How to Create a Translated or Bilingual WordPress Website using the Transposh Plugin

How to Create a Translated or Bilingual WordPress Website using the Transposh Plugin

When you are in the middle of a crisis, you need to be able to find information easily and quickly. If English is not your native language, navigating a website without a translation function could be frustrating or virtually impossible– sending you back to Google in a hurry. Fortunately, creating a quality translation feature is very doable. This post will provide 7 time-saving tips for how to create a English to Spanish translated site in WordPress using the Transposh plugin.

How to translated a wordpress site using TransPosh

Turning Point Pregnancy Resource Center is a Non-Profit in Jackson, Wyoming that provides free and confidential health services. When you walk in the front door on Broadway, you are met with big smiles and warm welcomes. Of the 250+ Non-Profits in our small mountain town, Turning Point is by far my favorite. When they asked if I could help them with a redesign that included a new Spanish translation feature, I was really excited to get started and wanted to find the best solution for their needs.

old website

 

The old website actually looked really nice, in my opinion. It had some friendly stock photos on the front page that directed the visitor to various parts of the website based on their needs. Our main focus in the redesign was to improve simplicity and usability, as the website needed to be easy to navigate for any visitors who are undergoing a crisis. The main goals included providing up-to-date and easy-to-find health information as well as providing a simple way for visitors to make an appointment to visit Turning Point, whether they are English or Spanish speaking.

 

Transposh is a great solution for translating WordPress sites– it is free, maintained regularly, and in my experience, totally bug free. It does, however, take a significant amount of time to set up a large site using Transposh and properly translating all items, so I’m addressing a few different techniques and recommendations in this post. I’m not a Transposh expert, but here is what I learned and some tips and strategies I want to remember when implementing this tool for other sites:

 

 

Tip #1: Start with a professional translation rather than Google translator

Transposh gives you to option to translate all pages using Google translator.

Google translation is better than nothing, but it is NOT a good place to start if you are aiming for a professional quality translation on your site.

It saves so much time to start with hiring someone to translate the text rather than having them correct Google’s attempt. When you fix the initial translation, you fix it in predetermined “snippets” or phrases which may not correspond grammatically to the changes you need to make.

 

 

Tip #2. Use Transposh shortcodes to enter entire sections of translated text

Use Transposh shortcodes to start and end each language section (in this case, an English section followed by a Spanish section). The shortcodes reveal and hide the content based on which language is selected on the dropdown translation menu in the header.

In this example, “en” refers to English and “es” to Spanish. If you are using other languages you will have to lookup the Transposh abbreviation for that language in the Plugin settings. Start the English section with [tp lang=”en” only=”y”]

screenshotadmin1final

And here’s how to close the English section with [/tp] and start the Spanish section with [tp lang=”es” not_in=”en”]:

shortcode2final

 

 

Tip #3: Update all links to point to translated pages of the same language

If the visitor chose “Spanish” and is clicking a link that takes them to another inner page, they will want to read that page in Spanish as well, but the link will not take them there by default. Fix this problem within your shortcoded text sections by adding “/?lang=es” at the end of the link (es stands for “Espanol”, so if you are linking to a different translation replace “es” with Transposh’s abbreviation for your language of choice).

spanishlinkfinal

 

 

Tip #4: In some cases, line breaks must be eliminated between shortcodes, or they will appear in the translation

Test out the page after inserting the shortcode sections to make sure that there isn’t anything weird showing up below the translation. If there is, you may need to move the line breaks from within the shortcode bracketed section to below that section.

I’ve resolved this issue on our site so I don’t have a screenshot of the problem, but you will know it when you see it.

 

 

Tip #5: Use shortcodes to insert translated images if they contain text

If your images contain text, like in these widget titles, you must create a new image containing Spanish text and then insert it into the widget or page using the shortcode method described above.

widget

 

 

Tip #6: Translate the menu and slider items using the “edit translation” as admin feature

You can’t use shortcodes in a menu so you will need to use the edit translation feature when you are signed in as admin by checking the “edit translation” box after selecting the secondary language. Then small colored boxes will appear next to the text areas on your page, including the menu, slider, header, and other theme or plugin specific features. Click the colored box to edit the translation.

screenshotadmin3final

 

 

Tip #7: Insert your logo or tagline text into the header rather than using the WordPress logo upload in your theme

The Turning Point logo included their tagline, “a pregnancy resource center” underneath. They wanted to leave “Turning Point” in English and translate the tagline. Because the logo was uploaded into the theme in an area that cannot be manipulated via shortcode, I added the tagline to the header and styled it with CSS to make it the same color, font, and size as the tagline in the original logo. Then I edited the translation using the edit translation as admin box described above.

