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WordPress Websites: Sidestepping the Common Mistakes with Tony Cosentino (TECHIE)

WordPress Websites: Sidestepping the Common Mistakes with Tony Cosentino (TECHIE)

 

WordPress websites and SEO mistakes that sap your Google juice.

 

Do you have a website?

Congratulations.

Give yourself a little pat on the bottom. You could already be on Google’s radar.

Maybe.

Because building a website is one thing, but building an SEO-friendly website is quite another.

Today I’m talking about WordPress websites and avoidable SEO mistakes I often see.

Mistakes that kill your flow of Google juice and ruin your customer karma.

I’ll take you through what to avoid, how to fix past errors, and how to ensure you have a good flow of Google love to your site.

 

Tune in to learn:

  • What is WordPress and why is it awesome?
  • The most common mistakes we see with WordPress websites
  • How to fix those SEO errors
  • WordPress themes that help avoid mistakes
  • Things to know about Gutenberg and WordPress
  • More about WordPress website technical audits and support

 

Listen to the podcast

 

 

 

 

 

Sponsor love

 

This episode of The Recipe for SEO Success podcast is proudly brought to you by Skyblue Search.

Are you looking for SEO for your business?

Crystal Wong is the founder of Skyblue Search. She’s a good SEO human offering tailored, strategic and effective SEO consultancy.

She offers practical SEO solutions by understanding what is important to your business and harnessing the power of Google to improve your bottom line.

Before becoming an SEO consultant, Crystal spent years as a clinical pharmacist and now loves to use her experience to take on SEO for health businesses like physios and psychologists.

She also enjoys working with e-commerce businesses to improve their traffic and sales.

If you need a trustworthy SEO to talk to, you can contact her at Skyblue Search

 

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And big thanks to Liz Sinclair from Australia for their lovely review:

No-fluff and straightforward SEO advice.

 

Do your ears a favour and take a listen to Kate’s straightforward, no fluff advice and strategies for getting the most out of Google.

 

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About Tony Cosentino

 

Tony Cosentino has been using WordPress since 2008 and after building a lot of websites has hung up his spurs on building new websites and has moved to providing ongoing support, fixes, website health checks, and training for WordPress website owners.

Tony likes to do the odd spot of sewing.

 

 

Connect with Tony

 

Useful Resources

 

Transcript

 

Kate Toon:
This episode of The Recipe for SEO Success podcast is proudly brought to you by Skyblue Search.

Are you looking for an SEO for your business?  Well I can highly recommend Crystal Wong is the founder of Skyblue Search.  She’s a good SEO human offering tailored, strategic and effective SEO consultancy.  

Before becoming an SEO consultant, Crystal spent years as a clinical pharmacist and uses her experience to take on SEO for health businesses like physios and psychologists improve their ranking and traffic conversions.  She also enjoys working with e-commerce businesses drive more sales.

She offers practical SEO solutions by understanding what is important to your business and harnessing the power of Google to improve your bottom line.  If you need a trustworthy SEO, you can contact her at www.skybluesearch.com.au

Kate Toon:
Do you have a website? Congratulations. Give yourself a little pat on the bottom, you could already be on Google’s radar, or maybe you’re not, because building a website is one thing, but building an SEO friendly website is quite another. Today, I’m talking about WordPress websites and avoidable SEO mistakes that I often see. Mistakes that kill your flow of Google juice and ruin your customer karma. I’ll take you through what to avoid, how to fix past errors, and how to ensure you have a good flow of Google love to your wonderful WordPress website. Hello, my name is Kate Toon and I’m the head chef at The Recipe for SEO Success, an online teaching hub for all things related to search engine optimization and digital marketing. And today I’m talking to Tony Cosentino. Hello Tony?

Tony Cosentino:
Hello Kate.

Kate Toon:
Very nice to have you here.

Tony Cosentino:
Thank you for having me.

