WordPress Advice of the Month: How to Replace 4 Great Plugins With One That’s Even Better

four empty shots and one full beer glassAs I’m sure you know by now, stumbling upon a quality piece of WordPress advice is neither easy nor happens frequently. Furthermore, actually going out there, surfing the web and actively searching for such advice is not possible either because (usually) we won’t be able to tell it apart when we see it … the “you don’t know what you don’t know” issue.

Hold on, let’s just stop here for a moment. Why am I talking purely about WordPress? Simply because it’s a platform that I’ve always recommended for every online business designer/creator due to its ease of use and highly adjustable nature. And since I’m recommending it that much I feel that good WordPress advice is well worth sharing as it can be highly valuable for everyone out there applying it.

(By the way, check out the previous episodes if you haven’t already: How to Get Rid of Spam Comments Once and For All, Why Free WP Themes are EVIL.)

Now let me just get straight down to business and tell you what the advice is, and why did I even bother to throw out 4 perfectly good plugins and substitute them with this new one.

First of all, the less plugins you have the faster your blog runs, therefore keeping only the essential plugins is a rather good idea. Loading time is not only important from a visitor standpoint but from Google’s perspective as well. For some time now, Google looks at loading time as a ranking factor, i.e. the faster your site loads the better the rank you’ll have.

Finally, what’s the advice of the month then? Some time ago I’ve stumbled upon this post: Joost de Valk releases the 1.0 stable version of his WordPress SEO plugin by WPCandy. It took me a while to take action on it, I agree. But I’m glad I finally did.

I wasn’t familiar with this whole WordPress SEO plugin earlier. Until recently I’ve been using the All In One SEO Pack, which I still think is perfectly OK. So I was a little hesitant, but decided to browse around some more and search for reviews. What I found was not one serious bad review. Since it’s a free plugin and there’s no monetary reason for anyone to write fake reviews I took them as valid and honest.

When I started to look at some of the features I was amazed by how much stuff this plugin does. At first glance it seemed that it can successfully replace 4 great plugins which I’ve been using so far.

The next step was obvious – I went ahead and installed the plugin.

(By the way, get it here: WordPress SEO by Yoast.)

My initial research has only been confirmed after the installation. After playing with the settings, importing other data (more on that in a moment), and making sure that everything was working fine I was able to deactivate the following plugins: All In One SEO Pack, Robots Meta, RSS Footer, Google XML Sitemaps.

Don’t get me wrong, these are all great plugins, but there’s simply no point in keeping them if I can use a single one that does the same job on its own.

How does it work?

The installation is rather simple, like all WP plugins. Just go to Plugins > Add New (your WP admin panel) and search for WordPress SEO by Yoast.

Once you have the plugin installed and activated you have to import your All In One SEO Pack data. This will make sure that you won’t have to rewrite all the titles, and descriptions of your existing posts and pages. Let me be honest and tell you that this import feature was the deciding factor for me when I was thinking about switching to this plugin. If there had been no import I wouldn’t have migrated to this plugin. Rewriting everything by hand is just too much work, I’m sure you agree.

Actually, the import feature lets you do much more than just transfer your All In One SEO Pack data, here’s a screenshot:

wordpress SEO scr-1

As you can see the plugin also imports data from HeadSpace2, Robots Meta, RSS Footer, and Yoast Breadcrumbs.

Now just to give you a quick glance at some of the possibilities this plugin provides.

wordpress SEO scr-2

  • Titles – it’s where you can set the default titles and descriptions for your posts and pages (All In One SEO Pack substitute).
  • Indexation & Permalinks – it’s where you can inform search engines what you want and don’t want them to index (Robots Meta substitute).
  • XML Sitemaps – that’s obvious; just select the first checkbox from the top and you can go ahead and deactivate the Google XML Sitemaps plugin.
  • Breadcrumbs – I don’t use breadcrumbs on my blog, so I don’t have much to say here.
  • RSS – it’s where you can add some additional messages to your standard RSS feed (RSS Footer substitute).
  • Edit files – it’s where you can manually edit your robots.txt, and .htaccess files.

It helps you create optimized content too!

Once you install the plugin just hop over to edit one of your posts and here’s a block you’re likely going to see (example of one of my recent posts):

wordpress SEO scr-p1

wordpress SEO scr-p2wordpress SEO scr-p3

It provides 3 new very helpful tabs. The first one lets you set the meta tags of your post – things like the title and the description. Plus, there’s a very nice snippet preview of what your listing is going to look like in Google.

If you provide the “focus keyword” you can see the page analysis in the second tab, which is great because you can see whether or not you did a good job at SEO optimizing your post.

Finally there’s the “advanced” tab which lets you set some additional parameters of your post. Most of the time you won’t even have to do anything here.

In a nutshell, here’s this month’s WordPress advice: Install WordPress SEO by Yoast if you want to get a truly complete SEO plugin for your blog.

P.S. Feel free to shoot me an email whenever you have some cool WordPress advice, I’d be more than happy to feature it in the next episode.

P.S.2 I’m not affiliated with WordPress SEO by Yoast in any way. I just think it’s a great plugin.