If you want to get the most out of your WordPress website, I have a few tips that may help you along the way. WordPress is a good platform for building a website. It’s open-source, user-friendly, and offers various customization options using plugins and themes.
Additionally, it has a large community of developers who contribute to its development and offer support, making it a popular choice for website owners and developers alike. Its ease of use and flexibility make it suitable for creating a wide range of websites, from small personal blogs to large e-commerce sites. Let’s discuss the 15 most important things you can do to get the most out of your website.
1. Hosting Provider
Before you even get started with your new website you need to find a good host. I won’t get into the specifics of that on this page as I discussed it more in depth here. But this is one of the most important decisions to make as you will need your website to be fast or all your work will be in vain. Google doesn’t even consider how your website performs on a computer anymore. It’s all about mobile and how fast your site loads for visitors.
2. Custom Permalinks
By default, WordPress will use a plain structure. So, for instance, if you have a website called “MyHealthyLiving.com” and made a post titled “Living Healthy.” The URL would look something like this: www.myhealthyliving.com/?p=123. It is recommended to use “Post Name” for permalinks as this provides search engines with a clear indication of what the page is about, rather than using a less visually appealing format. This helps to highlight the time and effort put into creating the page.
Setting the permalinks to “Post Name” can greatly improve the appearance of the URL, making it more attractive to search engines and clearer to anyone who views it. For example, the URL for a page about healthy living would become www.myhealthyliving.com/livinghealthy, which provides a clear indication of the page’s content. To change the permalink setting in WordPress, go to Settings >> Permalinks in the admin dashboard. It is best to make this change early on when setting up a new website, as part of good practice.
3. WordPress Themes
Your theme will play a critical role on your website. It needs to be fast, look great and function properly on multiple devices. Be wary of themes that might look good but slow down your site. I discuss how I chose my theme and why here.
4. Optimize for search engines (SEO)
Optimizing a WordPress website for search engines is made easy with the use of plugins. The majority of SEO tasks can be accomplished with the right plugin, making WordPress a strong platform in this regard. In this context, we will discuss the two most popular and user-friendly SEO plugins as they are the most widely used by many.
Yoast SEO is a well-established plugin that has a solid understanding of what it takes to optimize a website for search engines. I have tried both the free and premium versions, both of which are valuable tools. The only noticeable difference between the two is the internal link suggestion feature in the premium version, which provides recommendations as you write your post. However, whether this feature alone is worth the extra cost is a matter of personal preference.
The free version will work just fine in many cases. The plugin is sometimes referred to as outdated, though, as it focuses so much time on keywords. Google doesn’t consider keywords the way it once did. Your actual content is so much more critical now.
Until recently, I managed four websites and had tried both Yoast and AIOSEO on two sites each to compare the two. Although I haven’t upgraded AIOSEO beyond the free version, I prefer it over the premium version of Yoast. AIOSEO places a greater emphasis on the post title, offering a score to guide you in creating an attention-grabbing title that can increase click-throughs.
AIOSEO also offers better schema markup to make your site more attractive to search engines. If I had to make a suggestion, I would recommend AIOSEO. This is the only plugin I use now. If you found this page through a search engine, you know it works. An SEO plugin should be one of the first things you add to your new site.
5. Cache Plugins
Having a fast hosting company may not be enough. Cache plugins help to improve the performance of a website by storing a static version of its pages and posts, reducing the amount of data that needs to be loaded each time a page is visited. This results in faster page load times, which can positively impact the user experience, as well as the website’s search engine optimization (SEO).
Jetpack for WordPress
Jetpack is a great multi plugin, it has many features that can be turned off and on as you need. In many cases the features work better than other stand alone plugins. That’s not always the case, but with Jetpack Boost and their Site Accelerator, I think they are great options. Jetpack is made by the same company that is behind WordPress so they know their stuff. The Site Accelerator will act as a CDN for your images so they will load lightning fast no matter where your visitors are from.
WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache is probably one of the best stand alone cache plugins for WordPress. I have used it in the past and highly recommend it. There are many more good cache plugins but these are the ones I have used, and can say they are worth the a download.
6. Keep Your WordPress Plugins Up To Date
Don’t lose all of your hard work to hackers and spammers. Keeping your WordPress and all of your plugins up to date is vital to the security of your website. Additionally, using two-factor authentication is a good idea if you allow visitors to sign up on your website and for general comment sections. If you run an e-commerce site, the added security will ease your customers’ minds. Having your database compromised could jeopardize your entire business. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Make regular backups of your website and databases. It’s a good idea to turn off automatic updates to your plugins and upgrade them manually. Before doing so, back up your database. It takes two minutes to do things this way, but it can save you hours of hassle if things go wrong with auto updates.
7. Minimize plugin usage
Plugins are great ways to enhance your website. There is a plugin for anything you could want these days. But use them sparingly. They can slow down your website, potentially cause security risks if not properly coded, and could lead to compatibility issues if the two plugins don’t work together. Try to limit the number of plugins to no more than 20.
8. WordPress Image Optimization
For optimized images, you can use plugins, however, it is advisable to start with high-quality images. Avoid uploading excessively large, high-definition images and relying on software to optimize them. Unless you require high-quality images, it is best to resize and compress all images prior to uploading. This will enhance your website’s performance and ensure seamless functionality.
9. Custom Menus
Custom website menus are necessary for user interaction because they provide a clear and intuitive navigation structure for visitors to your site. They allow users to easily find the content they are looking for and quickly access different sections of the site.
Custom menus also improve the overall user experience by making it simple and straightforward to move around your website, reducing the likelihood of users becoming frustrated and leaving. Custom menus can also be designed to highlight the most important sections of your site, making it easier for users to quickly find what they are looking for. Overall, custom menus are a crucial component of effective user interaction and play a significant role in the success of your website.
So spend a significant portion of your time focusing on navigation. Try to look at it from the point of view of someone viewing your website for the first time and attempt to keep every page just a few clicks from the homepage.
10. Social Media Links
Social media has become nearly as crucial as SEO in today’s digital landscape. By establishing and managing social media accounts, you can attract a substantial number of visitors to your site. Sometimes even more than what search engines can bring.
Social media can be considered as a form of free advertising, however, it requires effort to maintain user engagement on the chosen platforms. By consistently creating interesting and relevant content, you can keep your followers engaged and encourage them to visit your site. Thus, social media can be a valuable tool for driving traffic to your website and increasing its visibility and reach.
I hope this list helps you out in someway. I think WordPress is fantastic software and am really enjoying the time it frees me to make new content as opposed to spending so much time attempting to code an entire website myself.
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