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WordPress is associated with most of us as a blogging platform. With 48% market share, it is the undisputed leader and the most frequently chosen CMS not only for blogging, but also for business cards, service pages and more. However, far fewer people realize that thanks to the WooCommerce plugin based on WordPress, we can create a fully-fledged and well-functioning online store, as well as take care of effective positioning .
According to the Builtwith website, we have over 11,000 in Poland. sites with WooCommerce plugins, which gives 17% share in the eCommerce market and third place (the first is Presta with 25% and 16 thousand websites, the second Shoper 17% and only 120 stores more than those based on WooCommerce). You don’t need to be an expert to use WordPress, many websites are also created by specialists on plugins that facilitate changes to the site (eg Elementor). This further lowers the entry threshold for the newcomer. However, it must be remembered that each WordPress is different and one will be easy to use, and the other will be more adapted to a person who knows the CMS.
WordPress also has a GNU license (free and open source license), thanks to which, in principle, anyone who can create code in PHP can not only freely modify the source code, but also create new plugins, templates and widgets.
WordPress itself, which was launched in May 2003, was obviously designed as a blogging platform. However, the open source system and the ability to write plug-ins by literally anyone have made this system a lot of development in the last 17 years.
And although the eCommerce plugin for WordPress, i.e. WooCommerce, was released only after 8 years of the platform’s existence, after less than three years it reached 4 million downloads.
One of the most important advantages is the ease of installation and configuration of the store, as well as the possibility of its subsequent expansion with new possibilities (using plugs). No wonder that in combination with a free license (apart from some plugins or templates, of course), this system is gaining more and more popularity:
In connection with the above, in the article below, we will try to provide the most important information about eCommerce configuration and WordPress itself in terms of positioning.
But let’s start from the beginning, because before we install WooCommerce, we will need a WordPress instance.
How to create a website on the WordPress platform?
In the case of WordPress, we have a very simple instruction provided on the project page. It all comes down to uploading the downloaded files to an FTP server, creating a database and… now. In practice, we will need a bit more information and time.
- First we need to buy a domain.
- Then, buy a hosting / server for the domain
- And we can proceed with the installation.
In the above “instruction” we will skip the first two steps – we assume that you already have your domain on the appropriate server. And of course – depending on the hosting you choose, you can meet the WordPress (or other system) setup configurator, but here we will describe the “manual” procedure.
First go to https://pl.wordpress.org/ and download the latest version of WordPress. After downloading and unpacking the files on your computer, you can use the instructions available at https://wordpress.org/support/article/how-to-install-wordpress/ or use the quick guide below.
- Upload the extracted wordpress files to the server to the public_html directory.
- Create a SQL database in your hosting panel.
- In the files directory, find the wp-config-sample.php file and rename it to wp-config.php.
Open the wp-config.php file and enter in the appropriate places add data about your database:
// ** MySQL settings – You can get this info from your web host ** // / ** The name of the database for WordPress * / define ( ‘DB_NAME’ , ‘database-name’ ); / ** MySQL database username * / define ( ‘DB_USER’ , ‘username’ ); / ** MySQL database password * / define ( ‘DB_PASSWORD’ , ‘password’ ); / ** MySQL hostname * / define ( ‘DB_HOST’ , ‘localhost’ );
- After completing, save the file and in the browser enter the address of your domain with the wp-admin / install.php directory to start the installation, e.g. https://domena.pl /wp-admin/install.php
- Follow the installation system’s instructions and voila – you have just installed WordPress on your domain.
By default, you will be able to log in to the CMS panel via the address https://domena.pl/wp-admin or https://domena.pl/wp-login.php . After logging in, you should see the default WordPress dashboard:
At the moment you should set up and choose the appropriate theme for your website, but we’ll stick to the default template.
WordPress Configuration – Plugins
WordPress plugins allow users to extend the functionality of their websites or blog. WordPress has around 50,000 plugins, each offering something different. All this allows users to customize websites to their specific needs, even the most personalized ones.
In terms of the configuration and optimization of WordPress, we should first of all pay attention to plugins for the implementation of Google Analytics or to facilitate the management of SEO optimization (such as the very popular Yoast SEO or All-in-one SEO Pack or Rank Math) and the loading time of the entire page. At this point, it should be remembered that each subsequent plug-in overloads the server and extends the loading time, so at the beginning you should think about choosing a fast server (using SSD NVMe servers with LiteSpeed) or installing an appropriate (another but necessary) plug – such as LiteSpeed
The multitude of available plugins means that in WordPress we can do literally everything and have literally everything. Here, however, we will focus on recommending plugins useful in the process of website positioning.
