When it comes to optimising WordPress affiliate websites, a common misconception is that installing a bunch of plugins and using SEO friendly themes is enough. But…. Plugins and bought themes are NOT going to solve all your SEO problems.
Let’s say it again but in bold:
Plugins and bought themes are NOT going to solve all your SEO problems.
This is not to say that plugins are evil and should be avoided at all costs. But you need to prioritise and choose those plugins that are vital to your affiliate business.
We’ll look into some specific plugins later in the text but rest assured we are NOT affiliated with any of them. The only plugin we benefit from recommending to you is our own. You can test the Heylink plugin for free.
Now let’s look into optimising your affiliate WordPress website.
Common mistakes when optimising your affiliate WordPress Website
Many early affiliates try to fix all their WordPress SEO problems with plugins and bought themes. This is not inherently bad but relying only on those tools will become counterproductive.
Here is why:
Too many plugins slow down your website and make the maintenance more time-consuming than it has to be. In some cases, they can even conflict with each other and cause compatibility issues. You need to be deliberate with every plugin you install because it’s not a one-time thing.
Many affiliates do some basic SEO configuration and install plugins, but they tend to forget to maintain them. You need to log in to the plugins, update them, and maintain the technical quality of the website over time. If you skip maintaining the plugins your website’s taxonomy becomes disorganised, and users and search bots find it challenging to navigate. To avoid this, you should set up a roadmap for scaling your website, constantly evaluate your website’s strategy, and determine if you need to update or change anything.
Buying a theme that claims to be SEO friendly
Let’s be honest. Buying an SEO-friendly theme sounds like an easy way out. And it is… until it’s not.
Affiliates tend to go with “SEO friendly” themes in the hope that it will automatically help them stay SEO optimised. Then they install a couple of performance plugins to help their loading speed and call it a day.
Not so fast.
Just because a theme claims to be “SEO friendly” doesn’t necessarily mean it is. While some themes may have certain SEO features built-in (mobile responsiveness or schema markup), it doesn’t guarantee that the theme will perform well in terms of SEO.
And it still can cause a slow loading speed.
Lack of website housekeeping
At the core of WordPress, you’re building a website on other people’s code. Whether it’s in the theme you buy or the plugins you install; and that code changes over time. So when you install useful plugins, don’t forget to stay updated on their new features.
It might seem like extra work, but look through the plugin change logs, notifications or newsletters. Outdated plugins can cause configuration issues leading to a negative impact on your SEO.
Not to mention that in a lot of cases you’re paying for the plugin, so you want to make sure you’re using it to its fullest potential.
With WordPress, it’s easy to set it all up and forever forget. Find the time to go through your website and figure out if the plugins and the strategy you chose still make sense. Optimising your website is an ongoing process.
Actionable tips for WordPress website maintenance
The base for any website optimisation is to have it built in a scalable way – having a website that can be optimised in the long run.
What does a scalable WordPress website look like?
Before you start thinking about buying themes, installing plugins, and bloating your website with too much code, think about the strategy. One thing is to create content in your niche but the other is the website taxonomy. This refers to a logical structure that makes it easy for users to navigate and search engines to crawl your website. Think of it as website architecture.
Figure out what you want your website to look like and what’s the most effective way of connecting with your audience.
To have a scalable WordPress website for your affiliate business you should consider building it from scratch. If you have the time, technical capabilities or financial resources (outsourcing) you should always start with a custom theme.
Use the pre-built features WordPress has to offer
WordPress comes with a few pre-built features like the native blog post builder (Gutenberg editor). You don’t need to install or buy additional plugins to build your blog posts. And since it’s part of the whole platform you don’t need to think about updating it and it doesn’t add complexity to your site.
Keeping the amount of website code to a minimum.
Before you invest in plugin blog builders, look into the custom setup for the native builder.
Plugins to improve your affiliate WordPress website
Getting plugins comes with a trade-off. To scale, you need to effectively decide what trade-off you’re willing to make. Is it the loading speed over not building your site from scratch? At a certain point, you need to make a decision that is practical for you, despite the best practice advising you otherwise.
Here is a list of useful plugins with a positive trade-off.
Tracks and automates all your affiliate links so you don’t have to spend time doing the manual work, giving you back time to discover new opportunities and earn higher commissions. You can download the plugin for free.
One of the most popular WordPress plugins that help you optimise your site for SEO. It has a free plan for you to try it out.
This plugin builds on the pre-built Gutenberg editor in WordPress websites. It lets you create custom blocks to build your pages.
Affiliate beginners tend to download a bunch of plugins for adding star ratings, schema, and other blocks to their product review sites. With Genesis Custom Blocks, you download only one plugin and create the blocks you need.