Some of the best memories I share with my friends happened on the road. We love to travel, and we love to travel well. Sometimes that means planning for hours together until we find the perfect prices and activities, but usually our plans are a lot more open-ended. We prefer to take a more “go with the flow” approach and just see where our adventure takes us. However, I think we would all agree that in certain situations, a little more planning would’ve helped. (Here’s to sleeping in the car during a rainstorm.) Based on these experience, I’ve learned to adopt a more methodical approach to researching and planning for trips and projects. I know I’m not alone when I say I’ve discovered several similar learning opportunities as I create and build certain websites.
Research is probably the most important step to ensuring the success of any project, but it’s also important to turn collected “best practices” into habits. When it comes to building a website with WordPress, this mindset is especially helpful. There are so many technical tips and tricks for using WordPress, and it can all seem a little overwhelming. WordPress is by far the best website-building tool for users of all skill levels, but getting used to all its technical features can definitely take some getting used to. Here’s the good news: You can spend less time researching and more time improving your website by following these WordPress best practices. They will become habits in no time.
Table of Contents
- 1. Identify and Analyze WordPress Tips That Work For You
- 2. Make updates in a test environment
- 3. WordPress Content: Best Practices for SEO
- 4. WordPress Best Practices: Mobile Optimization
- 5. WordPress Best Practices: Making Your Site Secure
- 6. How to Find the Best Hosting Provider and Set Up Word Press Following Best Practices
How To Build a Site Following WordPress Best Practices
No matter what you’re trying to say with your website, it’s up to you to decide how to say it. WordPress is the perfect tool to help you get there, but keeping your audience in mind is the first and most important step. These technicalities have a purpose, and it’s to serve you and your audiences. So, all you have to do is figure out what you want to say, how you want to say it and what tools you’re going to use to make it happen. That all starts with research, both internal and external.
Analyze your competitors’ websites
Ask yourself, “What are my favorite websites and why?” Make a list of these sites and identify what it is about each one that makes you want to keep returning to and using the site. For me, this all depends on what I’m trying to do. If I want to buy some new clothes online, I need a website that will help me find the perfect items quickly and efficiently. If I want to read inspiring feature stories about adventurous people, I need a website that curates these articles in ways that make me want to keep sharing them and reading more. In both cases, I just need website creators to put themselves in my shoes and think, “What might make the experience on our site more enjoyable for someone like her?”
Get feedback from real users
First, you have to open your mind to constructive criticism. Your perspective is important, but you don’t want to start making a website before you’ve even reached out to your clients to see what they’re looking for along their journeys as consumers. If you make an incorrect assumption about a feature you think they would enjoy, you might waste valuable time implementing something on your WordPress website that won’t even be used. After you’ve taken inventory of your own preferences, use that perspective to meet your clients where they’re at and prioritize their needs. Is their desire for more product suggestions as important as their desire for your “Contact Us” page to be written more clearly? That’s something you’ll have to decide before you actually start implementing WordPress’s tools. Even if it seems like this research might take too much time, remember that it’s almost certainly going to save you even more time in the long run. Again, you want to build your website with your customers and audience in mind, and you can’t do that if you don’t know what matters most to them.
Set up contact features
Even if you don’t offer products or services on your website, it’s still important to give your users the opportunity to interact with you. Their valuable feedback can help you make worthwhile changes to your website that improve your reach. You can avoid the hassle of gaining consumer insights through tedious (and often unread) emails by implementing this contact feature. Even though it can be hard to hear, constructive feedback will always serve you and your organization in the end. When you give your users the opportunity to engage with you and share their insights, you show them that you’re open to suggestions and always willing to make their experience as enjoyable as possible. WordPress makes it easy to implement contact forms and pages with certain plugins, so make sure you make the most of those features.
WordPress Tips for Making Updates to Your Site
Follow these guidelines before making updates and changes to your site for users to see. It will definitely help improve their experience.
Make updates in a test environment
This is one of the easiest ways to make sure your site functions as smoothly as possible, even when it’s not “finished” in your own eyes. When you update, change and improve your site, it’s easy to forget to use WordPress’ test environment. Making changes to your WordPress site in live mode is almost certain to cause glitches for your users who might try to interact with your site while these changes are being made. You want your users to have the most enjoyable experience possible on your website, so make it a habit to use a staging site that makes this step even easier for you. Certain hosting platforms, like WP Super Host (see below), even do this for you. In fact, we offer two testing environments that allow you to easily make and approve all changes before your site goes live.
Take advantage of WordPress’ free plugins
This is especially important when you run certain updates, since there’s a risk that your site will crash during the update. To avoid this, simply download one of WordPress’ free plugins that automatically backup your site on schedule. Even though backups can feel tedious and time consuming, they are imperative to your site’s successful development. If you spend valuable time making changes to and forget to backup your site before running an update, all that time was wasted. WordPress’s plugins make backups easy, so don’t forget to install a plugin that will make sure your site stays safe. When you’re finished using the plugins on your site, make sure you disable or uninstall them. Unused plugins can clog your site, making it difficult for users to navigate it quickly and efficiently.
