By working together we can make a big splash with your clients.

Improving your SEO by Improving your Site Structure

Improving your SEO by Improving your Site Structure

The most important aspect of site structure is user friendliness. Your website should be structured in such a way that your audience can easily find what they are looking for on your website.

Site structure is an important element as well as a challenge in Search Engine Optimization strategy. Since search engines crawl through your site by following links, the structure of your website is a very important aspect of SEO.

I was considering going to “Top Golf” with some friends. The cost of the game was part of our decision whether to go or not. I looked on their website. It had locations. I picked one. It told me how much it costs to reserve a VIP slot, how much it costs to reserve a bay, but not how much it costs to play a game. Eventually, I gave up and picked another activity. The link may be hidden in their site somewhere, but I have no idea how to find it.

  1. The importance of Site Structure
  2. Thinking about Structure
  3. How to incorporate or improve site structure
  4. How to maintain site structure


A. Why is website structure important?

many random pages

Once upon a time I knew an alcohol researcher named Jan. Jan was an executive in her organization who was an expert in her topic. She needed some work related help at her home, and so I offered to go over there. I discovered something very interesting. Every surface in Jan’s living room was covered with printed research articles. Some were hers, but many were written by other experts in her field. There might have been a few hundred articles in Jan’s living room.  Jan knew where all her articles were, but I had no way of knowing. The only way that I could know is to go through them one by one. It could have taken weeks.

That is what it is like for a search engine to try and navigate the content on your website.

1. The structure of your website is critical for the user. If the content is not organized, it is impossible to find it.

What if Jan had organized her articles into topics and labelled them with sticky post-it notes? All articles related to a topic such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome would be placed in a single pile. DUI could be another pile. If Jan had done that, it would be easy for me to find her articles and there would also have been more space in her living room. Maybe even space for her to sit down…

2. Site structure is important for the search engines.

It gives them important clues and links to your content.

What do search engines do?

robotic search engine spiderA search engine has

  1.  a crawler, spider or bot
  2.  an index
  3.  an algorithm

The search engines store every single item they have found in a huge database known as the index.

In the early days of the internet, you had to submit a site to a search engine so that it would know that the site exists. Google was the first search engine to create the spider or crawler. The crawler follows links from one site to another. Once it finds a link, it will follow it to that website. Then it crawls that site and all the links and saves the data in its index. When there is a change, then the search engine saves those changes. It crawls the pages periodically to check for changes. If there are a lot of links to the site the search engine crawls it more frequently. If there are fewer visitors (links) to the site, the search engine crawls the site less frequently.

Now that the search engine knows about the site and the links on the site, it can serve these results on search engine results pages when users type in queries.

Networks: many networks contain your keywords

The problem is that when the user types in a query or uses voice search to query, there are millions of other pages with those search terms and that presents a lot of competition for any website. The search engine determines which of the thousands or millions of results is the most relevant. This is where the algorithm comes into play. The search engines have a secret mathematical formula that determines which page will answer the query the best.

The significance of the story is that search engines follow links. Included in those links are internal links to pages and posts within your website. If there are a lot of links to a page, the search engine will crawl it often. If there are few links, it will not crawl it often.  It interprets pages with many links as important. Taking that into account, consider the website structure as a guide for the search engines.

B. Think about site architecture

Let’s return to our story of Jan. How could she differentiate the important articles from the other articles? If she put the important articles on the top of each pile, she would see those first.

When you organize your website think about which pages are important?

Think about what you want the user to do once they reach that page?

What is it that makes your website so special and why you put that up in the first place?

Think about your mission.

What do you want people to find?

If you could show me 5 pages on your website, which would you choose?

We call those cornerstone articles. They should be lengthy informative articles. They could also be products, important sales pages, or informational pages.  These pages should be landing pages. There should be sufficient context to understand who you are and what you are trying to do. They should have action items on them for the user.

Make conscious decisions about which articles you want at the top of your pile. Incorporate those pages in your other content so that search engines will know that they are important.

