Is there a particular blogging platform or site builder (ie SquareSpace) thats good for SEO? Or will anything do?
Hey John, in general it depends what you need the website for, blog, ecommerce, lead gen, etc.
In general term as already mentioned WordPress is a good choice. If you don't know anything about technicalities you'd need some help to set it up (note: WordPress is a software and needs to be updated).
In my experience other platforms (i.e.: SqureSpace) are ok-ish if you already have a strong brand AND your main acquisition channel is not organic/SEO, in this case don't go there as you don't have control on most of the stuff and many SEO best practices can be a challenge.
That being said, if you're looking for an ecommerce platform things are slightly different. An ecommerce platform needs a lot customisations, updates, etc and going solo with a such (great) platform such as WordPress+WooCommerce could be challenging. So you should go somewhere else, where the functionality you need is the core business (i.e.: Shopify), even though still not an ideal situation.
Hope it helps!
@betakrea Wow I really appreciate the comprehensive response, thank you!
Can you please tell me more about why Squarespace could be restricting on the SEO front? Or if thats too deep a topic to explore, can you point me in the right direction for more info?
Heres some more context for my position:
I'll jump on this one. As someone who once ran a Japan travel blog on SEO, I've seen what various blog services can do.
Wordpress with Yoast SEO is easily the best bang-for-buck option. It will give you pointers on how to structure each of (your blog overall) and (each post) to be competitive for the keywords you want to hit, while educating you along the way. Yoast's options are extensive, and just getting exposure to the options (and their default recommendations) is helpful.
Other services may have less of a focus on SEO. Squarespace, for example, may follow best practices overall in terms of not doing bad things, but they may not give you targeted SEO tactics per post based on a keyword you want to hit. Compare that to blog services that do have some SEO focus on their feature set. While you wouldn't really want to use it this decade, Typepad was strong in its early days for having an SEO-centric feature set (https://help.typepad.com/seo_overview.html ).
If you're new to building a following and also new to SEO, I can't recommend Wordpress/Yoast strongly enough.
Hey @blakerson! Thanks for the additional info. I will definitely look into Yoast.
Do you have any opinion or insight on the SEO tool named "ahrefs". Sounds like it might be similar to Yoast, and my plan was to learn and use that tool.
Ahrefs is, as I understand it, beast mode for SEO. It seems to be oriented at companies with revenue where SEO is a central part of the business health, given its extremely rich feature set. It also starts at $100/month.
@blakerson gotcha, thank you. I actually think that I will end up using Yoast. Thank you!
sorry for the late response.
What Blake said, plus WordPress is a software and if you're at the beginning you should also learn it, so it's fine, but be prepared to spend some time (or hire someone to reduce this time).
As for your needs, WordPress is the best solution because you can customise everything you need, from site speed to page layout, to file names, etc. You'll need some plugins to do that (in general the less the better for security reasons).
Squarespace, Wix, and other SaaS platform work. Work doesn't mean that they work well, you have several limits in terms of what you can do, if you change image Squarespace also changes the URL, you're limited with site structure and how you can publish, if you want to apply a small change to make the site optimised most of the time isn't feasible, etc. I spent several hours with their customer care and most of the time the answer was "we'll refer to our engineer team", my questions were about basic HTML issues. I do expect similar behaviours from their competitors.
That being said, the learning curve is very easy and you'll be able to start your project in a few hours rather than a few days.
You can always migrate (attention: be careful on how you do it) to WordPress or any other Content management system.
There is not a real answer, as suggested Yoast is a plugin that allows you to optimise some areas of your page, but it's not a green/red light that makes your site good for SEO, you need to create the right content you can afford to rank for, get backlinks and persuade your users to download your app.
In your specific case, as your goal is to make sure people download your app, create a few pages that help users to identify the reasons why they should do it and get the help of a professional copywriter to do that. ProductHunt and other platform like that are a great traffic driver and much quicker than SEO, that can take months to work. Also consider PPC.
How you drive traffic is about your strategy and how much money you have to invest/realistic expectations from that.
In terms of Ahrefs, it's a great tool, you can do amazing things with that, but it's still a tool that doesn't replace your overall strategy. If you consider it, I'd suggest their blogging for business course https://ahrefs.com/academy/blogging-for-business and be familiar with their terminology and tools, then test it for a 7 days period at $7 and see what you can do.
Rather than giving you the definitive answer I prefer to make you aware of the possibilities and what you can/can't do with tools. I hope this helps you to take an informed decision.
@betakrea This is amazing, thank you! I really appreciate the insights. I agree with your advice here. Sounds like there are more important things than the platform. So I will likely use WP + Yoast to get up and running and then focus on the content, strategy etc.
I'm glad you liked it :)
If you're looking for a pure blogging platform, then Wordpress easily ranks at the top. Just install Yoast SEO plugin and configure it and you're all set for SEO. It is also easy to learn and no coding is required.
@SocialDuce awesome, I will definitely look into Yoast. Do you have any opinion or insight on the SEO tool named "ahrefs". Sounds like it might be similar to Yoast, and my original plan was to learn and use that tool but now Yoast is sounding like a good alternative.
Yoast and ahrefs are completely different tools. Yoast is used for On-site SEO for wordpress whereas ahrefs used for analyzing backlinks and basically used for off-site SEO. You don't need ahrefs to build your blog, but it is required for fetching back links once your blog is live.
Ok interesting, thanks for explaining, @SocialDuce
One more question if you don't mind, what does "fetching back links" mean? I did a quick google but didn't see anything for the verb "fetching" here. This is all new to me :)
For blogging? WordPress, self-hosted. Go with SiteGround or WPEngine and you're all set. That's nothing new of course but I can attest to it. We get nearly all our customers from our blog and word of mouth now.
oh wow, your website looks great. I'll keep this in mind, thank you!
At the end of the day, most CMS platforms will get you everything you need when it comes to SEO.
There's no one magic CMS platform, but some things to look for are:
-Does the platform generate a sitemap for you
-Does the platform generate a robots.txt and can you edit it
-Is the platform reasonably fast
-Does the platform allow you to create content and optimize it for the web (ie set the title, meta description, etc).
Pretty much all of the big CMS platforms (Wordpress, Squarespace, Webflow, Wix, HubSpot...) do that. I've seen people using Notion for websites and right now that does not support the above.
A word of caution with Wordpress, you absolutely need the Yoast plugin (it's free) otherwise you do not get the above listed requirements. Wordpress can also be a bit slow, but there are plenty of plugins you can use to cache and speed up the site.
@tscionti ok awesome, I will definitely dig into Yoast, thank you!
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