Rank Math – This plugin has the same functionality for the very popular SEO environment All-in-one SEO Pack or Yoast SEO. The most important functions include: management of the meta section (title and description), automates the process of generating alt tags for photos, allows you to generate an XML sitemap and add structured data to various types of content (products, articles, videos, recipes, events)
Redirection – a lightweight and intuitive plugin that allows you to manage redirects from the page panel. Of course, you can omit its use and create appropriate redirects in the .htaccess file, but with its (plug-in) everything will go much faster and we reduce the risk of “crashing” if you enter the Apache condition incorrectly.
Of course, you can list here popular plugins such as Smush, Autoptimize or WP Super Cache, but the above-mentioned ones (Rank Math and LSCWP) already have these functionalities, so there is no point in installing more that will do similar work.
WordPress SEO optimization – meta section
When they see you, that’s how they write you – says the famous proverb. However, in the case of Google search results and meta tags on our site, it would have to be reversed: if you describe yourself, this is how they will see you . It depends on how you optimize the title and description whether you encourage the user to visit your website with the first element.
The first of these plugins, Rank Math, will be helpful in taming this element. Thanks to it, we can manage the view in the SERP (search results) directly on the page edited by us:
And also manage schemas, generating automatic title and description for pages that we don’t want to describe manually – and here we can also set a separate schema for posts, single pages etc. All options can be found in Rank Math> Title & Meta:
Setting the title and description schema using variables for post pages
Alt for photos on WordPress
The alt attribute is an alternative text, displayed when the user is unable to upload photos from our website. This text is also used in web-reading software, which is to facilitate the use of blind and visually impaired people. From the positioning perspective, it is also an important element that can affect the ranking of our website and its visibility in Google Graphics.
In the case of WordPress, the alt attributes can be completed when adding graphics to the server. However, if we omitted this element and now have a lot of photos that do not have the alt attribute – nothing is lost. Helpful comes … a plug that can generate this attribute automatically for photos. For products, the matter will be easier, because the variable expected in the alt attribute will be simply its name. in the case of blog entries, it is worth following the title of the entry. All other cases are individual issues and it may turn out that it will be easier to add these alts manually than to combine them with non-standard variables.
Optimizing Hx headers in WordPress
The page header is one of the most important things when it comes to optimizing our website or blog. The most important element on the page should be the headline tagged with H1. It should be treated by us as the title of the book, and all pages on our website are books. By default, all pages apart from the home page have automatically generated H1 headers – in which there is the name of the page or entry. The situation is similar in the case of categories and products, where the header is also the name of the page (in this case: the name of the category or the name of the product).
However, it may happen that the headings in the theme we choose will not be visible by default. In this situation, we have to edit the appropriate file on the server (or through the Editor in the panel) and show or add the appropriate element on the page. If we use a page builder such as Elementor or Beaver Builder, it is enough to add a header in the appropriate place and place there a dynamically generated element (e.g. the name of the page). In the case of the home page, however, we can use the addition of the H1 header using the content editor or, as in the above case, the builder.
Optimizing images in WordPress
When selling products or presenting our works on the Internet, we must encourage the user with a “first impression” or an appropriate description. In the first case, these will be nice and good quality photos. Unfortunately, we often add photos in too high resolution (or send them directly from the camera, where the resolution is up to 10-30mpx), which is associated with an equally large size. Both of these situations have a negative impact on the page loading time, so the priority should be the appropriate optimization of photos. This element can be made in two ways. The first will be compression of the images before they are added to the server. You can use one of the plethora of tools available on the internet, such as compressor.io, imagecompressor.com and the like.
In this situation, before compressing the photos, our eyes should turn to Google Analytics and the tab related to the resolution on which users most often view our website. Thanks to this, we will be able to determine the appropriate size of the photos that we should send. The second way is to use… oh yeah, a plugin. Thanks to it, we will not have to worry about the size and size of the photos sent – the algorithms will do everything for us. Our task will be to determine only the degree of compression. For this purpose, we can use one of the above-mentioned plugins or download dedicated to these operations – such as Smush or EWW Image Optimizer.
A sitemap in XML format is a “hint” for the Google Robot about the structure of our website. Therefore, it is very important to have this item on the server. In the case of WordPress, generating a sitemap can be solved in two ways. The first one is, of course, the use of a plug-in – here, however, we do not have to install another one, because Rank Math has such functionality. Yoast SEO and AiO SEO Pack also have this option. Each of these tools generates a sitemap automatically based on the addresses collected during the site scan. We may submit this sitemap to Search Console.
The second way is to use one of the generators available on the Internet and upload it to the server. In this case, however, it should be remembered that the map generated once will not be automatically updated and in the case of adding new posts, pages or products – we will have to generate a new map each time and send it to the server. Therefore, a more convenient and faster way will be to use a plugin for this purpose, which we have already installed for other functionalities.
Editing a WordPress template in PHP
WordPress has the ability to edit the template, thanks to which we can preview and edit files placed on the server. Thanks to this, we can make changes to files without downloading files to disk or FTP access.