C. How to Incorporate Site Organization

The cornerstone articles should have the most internal links pointing towards them. The links cannot be random. They have to be in context and the topics have to be relevant. If you do not already have related content, you need to write a lot of different niche articles related to that broader topic. The niche articles should include search terms that are less competitive. If the search engine finds the little niche articles (known as long tailed articles) and they contain a link to the main topic (the head article), that will help with the rank for the main article. The main article will become cornerstone content.

For example, if Jan had a website and she was trying to rank for the term “alcohol”, it would be extremely difficult since there is so much competition for that term. However, if she had niche articles about FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) and Interlock Devices in cars to prevent DUI that had links to her article on Alcohol, then she would find it easier to rank for FAS and Interlocks and ultimately show the search engines and the users the links to her Cornerstone content on Alcohol.

D. Maintain the site structure

Whilst you are working on your marketing strategy, you should also add blog posts to your site. Over time, you probably have lots of articles. Your site becomes cluttered and you might have several posts on similar topics with the same or similar key words. Search engines consider that to be duplication. The search engines will see the different posts all using the same keyword.  It confuses them. It does not know which article to show. The search engine considers the two similar articles with the same or similar keywords to be competing.  It demotes both the articles. This is known as keyword cannibalization because unknowingly you are competing against yourself. Each of the articles is “eating” the other.  If you are not sure if you are suffering from keyword cannibalization then in the search engine enter the term. search terms

Example : site: prices

Change the url and search terms for your own. If there are many articles with the same keywords, then you should change that. Link from all the less important pages to the most important page. That way the search engines will understand that the topics are similar but one is more important. What should you do if they are equally important? Combine the articles and make one long article. Before you delete one article, make sure that you redirect the user to the new article. If you delete a post or page, always redirect so that the search engine does not serve a ‘404’ (Not found) code on your website. If the user comes to a 404 page, they realize that they have reached a Dead End. You can help them find what they are looking for by providing a site map. This may prevent them from clicking away.

Make sure that your mission is reflected in the site structure. Your headlines, taglines, content and images should reflect your mission so that people have no doubt about what you sell or are trying to tell them.

Continue to add content and revisit old content.

Control your site structure and improve it.

Voice Search Engine Optimization

Voice Search Engine Optimization

If you wanted to answer a general knowledge question like the name of the current Google CEO or your local house representative, how would you search for the information?

  1. Would you type it into your electronic device?


  1. Would you ask Alexa, Siri, Cortana or Google?


According to Forbes by 2020 half of all search engine queries will be made by voice search.  Even if that figure is a little optimistic, it still means that a huge chunk of searches on search engines will be made with voice in the near future. Mobile Marketer claims that there will be a huge surge and the number of voice assistants will jump to threefold their current rate. Bright Local claim that 58% of users have used voice search to find information about a local business. As business owners or bloggers we should be asking ourselves :

  • Who is using the technology and what devices are they using?
  • What search engines are providing voice search results?
  • Is there a way for us to become early adopters and incorporate this concept into our website?
  • What does the Return on Investment look like?

Who is using Voice Operated Search Queries?

According to Path Interactive Research some demographics are adopting faster than others. The age groups that have the largest amount of voice queries are 13-18, and 45-54. The most surprising detail is that people over the age of 64 use voice search 1-3 times a day.

What devices are used for Voice Engine Searches?

Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa results are provided by Bing. Google powers the Google Assistant.

How can I measure voice search data on my website?

The short answer is you can’t.

Voice searches on mobile search widgets and apps are being recorded in Google Analytics and Safari devices as “direct” vs organic. Similarly, visits from Google voice search sources (Assistant, Home, and Google Siri) and voice searches from Bing-powered devices like Alexa and Cortana are also recorded as “direct”. If you see a surge in “direct” traffic on pages of your site, aside from your Home Page, it may be from these searches.

How can I target Voice Search Engine results on my website?

