Improve WordPress SEO, User Navigation & Content Layout With Post Categories
Categories are normally assigned to WordPress Posts, not Pages , so we’ll focus on posts in this tutorial (if you are unsure about the difference between posts and pages, see our tutorial on WordPress Posts Vs WordPress Pages).
Even though WordPress is flexible enough to let you add new categories ‘on the fly,’ if you don’t plan your categories (and subcategories) properly, you will find it harder to keep your site organized and manageable as more content gets added to your site.
When configuring your permalinks, all you need to do is make sure that post categories are included in the URLs …
(Include categories in your permalinks)
This will automatically display search-engine friendly URLs with your categories (and subcategories) and post title keywords …
(Search-engine friendly URLs with categories and subcategories included)
Use An SEO Plugin
Installing an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO will not only improve the SEO of your content, it also lets you optimize your post categories, category archive pages, etc. …
(Optimize your post categories with an SEO plugin)
Adding category descriptions will display on some WordPress themes and can help to boost your content’s SEO …
(Category descriptions can help boost your content’s SEO)
Once your permalinks and SEO plugin settings are configured for your post categories, WordPress will then automatically start delivering you the SEO benefits of search engine-friendly URLs and better content indexing.
Improving User Navigation With Post Categories
Post categories can be used to improve user navigation on your WordPress site in different pages and different sections of your site, on site maps, menus, sidebar widgets, archive pages, even different RSS feeds.
Here, for example, are some of the ways you can help users navigate your content using post categories …
Adding a categories widget to your sidebar lets users find related content assigned to a category …
(Add a categories widget to your sidebar)
When users click on a category link on the categories widget, they are taken to a category archive page.
Category Archive Pages
Category archive pages group together all posts assigned to a category …
(Category archive page)
Breadcrumb Navigation Links
Breadcrumb navigation links display on some WordPress themes. Displaying categories in breadcrumb navigation links not only helps to improve user navigation, but also SEO …
(Display categories in breadcrumb navigation links)
Clicking on the category section of the breadcrumb link will take users to the category archive page.
If you use the Yoast SEO plugin and your WordPress theme does not support breadcrumb navigation links by default, you (or your website developer) will either need to edit your theme’s templates and add a snippet of code to display breadcrumbs, or choose a WordPress theme that supports features like breadcrumb navigation links (e.g. the Avada theme) …
Content Views is a free WordPress plugin that lets you organize, filter, sort, and display your content using different views and layouts …
(Use categories to display posts using different layouts)
The plugin is very easy to use and lets you create unlimited custom views and layouts without touching code.
The free version of the plugin provides 3 basic layouts (Grid, Collapsible list, Scrollable list). The comprehensive premium version (Content Views Pro) provides the basic layouts and a whole lot more, including many advanced features …
(Display your content using different views and layouts with the Content Views Pro plugin)
Although this tutorial focuses mostly on post categories, with Content Views Pro installed, you can create different views using posts, pages, and custom post types and filter these using a combination of different criteria including post categories, tags, publish date, post author, keywords, and custom fields.
You can also sort and organize your content using a wide range of methods, including post or page IDs, published date, modified date, drag & drop, post slug, comment count, menu order, custom fields, and even random sort (content displays in random order every time the page is refreshed) …
(Create customized views to display content on your WordPress site)
Views are created by selecting different options in the view-building form …
(Create different content views by selecting options)
You can live preview your content as you build or edit your views …
(Preview as you build)
After creating and saving your views, the plugin generates a shortcode which you can use to insert into your posts, pages, widgets, etc. …
(Use shortcodes to insert views into your content)
The Content Views or Content Views PRO plugin gives you complete control over how your content is grouped and displayed to visitors. Views are 100% mobile responsive and the plugin is optimized to help improve SEO.
For more details about using the plugin, check out the video below, visit the FREE version plugin page here, or check out the Content Views Pro website for a full list of features, comprehensive demo site, plugin pricing and FAQ section, and more.
(Overview of WordPress Content Views)
We hope that you have found the above information useful. Feel free to check out the tutorials on the demo view below …
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WordPress.com, the hosted WordPress service, offers loads of useful features to users that are lacking in the self-hosted version from WordPress.org. The self-hosted version of WordPress, however, is the preferred option for serious website owners and bloggers, as it puts them in complete control of their digital presence.
To learn more about the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, see this tutorial:
The Jetpack plugin brings many of the powerful security, traffic, and customization services and handy features available on WordPress.com to self-hosted WordPress sites into a well supported and integrated solution.