This requires at least a basic knowledge of PHP syntax and it is not recommended that users who have not had any previous contact with this language start editing this element. If you do not see this option in your panel and the website was prepared by an outsider, it is possible that this option was disabled by them for security reasons.
Redirects (30x) on WordPress
If we remove the content or changed the URL structure and want to redirect users to new pages, we will necessarily need to redirect. Thanks to this, we will not lose the generated traffic, and users will not come across 404 error pages or dead ends. In WordPress, we can redirect directly in the .htaccess file, which we can access directly on the FTP server or using a plugin (Rank Math, Yoast). Using this method, we need to know the Apache syntax or use a code generator available on the web.
The second option is to use the Redirection plug-in described above, where after selecting the appropriate redirection, we simply add the source address and the destination address. This significantly reduces the possibility of a redirect loop or any other error that prevents the normal functioning of our website.
Editing the robots.txt file in WordPress
By default, the robots.txt file is generated automatically after WordPress is installed, but it is not visible in the root directory on the server. Its basic form is:
User- agent: * Disallow: / wp-admin / Allow: / wp-admin / admin-ajax.php
To edit it, we can use – of course – a plug. Both Yoast, All-in-one and Rank Math allow you to edit this file directly from the panel. When editing, remember not to block the entire page from robots or important subpages. We know from experience that it can be done unconsciously or intentionally 😉
Structured data (rich snippets) in WordPress
The use of structured data can additionally support our SEO activities both in terms of the attractiveness of presentation in search results and allow easier understanding of our website by Google robots. Regardless of whether we operate a business on the local market, or run an online store or even a blog – it is worthwhile for individual pages to be described with appropriate structured data. Here, too, we can implement all this data manually in the website code or use an already installed plugin.
Another of the described functionalities of Rank Math is the possibility of implementing structural data for various types of subpages (LocalBusiness, Product, Article, Event). It all comes down to a few clicks, and voila – we’ve just implemented structured data on our website.
Implementation of Google tools in WordPress
- Installing Google Search Console in WordPress Search Console allows us to verify our website in several different ways. The most frequently used ones are primarily – verification with the use of Google Analytics, verification with the use of an HTML tag and verification with the use of a file sent to the server. Regardless of the chosen method, GSC verification in WordPress can be carried out by pasting the meta tag in the head section of the header file or inserting this tag in the appropriate place in an SEO plug like Rank Math, Yoast or All-in-one.
- Installing Google Analytics in WordPress The easiest way to install Analytics code in WordPress is to use a plugin, because this method guarantees that the data will be collected correctly. Of course, we can add the tracking code manually in the code, but if you want to track eCommerce, it will require us to mark the appropriate variables in the page code. Therefore, the recommended method will be to use one of the available plugins, where all we will have to do is enter the UA ID and choose what type of tracking code is used. In the case of online stores, it is worth using one of the WooCommerce plugins, i.e. WooCommerce Google Analytics Integration
How to install WooCommerce on WordPress
A lot of space in the above article was devoted to the WooCommerce plugin. With your WordPress instance ready, it’s time to install the eCommerce plugin, which will transform your “blog” into a full-fledged shop. The installation process itself is very simple, because we can do it directly from the website https://woocommerce.com/woocommerce-features/ where after clicking “Get started” we will be redirected to the authorization of our website or after entering Plugins> Add new and searching WooCommerce On list. The process itself will not take much time and you will be able to configure your store in just a few seconds.
Configuration is based on collecting basic information and data from the user about the countries in which you plan to sell. Then you can proceed to adding products, tax setup and shipping ways. The whole process is very intuitive and you can basically “click” your store in several dozen minutes.
WooCommerce product card optimization
Adding products for the WordPress + Woocommerce suite is very similar to adding a new post – the editor for products is very similar to the one we use to write posts. When adding products to our store, of course, we complete its name, price, photos and description. With the optimization plugin installed, it is also worth checking if the product has the appropriate configuration in terms of positioning for a given keyword. Here, again, a plug-in (Rank Math, Yoast, All-in-One) comes in handy, which will tell you whether the product card is properly optimized for a given keyword.
Caution– but let’s not go to extremes and try not to force all “green lights” in every aspect of optimization. This is not the way, but the plugin’s algorithm looks at the whole thing in zero-one and sometimes it can lead to extreme situations or over-optimization of a given page.
WooCommerce category optimization
The default WooCommerce instance allows us to optimize the category name, URL address and add a description on it. And although the information is often displayed that the category description may or may not be displayed, it only depends on the template used whether it will be visible. By adding it, we also have the option of using a simple WYSIWYG editor, so let’s make sure that the description is not a wall of text, let’s insert subheadings and interludes to make it more accessible.
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