    1. You can do some keyword research, however according to Moz blog  people are searching with phrases and not single words. Many people are asking for directions, and 22% are asking for local content or “near me”. Neil Patel had a great suggestion on how to deal with this kind of search using Answer the Public .  It provides a question graph.
    2. Create blog posts answering the questions that apply to your topic. Try to include a natural language question with a longer query phrase and provide an answer. Listen to the questions that potential clients ask and attempt to include those on your website. That is the information that people are looking for.
    3. You can add a Frequently Asked Questions page, and the more information that you offer, the more likely it is that your content will be featured in the search results. This is why a blog post on the question is recommended in addition to a question and answer paragraph.
    4. Claim your Google My Business listing. Make sure that the correct business category has been selected since Google will use it to direct traffic to your site. Check that the address is updated if you have a brick and mortar store and include pictures of the business. All businesses can put in a phone number and business hours. Request that clients give you reviews.
    5. Search Engines have robots that scan our websites. If we want to be featured on these search engines, we need to communicate with them and feed them information in a format that they can process in addition to being user friendly for humans. We can provide the search engines with the data that they need by using tools like:
      • Applying Schema markup or structured data.
      • Submitting a sitemap to the search engines.
      • There is a file on all sites called robots.txt. Sometimes people do not set it up correctly, and it can block the search engines from searching the site.
      • Google search engine has rolled out a new feature where people can click from an image to a website, so I would provide a link to the page or blog post from the images that I use.
    6. Is your website mobile responsive?  Use the Google Page Insights to check .
    7. Does your web page load quickly? People simply do not have the patience to wait around, so your site should load within 2 seconds on mobile.
    8. Test Voice Readiness . This tool gives you an estimate what results you would receive if you were using devices like Google Home Assistant or Alexa. It works for local businesses only, not for general information or products.

Unfortunately, since the tools to measure the effectiveness of voice search result optimization are yet to be developed, it is difficult to measure whether applying new strategies is effective or economical. The tactics mentioned here will also help with general search engine optimization (SEO) and implementing these suggestions is likely to improve traffic.

I recommend that you plan to target voice engine optimization in your marketing budget. As an early adopter, you are more likely to gain an edge.


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5 Items to Fix on your Website



Search engine optimization is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine. SEO refers to the improvement of unpaid results and excludes direct traffic/visitors and the purchase of paid placement.




What is SEO?

It is an abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization and usually refers to the unpaid results that a search engine serves a user who enters a query. SEO is important because improves the online presence and traffic for a website.

Publishing a website is not enough. The search engines have crawlers or robots that scan the websites and store the data in a database called an index. If someone types in a search query into the browser, the most relevant answer will be provided. The way that the search engines decide which website should feature is determined by a mathematical algorithm that takes multiple factors into account. Most of this information is not shared with us. However, there is some information that is made public and it is these parameters that we attempt to comply with in order to rank better.

Generally speaking we need to bear two factors in mind. The people visiting the site are humans and we should make it as easy as possible for them to navigate the website and find what they are searching for. We need to give them the best user experience possible. The search engines are robots and they understand our website as code. There are specific markers that they are looking for that are intended to make it easier for a human to find our website. If we give the search engine what it is looking for, we have a better chance of showing up in the results. The search engines are also looking to provide a better user experience, so as the algorithms improve, the sites that are less spammy and provide more valuable information are more likely to be promoted.
Google search engine has made it very clear that they reward sites with higher search engine rankings when you provide users with a better overall experience.

If your business offers products or services,  then your potential clients also need help finding answers to questions about those products and services. Anticipating those questions and providing content to help answer them can help you to establish an ongoing relationship with your target audience.

Irrespective of the nature of your website, the visitor is there to seek information. Lars Erik Larson of  provides valuable insight into how the content should be structured and the different content elements.

Once you understand these elements, you can easily optimize any webpage.

