9 Essential WordPress Tips

By far the best and most adaptive website builder is WordPress.   Our team works with WordPress website every day.  Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your WordPress website.

1. Be familiar with the dashboard!

  • The dashboard is the main screen you land at after logging in. Spend a few minutes learning how things are organized in WordPress.
  • The main menu sidebar is on the left—The sidebar is where you navigate to create posts and pages, customize your website’s appearance, access settings, etc.
  • At the very top, you’ll see your name and a few quickly accessible links. Clicking on your website name opens the front-end of your site.

2. Distinguish posts content from pages content.

  • Posts: they work great for blog content. Posts are to be easily shareable, searchable, and comment-able. You can schedule them to be published at future dates and times, and you can choose to make them appear on your site in any order desired.  Posts are meant to be added often and updated frequently.
  • Pages: they work great for content that won’t change much over time, like your “About” page, “Contact” page. Pages are displayed in your top navigation bar and menus.  It’s important not to use pages for information like news, events, recaps, updates, reviews, and opinions that are better contained within posts

3. Focus on your titles.

Your post and page titles are what help your audience make a quick decision about whether to click on your content or not, and your titles are also important because Google indexes them for search results. Create titles that are:

  • Engaging: Grab their attention.
  • Insightful: Let your audience know what they’ll learn and what they’ll gain.
  • Clear: Quickly inform your viewers what the topic is. Use appropriate search terms, but don’t repeat the same keywords over and over.

4. Don’t plagiarize.

It is actually against the law to use copyrighted media without permission from the owner. Also, Google is looking for sites with original content.  Only add content to your site that fits into one of these categories:

  • You made it yourself.
  • You asked for the original owner’s permission.
  • It is already available for anyone to use under the public domain.

5. Optimize your photos.

  • Compress: The photos you upload to your website should be sized under 1MB—this smaller file size helps your site run faster and allows for more overall storage space. Yes, it’s an extra step, but it doesn’t take long. (Kraken.io, ImageResize, and Optimizilla are a few free online tools you can use to optimize your image.)
  • Resize: After you upload an image to WordPress, you can edit the image and resize it to fit whatever your page or post needs. WordPress lets you flip images, mirror them, and scale and crop.

6. Keep your sidebar simple.

It’s easy to cram a ton of widgets into your sidebar, but if you use too many, they can take away from the content you really want your visitors to engage with.

Assess your sidebar, and if your sidebar becomes overloaded, edit it down, ruthlessly. Experiment and see how simplifying it affects your site’s traffic.

7. Avoid installing too many plugins.

Yes, there are a lot of great plugins out there. But that doesn’t mean you need them all. Installing too many plugins, or low-quality plugins, can affect the speed of your website. Reliable plugins are compatible with WordPress’s latest version, and will have good reviews, support forums, and frequent updates. The first plugin to consider at the beginning is for SEO. The most popular one is called “Yoast“—it makes sure you’re following good Google search index, like keyword density and meta descriptions.

You might also want to consider a security plugin. Make sure to add plugins one at a time to make sure they work properly with the rest of your site, and always deactivate & uninstall the ones you decide to stop using.

8. Update to avoid site crashes.

If you don’t continually update WordPress and your theme, your site becomes vulnerable to security attacks. If you don’t update your plugins, they can actually make your site crash. Turn on automatic updates, or check every few days and update them manually.

9. Run backups of your site!

Backups are extremely important. There are hackers out there who would love to steal your data, but there are also user errors that you might make. The best way to make sure you’re consistently backing up your site is to automate it with a plugin. “Jetpack” offers many different helpful features: daily backups, a contact form, mobile theme, security, and faster image loading.

Want to learn more about WordPress?  Check out this article about why we prefer WordPress over Wix.