I love WordPress most of the time. It simple, has an extremely customisable front end, a lovely intuitive admin interface that almost all clients can get to grips with easily – oh and its free!
So I have built many a site with it – some simple, some complicated – always to great effect and general client satisfaction. Go me!
I had been recommended a new hosting provider that a client of mine had been using and their rates seemed very reasonable for just a small WordPress blogging site. So I took the plunge and signed up with them. Plus they had Fantastico one-click installs available for most of major packages – WordPress included.
So rather than me faff around and create a MySql db, then feed the data into the WordPress install screen after I had uploaded all the install files etc, I could just click once on the Fantastico icon and – ta da – one minute later I’m looking at my shiny new blog!.
So far so easy. WordPress theme built – designer happy, client happy – I got paid.
So how come 2 months after launch the site is not being found on any Google/Bing/Yahoo searches? Absolutely no search engine traffic is showing up in Google Analytics. Its not as if the clients site is very niche either – and yes it has been SEO-ed up the ying yang before you point the finger at moi!
I started to worry – “Maybe Google has blacklisted this site because I used text-indent:-9999px too many times??”
Then I found the answer:
In this article Jeff mentions that by default in one-click installs WordPress is set to be hidden from search engines unless you explicitly go and switch the setting to “Allow search engines” – I couldn’t believe it! WordPress seemed to be deliberately sabotaging my attempts to let people find my site!
Arrgh! Now I just need to grovel to my client and give her a bit of free consultancy to make up for the fact that she had just ten visitors for the past two months…. wish me luck
Just as a warning, its not as easy as just flicking the switch and suddenly your site is listed on Google.
After 2 days it still wasn’t showing so here’s what I did. Maybe it was one , or a combination of things that worked – who knows?
1) Changed the Published date of all the pages in the site (I know this might not be feasible in a large blog but this site only has 6 or 7 static pages)
2) Submitted (and resubmitted) a sitemap to Google (via Google Webmaster tools)
3) Used the links I found on this (realy useful) site to resubmit my site to Google : http://www.feedthebot.com/
I’m not sure which one worked but a day or so after I played with these the site started showing up in Google results – phewee!