— Lars Erik Larson

SEO Issues

Fixing Duplicate Content

Many sites suffer in their rankings because they are attempting to feature for certain terms and publish duplicate content. Sometimes there is good intention, but the search engines do not understand that in a human manner and they see it as a form of plagiarism. If you intentionally have duplicate content, then mark one of the duplicate pages as the original content. That way you acknowledge that it is duplicated and that this duplicate should not be indexed. Check your site regularly and if you have duplicate keywords or articles, fix it.

Short, yet descriptive URLs

Sometimes people forget to set up the url of their blog post correctly and it comes out with an id number instead of a title or title and date. A short descriptive url is easy to remember and easy for search engines to find.

Page or Product Titles

One of the most important aspects of on-site optimization is the title of the page, blog post or product. The key words should be included in the page title.

Description and keyword meta tags

The meta tags are messages to the search engine relaying a short description and topic about your page. This description is used to display the snippet that is displayed on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). I think of it as an elevator pitch because frequently this will determine whether the user will click on the link or not.

Schema Markup

For certain industries where the data in the website follows a uniform structure, it is worthwhile to research and implement the proper schema markup. Schema is a data markup tagging mechanism developed by a consortium of search engines to help them better understand complicated data. Examples include bed and breakfast properties with markup for a title, description, price, amenities. There is a standard structure to this data that is repeated by all vendors in this market.

Make it easy to navigate your web site and find what you offer with a simple and logical structure. The rule of thumb is to not have more than 7 navigation tabs across the top and that each tab should not be more than 3 levels deep. If you have a large website you might like to have a Site Map page. If it is small, then a site map in the footer will suffice. In general do not use animations for the navigation menu that increases the time the user has to wait until the page loads. Make it easy for search engine spiders and humans to find the content.


The higher a website ranks for keywords, the more traffic it will receive. The more keywords your website ranks for and the higher they rank, the more often your brand is visible to potential customers.

Before performing any SEO it is necessary for your SEO professional to help you to set goals for the site. The most basic goal is to rank for a set of keywords. Ranking for the most popular keywords in your industry is probably challenging because it is highly competitive. Secondly, we are aiming at providing quality to the user and therefore if we aim towards a specific niche we are more likely to provide what the user is looking for, and also more likely to perform in the search engine results page. Attempting to rank for a more specific set of keywords is more likely to create a conversion for your website. When starting out a mixed set of keywords that are low, mid-level and highly competitive, is recommended. It may take several months to get ranked for any of these. Initially, the proportion of highly competitive words should be smaller.

Optimize your site structure in order to gain traffic for the more competitive keywords.

There are SEO tools that check the keywords and the likelihood that you would be able to compete for these. The first stop is the search engine that provides information. For example here is a search that I ran for Mars:

Search Engine Results Page showing Mars

Note that the sentence located underneath is the meta description (Elevator Pitch).
As my search becomes more specific, I get about a third of the previous result:
Specific search for Mars rings

The era of no-click search results

Often people find the information that they are looking for in the rich featured results provided by the search engine and do not click through. For example when I searched for Mars moon, the search engine told me that they were called Phobos and Deimos. That was all that I needed to know, so I did not click through.

A part of the ranking in search engines is designated to internal links within your own site. The question is whether a piece of content that you are writing or keyword refers to something that you wrote in the past? That is the ideal case to provide an internal link. The idea here is to be helpful to the user in order to enable her to elaborate on a topic if she chooses. In some cases, it may be worth writing new content to facilitate this process.
Remember that search engines follow links. You can provide these links in order for additional content to be found on your website.

Do you have content that is worth linking to? If you have something that is unique, helpful and informative that is not found on millions of other websites, it may be worthwhile to link to your content.

Check whether there are professional organizations, directories or industry related sites that might benefit from having a link.

Research similar organizations that you can approach to add a link to your content.

Consider paid directories that will publish your link.

Organizations like Chambers of Commerce will publish your url along with the other members and that provides a quality link.

Lastly, if you are an industry expert, you could write original articles for other organizations that will provide a link to your website.

