Do you really need to use an SEO plugin?

Setting up a new website can be an exciting time: You’ve had this idea brewing in your brain for weeks, maybe months. You’ve got your Evernote full of article ideas and you’ve finally chosen a domain name. Then what happens?

Well, like many people who are starting out with new websites, you find yourself in WordPress plugin purgatory trying to figure out which WordPress SEO plugin is right for you.

Oh yeah, hours and days of your life lost reading plugin reviews and comparing the myriad options offered by Yoast and All In One SEO, only to find yourself at a standstill. I bring up Yoast and All in One because they’re THE most popular SEO plugins for WordPress and always seem to end up facing off in the ring together.

Well, it doesn’t have to be that hard and I don’t believe that the average person should be spending a ton of time on SEO. Yes, be conscious of basic SEO methods but mostly, get the basics done (listed below) and start writing some solid content. When it comes to WordPress plugins for SEO the basics are covered but you often people end up really over thinking your content for SEO, at the expense of said content.

This is the main reason why I’m not using Yoast. I agree that there’s a lot of good stuff in there but their plugin feels like overkill for the average blogger. And mostly, if you don’t have good content anyway, no plugin is going to make your content any better.

Setting up your Website: The Basics

There are a few key things to do when you first set up your website or blog and those things do not require an SEO plugin.
1. Set up your RSS feed –  Believe it or not, I still use Feedburner after all these years, although that’s going to stop once I decide on a Feedburner alternative.
2. Htaccess security – I found this post about htaccess security to be a great starting point.
3. Permalinks Permalinks can easily be set up from WordPress under Settings. Now do you use date based permalinks, or not? This depends on your goals and I don’t believe there’s a right or wrong way. Is your content “timeless”? Use Post Name. News worthy or topical? Choose a date format.

Again, this is just my opinion and I try not to spend too much time thinking beyond these items when your time can be better spent writing content.

What do you think? Do you use an SEO plugin and what are your top 3 go-to steps for basic SEO?

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