When I’m advising affiliates on the best way to set up their websites, I always tell them to start with WordPress.

Why? It’s open source (and free), it’s fast, and Google understands how it works … which means your content will get indexed more quickly and more effectively.

When you’re starting off with WordPress, there are just a few things you need:

1. WordPress (download here)
2. Web hosting or Localhost webserver – I assume you already have this, if not, check out Hostgator.
3. FTP editor – You can choose any that you’re comfortable with!
4. Text editor – Don’t be lazy, Dreamweaver isn’t a text editor. (Check out Notepad for Windows or Text Wrangler for the Mac)

Step #1: The first step is to create the database, I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty of this because it’s beyond the scope of this article. Once created, upload WordPress to your webserver. Access the site, say domain.com. Lo and behold, WordPress shyly presents its install screen and it literally takes a few minutes to get that done, so yes, get that done please.

Step #2: So you’ve now installed WordPress. Let’s optimize it a little. Here you’ll need WordPress backend and potentially a text editor and an FTP client because immediately we want to jump straight into optimizing the URLs.

Many SEO experts argue about the ways to structure your URL. These are cool, pick one (hyphens are better than underscores):


Now add this to Settings >> Permalinks:


for /category/page-name.html layout (I like the .html suffix a lot!)

Feel free to edit the suffix, add, remove, change file ending to whatever you want.

Depending on your file permissions, WordPress can go one of two ways:

  1. It will create the entry into the .htaccess file, or,
  2. Tell you to paste some code into your .htaccess file and upload it, in which case download with FTP client and use the text editor.

Once saved, or uploaded, this is one of the biggest steps you can take to optimizing WordPress out of the box.

Step #3: The next step is something you should work out in conjunction with Google Webmaster Tools. And that’s whether you’re going to use your site in WWW or non-WWW mode, it actually makes a difference. The WWW part is technically a subdomain of your domain and has been regarded as deprecated for a long time. My personal choice is to drop WWW. Reasons to do it are that you might have others linking to both varieties and in the Webmaster Tools you can specify what is indexed and what is shown as your “preferred domain.” Just make a choice and stick with it!

To do this, you’ll need to add some code to your .htaccess file:

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^domain\.com
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.domain.com/$1 [R=301,L]
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.domain.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://domain.com/$1 [L,R=301
(Make sure to substitute your domain for domain.com!)

Step #4: Now there are a few other things you can do inside WordPress. While they might seem generic, they’ll help you build your site for maximum traffic and success.

Titles – choose an appropriate title and try to keep them short. Never make a title so big that it could almost be a summary paragraph.
Slugs – most of the time these are auto-generated. You should take care to remove stopwords so that the URL is well formed, contains important keywords while maintaining readability. This plugin helps with that.
Page/Post Summary – Get into the habit of using page excerpts. These are really useful in case you finally end up with a theme that can use them. Trust me, having to backtrack through thousands of pages/posts and create summaries is tedious. This is something you can use to mirror the Google snippet description. You can even use it for the Meta Description.
HTML hierarchy – Most themes, by default use populate a <H1> as the page title (which should be your main article keywords) so try to add more structure with <h2> and <h3> filling these with with sub keywords.

From here onwards, employ good use of HTML:

Images are great – Add ALT attributes to <IMG> and describe the image you add.
Hyperlinks – Inside and outside the content are good but remember to use the TITLE attribute to describe your link and ‘rel=”nofollow” for pages you don’t trust or don’t want to give a free link to!

Now the next trick is to make sure your content is good. Once that’s true, you’re on your way to producing a successful WordPress casino website!

Carlo Scappaticci is a WordPress aficionado and Affiliate Program Manager at Rialto Affiliates. This is his first contribution to the Casino Affiliate Programs blog.

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