Optimizing your website

1. The url’s, titles, meta descriptions and keywords should be included in every page, blog post or product.
2. Use Headings and sub-headings on your pages. Headings (H1-H6) can and should be thought of as titles and subtitles (or headings and subheadings), and should be used appropriately. The title is always H1 and there should only be one H1 per page. The other heading levels should only be used in sequence. An H4 header should not be used before an H3 header is used on the page.
3. Provide well written, user-centric content
When writing content, the most important thing is to make sure it is of high quality, unique, useful and entertaining. There should be something that sets it apart from the other pages on the Internet that cover the same topic. If your content is not unique it will not feature in search results. Avoid overstuffing keywords and focus on the quality of the content provided.
4. Use lists with numbers and bullet points. Many people do not read the text. They read the headings and bullets.
5. Include internal links. If you link to external content, message the author of that content and let him know that you have provided a link.

Website SEO Audit

An SEO audit can come in varying levels of detail and complexity. It is a report of the organic SEO health of the website using multiple analysis tools. It includes topics that have been addressed and topics that need to be tackled. A simple website audit can be as short as a few pages long, and would address glaring on-page issues such as missing titles, and lack of content. On the other end of the spectrum, a comprehensive website SEO audit will be comprised of dozens of pages (for most larger sites it will be over one hundred pages) and address even the smallest details of website elements which may be potentially detrimental to the ranking-ability of a website.

Preparing the audit and implementing the recommendations are two separate projects.
It is important to realize that once the recommendations in the audit have been implemented, there is no guarantee that the website will appear in the first page of search results. Search engine optimization results take time, and require ongoing maintenance in order to produce reliable, and stable rankings.

The SEO audit should be based on white hat (in compliance with Google and Bing guidelines) techniques and provide users with guidance that will help make their website a step closer to being search engine friendly.

Implementing the guidelines is not a magic solution to ranking issues. In order for a website to rank it is necessary to have professional ongoing work performed and to track the data consistently.

SEO: Search Engine Optimization
SERP : Search Engine Results Page
Meta desription: a short summary of your web page that shows up in the Search Engine Results Page. I compare it to an elevator pitch because often this is what determines whether the user will click on your link.

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The Brave New Blogger : Me

The Brave New Blogger : Me


Blogging is a great way to grow your audience and attract people to your website. No matter if you are marketing a product or blogging for personal interest, you don’t want to have a “Halloween site” that people see once and never again.  The question is how to attract people to your site? If you are waiting for Google to tell them, you are very optimistic. Blogging is one of the ways to tell the search engines that you have new content on a static site.

Most of us are not natural born bloggers. It is something that starts out with trepidation and evolves over time. Writing an effective post requires not only motivation and creativity, but also strategy. Documenting your strategy will help you become an effective blogger and save your valuable time.

Recently I was reading an article on Content Marketing. Content Marketing strategies often overlap with blogging. This is what it said:

Most of the time, the content creation process it pretty simple. It looks like this:

  1. Pour a cup of coffee.
  2. Sit down at your computer.
  3. Think about a topic to write about.
  4. Write.
  5. Click publish.
  6. Go back to what you were doing before creating content.
  7. Repeat next week.

What happens when the coffee is finished and the page is empty?

It’s easy to read about the steps.

Finding a topic is often a challenge.

A blog is meant to educate and excite your audience. The question is what do they want to know?

There are a few ways of finding out.

In this post, we will explore options to come up with good topics for our blog, discuss effective strategies and the structure of a blog post.

Finding a topic

I often feel a sense of despair when looking for a topic. Here are some ideas to inspire you.

1. Talk to people

In the course of your conversation listen to see what questions people have and what information they are looking for. What answers did you provide in your conversation? What should people ask you, but don’t ask?

2. Share your learning journey

Think about topics you want to learn about or wanted to learn about in your journey. Never assume that your audience are experts. They may know less that you do.

3. Controversial topics

Write down controversial opinions that excite you.

