Blogging is more than creating new content. It’s also about maximizing, sustaining, and protecting what you already have. Paws for Reflection has been devoting tons of time to these issues this past year.
In January, Paws started participating in BlogPaws 10K page views per month challenge. This challenge led Paws down a rabbit hold, but not all paths came from the challenge.
First, we embarked on making Google Analytics work on Paws for Reflection. We had been making dumb mistakes, and it isn’t that easy to recognize them until you’ve righted your wrongs. We had thought Google Analytics was already installed and working. It took us the better part of a week to figure out how to get it working correctly.
Listing Most Popular Posts
We followed BlogPaws’ advise on listing our top 5 posts, and added a plug-in to point to our most read posts for the week. We found 3 always in the tops 3. They are:
- If you think your cat has had a stroke, get emergency care immediately
- How many cats can come about from one cat? Take pause before throwing out the numbers
- Static Electricity in cat’s fur easily charged.
The other two popular posts vary from week to week, but we found some that were on top more often than not. They are:
- Can cats be gay! We wonder and share the evidence
- Cats hear better than humans, but do they like our music?
- Savannah Cats look exotic, but they are not wild cats
We’ve learned that too many WordPress plugins slow down your site’s performance, but we couldn’t resist this one. If it accomplishes the goal of getting people to stick around and visit a few more pages, it’s worth 100 times its free cost.
Search Engine Optimization
While we thought we knew something about Search Engine Optimization, we found out Paws SEO wasn’t all that good, and we undertook learning how to maximize the use of the free version of the YOAST SEO plugin. Now making sure we have a green light in YOAST is an absolute MUSt before any blog post goes live. Now, we have to go back through hundreds of posts, but that will take a lot of time.
Security and Back-ups
Making sure security and back-ups were in place was a huge nut to crack. My plug-in for back-ups was going directly to my host site, a big NO, NO I learned last summer. When I did a Give-Away with Rafflecopter last July, I was shocked to find my site had been taken down. I had to pay my host $25.00 a month for SiteLock. They advised making sure my back-ups were someplace else, in a more secure area. Turns out back-ups on your host site are an invitation for hackers to try to get into your site.
After much frustration, and hours of research on WordPress, we found UpdraftPlus, a free plug-in. Now that we have it installed, we find UpdraftPlus is highly recommended (and the free version gives you all the backup you need). One great thing about it, it’s easy to restore your site. Just be sure to back-up your files and data base.
Replace WordPress Admin Username
As we started down the road of increased security, we found some other big issues that needed to be addressed.
- Replace the WordPress login admin with a more secure user name. It took a bit of time, but we successfully change the user name and have an unbelievably strong password. We found a plug-in that helped with the coding.
- We also added the Securri plug-in for additional security protecting us against malware and other bad stuff that can take down our blog.
- Putting a firewall on our site, but we haven’t done this yet (we need to find free services, and any suggestions here are welcome).
- The value of https, but the certificate comes with a cost, and we are still looking into this.
With all of our research, we found some very interesting Google information, which has changed the way Paws for Reflection blogs.
- Posts under 300 words aren’t counted by Google as legitimate blog posts, so if you are doing a photo post or a blog hop, you might want to keep this in mind.
- Google particularly likes https as it feels the site is more legitimate
- Lack of new content can count against your Google rankings. Paws felt this impact this summer, as we had been spending a lot of time focusing on fixing the issues noted above, and not posting much nw content.
- In YOAST SEO, you can change your description, and gain more traction and readership
- BlogPaws suggests optimizing and linking old posts to newer ones to get more traffic.
- Every Wednesday, WordPress posts a great new Security video on YouTube
Blogging is more than creating new content
As I can only blog part-time, I’ve been spending my time on the basics. I’ve still got a lot of work to do, but Paws can now devote more time to new content, optimizing what we have, and knowing its safe. Our next ventures include maximizing the use of HooteSuite to schedule posts on social media and using Tailwind more effectively on Pinterest. Somehow our Instagram account was taken down, and we’re starting all over. We also want to run a photo contest on our Facebook Page, Cats, Paws for Reflection.
We hope you found this information helpful, and we’d like you to share some of your most helpful blogging tips, for Security, Back-ups, SEO, or general all round time-saving tips. And if anyone has any links they could send me on how to do a successful photo contest, please share.