Kate Toon:
I’m going to read out your bio now. So this is where you remember all the things you’ve done, although it’s rather succinct compared to the monologues that we often get. So let’s see. Tony has been using WordPress since 2008, and after building a lot of websites, has hung up his spurs on building new websites and has moved to providing ongoing support fixes, website health checks, and training for WordPress website owners. And his interesting fact is that on the quiet, Tony also enjoys an odd bit of sewing. So only odd sewing or just an odd bit of sewing? You don’t look like a man that sews. I’ll put that out there.

Tony Cosentino:
Yeah, I do love my sewing machine, an overlocker.

Kate Toon:
You’ve got an overlocker. I mean really that’s next level. If you’re listening to this podcast, you really need to go and watch one of the videos snippets to see how unlikely a sewer Tony looks. But there we go. We all have hidden depths. And you missed a lot out of that bio because obviously Tony is the partner that I built the WordPress SEO course with. So if you’ve checked out the WordPress SEO course on the Recipe for SEO Success, Tony came in when I was at the point of almost killing that course and revived it and we’ve had loads of people through that. He also runs website, SEO Health Checks. How many are you up to now?

Tony Cosentino:
110.

Kate Toon:
110 and that’s only in the last year or so. So that knowledge that he’s gained from working on just hundreds of different sites with different themes and different plugins has been invaluable. And that’s why he’s on the show today. So yeah, maybe you need to pat out that bio a little bit more. But let’s get really down to basics and we’re not going to spend ages on this because it’s… You should no this by now. If you’re listening to this podcast, I guess you already know the answer to this. Tony, what is WordPress?

Tony Cosentino:
WordPress is a content management system. So pre-WordPress, when you built a website you had to put the code in like the had similar code into every page and if you had 50 pages, you had to make 50 different pages and WordPress just manage the content in a database so that you could have all the same styling, and then just inject the content, and edit the content through that database, the content management system.

Kate Toon:
Okay, there we go.

Tony Cosentino:
Yeah. In and off show.

Kate Toon:
In and off show. Yeah. I get what you’re saying. I remember when I was building sites before WordPress came out and yeah, individual HTML pages, we wanted to change something across the site. You have to go into every single file and change it, which was a nightmare. And I remember when I built my first WordPress website. Well, my friend Kane Veto made it for me, who is now a hugely popular Instagram influencer, which is kind of terrifying. He built it for me, but I always thought WordPress was just a blog platform when I first started out. So I told everyone I haven’t got a website, I’ve just got a blog. And that’s really where WordPress came from. Isn’t it? The blogging background.

Tony Cosentino:
Yeah, totally. The first website I made was for a hairdressing site for a blog essentially that they could do to increase interest in their business. I didn’t really realise it was such a good business tool until I started using it. Yeah.

Kate Toon:
And another thing that people used to bang on about in the early days of WordPress was that it was super insecure, not emotionally, but from hackers. And I guess there’s a lot of that still hangs over. Even now people say to me, Ooh, WordPress. I mean, they’re more saying, Ooh, Wix, we won’t even get into the Wix thing. WordPress has improved its reputation, but there’s some people that still kind of don’t trust it. Tony, do you think that or do you think that they’ve got over that now?

Tony Cosentino:
That did happen a few years ago, people in other platforms are using it as an excuse to kind of try and get to WordPress because WordPress is taking over, it’s got 40% of the web. It’s not going backwards, it’s going forward. So everyone’s trying to look for chinks in the armour. If you’ve got 40% of the web, guess what? Hackers and stuff we’re going to try and find loopholes because there’s a high percentage chance that their websites they’re trying to get into by using WordPress. So it’s just par for the course of the success of WordPress. Security wise it’s not an issue. It’s really not. Any website could get hacked. The bank could get hacked.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. That’s it. And I think WordPress’s super power and can also be it’s kryptonite because one of the differences between WordPress and Shopify and Squarespace and Wix and Weebly, is that WordPress is open source. So it means anybody can go in and look at the code and fiddle and make apps for it. And so kind of they’ve got everything laid out there for people to pick a par, whereas obviously Shopify and Squarespace. And so that’s both a wonderful thing, but then obviously leaves them open to people who try and look for, as you said, chinks in the armour as well.

