A lot goes into making a website successful. Some of it is pretty obvious, while other things tend towards the technical that business owners may not concern themselves with but is as equally important as the customer facing content of the site. What we’re talking about here in particular is site architecture.
What is Aite Architecture?
Site architecture is really more of an umbrella term from many different disciplines. It includes the content strategy, information architecture, user experience, and some other categories depending on who you ask. To put it simply, it’s more of the theory side of web design rather than the actual execution of creating Photoshop templates and coding the site out to function. While it’s true site architecture puts the user first so they have a good experience on a site, it would be foolish to ignore Google as one of those users. After all, Google’s algorithm tries to approximate human interaction as much as possible for better search accuracy. Beyond that, a great deal of any website’s traffic occurs through referral via search engine. And since Google is the biggest player in that industry, it makes sense that one make sure their website plays by the “rules” that many believe Google likes.
Luckily, you don’t need to have a computer science degree to dig into the guts of a site to make sure it’s architecturally sound. WordPress has most of the functionality you need built in to make critical changes. As a bonus, and this speaks to WordPress’ popularity, it’s fairly easy to make all these changes via your dashboard. So, if you’re not too technically minded, don’t worry. It’s easy to make sure your site is set up for success. Remember, with the right WordPress web hosting company, you won’t even have to worry about many of the server side issues that relate to search engine optimization as well.
With that said, let’s get to some of the technical functionality you can easily access via your WordPress backend.
Have you ever gone to an old bookmark and when you click on it you’re served with some sort of numbered error code telling you the site was no longer there? That’s a bad experience for your visitors. And a bad experience for your visitors often translates into suffering from an SEO standpoint. Broken links can send you tumbling down on the Google search engine result pages.
Head on over here if you want the long explanation of what a 301 redirect is. The short version is if you ever change a page’s URL and people have old bookmarks, you want them to automatically be sent to the new URL so they can seamlessly access the content without seeing any errors. Normally, you’d have to access the server and mess around with configuration files. Not so when you’re using WordPress. Like with all things WordPress, someone has created a plugin that makes the process as simple as making a few clicks. Bet you feel like a hacker now.
Sitemaps are an important little piece of data that tell search engine crawlers what the pages are on your site and how to navigate them. It’s a little bit more intelligent than a plain old map because not only does it list the contents of your site, but it gives some meta data on each URL. It’ll tell Google when a page was last updated, how often it changes, and how important it is relative to other pages on your site for more accurate collection of data. Unless you’re familiar with XML, however, they’re a little tricky to generate. Luckily, yet again, WordPress has your back. Check out this plugin to autogenerate and install a sitemap for your site.
If you really want to go all out optimizing your site for search, Yoast SEO has been the definitive plugin for years. That’s because not only does it do some of the technical work above for you (it can generate XML sitemaps) but it lets you get down to the small details like image tags, meta descriptions for your pages, page analysis, and more. Every little snippet of code or setting that Google likes to see can more or less be handled by Yoast. If you only install one plugin for optimizing your site, this is the one to get. It handles all the under the hood stuff.
If you’re a business owner starting a site on WordPress, you want as much of a “set it and forget it” set up as possible WordPress plugins get you most of the way there. Leave the rest of it to a WordPress hosting company with a team experienced in specifically handling WordPress issues. Contact the team at WP.land and we’ll have you ready to get a site running in minutes.