4. Use Social Media

Some bloggers look at Quora for questions that people ask. I like Reddit. The question is where are your audience spending time on social media? What questions are they asking there? Look at the threads with lots of comments.

Nannette Minley, a marketing strategist recommends using a tool called Answer the Public

Take notes. Keep a journal of ideas that inspire you.

A great source of topics is questions that my clients ask me.

In fact that is what led to this post.


Writing your blog post

Let us assume that you have found a topic.

The next challenge is how to begin writing your blog post?

I like to do a brain dump of ideas on my topic, then go and see what others have said or check Wikipedia in order to make sure that I haven’t left out important details that would help them.

A blog is a way of developing a relationship with your audience. Do you use academic style writing language when you talk to people? Write the way that you speak! In fact, once you know what you want to write about, create a Google Doc (free with a Google Account), press the microphone icon and just talk into the Google Doc. Your voice will be transcribed into text.


What happens if you did all of that, and your page is still empty?


You can read something that someone else wrote and write your own take on the topic. If you find something valuable, first make a note of the link so that you can refer back to it. If there is a question that you can expand upon, write about it in your own voice.

99.9% of bloggers are not awesome on day 1.
Their awesomeness is the accumulation of the value they create over time.

– Darren Rowse


There is one way of become a great blogger. Write. A LOT. Writing may be compared to other creative processes: the more you do it, the better you become. Inspiration and finding your own style are only part of the equation. The other part is technique.

Abandon the critics

Starting a blog or writing process can be a little nerve wracking. We are each our own worst critic. Then, there are the external critics that comment on our posts… the ones that are not selling performance enhancing drugs…Hey, but guess what? You can approve and disapprove your comments. There is a delete button on your comments. If you don’t like them, delete. Just don’t stop what you set out to do! Don’t hide under the table! Carry on writing…

Your unique voice

The only way that your blog post can differ from a million other posts on the web on the same topic is if you find your own inner voice where you are not afraid to express your opinion. People will connect with you on a personal level and might even feel like they know you because they read your posts.

But wait! We are not ready to hit the publish button yet! We are writing in order for people to read our stuff. In order for them to find it easy to follow, we need to take care of some technical housekeeping first….


Planning Content – reader’s journey

  • Who are your audience?
  • What do they want to know?
  • What options do they have?
  • How can they evaluate their options?
  • Recommend a solution.

This may be called the reader’s journey.


Who are your audience?

This is a topic that many bloggers skip and can be critical to your writing style. We don’t talk to grandma in the same way that we talk to our colleagues. In the same way that we differentiate in our daily conversation, it is important to apply the same strategy in our blog. It is important to be very specific in defining your audience persona in order to reach the right people.

What do they want to know?

 Understand the Problem and Gather Information

Think about something significant that you want to purchase. Like a bike. How do you go about that? First you do some research on bikes to check what’s on the market. Then you decide what features you want for your bike. Then you look at prices and try to match the features with the budget that you have. Read up about the quality of the product that you are interested in. Learn how to judge if it is good for you. Finally you make a choice and buy the bike.

When you structure your content, think about your audience’s journey so that they can easily follow the information that you are sharing with them. Where is your audience in this journey?

Write down some headlines, sub headings and topics that you want to address in order to provide a logical solution to your audience. If you are offering a product, attempt to explain what your approach is and how it is beneficial.


Keep to a structure in your writing

Write a captivating introduction.

You have only a few seconds to grab the reader’s attention. You can tell a joke, be empathetic or surprise them with an interesting fact of statistic.

You then explain how the post will address the problem and inform the reader. Give your audience a reason to stop scrolling and read on.

Write engaging headlines

Most people skim an article before they read it. Many people only ever read headlines, lists and look at images. They never read the text of a post.

Use a tool like aminstitute to check the emotional appeal of your headline.

CoSchedule also has a tool to optimize headlines:

Use document formatting to break up the content.

Headings, subheadings (h2, h3 tags), lists, images/personal photos, bold, italicize, short paragraphs, and other formatting can help with the overall reading experience.