Tony Cosentino:
Yeah, it’s the nature of the open source way. You’re exactly right. So other people can make tools that work with it. They have to show you the code.

Kate Toon:
Yeah, they have to. And that’s one of the things that is wonderful about WordPress. And I’m going to fully say I’m a huge WordPress fan. I’ve got seven websites, all built on WordPress or the hosted version. If I were to build a shop moving forward, I might consider Shopify just from the whole backend current management, but all my shops are currently on WordPress. I’ve got directories, memberships, it just allows me to do whatever I want. And I think the reason why we’re talking about this today is as well, the other misconception is that WordPress is SEO friendly Out of the Box. And you and I both know that WordPress is built to be SEO friendly. It’s more SEO friendly than lots of platforms Out of the Box, but it’s not perfect Out of the Box. It’s the work that you need to do, but it was built with SEO in mind. I think that’s the difference, isn’t it?

Tony Cosentino:
Yeah. Out of the Box was far better than anything else at the time, but everyone’s chart started to catch up or so. Squarespace’s work have got an SEO team. I’m sure Shopify does has SEO team there. They’re also now upping their game to improve the SEO. So then as a website owner, you’ve got to then take on board, you’ve got to up your game as well and just get the right fundamentals to be on par or better than the competition is.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. I think that’s actually a really good thing. Now on the big course, I’d say about 50% of people who are on WordPress, and 50% of people who are on other platforms. And obviously when we do week two and we’re doing the auditing, we often find that, yeah, the Squarespace sites and the Shopify sites are pretty fast and they’re pretty good, and they’re really responsive, and no crawlability issues. And the WordPress sites, because they not being built by maybe the best developers, sometimes fall behind, which is… And then can be tweaked and improved.

Kate Toon:
So I think an important message to put out to the listeners is in the old days, maybe even two or three years ago, if someone said to me, which was the best platform from an SEO perspective, I would have always said WordPress. These days, I would say it’s kind of much of a muchness and it depends on the person you are. So I like with WordPress that I can get in, I can change things, I can manipulate it, I can add plugins. I can really make it my own. Squarespace and Shopify allows some of that with apps, but it’s much more limited, and sometimes you come to a block that you just can’t fix until the development team gets to that. Yeah. Do you agree? Isn’t that the same… Yeah.

Tony Cosentino:

That’s it. Now I had a great quote, not a quote but a podcast, just a bit word commerce. So it was saying, well, if you like everything that Squarespace or Shopify does, that’s fine. As soon as you want to deviate, you can’t, and that’s the beauty of WordPress is you can totally customise the experience.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. I’m a control freak. I want to be able to do whatever I want. So yeah. I think that’s an important thing to cover off because I think we would have been saying very different things two or three years ago. And I actually did one of the first episodes I did of this podcast was with my friend Peter Mead about WordPress SEO. And so it’s quite funny to come back to that. I think nearly four years later and think about the differences between that episode and this one. So let’s dig in. As we said at the start of the episode, obviously you’ve been building WordPress websites for a while, but I think the thing that we’ve discussed that was really illuminating for you was doing these health checks. And you’ve kind of pulled together a list of common mistakes that you see people making. So take us through your common mistake number one.