 

Have any questions or other recommendations for translated sites? Let me know in the comments!

How to Optimize Blog Posts and Pages for SEO

How to Optimize Blog Posts and Pages for SEO

optimize-blog-posts-and-pages

If you missed our last post on How to do Keyword Research for SEO, please start there.

I took a little break from blogging when our newborn was born last month. Now I’m back and have a goal of blogging regularly (once every two weeks to start) and broadcasting my blog posts on social media using Hootsuite to schedule my posts.

Why would I make such a goal, especially with a newborn? For two reasons.

First of all, I’ve determined that it’s manageable and realistic for me to achieve this. I have already created a master document of content that simply needs to be adapted into individual blog posts. It shouldn’t take that much time to write and publish a new post each week (or to use a larger chunk of time to write multiple posts and then schedule their publication).

Second of all, it is helpful in achieving my business goals, since posting regularly on a blog with content that is optimized for SEO will increase traffic to your site and in many cases improve your Google search ranking.

What “newborns” or other huge commitments/responsibilities do you have that are keeping you from blogging? Isn’t it worth it to carve out the time or hire someone to write content for you?

Since you know that it’s important, let’s get to it. Here are some tips for optimizing your webpages and blog posts for SEO.

1. SEO Optimization starts with great, relevant content.

We hear it all the time but it’s always worth repeating– Quality content is so important for SEO. Start with great content and then optimize what you have written for your audience. While pages of quality content on your website are helpful, it is recommended that you also have a blog with periodically posted new material for Google to index.

Each blog post can be anywhere from 200 to 2,500 words in length. There seems to be some controversy about the ideal length of posts, but if it is longer you have more room to include more keywords and phrases for which your audience may be searching. 

2. Be Intentional with Your Title and URL choice

Choose a title that is appealing, conveys the value of the content, and contains keywords related to your industry. Try to target different keywords in each post.

Tip: If you are using WordPress as your CMS (Content Management System), you can edit the URL so that it contains even more keywords than the post title itself. This can be especially helpful for Ecommerce sites when you are trying to optimize products, such as at a local ecommerce shop called LidLab in Driggs, Idaho.

urlexample

For example, we were very strategic in using target keywords in our page titles for Stone Barn Holdings.

2. Include quality images and video within the pages and posts.

Google gives you many bonus points for including video on your pages and posts! When you insert your photos, make sure they are web optimized– meaning that they are saved at the correct size to display at a good resolution without slowing down your page load time.

Tip: You can also optimize your images for SEO by uploading them with an image title and alt text that each include keywords from your post.

Use Quality Blog Images

Having a hard time finding photos to use? Try the free or cheap stock photo services I describe on my resource page or take screenshots of things on your own website to use as an example.

3. Use your H1 and H2 headers as you design and create your content.

Use H1 and H2 tags to break up your blog post into a list or into sections broken up by several headers. For example, on my pricing page, my larger sections are written in H1 and the subsections within the page are written in H2. H1 and H2 will look different on different websites as they are built to display at different sizes, colors, fonts, etc. Google indexes the words that you use in your H1 and H2 headers as keywords. Therefore, you will want to be sure to include variations of important keywords for your post in these headers. 

h1h2example

Even though it is important to include keywords in your headers, make sure you avoid “keyword stuffing,” or the unnatural use of keywords in multiple forms. Keep it natural so that your readers enjoy your content and are more likely to share on social media and link to you from their own websites.

4. Include Internal and External Links

Make sure that you are linking to other relevant content that you have published on your blog previously or that is located elsewhere on your website. Google gives points for internal links in their algorithm and it keeps your visitor clicking and engaging in your site.

internallinksexample

Including external links may be noticed by the bloggers that you link to, who may reciprocate. Either way, if you are linking to quality content then you are improving the value of your post.