End with key take aways or some kind of summary.

Some people skip to the end and read that first.


CTA – Call to Action

What do you want your audience to do after they have read your post? Like? Share on Social Media? Comment?

Remember to ask them to do that. You are more likely to get a response.


Add Categories and Tags

Remember that if you publish a post without a category, it will show up as uncategorized.

I think of categories like chapters in a book, and tags may be compared to the index at the back of the book. If someone was searching your website, how would they search for your post? Help them out!

Read over your post again.


Blogging helps visibility

Review Comments

If you are posting on your website, remember to review and approve the comments that you like, and delete the unsuitable comments. Remember to close the comments on the site after a specific amount of time.

Whether you are posting on your personal blog/website or social media, please remember to respond when people post. If it is on Facebook, respond or “like” comments. On your blog, thank people for responding. It will encourage them to interact with you in the future.


Additional Content Types

Blogging is not the only way to connect with your audience. There may be additional techniques that work for as well or better for you, such as:

  • How to/ Tutorials
  • Interviews
  • Vlogs – video blog
  • Research
  • Product reviews
  • Opinion pieces
  • Comparisons
  • Stories
  • Webinars or Podcasts


Common Best Practices


# Be Helpful First

If you motivate and educate the reader, they will want to connect and come back for more.

# Be Authentic

Write to a specific audience in your own voice.

# Create Easily Consumed Content

People are busy. If you can make it easier to understand with a video, diagram or audio file you will make it easier for them to follow you.

Don’t write a blog post with thousands of words because it will rank better if you can write the same thing in a hundred words. People will respect you for your brevity and clarity.

# Make Your Post Easy to Consume

Use Document Structure and formatting. Add images, diagrams, videos and other forms of media to keep it interesting and simple.


Wrap Up

The purpose of this post was to offer you tips on how to start writing your blog posts, some strategies that will help you shorten the blogging process and reach a wider audience.  Strategy is key to differentiating yourself from a brain-dump writer.


What techniques do you use that are effective?



Choosing a WordPress Theme

Choosing a WordPress Theme

What is a WordPress Theme?

“A WordPress Theme is a collection of files that work together to produce a graphical interface with an underlying unifying design for a weblog. These files are called template files. A Theme modifies the way the site is displayed, without modifying the underlying software.
A WordPress theme provides all of the front end styling of your WordPress site.”

The WordPress Codex

I like to think of it as the skin and makeup of a site.

Most WordPress themes provide:

  • the design or style of your site
  • font styling options
  • colors
  • widget locations such as sidebar and footer
  • page design layouts (sometimes referred to as templates)
  • blog posts and blog archives styles
  • additional features

What is the best way to choose a theme?

Ask experienced people.

I asked some of the staff from Automattic and their unofficial answer was

“Look for well-established and supported themes that are well known in the industry such as Genesis, Beaver Builder, Avada, Astra. Don’t go to the theme vendors.” ?

I looked on their website that lists many options.

The list of options is so vast that it is difficult to know what to choose.


– Make a list of Essential features or functions that you need.

Theme features

This may include columns, layouts, sidebars, footers, and navigation bars.

– Consider purchasing a Premium Theme

There are many free themes available for people that are on a budget. Automattic (the makers of WordPress) offer several options. If you pay for the theme, then you can get support from the developers and there is more of a chance of it being properly updated. In some cases the developer will abandon the theme completely. Sometimes free themes contain malicious code when downloaded outside of the WordPress repository.

If I consider purchasing a premium theme vs hiring someone to build something for me, the cost is minuscule. Great Value!

Theme Frameworks

Some themes like Genesis provide a very basic layout and in order to gain the effect that you want, you will need to purchase an additional Child Theme also known as a framework ( for example Genesis by Studiopress).

– Avoid Bloated Themes

A theme that is cluttered with features that you don’t use will slow down your website.