Tony Cosentino:
Yeah. Okay. Thanks Kate. So web hosting is the biggest thing you can do to get your website on track for lots of reasons. So those computers that deliver the content, it doesn’t matter how well optimised your website is. If it’s running on a slow computer with a thousand other websites, you’re never going to kind of get to the fastest you could possibly be. So you’ve got to pick the hosting that suits your particular website. Look, if it’s practically a brochure site where you’re getting a hundred visitors a day, you don’t necessarily need to spend the big bucks, but just get a good quality smaller hosting company. But then if you’re using… If you’ve got a site that’s getting some serious numbers through, you need to really consider getting the hosting right.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. I agree. I mean, I think that that can also… The reason why that’s important, I guess we should say, as well as, uptime is a factor. If your sites can continually disappearing from the incident, that’s not a great thing, and also speed. One of the biggest factors with speed is just having a poor host that’s chugging away or that you’re sharing your server with 50 other websites that are being hit with traffic. So full transparency. Again, I’m a fan of SiteGrounds. I’ll include a link to SiteGrounds in the notes for this episode. That’s also the hosting we recommend on the course. Not necessarily because it’s the best hosting in the universe, but because we’ve had good experiences with it, their customer support is pretty good. They’ve got Australian servers now, but there are other options as well. I know you, there’s another couple that you like as well. Do you want to name it here?

Tony Cosentino:
Yeah. And SiteGround has really improved their infrastructure, their support. They got smashed with COVID so they took a bit of hit, but they’ve definitely improved their delivery, and they’re being very progressive with their caching systems, and I think in the next 12 months it’ll pay off, they’ve kind of had some bumps along the way because they really got aggressive with the caching. So it’s a very viable option. So other companies that are good would be WP Engine, Flywheel, Kinsta, even CloudWise. If you’re a bit more geeky and prepared to not see… The interface is a bit different, but they’re all good options, fast websites.

Kate Toon:
Okay, great. So let’s go on to common mistake number two.

Tony Cosentino:
Okay. So images. Your home page is going to be so critical in the coming years with the web vitals and stuff that Google’s caring about more and more, and the easiest way to get that right, is to make sure your images are not ridiculous like 3000 pixel wide images at the top of the page, that’s a nine megabyte file. You need to get the dimensions down to 2000 or less I believe, if you’re doing a full width image and use a website like tinypng.com to upload your images to so the file sizes can be the smallest they possibly can.

Kate Toon:
I was just making a little note there for TinyPNG to the show notes. Yes, I agree. And if you want to learn more about core web vitals, which is an important fact, they’ve pushed it back a little bit now, then check out the episode a couple of episodes previously to this one. We talked about it there. And as you said, one of the biggest issues that is First Contentful Paint, FCP. And so that’s chugging away trying to load that giant image of a girl jumping in a puddle in wellie boots, it’s 75 million pixels wide. But also it’s about how the whole page loads as well. If you need a wiggly video right at the top or maybe you push that further down the page and just…

Kate Toon:
I think people over-complicate the first kind of quarter of their homepage. You’ve got loads going on in the nav, they’ve got wiggly videos, they’ve got buttons flashing, things animating in, even on my own Kate Toon site, we’ve got a bit of animation going on that I’m going to strip out just to give it that little tiny edge, because with speed, it can be… In for the seconds can make all the difference. Right? So yeah. Top tip. I’m going to allow you one more common mistake. So it has to be a doozy before we move on to the rest of the questions. What’s your next biggest mistake? Well, it’s a hard one he’s still going to pick from his list. Is it going to be millions of plugins. I was going to say that one. No, you go.

Tony Cosentino:
Well, if you’re talking about speed. One of my biggest things I think people get wrong is Google Analytics and Google Search Console. I think if you’ve got those on your website, you’ve got a chance of at least seeing some data because Google Analytics will tell you about speed. Google Search Console will tell you about errors which has web vitals I think in the Google Search Console information now. So I think with those in place, you can at least monitor things that you can do better.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. For some reason, verification with Google Search Console people found really challenging especially when they’re trying to do it at the domain level rather than kind of individual URLs. And it’s something that you really fall down the rabbit hole on. And yet if you work with the Dev, honestly, they do it all the time and it takes him like 20 minutes and they’re like, oh my God, it’s been a day trying to do this. So I think that’s another one. Well, I’m going to have one as well. And it’s kind of one of yours and then we’ll move on to the other questions. I think it’s the death by plugin. So I think you remember there’s one secure site, we won’t name it, where you said they had nearly a hundred plugins installed.

Tony Cosentino:
Yeah. Active plugins.