5. Include Share Buttons and Promote on Social Media

By including share buttons underneath your post, such as the buttons we use which are provided by the Shareaholic WordPress plugin, you are making it easier for your visitors to share your content. Social media activity is noted by Google and also generates incredible traffic. Although it can be time consuming, Social Media promotion is an absolutely necessary step if you are serious about SEO. You can make it more feasible by using an automated service like Hootsuite, which I discuss in my post about my favorite resources.

 

Remember, it’s important to optimize as you go, but you can go back and optimize old blog posts that need some love. What are you waiting for? Get out there and get optimized!! Please leave any questions or comments below.

How to Run a Backlink Audit and Monitor External Links for SEO

How to Run a Backlink Audit and Monitor External Links for SEO

how to run a backlink audit and monitor external links for SEOHow often do you search for your target keywords to see how you stack up against your competitors? If you aren’t happy with the search ranking results, performing an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) audit might be your next step. Though you are interested in launching an SEO campaign, it can be a frustrating and time consuming effort, especially if you don’t know where to start. Properly understanding the role that backlinks play in determining your Google search ranking is one crucial element. It is imperative to properly understand how they are assessed and what you can do to build them and get them indexed.

This post includes:

  • the importance of backlinks for SEO,
  • a step-by-step guide for running a backlink audit, including 4 free online tools
  • a free downloadable spreadsheet for monitoring your SEO campaign

Let’s get started.

What are Backlinks and why are they important?

Backlinks are external links on other domains that link to your website. The Anchor Text is the text that the visitor sees when they click on the link.

It is important to have backlinks because the number, quality, and variety of backlinks that you have pointing to you site helps to determine your Google search ranking.

There are two main kinds of backlinks– FOLLOW and NO FOLLOW. Follow backlinks are links to your site that have been intentionally placed in the content of a website. There are a number of ways to acquire No-follow links, such as commenting on someone else’s blog or creating a profile on a forum. There is controversy about how much credit (or “juice” as it is typically referred to by SEOs) you get for accumulating no follow links. As a general rule, no follow links don’t hurt and they absolutely bring traffic to your site. Some people think they do help your ranking. You should try to spend your time building follow links and generate no follow links when you are community building– For example, if you are leaving comments on blogs in your industry (which you should), sign in to the commenting system so that your name is linked to your website. You can experiment with how the no follow links affect your ranking using the monitoring method outlined below.

Google takes into account how many domains link to you (300 backlinks from 1 domain isn’t as nearly good as 10 links from 30 domains), how many times each domain links to you, and the page rank of the domain (links from Forbes are better than links from a spammy, fake site).

How do I audit my backlinks to see how many I have?

There are a number of SEO checking tools that can help you audit and monitor your backlinks. Many provide some information for free (sometimes for a limited number of searches) and then offer a monthly rate for the full package. It is best practice to use a variety of backlink checking tools, since many providers use different web crawlers to find your links and may give you different results. For this reason, small businesses would get the best results by optimizing their website for SEO and then monitoring using a few free tools. Thankfully, you can absolutely use a combination of different free tools to make a good assessment of your backlinks. Then if you need additional help, then it may be time to hire an experienced SEO.

Here’s a guide for running an initial audit of your backlinks and rank which will also become a system for regular monitoring.

 

Step One:

1. Make a folder on your computer for saving your audits on a regular basis. Name it “(Your Domain Name) SEO Reports”.

seo reports folder

 

 

Step Two:

2. Use the following free tools. Either download spread sheets of your findings or take screen captures and save the files into your Business SEO Reports folder. Modify all of the file names so that they include the month and year at the beginning of the file name followed by your domain name and the service you are using (For Example: Feb 2015 Your Domain Name Ahrefs Report).

 

1. www.backlinkwatch.com 

 Backlink Watch Checker

How I use it: Using Backlink Watch! is a first step, since its service is unlimited and free. 

Cons: The page itself is a little spammy with the pop-up adds and links tempting you to buy links. Don’t do that… purchasing spammy links could actually hurt your SEO. 

Pros: You can see the entire list of backlinks that they see on the internet pointing towards your site. It is free and doesn’t limit the number of times that you can search.

 

2.  Webmeup.com

Web Me Up SEO Tool

How I use it: Once a month, I grab a report for 3 sites that I am currently monitoring. It appears to use the exact same technology as backlinkwatch.com, so don’t expect a difference in the links that are reported.

Cons: You can only get 3 reports a month with the free account. 

Pros: You can download the report as an excel spread sheet.

