As of 9AM this morning, I officially joined the
ranks of the unemployed freelance community.
I’ve been keeping a radio silence this weekend to mull over and discuss the situation with a few trusted friends/advisors, and making sure I have everything in order. While TopSpot Internet Marketing has been nothing short of an excellent place to work and learn, my first love has always been my freelance gigs.
To the TopSpot friends I’ve made in my time there: Keep #winning. I’ve learned a lot from everyone there (and hey, maybe I taught someone a thing here and there). I couldn’t have asked for a better company to spend my time with. If you ever need anything, you know how to reach me.
There are two areas that I am specifically passionate about: WordPress and Search Engine Optimization. I like to think that I’m extremely talented in both areas. So, that is how I’ll be (and am) making my income, through providing WordPress-specific consulting and programming, and search engine optimization services.
I’ve got a great network of people that have inspired, helped, and pushed me to go for this goal, whether it’s been through an active interaction, or simply letting me observe them in their natural habitat. I won’t name names here, but thanks for letting me be a part of what you’re doing.
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with working for someone else, for the things that I want to do, a “normal job” certainly isn’t in line with those things. Other than working, I’ve set goals to do a few things: travel to a foreign country (I’ve never been outside of the US), be on a panel or a presenter at SXSW, help build the best WordPress Meetup Group ever, and get in better shape than I’ve probably ever been in. There are plenty of other goals, but these are certainly near the top of the list.
Questions? Feel free to ask me in the comments below.
I just thought it was fitting that I jot down a short post while sitting in the WordPress/Automattic Lounge area. I met the very knowledgeable Ian Stewart (he is on the theme team for WordPress.com). He gave some good insight on transferring a .com theme to a regular hosted installation (I’ll cover this in more detail at some other point).
Additionally, he alluded to something very interesting around the concept of local WordPress meet up groups, much like the one I’m a part of here in Houston. Hopefully, with enough input from the folks on the ground (us), and the network and reach of the WordPress entity, we’ll start to see a more unified and cohesive message between the user groups.
WordPress is an excellent CMS for building easily edited and updated websites. It also has a well-structured architecture that performs reasonably well and is mostly well-optimized for search engines. However, depending on your use of WordPress, there are a few tips to keep in mind when building your WordPress website.
Well Written Content
Without decent content on a page, getting a page to rank organically is an extremely tough and often fruitless endeavor. Simply stuffing keywords has been proven countless times to cause a page to perform very poorly, and provides no real value to a human who finds your page. The best rule of thumb is to write for people first, and fill their need before considering any SEO implications.
Use An SEO-Optimized Theme
The core of WordPress is pretty good by itself when it comes to structuring content for SEO considerations. However, the bulk of the work falls upon the theme (also called a “template”). Many of the more common frameworks (like Genesis and Thesis) are very well constructed and perform very well in respect to SEO. Some even have configurable settings dedicated to common parameters that may need to be tweaked for optimization purposes.
Use An SEO Plugin
While the optimization of many of the popular theme frameworks is fairly well thought out, there are many important details that the theme simply cannot control. Robots.txt files, .htaccess editing, and XML sitemap files are all important for proper crawling and indexation. Most of the better SEO plugins for WordPress (Yoast’s WordPress SEO, SEO Ultimate, and Platinum SEO) can control these natively. If you prefer another SEO plugin that cannot access these settings, there are tons of standalone plugins for each of these functions.
There are thousands of SEO tools and plugins available, but keeping these three simple tips will be a great start to optimizing your WordPress blog or website for SEO.
Using WordPress as a CMS
- Rapid Development
- Reusable Code
- Thesis for simple stuff, Genesis for more complex sites.
- In Thesis, custom loops are bad.
- Custom taxonomies and BuddyPress would great with Genesis.
- Core theme and child themes – Core can update function without messing with child theme’s form.
Custom Post Types
- Job Listings, Products, Portfolio Items
- Create Post Type themes for each different type.
- Custom taxonomies can refine where contain is and should be located.
- Useful, but often overused.
- Use only where content should repeat on all pages.
Multiple Content Areas
- WordPress is limited to one content area.
- Can retool unused header tags to force content into new div.