The plugin is constantly being updated. It currently provides more than 40 features, and most of these are free. We will cover many of these features and tools in more detail later in this tutorial.
Important – Before Installing Jetpack
Before installing the Jetpack plugin, you will need to set up an account with WordPress.com. If you run a self-hosted WordPress website or blog, you can set up a free WordPress.com account here.
After setting up your WordPress.com account, stay logged in and complete the step-by-step tutorial below to install and configure the jetpack plugin.
For this tutorial, we’ll install the free version of the Jetpack plugin, which you can do from your WordPress dashboard. We’ll discuss some of the premium features as we go through the setup process.
Installing The Jetpack Plugin
To install the Jetpack plugin, log into your WordPress site and select Plugins > Add Plugins from your main dashboard menu (if you need help see our tutorial on installing WordPress plugins).
Normally Jetpack will display on the main screen. If not, just search for “jetpack” in the Keyword search field.
Click on the ‘Install Now’ button to install the plugin …
(Install the Jetpack plugin)
After installing the plugin, click on ‘Activate’ …
(Activate the Jetpack plugin)
After installing and activating the plugin, you will be asked to connect Jetpack to your WordPress.com account. You should have already set this up. If not, you will be asked to set up an account before you can proceed.
Click on ‘Set up Jetpack’ …
(Connect Jetpack to WordPress.com)
You will be asked to agree to sharing details between your WordPress.com account and your WordPress site. Click ‘Approve’ to continue with your plugin setup …
(Complete your plugin setup)
Jetpack will then automatically authorize your connection and complete the plugin setup …
(Wait for the plugin to complete the setup)
After the plugin completes the setup process, go ahead and choose the ‘Free’ plan for now by clicking on the ‘Start with free’ button …
(Start with the ‘Free’ plan)
This will bring you back to your WordPress admin dashboard …
(Jetpack is now installed and ready to go!)
The Jetpack plugin is now installed and ready to go.
After installation, Jetpack recommends that you activate a number of features. We recommend ignoring this recommendation and only turning on the features you need.
Jetpack – Full List Of Features
According to the plugin’s documentation, here is the full list of features Jetpack makes available to users in its toolkit:
Comments: Replaces your default comment form with a new comment system that has integrated social media login options.
Comment Likes: Allows readers to like other comments to show their agreement, approval, or appreciation.
Contact Form: Lets you add a contact form to any post or page without giving out your personal email address.
Custom CSS: Lets you customize the appearance of your theme without creating a child theme or worrying about updates overwriting your customizations.
Custom Content Types: Adds custom post types like testimonials or portfolio items to your site.
Enhanced Distribution: Allows your content to be included in the WordPress.com “firehose” of public blog content.
Extra Sidebar Widgets: Adds extra widgets you can add to your site, including RSS Links, Twitter Timelines, and Facebook Like Boxes.
Gravatar Hovercards: Make your Gravatar profile visible to your site visitors.
Google Analytics: Track your WordPress site statistics using Google Analytics. (Premium feature)
Infinite Scroll: Pulls the next posts automatically into view when readers approach the bottom of your page.
JSON API: Authorizes applications and services to securely connect to your site and allows them to use your content or offer you new functionality.
Lazy Images: Makes your pages load faster by only loading visible images, waiting to load images that are offscreen as users scroll down.
Likes: Allows readers to show their appreciation for your posts with a single click.
Markdown: Allows you to compose posts and comments with links, lists, and other styles using regular characters and punctuation marks. Markdown is used by writers and bloggers who want a quick and easy way to write rich text without having to take their hands off the keyboard.
Mobile Theme: Jetpack’s Mobile Theme offers a way to make your site mobile-friendly if your current theme is not responsive or hasn’t been updated in a while.
Monitor: Alerts you via email if your site goes down.
Notifications: Allows you to receive notifications for new comments and Likes in your admin bar and on your mobile device.
Image CDN (formerly Photon): Provides faster delivery of your images via WordPress’ own content delivery network (CDN), resulting in less load on your host and faster images for your readers.
Plugin Updates: Allows you to choose which plugins on your site should update automatically.
Post by Email: Publishes posts to your WordPress site via email using any email client.
Proofreading: Checks your spelling, grammar, and written style prior to publishing.
Protect: Protects your site from traditional and distributed brute force attacks.
Publicize: Shares new posts on social media networks automatically, or schedule future shares with custom messages.