Kate Toon:
Active plugins. And also plugging duplications so that people have got plugins that actually are meant to do the same thing, but they’ve installed both of them. When you’re going and doing all your audits, do you do a nice spring clean of all the plugins as well and just kill it?

Tony Cosentino:
Yeah. I saw one website recently that had three different caching tools running. That was just bizarre. They we would just be fighting with each other the whole time. It was not like you.

Kate Toon:
And you’ll have strange things happening on your website and you won’t understand why, and it can often be a plugin conflict. Which is why on the WordPress’s SEO course, the plugins that we recommend, again, people are very territorial about plugins. People will be like, “I love Rank Math, I love WP Fastest Cache.” And it’s like, good for you, you love what you love, but this is our experience of what plugins play well together because it’s the combination of plugins, they have to all work together. So yeah, we talk more about that in the course. We could go on about bugs, but I want to dig into some specific questions as well. So themes on WordPress, this is something that comes up all the time. What theme should I choose? And what impact is that going to have on the SEO of my site, on the ability of my site to rank. So tell us a little bit about your preferred themes. Yeah. Which ones works for you?

Tony Cosentino:
Yep. So I’ve been using Divi for a long time and my main website is still using Divi, and it pops a bit of heat for page load because it has the capability of being absolutely any design you could think of. But I believe that they’re working on only loading the code that is needed for the tools running. So in the near future that will improve. And then Gutenberg, you can’t ignore Gutenberg. It’s coming like a steam train. It’s been gathering momentum. It had a lot of kinks and bumps and stuff before now, but I think it’s at a point where you could get a theme that uses Gutenberg primarily and deliver a good website.

Tony Cosentino:
Because it does and that’s what Divi is trying to model. It does only load JavaScript and other bits and pieces that it needs to do the wiggly slideshow, or the whatever button, or whatever you’re using. It’s much easier with Gutenberg to only deliver the code it needs to. If you want to look at the Gutenberg based themes, there’s Kadence, which I’m a big fan of, there’s GeneratePress. There are two very popular ones that use… You can build a hot website just using the Gutenberg.

Kate Toon:
Okay. So you’ve jumped into Gutenberg a bit earlier than I thought you were going to. Because I think that this is a confusing thing for a lot of normal listeners. Divi is a theme, Gutenberg isn’t a theme. So can you explain what Gutenberg is before we start recommending or not, now we’ve recommended it. But what is it? Because I don’t think lots of people realise what it is and I think most people when it came out, quickly got their plugin that said turn off Gutenberg. And then we haven’t thought about it since, to be honest. So can you just give us a little heads up on Gutenberg?

Tony Cosentino:
Okay. I don’t know, it was three or four years ago probably when they first rolled it out overnight, they added a different editor to WordPress, a different default editor. So it went from a word document style with some bold italics and whatever, and to breaking all the content up into, is it an image? Then it’s a section. Is it a short code? Then it’s got a different section. Every time you hit return on a paragraph, it creates a new section. So you could shuffle all those things around much more easily. But it was very overwhelming for people initially and it broke a lot of different websites because they didn’t integrate with the theme. So it was a massive kind of shift in how to create content. And yes, people are definitely turning off the new editor because it was safer to stay within the old design set up.

Kate Toon:
So a question there. Okay, I still to some degree have Gutenberg dyslexia. Essentially what I like about Divi and Avada and other themes like that is you can drag and drop and build a page with elements and modules really quickly. And yes, as we’ve said, there’s some issues around loading and speed. And Gutenberg is the same thing as a block editor. So could you actually have a WordPress site that didn’t have a theme at all, and you just built all the pages with Gutenberg? Or do you need to have a theme that’s Gutenberg friendly? I’m getting lost now, it’s the confusion.

Tony Cosentino:
Yeah. You can have a very generic vanilla theme and use Gutenberg. And the only thing that it’s almost ready for is a header and footer. That’s the only thing a theme is adding really, is the header and footer design. Everything else between the header and footer, okay, my finger’s there, you can build with Gutenberg and I have done.