WordPress Content: Best Practices for SEO
Once you’ve determined the website features that will give your customers and audience the best online experience, you want to make sure they’re actually going to find your WordPress website. This is where search engine optimization comes in. SEO is the practice of tailoring your website content, images, layout and so much more to be picked up more quickly and efficiently by search engines like Google. There are plenty of avenues to follow when implementing SEO features on your WordPress website, and it might take a while to figure out what will help you best reach your personal and professional goals. But it’s important to learn how these features impact the way users interact with your site so you can implement them as soon as possible.
Allow search engines to crawl your website
One of WordPress’ default settings allows search engine crawlers to index your webpages, which is a great way to make sure your SEO practices are getting picked up by search engines and showing up in users searches. However, some beginning website builders choose to opt out of search engine crawling so unfinished web pages don’t show up in users’ searches. But if you forget to turn the setting back on, it’s likely that your SEO efforts will go unnoticed since users won’t be able to find your site at all. Just make sure to enable this feature when your site is ready to go.
Size your images properly
Uploading images is another great way to make sure search engines pick up your website and suggest it to users. However, if your images aren’t the right size, the loading time of your website could be affected, which is very frustrating for users. This happens to many beginning website builders, since it’s very easy to forget to change image settings when you’re uploading them to your website. Simply make sure you’re uploading compressed images to your site, instead of optimized or high-resolution images. You can easily check how the images appear on your WordPress site by previewing your changes from the test environment. You want to make sure that users are experiencing the full effect of your message, so it’s important to make sure your images are helping you reach that goal.
Install Google Analytics
WordPress also makes it easy to install Google Analytics on your site, so you can easily analyze your SEO efforts and adjust your methods accordingly. This is great news for your website’s strategy. If you have the data to back up your methods, then you can better understand what your customers want and how you can serve them better.
WordPress Best Practices: Mobile Optimization
Since so many online users navigate websites from their phones, it’s important to make sure your website is optimized for mobile use. This is another easy way to make sure users stay on your site and engage with your content for as long as possible. One of the most frustrating things I encounter online is when my phone’s screen won’t show me the full page because images and content aren’t properly optimized for my phone. When I use websites like this, I hardly choose to stay! You can make sure your users don’t leave your site frustrated by using WordPress plugins and features that help make your site mobile-friendly. If you make sure to run regular WordPress updates and download the most recent plugins, WordPress does a lot of this mobile optimization for you! This is an especially useful tip if you’re using custom designs, themes and plugins on your site. It’s important to keep tabs on your site’s performance by engaging with your own site with a mobile device.
WordPress Best Practices: Making Your Site Secure
If you’re anything like me, you might tend to take an “Ah, I’m sure it will be fine!” approach to life. While this mindset works great for most situations, it is NOT the mindset you want to have when building your website, especially when it comes to security. While we all want to assume that every person online has the best intentions, the truth is that some people want to manipulate your hard work for their own benefit. That said, it’s extremely important to make sure you implement SSL certificates on your WordPress site, even if you’re not involved in eCommerce. While website builders typically use SSL certificates for their eCommerce operations, everyone can benefit from implementing them on all websites. Google has even been known to mark sites without SSL certificates as “unsecure,” which directly impacts your users. When I see that a site is insecure, I tend to opt out of interacting with it at all, even if I’m not trying to buy something online.
If you’re not sure how to make sure your site is secure, I’ve got great news! When you choose a great hosting provider for your WordPress site, you’re setting yourself up to successfully follow all these tips on editing, usability and security.
How to Set Up WordPress While Following Best Practices
Even if you know how to make these changes to your WordPress site, you still need to host it somewhere. And not just anywhere. You need a great hosting provider that will support you every step of the way and provide tools that are built to help you succeed.
WP Super Host is the hosting hero you need! Setting up and hosting your WordPress site with our platform is simple and easy, thanks to our developers who work hard ro remove “complicated” and “frustrating” from your vocabulary. Plus, you can even migrate your WordPress site from another hosting provider with ease. You should be able to focus on the creative content and messaging on your website instead of the complicated technicalities that come with it. Our WP Super Host customer service team is second to none. We want you to have the best hosting experience, so we’re here for you 24/7.
And to make this whole thing even better, we can do it all for an unbeatable price. Don’t believe me? Check out our pricing comparison page and see for yourself! We truly are dedicated to our mission of saving you from bad WordPress hosting.
Building a WordPress website can take a lot of time and effort, but these WordPress tips and tricks are sure to make your research process and overall experience much more enjoyable. Plus, WP Super Host has just the tools you need to make site development, hosting and migration easier than ever. Whether you’re planning a project or building a website, it just takes time to turn “best practices” into habits. WP Super Host is always here to help!