The WordPress tips below offer solutions for a solid foundation as you build and maintain your WordPress website. A little extra effort on your part can go a long way to further improve your online presence and help the performance of your website.
Before We Begin: WordPress Terminology
Here’s a list of the WordPress terminology found in this post. Beginners can really benefit from a quick WordPress vocabulary lesson, and it never hurts to have a refresher.
- Post – The content you are currently reading is an example of a post; Basically a post is the content contained in your WordPress blog.
- Theme – This is where design meets code. A theme provides the framework for your website’s design. The WordPress theme you choose dictates how customizable your design will be.
- Plugin – These are bits of extendable software that make it possible to add additional functionality to your WordPress website.
- Widget – An application that retrieves information like links to recent posts, a Twitter feed, etc. from another source and displays it on the page specified. Most WordPress themes have widgets built into page layouts or offer the ability to add your own.
- Brute Force Attack – The act of trying different usernames and passwords over and over again to hack into someone’s website.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Strategies used to increase ranking in search results of a search engine.
This is a short list of some basic WordPress terminology. For more check out the WordPress Codex, the official online WordPress manual.
5 WordPress Tips to Build a Solid Foundation
1. Secure Your WordPress Site
I recently learned most people buy a security system for their home after a burglary, saying they wish they would have had a one before the break in.
What is your WordPress security strategy? Don’t wait for your site to be hacked before you secure it.
Here are a few ways to secure your WordPress site:
- Limit the number of login attempts to avoid brute force attacks
- Encourage WordPress password security for all users
- Enable WordPress two-factor authentication
For more about how to secure WordPress, check out 20 WordPress Tips for securing your WordPress website.
2. Use Smart SEO Strategies
A WordPress site is only as good as its SEO strategy. If no one can find you, it doesn’t matter how innovative your WordPress site is or how great the design may look.
Well-executed SEO is the difference between 500 and 10,000 daily visitors. Good SEO can get you on the first page of search results and great SEO can put you at the top.
SEO holds a great deal of power. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the competition’s SEO strategy compared to your own. Let’s hope you’re on the side that invests time into their SEO.
Think about all the times you have done a Google search. Which links do you open first? Do you even go to the second page of search results?
When I first heard about SEO it seemed intimidating and a little arbitrary. I found this free SEO training and Basics of SEO webinars to be incredibly helpful. This training explains exactly how to execute WordPress SEO correctly and why it makes a difference.
Here are a few quick tips on implementing smart WordPressSEO:
- Do keyword research with a tool like Spyfu
- Install a WordPress SEO plugin like Yoast
- Set targeted keywords or keyphrases for posts and page
- Set metadata and optimize page/post titles
- Share your content on social media & encourage social sharing with buttons
SEO is measurable. With the help of Google Analytics, you can see how many people view your site, what keywords they used and their interactions while on your site.
3. Keep WordPress, Plugins and Themes Updated
Version updates are released for WordPress core and plugins and themes to allow you access to the latest features and improvements. This means easier to use and faster.
Keeping things updated also increases the overall “health” and security of your WordPress site. WordPress wants to assist you in securing your website, but you have to be diligent about installing the updates to your WordPress website.
Updates can occur frequently for WordPress core and any plugins or themes installed on your sites. This becomes pretty time consuming especially when you’re managing multiple WordPress Sites.
Fortunately, there are tools to help you manage multiple WordPress Sites. Instead of logging in to each site individually, you have one dashboard to view and install available updates, making WordPress maintenance easy.
4. Backup Your WordPress Website
Unfortunately, a lot can potentially go wrong with a WordPress site. You can experience server crashes, malware infections, accidental file deletion, and that’s just to name a few.
If you own a WordPress site, it’s important to know how to backup a WordPress site because WordPress does not have a built-in backup system. A solid backup plan allows you to rest easy knowing your content is safe.
Here are 4 elements of a solid WordPress backup strategy:
- Full Site Backup – A WordPress backup solution should include your WordPress database + all files in your installation (Media Library, plugins, themes, etc.)
- Scheduled Backups – Backups should run automatically on a schedule
- Files stored off-site in a secure location – Store backup files remotely (not on your own server)
- A way to restore or move your WordPress Website quickly and easily if something goes wrong
When you install a WordPress backup plugin it’s like buying home or car insurance. You don’t want to be caught without a safety net if things go awry.
5. Make a Great First Impression
When someone visits your site, at the very least, it should be user-friendly, possess clear readability, and exhibit consistency throughout.
Here are some website design tips:
- Be consistent. This promotes familiarity for someone new to your website. Consistency also applies to design aesthetics like color, font choice and spacing.
- Use one color palette for the entire site. Obviously, there are exceptions to this, but make sure you have a good reason.
- Use two fonts: one for headers and another for paragraph text. A third font is acceptable, but I try to make it a habit to always use two or less. The expression “less is more” is a good design motto.
- Spacing is such a simple thing that can make your WordPress site look polished and professional. Read more about vertical rhythm for insight on how it makes a difference in your overall design.
Want More WordPress Tips?
These five WordPress tips are an excellent jumping off point for new WordPress sites. You can find more WordPress tutorials on the iThemes blog as well as many other helpful tools.
Saylor writes blog posts and designs/develops various projects for iThemes. Saylor loves gardening and is currently at war with all squirrels (if anyone has tips on how to get rid of squirrels, she’s all ears). If she’s not traveling or hanging out in OKC, there’s a good chance she’s in southwest Oklahoma doing manual labor, including roofing, or as her father likes to call it – “building character.”