Kate Toon:
I mean, is that a big threat to Divi then? I mean, people are going to be like, well, why do I need, I’m block editor? It’s actually baked into WordPress itself. Is WordPress trying to do away with themes or what’s the end goal for them?

Tony Cosentino:
I think they’re trying to catch up to the competition. I think the default for the Wix and Squarespace and stuff is basically the block editor style. Put an image section here, put a hero section there.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. That’s how you can knock off a Wix site in five minutes. Yeah.

Tony Cosentino:
Yeah. So, because it’s been built literally in front of it in front of our eyes, it’s functionality and usability isn’t at the stage that Divi and other elements to another page builders are. So it’s kind of a bit harder to get your head around. It’s not as intuitive as the others. So you kind of have to take a bit of a leap of faith to build with it because it’s not as easy to work with on a daily basis.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. So I guess, for all of us who are old school WordPress users, it feels a bit like, oh, for God’s sake. But if you came straight to WordPress now, you would be able to almost compare apples with apples with something like Wix because you can put together a basic site very quickly. You might need a theme to do sexiest stuff, but the basic site which most people just need to get started it’s going to be easier. Okay. I don’t want to talk about Gutenberg no more. I’m still not interested in it at all. I’m sorry. I want to get back to WordPress-

Tony Cosentino:
I’m sorry to say you can use both. You can use Divi and Gutenberg together.

Kate Toon:
Okay. I think you just said you couldn’t. Now you’re getting me confused again now.

Tony Cosentino:
You can use Divi to do the sales pages and the fancy pages. And the blog posts, you can use Gutenberg to write the blog posts.

Kate Toon:
Blog posts, shmog posts. But really, how much layout does a blog post needs? I mean, come on. Anyway, don’t want to talk about Gutenberg anymore. Stop talking about Gutenberg.

Tony Cosentino:
Done.

Kate Toon:
WordPress developers love it. I don’t think anyone else gives a poo to be honest, but we’ll get there maybe one day. I want to get back to WordPress SEO because that’s the title of the episode. And I know that one of the things that you offer is an audit of your site is actually part of our course, a big course, module two, we go through and we show people how to audit things. What kinds of things do you cover off in your audit? So if someone’s sitting here today thinking, okay, I don’t know whether my WordPress site is any good or not. What are some key things you’ve looked at? So you’ve talked about hosting, you’ve talked about image sizes, and we’ve talked about multiple plugins. What are a few other things that you would, straight off the bar, maybe three things you look at when you’re starting a technical audit?

Tony Cosentino:
Yep. As I mentioned earlier about the analytics stuff, it’s not just if it’s connected, sometimes it’s connected twice and very regularly, I go in and find that developers maybe added analytics when they built it. And then the owner has decided to add a plugin which adds analytics and it’s literally firing twice. So they’re getting two hits instead of one for page view and almost zero bounce rate. And if you’ve got zero bounce rate in your Google Analytics, go check that you’re not firing twice, it’s a very common thing. So that area is really important. The combination of plugins, I run through security backup, caching, making sure that those three fundamentals are in place. The SSL certificate stuff, whether they’ve got the SSL running correctly.

Kate Toon:
Okay. So those are some top things to look at when you are thinking about your site from a technical point of view, as well as we mentioned plugins, crawlability, I think responsiveness is a big issue as well to just make sure that it’s functioning well on all different devices. And then we obviously have certain plugins that we recommend, often I think you’ve mentioned there’s too many plugins, but often there are plugins missing that are really essential like a backup plugin, a security plugin, a caching plugin, and of course we can’t go past this in this episode, an SEO plugin.

Tony Cosentino:
Yes.