Related Posts: Shows contextual posts your visitors might be interested in reading after they’re done reading a current post.
Security Scanning: Provides a suite of Anti-virus, malware, and threat detection for your WordPress site with automated resolution. (Premium feature)
Search: Replaces your WordPress site’s built-in search feature with advanced search functionality. (Premium feature)
SEO Tools: Optimizes your site for search engines using a suite of SEO tools. (Premium feature)
Sharing: Adds sharing buttons to your posts so readers can easily share your content on social networks, via email, etc..
Shortcode Embeds: Lets you easily embed content from a range of external services into your own content, e.g. videos from YouTube, tweets from Twitter, and other media across the web.
Single Sign On: Uses your WordPress.com credentials to register for and sign into self-hosted WordPress sites quickly and securely.
Site Backups: Automatically backs up your entire WordPress site, including all your content, data, media, and WordPress settings. (Premium feature)
Site Stats: Lets you view site visits by date, as well as your most popular pages and posts, and more.
Site Verification: Lets you verify your site for use with Google, Bing, and Pinterest and their tools.
Sitemaps: Generates a sitemap with a list of pages to be indexed by search engines like Google or Bing.
Spam Filtering: Automatically filters out spam from comments, pingbacks, and contact form submissions. (Premium feature)
Subscriptions: Allows visitors to receive notifications of your latest posts or comments.
Tiled Galleries: Displays your image galleries in three different styles: a rectangular mosaic, a square mosaic, and a circular grid.
Enabling WordPress.com log in allows users to log into your site using their WordPress.com account. This feature also provides additional authentication options …
(Jetpack WordPress.com log in)
With the feature enabled, users are presented with the option of logging into your site using their WordPress.com account or their username and password.
(WordPress Login screen with WordPress.com log in feature enabled)
As well as the options displayed in the Jetpack Settings screen, the plugin automatically turns on additional features, which can be viewed from the Jetpack Dashboard.
Using The Jetpack Dashboard
To switch to the Jetpack Dashboard, click on the ‘Dashboard’ button at the top of the Jetpack Settings screen …
(Click on the Dashboard button)
You can also access the Jetpack Dashboard screen by selecting Jetpack > Dashboard from the main WordPress menu …
(Jetpack – Dashboard menu)
This brings you to the ‘Jetpack Dashboard’ screen …
(Jetpack Dashboard screen)
Here you can view your stats, security activity, and, depending on which plugin features you have enabled, other details about your site’s performance, users, etc. …
(Jetpack Dashboard Security activity)
As well as default site protection, some of the other features worth knowing about in the Jetpack security dashboard, include:
Activate the free Downtime Monitoring feature to receive automated email notifications if your website goes down …
(Jetpack Downtime Monitoring)
Jetpack Monitor is a useful feature to have enabled, as it will not only send you an email alert (or mobile notification) if it detects that your site is down (indicating that your server is not loading your site and may be experiencing issues) …
(Jetpack Monitor sends you an alert if your site goes down!)
Jetpack Monitor also notifies you when your site is back up and lets you know how long it was down for …
(Jetpack Monitor alerts you when your site is back up!)
Jetpack checks your site every five minutes from different locations around the world and sends your notifications by email and/or via mobile. You can also customize the email address where notifications are sent to.
Jetpack has a plugin autoupdate feature, which automatically updates plugins when a new version is released …
(Jetpack plugin autoupdates)
You can enable this feature for the plugins you choose, allowing you to manage installed plugin autoupdates individually …
With Jetpack installed on your site, you can seamlessly navigate between your WordPress.com dashboard and your self-hosted WordPress dashboard …
This allows you to manage not only your Jetpack plugin features, but all of your WordPress site’s options as well …
(Manage your site from your WordPress.com dashboard)
To return to your self-hosted site’s admin dashboard, scroll down to the botton of your WordPress.com dashboard’s menu and click on ‘WP Admin’ …
(Click WP Admin to return to your site’s dashboard)
View All Modules In One Page
Because Jetpack has grown to include so many tools and features over the years, the dashboard interface has been simplified with different modules grouped into separate tabs and the plugin activates its most useful modules by default upon installation, so these don’t appear in the primary settings interface …
(Jetpack Settings screen)
To view all Jetpack modules on one page, enter the URL below into your web browser (replace “[your-site-URL]” with your actual domain) …
This brings up all modules in one page and lets you know which are active or inactive …
(Control all Jetpack modules from one page)
Installing Jetpack adds many new widgets to your widgets area …
Jetpack also adds a useful ‘Visibility’ function to all WordPress widgets …
(Jetpack adds ‘Visibility’ to all widgets)
This function lets you specify whether to display or hide widgets from your sidebar based on conditions you set for a particular category, author, user. role, tag, date, or page …
(Set conditions to show or hide widgets)
To learn more about using WordPress widgets, go here:
(Access all plugin documentation on the official Jetpack website)
The plugin also comes with free basic support. Upgrading to one of the premium optionsgives users faster resolution to support questions …
(Search the plugin website for additional plugin information)
Upgrading To Jetpack Premium
You can do most things you will need using the free version of the Jetpack plugin. If, however, you feel you need any of the additional premium features (e.g. security, backups, etc.), then Jetpack offers users a range of affordable upgrade plans …
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In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to reduce “Bounce Rate” in Google Analytics without touching code.
