Quick Blog Usability (and SEO) Improvements

Making your wordpress blog a little more useful to both humans and machines (and kittehs?) is important for both keeping site visitors and encouraging natural search engine traffic.

Here are some improvements I recommend, that I recently added to the Couchcast website :

  1. Archives Page:
    Make sure you have an archives page in your menu bar. This should list the posts you’ve made in a way easily readable and hotlinked to the files on your site.
  2. Tags Page:
    For the same reason as the archives page, if you use tags (strongly recommended) to create groupings of content on-the-fly as you post, posting a tag cloud page or other tag listing is a smart move to help people find your content.
  3. Update your 404 Error page:
    Have more information on your 404 page than just “NOT FOUND” which is website speak for “You’re  stupid and we don’t like you”. A search box, your archives and tags are a great idea. Oh, and make the error text a little more human, too.
  4. Can Google and Yahoo even see your website?
    You need to make sure Google, Yahoo and the other search engines know your website exists and can SEE the files inside it! These steps include getting your site submitted to the search engines, and then ensuring your Robots.txt file is not prohibiting content from being indexed (which couchcast’s was!). Also, if you use WordPress, I recommend the Sitemap Generator plugin from Arne Brachhold.
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