Kate Toon:
So again, lots of debate about which is the best SEO plugin. I’m a big fan of Yoast and I’m not affiliated with them. I have spoken at their conference. I’m a big fan of Yoast because it works. It does what it says on the tin. I’ve never actually paid for the paid version, sorry, Yoast. And I know that they’ve been slightly aggressive with their advertising and I know that in the WordPress community, that’s not being seen as good. And I know that there’s a lot of new ones coming out like Rank Math. I’m trying to think of the names of any other ones. Where do you see-

Tony Cosentino:
All in One SEO it’s-

Kate Toon:
All in One. That’s the one I had to begin with and I migrated to Yoast because I think Yoast’s interface is better. And obviously they are baking more things into the paid version. So you can get local schema, you can get extra bits and bobs, you can have multiple keywords, synonym checks and things like that. But I mean, where do you sound on the whole SEO plugin for WordPress issue?

Tony Cosentino:
The majority of websites like 95% are using Yoast. So my thoughts go with what the majority are using because it’s going to be developed. It’s going to have more people to test bugs, because it’s got such a huge user base, they’ll refine it all. They always are refining it to make it better. Actually, when I do my checks, I’ve got a bunch of Yoast settings that I check to make sure that that’s been done properly because people will turn that on and forget it without checking that they’ve got their organisation name and their logo, and there’s some settings that you should put in to any of the SEO plugins, don’t just switch it on and let it go. And the way the site map is set up is usually wrong because of the way WordPress developer makes every post type, which is like a mega menu creates a post type-

Kate Toon:
Yeah. 

Tony Cosentino:
Which then forced into- 

Kate Toon:
And the media attachments-

Tony Cosentino:

The site map for no particular reason.

Kate Toon:
Yeah, and the media attachments, and tag archives, and author archives, and projects archives. Yeah. It’s a pain in the butt.

Tony Cosentino:
It’s a beautiful power of having all the control.

Kate Toon:
Yes it is. Coming towards the end of the episode, I think sometimes when people listen to a podcast like this, they can think that WordPress is too difficult to manage. You’ve got to worry every month about backups and security and all that kind of stuff, and that puts people off. But the thing that I never understand is that, if you have a Shopify site or a Squarespace site, you pay a monthly fee, what do you think that monthly fee is paying for? And yet so many people, when I suggest instead that they feel paying a monthly fee to a WordPress developer to look after their sites, do the backups check for plugin updates, maybe do minor maintenance, so like, oh my God, I shouldn’t have to pay for that, I thought my website was free forever.

Kate Toon:
Yet on every other platform you keep on paying. So I think there’s a misconception there that because WordPress is free to download, free to install, there’s a lot of free themes, there’s a lot of free plugins and all you’re really paying for is hosting, that people think you’re getting a free website, but nothing is free people. This is your most important business assets. Now, obviously you’re a WordPress developer you’re going to totally say that people should be on a maintenance plan, but what are your thoughts about that? Because obviously you have a lot of clients who DIY as well.

Tony Cosentino:
Yeah. And I think a big difference is if you’re just paying Squarespace a monthly fee, there’s no interaction. And I think the interaction is a really valuable point. If you’ve got a developer that you work with on a monthly basis that keeps everything in check, you also get to talk to that person like “I’m thinking about adding custom notes to my products so people can put a note to a Mother’s Day gift they’re sending”. They can ask me like, if anyone else’s… “Do you think that’s a good idea?” I could go, well, yeah, that works well. I’ve worked with other people that have done it and it’s been highly effective or no, it’s a waste of time. You don’t have that conversation with Squarespace or Shopify, you just pay the fee and thanks for coming. I think that part of it’s really where WordPress is different.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. And I think even with Shopify, we just did a great episode of Kerri Bennett, who is like my Tony Cosentino equivalent for Shopify. And even then, even when you’re paying that monthly fee, you can still need a Shopify developer to help you tweak things. And as you said, I’m thinking about downloading this plugin and I’m having a WordPress developer look and say, “Well, in all my years of experience, I know that that plugin is not going to work with this other plugin. Here’s an alternative suggestion..” But I just think, for 50 to $100 a month to have someone that is making sure everything’s backed up, making sure everything’s secure, making sure your plugins are working. But also, is there… At the weekend I know that you were saying that you had a client that called you, and their site had gone down, and you were there, you helped them, you fixed it. I mean, don’t everyone called Tony on the weekend.

