WordPress is a great environment for building websites. With a variety of features it provides, you can tailor the system according to your needs and create pages that are both functional and stylish.
However, if you have no experience working with it, you run the risk of overlooking several details that are usually taken into account only when you have already got the hang of it. Here are some tips for those who are planning to set up a website powered by WordPress.
1. Website Design Should Be Industry-Specific
When your website is still only a twinkle in your eye, it is just the right time to think carefully what your target audience is. What does it have to do with web design, you may ask. Well, the causal relationship is pretty straightforward. In professional websites, the way they are designed is determined by who is going to be their users.
Of course, your initial website version can be based on a free template. Many of the free templates are minimalistic and universal, which means they can be employed by virtually any company regardless of specialization.
However, this approach can have a detrimental effect on your website effectiveness. Free templates fail to be flexible enough and they also lack some of the features that are usually used to appeal to a specific target audience.
To make your website a cozy place to stay, make sure its design corresponds to the trends in the industry you work in and is user-oriented. So, keep in mind your industry and target audience when working on web design for your WP website or when choosing a template to install.
2. Use a short domain name and short URLs in general
Short domain names are easier to decipher and remember. Use a name that is not difficult to spell, as it will be more convenient for people to type it out and communicate with others. Besides, shorter domains are indicative (at least supposedly) of higher quality: websites with shorter domain names are generally viewed as worthy of being given more credit, hence people are more likely to click on an evercook.com link rather than on something lengthy and cumbersome, such as bestrecipesforfamily4alloccassions.com.
This rule applies not only to domain names but also to permalinks and other URLs used within your website. Statistics suggest such short URLs are more popular among users. Using the WordPress control panel, you can structure URLs the way you want.
3. Do not forget about internal links
Another aspect of effective link management is – using internal links. Referring to a page that contains the same keyword and is found on your website is one of the things used to unlock a website’s SEO potential.
WP’s functions enable you to do it easily: in the editor (the “classic” one), select the keyword and choose the page you want to create a link to with the help of the link tool: just type the word in the field to see what options have been found. Click on “Return”. Now you have an internal link ready to be used!
4. Equip your WP website with Yoast SEO
No, it has nothing to do with yeast. It is a free plugin that enables you to evaluate your website content in terms of its SEO value. For example, it can point to problems connected with readability and performance of keywords used on the website, as well as determine whether your texts should be made easier so as to make them fit for your target audience. Using Yoast SEO, you can focus on particular posts or even stages of your project to create a better version of them.
5. Mobile friendliness is a must
Some people ignore this advice in order to save on website development or promotion, while they definitely shouldn’t. The reason for it is that most users now use portable devices to access the internet, which means all content should be displayed as intended – otherwise your website will be slow, difficult to navigate, and simply look cheap (because today, when mobile friendliness is so important and considered standard, not investing in it is viewed as a sign of not being a serious company!).
Since most WordPress themes used today know how to adapt to portable devices, it is by no means difficult to be mobile friendly: with such a great variety of themes available, you can easily find the option you need. The chances are it will already be geared towards being great for displaying content on mobile devices.
6. Do not install too many plugins
Plugins are a versatile thing that enhances your website bringing more functions to its arsenal of opportunities. However, overusing them by installing the ones that you do not really need may well result in slowing down your pages. Use only those plugins that are generally considered essential (the ones for security, SEO and cache).
Everything that can be implemented without plugins should be done this way. The more extra modules you use, the slower your website, and slow loading is one of the key reasons why potential customers give your pages a wide birth – most people are simply not patient enough to wait for more than a couple of seconds for a page to load!
7. Update your CMS and other software regularly
Updating WP and plugins is easy. If there is something new available, you will be notified. Just monitor whether the icon at the top of the dashboard indicates that there is an update waiting for you.
It is important to update the CMS and plugins because most of such updates are aimed at making your website more secure. Before installing updates, make sure you have a backup to reverse your website to should issues arise. After you have updated it, make sure everything functions as intended.
8. Create backups regularly
As it has been mentioned in the previous tip, creating backups is a good strategy to keep your website functioning properly, as you never know what element will prove to be faulty. It is recommended that backups are created monthly, but there are ways to do it even more often. One of these is using special plugins. Besides, many hosting providers offer daily backups (some of them even do it for free!).
There are quite a lot of things that can happen to your website, so having extra copies of it to be used when a new version of a plugin proves to be buggy or when someone has attacked your website can be of help.
9. Choose your hosting provider wisely
Before becoming a client of a hosting provider, do some research and make sure it has recently been great in terms of uptime and load speed. You can use services for analysis of statistics on server performance. Read reviews (but take them with a pinch of salt) and ask those who have already tried using the services of the hosting provider you are interested in. There are hosts designed to provide the best WP experience. Consider using them if WordPress is what you are going to use.
WordPress is a versatile system that is easy to use even if you have no prior experience working with it. These tips can help you make it an even better environment for your project. If you have problems using WP, you can always refer to its Codex or the WP forum to ask your questions – the fact that WordPress is free does not mean you will be left to your own devices if a problem arises.