, which in turn will lead to more business.

One drawback to Google Adwords is your ROI will be on a different scale now because you must actually pay for each time your site is referred to by Google. Take this SEO specialist’s advice and sit down and optimize your site.

If you do not optimize now and wait, you will be falling behind your competitors. Your website is your focal business point for reference. You must make sure that your site is operating to its fullest potential to ensure that you are receiving the maximum amount of clients that you can. The time you put forth now will be of great value to you in the future.

CopywritingSEO

SEO Tactics To Bring You Tons Of Website Visitors

No matter how hard some people try to mystify SEO, it is not as complicated as many would lead you to believe. Despite all the techno jargon that many in the field will throw at you: SERPs, SEM, PageRank, Keyword Density, Vertical Search, Algorithms.. SEO is really simple to do if you understand some basic concepts and follow some easy steps.

Search Engine Optimization is getting your content listed in all the top positions in Google, Yahoo and MSN for your targeted keywords. When someone does a keyword search in a search engine for your particular subject or niche – you want your site or content to be at the top of the list.

Here are 10 SEO tactics that have worked and are working for me at this moment in time.

1. Quality Content is and always will be your number one factor for getting high rankings and keeping them. You must understand search engines are simply businesses who supply a product like any other company. That product is information. They must offer quality results to anyone using their service to solve a problem, answer a question or to buy a product. The more relevant, the more targeted the search solution they return, the higher the overall quality of their product and the more popular their search engine will become. Providing quality content is vital for SEO success.

2. Keywords are your number one tools for achieving high rankings. You must understand keywords and how they work on the web. You must know how many searches are made each day for your chosen keywords. Sites like Wordtracker and Seobook will give you a rudimentary number of searches. Design your pages around your targeted keywords and don’t forget to do some deep-linking to these pages on your site. Find and build backlinks to these interior keyword pages and not just to your home page or domain URL. Picking keywords with medium to low competition has worked out well for me. So too has using the more targeted and higher converting “long-tail” keywords been very beneficial for me.

3. Onpage Factors and site design will play a major role in the spidering and indexing of your site/content. Make sure all your pages are SEO friendly, made sure all your pages can be reached from your homepage and no pages should be no more than three levels away from it – keeping a sitemap listing all your major pages makes the search engines happy. Make sure you have all your meta tags such as title, description, keywords… are all optimized. (Title = around 65 characters, Description = around 160 characters) Remember, your title and description should not only be keyword targeted but these are the first contact/impression anyone will see of your site – make sure you use them to draw and entice interested visitors to your site and content. Also make sure your title and URL are keyword matched for maximum effect. Having your major keyword in your Domain Name also helps, using a pike | to separate different elements of your title has helped my rankings, so too does having your keyword in the first and last 25 words on your pages.

4. Google will send you the most qualified traffic so concentrate the majority of your SEO efforts on Google. Don’t ignore Yahoo! or MSN but Google is king of search so give it the respect it deserves. With its new browser, Google’s influence will only grow stronger so you must optimize your pages for Google. Use Google’s Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics to fine-tune your pages/content for Google. I also use Google Alerts to keep up on my niche keywords and for comment link-building on the newly created pages Google is indexing.

5. Link Building is still the most effective way to boost your search rankings. Make sure you get backlinks from relevant sites related to your niche market and make sure the ‘anchor text’ is related to your keywords but don’t ignore the text and overall quality of the content linking to you. The anchor text is the underlined/clickable portion of a link. Don’t forget linking is a two-way street, make sure you link out to high quality, high ranked relevant sites in your niche.

6. Article Marketing is a well established method of getting quality back-links and it still works. Writing short 500 – 700 word informative helpful articles with your back links in the resource box is still very effective for getting targeted traffic and back-links. Longer articles have also worked for me and I use an extensive network of distribution including Submit Your Article, Isnare, The phantom writers… plus other major online sites. Don’t forget the whole element of blogging and RSS feeds in your article distribution. And always remember you’re also using these articles to pre-sale your content or products. Don’t forget to leverage sites like Squidoo, Hubpages… to increase your rankings and traffic.

7. Onsite Traffic Hubs have worked extremely well for me. These traffic hubs are whole sections of your site devoted to one sub-division of your major theme. For example, if you have a site on Gifts, then wedding gifts could be a separate section. This would be fully fleshed out with extensive pages covering everything dealing with wedding gifts – a self-contained keyword rich portion of your site on wedding gifts. Works similar as a sub-domain but I prefer using a directory to divide it up, such as yourdomain/wedding_gifts. (Most experts suggest always using a hyphen in your urls but underscores have worked fine for me.) Search engines love these keyword/content rich hubs but keep in mind you’re creating content to first satisfy your visitors.

8. WordPress blog software is extremely effective for SEO purposes. WordPress software is easy to install on your site even if you have no experience with installing server-side scripts. Besides search engines love these highly SEO friendly blogs with their well structured content and keyword tagging. I have at least one of these on all my sites to draw in the search engines and get my content indexed and ranked. I also use Blogger (owned by Google), Bloglines and other free blogs to help distribute my content.

9. Social Bookmark/Media Sites are becoming very important on the web. These include a whole range of social sites like MySpace, FaceBook, Twitter… media news sites like Digg, SlashDot, Technorati… you must get your content into this whole mix if you want to take full SEO advantage of Web 2.0 sites. You should be joining these sites and using them. It’s time consuming but it will keep you in the swing of things. One simple thing you must do is to put social bookmark buttons on all your pages so that your visitors can easily bookmark your content for you. You can use a WordPress plug-in or I like using a simple free site/service from Addthis.com which gives me a simple button to put on all my content.

10. Masterplan! Many webmasters and site owners forget to develop or have an overall masterplan/strategy when it comes to SEO. You must have an understanding of what SEO is and what it can do for you and your site. More importantly, you just don’t want SEO – you want effective SEO. In order to achieve effective SEO you must have three things: Relevance, Authority and Conversions.

First, your content/site must be relevant to the topic or niche area you’re pursuing – your content must fit in and be related to all the other sites in your niche. That’s why closely themed sites do so well in the search engines, they give only relevant content to what’s been searched for or discussed.

Second, your content/site must be perceived as an authority site on your subject or niche. Establish this authority position and the search engines will love you and your content. One way is to develop this authority, besides offering superior content, is to form links/partnerships with other perceived authority sites in your field. Always strive to make your site an authority site – tops in your niche – the one site everyone has to check before drawing or forming a conclusion.

Third, conversions should be your main goal of any SEO efforts because you want to convert your targeted traffic into site members, subscribers, buyers or just repeat visitors. If you’re into online marketing, conversions will be the most important element of the whole SEO process because you want buyers, not just visitors coming to your site.

Most of all, you must convince yourself Search Engine Optimization is not difficult, nor is it the equivalent of the online bogeyman as many would like you to believe. Used effectively, SEO can give you the targeted traffic you’re seeking, just follow some of the outlined steps/tactics listed above and you will have SEO working for you and your site in no time at all.

The author is a full-time online marketer who has numerous websites. For the latest web marketing tools try: http://www.bizwaremagic.com .