Sonny WordPress 3.3

Sonny Stitt – image from Flickr

With the launch of WordPress 3.3 end of last year we wanted to provide an overview of the updates in the new version and some general tips on blog optimisation that apply. FIRST recommends WordPress due to its ease of use and the availability of intuitive SEO-friendly plugins.

According to the WordPress site there has been over 65 million downloads since version 3.0 was released and an approximate 14 million downloads of version 3.2 alone. Version 3.3 has been named “Sonny” after Jazz musician Sonny Stitt.

What’s new in 3.3

The founder of WordPress said in September 2009 “The only thing that I can promise will keep your blog secure today, and in the future, is upgrading.” (

WordPress Version 3.3 offers the following enhancements:

  • A reworked welcome screen with a cleaner layout
  • Feature pointers to provide easy to understand explanations of specific functionality
  • Significant improvements to menu navigation including fly-out functionality
  • Intuitive contextual help
  • Drag-and-drop uploader for adding media files
  • A new Toolbar menu including the old (and more cumbersome) dashboard header and admin bar
  • Ipad optimisation with touch support
  • A Tumblr importer
  • A more intuitive co-editing experience

We welcome the significant developments that the version promises and look forward to working more closely with some of the features. Three point three certainly sounds more intuitive than recent versions, which notably involved some seriously unintuitive navigation. But time will tell how significant these developments really are for the blogger.

We would like to hear your experiences using the new version including any notable improvements you’ve experienced, or issues with the transition process that you can share.

Our Top 5 Blog Optimisation Tips

In the sprit of getting the most out of your WordPress blog, here are our top 5 optimisation tips.

  1. Get your on-page SEO up to scratch: a good blog should either be an extension of your existing website (for company blogs) or a top notch stand-alone offering. As such all the usual suspects should be present on each page: Title tags, meta descriptions, H1 heading tags and image alt attributes. Intuitive SEO plugins are available to help you with this process of ensuring consistency throughout the site
  2. Work smarter with Permalinks: permalinks is the name sometimes given to rewritten URLs. Update your settings to ensure you get your post title right into the URL as yet another signal to the search engines on what each page is about
  3. Deliver when your audience peaks: for starters get Google Analytics installed if you don’t already have it! The easiest way to do this is using a Google Analytics plugin and there are several excellent options available. Once you have analytics data available, work out when your audience peaks each week and publish your content accordingly
  4. Create content for your readers, not Googlebot: this tip gets thrown out there a lot, but it’s worth repeated as a vital ingredient to successful user engagement. Find the right balance – we suggest writing great content first (with your users in mind) and then optimising it for SEO purposes later (where possible)
  5. Gently fan the flames of user interaction: a good blog will attract returning visitors. Part of engaging users is allowing them to interact within your blog’s micro-community by leaving comments – however we do suggest moderation of these.