Kate Toon:
But it’s having somebody else who’s invested in your website that does it day in, day out. I mean, we’re obviously huge advocates of DIY. WordPress builds, we have a course that teaches people how to build WordPress sites. And you can build a very passable WordPress site with that course in about six hours, that’s the average people come back and say that they built a site with basic copy and basic images. And then you’re going to keep on working on it. So my websites are never finished. I’m still changing… Tony is the developer for Recipe, and he was still adding new pages and updating pages and making them sexier today. I built that site six years ago. It never ends, does it?

Tony Cosentino:
Yeah. That’s right. The people that have built their own website have so much insight and they can ask better questions from their developer as well. They understand how the mortise and tenon joints fit together. Can you make it better?

Kate Toon:
And they could call their developers bluff. Not that you should need to, but they can look at a task and know that they’ve done it themselves. And if a developer comes back and quotes you 10 hours to add meta-tags outside titles and meta descriptions to a six page site, you can go, “Hang on, I did that myself in Yoast bulk editor and it took me 17 minutes. What are you talking about?” So not that we want to create a hoard of cynical DIY WordPresses, but I do think knowledge is power, and it’s also really important with knowledge to understand, just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should do it. And I think building your own site, the basics of it is a great learning experience, but maintaining it every month, and backing up your plugins, and backing up plugins, you know what I mean, is maybe not the best use of your time. So, yeah, interesting. So to finish off Tony, where can people find out more about you?

Tony Cosentino:
Just head to thewpguy.com.au. So add the “the” in front of it, but I’m thewpguy.com.au and that’s where you can find me, find any other information to get in touch, website health checks, website support, WordPress training, device, you may be able to-

Kate Toon:
And no more website builds, what beautiful place to be in. Although you’re still going to be building my sites. I’m sorry. I’m not going to [inaudible] right now. And we’ll include links to all Tony’s various bits and bobs, you can connect with him on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, he’s everywhere. And we’ll include links to some of the resources and tools that we’ve mentioned here, as well as our DIY WordPress SEO course, which is a super popular course. I think we’ve had over 150 people take that course now over the years, and some amazing websites have been built. So if you’re thinking that you would like a site, but you really can’t afford to pay a quality developer to do that job for you rather than bombing off the Fiverr and getting a dodgy person, have a go at doing it yourself. And then I think it’s really important to have a relationship with a WordPress developer who you can possibly call when you need to. So thanks very much, Tony.

Tony Cosentino:
Awesome. Thank you. What a show.

Kate Toon:
So there we go. WordPress SEO, a topic that we’ll come back to again and again, because it’s important. I’m just wondering right now if you can hear a ukulele playing in the background. My next door neighbour, who is amazing, she’s 96 and her son has formed a Ukulele Band, and are currently practising next door. So if you can hear that, that’s what it is. Anyway. It’s the end of the show. So if you want to ask questions about WordPress SEO, you can of course head to the I LOVE SEO group on Facebook. Tony is there, you can ask him questions and he’s more than happy to answer. I want to give a shout out to one of my lovely listeners, Liz Sinclair, from Australia Writes. No fluff and straightforward SEO advice, do your ears a favour and take a listen to Kate’s straightforward, no fluff advice and strategies for getting the most out of Google. Kate and her guests share their wisdom with generosity and reckless abandon.

Kate Toon:
Oh, Liz Sinclair, I love you. Thanks for listening. If you like the show, we’d love a review. We’re running out again, so if you’d like to be mentioned on the pod, please leave a review on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify, and you’ll help others find the show and you’ll make me happy, and you’ll get a shout out. As I said, lots of good notes and resources in the show notes for this episode, as well as a full transcript. If English is not your first language, or you just can’t understand my terrible British accent, or you are hearing impaired, then it’s a great way to enjoy the podcast without actually having to listen it. So that’s it for this week until next time, happy SEOing.