 

3. MOZ Open Site Explorer

mozcompare

How I use it: Once a month, I search for the sites that I am monitoring and compare them with their competitors. I keep track of the domain authority score and other stats by taking a screenshot.

Cons: You can only run 3 searches a day (not including the comparison searches, however). The MOZ database only runs a huge update every month or month and a half, so you may see a delay in updating new links. You can check their schedule here. At the time I wrote this post, the next upcoming update is planned for March 11, 2015.

Pros: You can do a side by side comparison of your site against your competitors, which is so helpful, by going to “Compare Link Metrics” and adding your competitors urls. It provides more than just the backlink count– even at the free level– by providing you with a list of helpful stats including your domain authority, page authority, and just discovered links.

 

4. Ahrefs

ahrefs

How I use it: I use the free account to monitor changes over time and look for problematic drops in backlinks.

Cons: Most of the backlinks are hidden from you unless you subscribe. Tip: if you shuffle the order of the links by clicking on the different columns, you can see more without purchasing the membership.

Pros: Great analysis of new and lost backlink numbers over time. This could help you identify a backlink problem that you need to fix.

 

Step Three:

1. Download my SEO Campaign Tracker to keep track of your reports, basic observations, actions taken, and results.

seo campaign tracker

It is so important to track what results your SEO efforts are making as you tailor your campaign to your industry. For example, posting 2 guest posts in a certain month may have had a dramatic impact on your ranking because of the quality of the external link pointing to your site. Maybe adding yourself to a few directories, like Reddit and Hotfrog, also made an impact.

Remember to diversify your SEO tactics, avoid spammy solutions, work on great content, and track your results by monitoring backlinks and rank.

Let us know what works for you or if you have any questions in the comments. Have a paid service that you recommend? Let us know!

Google Webmaster Tools Verification Tutorial for WordPress Websites (www and non-www versions)

Google Webmaster Tools Verification Tutorial for WordPress Websites (www and non-www versions)

Google Webmaster Tools Verification for WordPressGoogle Webmaster Tools is an essential, free SEO tool and monitoring system. Here are step-by-step instructions for the Google Webmaster Tools verification process for websites created in WordPress. This tutorial also covers how to verify both the www and non-www versions of your site and set your preference in the site settings, a quick extra measure which will improve your search performance with Google.

Though this process does involve copying and pasting a line of code in your WordPress site’s backend, this process can easily be completed by someone with no coding experience.

1. Sign in to Google Webmaster Tools.

2. Click on the red “Add a Site” button. Type in the URL of your website (either the www or non-www version, it doesn’t matter right now).

 

webmastertools2

3. Click on the “Alternate Methods” tab for Verification. Select “HTML tag.” Copy and paste the line of code provided. It begins with <meta name=

webmastertools4 

4. Login to your WordPress Dashboard. In the lefthand column, click on Appearance>Editor. Then, in the righthand column, click on Header (header.php).

webmastertools5

 

5. Paste the line of code into the header.php file directly underneath the line that reads <head>. Be sure to not change or delete any other lines of code! Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click “Update File.”

webmastertools6

 

6. Go back to your Tab where Google Webmaster Tools is open. Click “Verify” and you will see a Congratulations notice appear.

webmastertools7

 

Part Two: Verifying the other version of your website (www or non-www) and selecting your prefered domain

7. Go back to the main welcome screen for Google Webmaster Tools by clicking on the red header, “Wemaster Tools.” Repeat steps 1-3 for the other version of your site (If you added your www url first, now add the non-www url). For example: First I added megfarrington.com and then I added www.megfarrington.com. You do not need to enter the line of code into your WordPress dashboard again. After selecting the alternate methods of verification tab, selecting html tag, and clicking verify, you have verified ownership of the other version of your website.

8. Now click on the gear icon on the upper right part of the screen and select “Site Settings.” Choose your website’s perferred domain in order to tell Google to display your URLs as www or non-www. If you don’t know which way your website is set up, visit your website and note if the wwws appear in the url or not. 

webmastertools17

 

Congrats! Both your www and non-www website versions are added to Google Webmaster Tools and you have specified which is the preferred domain, which will help your ranking with Google.

Next, I will cover how to add a site-map to your Google Webmaster Tools and some of the ways to use these tools for monitoring your site’s performance.

Have any questions or difficulties? Let me know in the comments!