Before we do this, however, let’s quickly review what bounce rate is and why it’s important.
What Is “Bounce Rate”?
Here is the official definition given by Google Analytics …
A ‘bounce’ is a single-page session on your site. In Analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session.
In simple terms, a ‘bounce’ happens when a visitor exits your website from whatever page they came in (called the ‘landing page’) without going to any other page on your site.
(Google Analytics – Bounce Rate)
Here is another excerpt from Google’s Analytics blog …
Imagine you’re promoting a blog post that describes all the benefits of your company. The visitor might read the whole post and remember your company and products really well – they might even search for your product on one of the search engines straight away. However, since the visitor only looked at 1 page (exactly where the blog post is) they will be recorded as a bounced visitor.
Another example is if you have a description of your product right on the landing page, and your phone number on the same page. The visitor might study the description and call straight away – again, they will be recorded as a bounced visitor, as only 1 page was viewed.
“Bounce rate” is one of the key metrics you can use to evaluate the quality of your traffic and your marketing strategy.
Google takes bounce rate into account when trying to decide how to rank your pages in its search results.
A high bounce rate can mean that:
Your site is not attracting the right type of visitors
Your site is not delivering a great user experience
Visitors aren’t finding your content to be relevant, enticing, or well-organized.
Visitors may feel confused about what to do when they land on your site and leave without going anywhere else on your site.
A high bounce rate, then, is something that needs to be addressed if you want to improve conversions. Your landing pages or content may need to be tweaked and your marketing strategy may need to be reviewed.
The lower your bounce rate, then, the better.
How To Reduce Visitor Bounce Rate
There are a number of ways to reduce bounce rate and improve conversions on your site.
For example, you can:
Target the right visitors (e.g. use the right keywords, better headlines, better meta descriptions, etc).
Improve the quality of your content (e.g. make it more compelling and engaging, add links to relevant posts and pages, etc.).
Make the content easier to read (e.g. clear sections, better formatting, sghorter paragraphs, bullet points, etc.)
Make your site easier to navigate (e.g. navigation menus in the header, footer, and sidebars)
Reduce distractions that will make visitors want to leave (e.g. don’t use annoying pop-up ads)
All of the above suggestions are things you can and should do over time to reduce bounce rate and improve conversions. There is, however, something you can do to start improving results immediately.
How To Reduce Bounce Rate – Quick Tip
Google Analytics calculates the time visitors spend on your site based on the length of time between when a user enters your site and their last page view.
This can affect your bounce rate stats.
For example, consider these scenarios:
A visitor lands on one of your pages and spends 3 minutes and 31 seconds reading your content. They then leave your site. Even though they spent time on your site, they never interacted with it. Google considers this a bounce and records this as 0:00 time spent on site.
A visitor lands on your site and spends 3 minutes and 33 seconds on the landing page, before visiting another page, where they stay for 3 minutes and 10 seconds. The visitor then leaves the site without any interaction on the page. Because Google doesn’t know how long the visitor stayed on the second page, it only records the time the visitor spent on the first page.
Google itself is aware of this issue and recommends fixing this using something they call “adjusted bounce rate,” where a small tweak is made to the Google Analytics code on your site.
Fortunately, someone in the WordPress developer community has solved this issue for non-techies by creating the plugin below.
Reduce Bounce Rate is a free plugin that tells Google Analytics every few seconds (default = 10 seconds) that a visitor is still on the page and that they are interacting with it. This will ‘unbounce’ your page and help Analytics reflect a truer picture of your site’s bounce rate and time on site …
That’s it! Add the plugin to your site and notice what happens to your bounce rate after a couple of days.
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