– Pick a Responsive Theme

In search engine optimization (SEO) we build for mobile first since many people will never view your site on a desktop. As we know, Google rolled out a mobile-first update that prioritizes sites that are mobile friendly. Check that your theme looks good on mobile devices. Google even offers a free mobile-friendly testing tool to check whether the theme  is mobile-friendly.

– Pick a Theme with Clear Legible Fonts

Some themes come with very small light fonts. Is that something that you can change or will people have to squint to read your site?

– Easy Customization

Is the theme user friendly? The customization options vary from theme to theme and by changing a few features, you should be able to create diverse layouts without any knowledge of coding.

– Pick a Theme that loads quickly

Website speed today is one of the most significant factors affecting conversion rate. Most people abandon a site that takes more than a few seconds to load.

Here’s what I look for:

  1. How long has the company/developer that built the theme been established?
  2. Does the theme have reviews? How many reviews?
  3. How many people have installed the theme?
  4. What does it look like on mobile?
  5. Does it work on all browsers?
  6. View the support forum. Are there responses for the tickets/questions?
  7. Do a preview of the theme if it is available. If not try to figure out which websites are using it.(The support forum might help.)
    • Check if the theme has a preloader – that is something in lieu of the hour glass that you  see on the screen while the rest of the page’s content is still loading. If the theme has one, the site will be slow.
    • Do a speed test on the theme demo and if possible on websites that use it. If the Home page is extremely long, it may not be the best page to pick.
    • If you have a copy of the theme, you can download a plugin that will help you test it – called Theme Check
  8. If you need the theme for a specific purpose like a realtor site, either pick a theme that specifically targets your needs or a basic theme that can be adapted to many purposes. (I like Beaver Builder and Divi.) If you have a multipurpose theme also known as a bloated theme, it will take time to load all the elements available on your website that are not being used. For example, if you are not doing ecommerce, do not load Woocommerce.

Translation & Multilingual Ready

NOTE! The basic WordPress installation is free of charge and comes in multiple languages. You can select the language you want to use for your installation.

All the WordPress default themes include all the languages and are free. These themes are Twentyseventeen, Twentysixteen, etc.

If you need a theme in a language that is not English, look for the language that you need. If you need a language that is read and written from right to left look for RTL in the theme documentation. Make sure that you look at an example of a site with the theme in an RTL language. You can check 

 .mo files for translation: That means the theme is translated and you have control over the terminology used – you can change it.

WPML: That means that you can do the translation.

Some themes don’t have the language in the description, however when you check the support forum, you may find that someone has used it successfully.

Page Builders

A page builder is a plugin or a built in feature of a theme that enables you to quickly and easily set up the page elements or modules without knowing how to code.

Except for Beaver Builder, most page builders leave short codes in the front end of your website if you delete the page builder plugin. There are ways to strip the short codes, and it may be easier to rebuild the pages from scratch depending on the size of the website.

If you own the license to the page builder, you can use the same page builder for multiple themes.

Some themes from companies like Theme Forest come with a group license for their page builder. Everything seems great until the page builder runs an update that is not rolled out by the makers of the theme. I had a site that I could not update for a month because of that. The option is to purchase the page builder plugin separately and install it yourself. It is helpful to budget for that option before you begin and not overly expensive.

Conclusion: Use a page builder!

Theme Customization

The theme should have user friendly customization features, particularly with regards to colors, fonts and page layouts.

Sometimes we are looking for customization that is not included, such as emphasizing the Donate navigation tab on a non-profit site.

If the level of customization needed is more than CSS markup, it is necessary to install a Child Theme.

We never make changes to the core WordPress or Theme files on a site. If it is necessary to change PHP coding language for example, we would only do that with a child theme. The reason is because if the files are updated, all the changes will be lost. The child theme is only ever updated by you or your WordPress developer.

Themes that include frameworks cannot support child themes since the framework is the child theme. An option is to not install a framework or use a plugin that will support the changes needed.

I hope this article helped you select the perfect theme for your WordPress site. If you liked this article, then please subscribe.