The Complete Guide to Using The Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin

Complete Guide to Using Yoast SEO for WordPress

This guide is current as of  March 2017.

Get The PDF: Download the PDF version of this guide for easy reading!

While some general aspects of SEO will be touched on in this guide in the course of explaining the plugin, beginners may find that they need a more fundamental understanding of how SEO works in general, in order to get the best use out of this plugin. I have written an ebook that addresses that need:
The Beginners’ Guide to SEO for Business

Yoast SEO is on most lists of ‘must-have’ WordPress plugins. But the extensive set of options it provides can seem intimidating, especially to newer users.

Yoast has a fair amount of commentary and explanatory text throughout the plugin screens so I won’t duplicate anything he’s saying there, but I’ll try and clarify the less obvious parts.

If you’ve used an older version of Yoast on a site, there are several menu tabs you’re used to seeing, that are hidden by default on first activation of more recent versions.

To access all of the settings referred to in this guide, you will need to activate the Advanced settings.

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How To Add A Top Bar Mailchimp Opt-In

MailChimp Top Bar Opt-In for WordPress
A top bar email sign up is a nice way to boost your opt-ins without being overly obnoxious. Especially with the current trend toward one column blogs, without a sidebar, it’s a great solution for making an opt-in prominent without being an eyesore. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

Top Bar Email Opt In

I wanted to add a top bar email opt in to a site and was prepared to have to research and test a few plugins, maybe fiddle with some styles and generally sink a little bit of time into the whole endeavour.

However I was able to get the job done in less than 15 minutes thanks to a couple of wondrous plugins.

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Code Snippets To Customize Jetpack

How to customize the Jetpack WordPress plugin

Automattic’s Jetpack plugin has come a long way! It’s been much-maligned in the past for being bloated and slow and for that reason many developers wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot keyboard. These days it’s much better – it’s more truly modularized to give you more control over exactly what’s activated. From the code side of things, developers will be pleasantly surprised to discover that it has been sprinkled with lots of actions and filters. So, while Jetpack is still generally marketed to entry-level end users, there are actually some nice Easter eggs for developers who want to customize things a little bit for their clients.

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How To Work on Your WordPress Site Without Going Live

Work on your WordPress site without going live

So, you want to make some changes to your WordPress site without anyone else seeing?
Perhaps it’s a new site you’re getting ready to launch, or maybe you’re giving a facelift to an existing site. How can you work on your WordPress site without publishing the changes for the world to see?

You have a few options depending on your specific situation.

Use a “Coming Soon” style plugin

One approach is to put up a temporary splash page or landing page which displays a “coming soon” or “maintenance mode” style message. This can be done easily with a plugin; the one I’d recommend is Coming Soon by SeedProd. Any normal visitor who tries to access your site will see the custom message you create and nothing else. You, as the administrator, will be able to see the site as normal while logged in. The Coming Soon plugin gives you ample control over the splash page, where you can add text, images, a logo, background image etc.

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How To Go Beyond WordPress Basics

From WordPress Beginner to Intermediate, Going Beyond the Basics

From WordPress Beginner → Intermediate

What’s  the difference between a WordPress beginner, and an intermediate WordPress user?

If you’ve mastered the dashboard, are great at working with themes and plugins, what’s next? How do you progress to the next step, without necessarily become a code-slinging developer?

Definitions are obviously arbitrary, but for me, an intermediate WordPress user is someone who has mastered the dashboard, can find their way around any theme pretty quickly, and who isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty behind the scenes. That might not be creating custom themes or plugins from scratch, but it likely involves customizing sites with copy/paste code snippets, tweaking CSS, migrating sites, using FTP, and generally understanding the ‘behind the scenes’ of a WordPress site. They are also familiar with WordPress best practices, such as safe ways to modify themes etc. This isn’t someone who is going to hack your site to pieces, but someone who understands the right way to do things, keeping a site future-proofed, update-able and easy for the owner to manage.

This is the kind of stuff that makes some folks shudder with horror, but in reality if you can grasp some of this stuff, it’ll give you so much more confidence. If you’re working with clients, I’d consider it not only a requirement, but your responsibility as a WordPress consultant.

So how do you get to the Intermediate stage, where to start?

If you are like a lot of users, you might be forced into it when something goes wrong on your site. Most of the cool stuff I’ve learned in WordPress, I’ve generally learned by things breaking ? It’s initiation by fire, but it forces you out of your comfort zone. And, let’s face it, there’s very little you can learn in life by staying exactly how and where you are.

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WordPress Image Positioning, Spacing & Alignment – Common Problems and Fixes

problems with images in WordPress - alignment, spacing, positiong

LAST UPDATED: August 2016

Ah images.

They cause so much grief in the WordPress editor don’t they? They just don’t seem to do what you expect of them. Unfortunately the WordPress editor is not (yet?) a drag n’ drop interface which is how people (well, Mac users mostly ;) ) expect it to work.

So getting images to do what you want can be tricky. This is not a basic “how to insert an image into a post” article (you can Google that) – this is for folks who know how to add an image, but just don’t understand why it won’t do what they want [insert curses here]! 

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