If you run a website, then chances are you’ve heard of WordPress. In case you’ve been living under a digital rock, this is one of the most popular platforms that power around 40% of websites on the internet.
More specifically, WordPress is the go-to content management system (CMS) for most bloggers and site owners looking for ease of use and explorable and usable complexity if they desire.
For most site owners, WP will be the backbone of either their entire digital ecosystem or their blog section. And unfortunately for some, both can be challenging journeys with way too many obstacles on the road.
Third time lucky, how I Conquered WordPress may sound like a cheesy title, but the CMS platform can (and does) cause a few headaches for bloggers and other site owners.
As such, this blog post will explore all the things you need to do to get the hang of WP and get the most out of it.
On the other hand, you don’t have to mess around with coding and page building if you don’t want to. This can be especially painstaking if you already run an established business and need a website to dominate the online sphere as well. In these cases, it’s better to omit the DIY approach and instead opt for professional WordPress web design services.
Third Time Lucky, or How I Conquered WordPress – Failing Shouldn’t Mean Giving Up
While it’s somewhat canonical that WordPress is an easy platform to use, some users will inevitably have a disastrous time trying to configure and figure out the system, Especially if you are doing it alone and just try to wing it, chances are, you’ll end up with a site or blog that’s a complete disaster.
Trying to customize the website to meet your needs can be a challenge, and you may end up messing around with the platform for weeks without any satisfactory results.
There are also site owners who get the hang of the basics really fast the second time around and end up with a decent-looking site, but it lacks speed and is in dire need of some SEO love.
In our case, the third time was the lucky charm. This is where every piece of the puzzle got in the right place. The end result was a marvelously beautiful site with fast loading times, optimized site structure, easy navigation, and SEO-optimized content.
Still, this can take a lot of research and time. This is why we’re bringing you these best practices below so you have a great experience right off the bat and don’t have to write your own “Third Time Lucky, or How I Conquered WordPress” story.
Conquering WordPress – Dominating The CMS Made Simple
With the right approach, you don’t have to struggle with the system for months or even years. While it can still be challenging, following the tips below will help you avoid some of the most common pitfalls and create an appealing, optimized, and top-quality WP site quickly.
Choosing The Right Plan for Hosting
This is quite vital in the case of any site, to be honest. A solid plan will enable you to have enough server resources, storage, and bandwidth to keep your website like an inline-six engine, i.e., running smoothly as butter.
More precisely, consider the following when opting for a plan:
- Customer support
- Loading speed
- Server reliability and uptime
- Plan pricing
There are several great providers out there. Do your research, ask around, and opt for a plan that best meets your needs.
Choosing The Right Theme
A crucial element in creating a solid WP website is choosing a suitable theme. This is the first thing users see when they click on your homepage link.
The best thing you can do to maximize your theme’s potential is to choose one that’s SEO-friendly and displays well on all devices (responsive).
These themes are created with search engine optimization in mind, making them easier to find for Google and Bing to crawl and index your site. Schema, GeneratePress, and Astra are only some of the options experts will usually recommend.
Also, consider using a lightweight theme to maximize page load speeds. Try to keep things simple and avoid massive themes with widgets and features no one’s going to use on your site.
Keep Your Website Lightning-Fast
Speed is also a key element (and not just in corny Vin Diesel movies) when it comes to SEO and rock-solid user experience.
Snail-like pages will lead to users abandoning your site, negatively affecting bound rates, which will also lead to lower rankings. To improve your website’s performance, consider the following:
- Use caching plugins
- Compress your images so they take up less space and load faster
- Reduce the number of scripts and plugins you use to decrease HTTP requests.
Using Only The Necessary Plugins
While overusing plugins can slow down your site, there still are a few essentials that we highly recommend using for the sake of better functionality and better user experiences.
On that end, most experts would agree that limit yourself to the bare essentials, such as:
- WPForms for creating different form types easily
- Yoast SEO to improve your optimization efforts
- Jetpack for increased performance and site security
And if you do use different plugins, make sure that they are compatible with your theme and won’t interfere with each other.
Perform Regular Backups
These are also crucial to keep your data safe in case of an unwanted plugin break, server crash, or, even worse – a successful hack attempt.
Actually, you can use several plugins like VaultPRess and UpdraftPlus to perform automatic backups. Still, it’s also smart to store your files offsite, like on Google Drive or Dropbox, in case you need to revert to a previous version of your site.
The best thing you can do is to take a course and learn the basics of WordPress. There are several courses you can attend for free, while some of them will come at a premium. Look for highly-praised and reviewed courses so you can get the best out of your invested time/money.
These courses are also a great way to address common pitfalls such as over-customization, in which your design and pages become inconsistent and often conflicting.
Furthermore, some of these courses will feature the use of page builders that can save you time on coding. Also, doing some of the research yourself will probably help you better understand the importance of SEO and other concepts, such as accessibility – both of which can help you make your website more visible and appeal to a broader audience.
Keep Your Site Fresh
Be on the lookout for the latest WordPress updates to keep every feature functional and your site secure. WordPress pumps out regular updates, like new features, minor or major bug fixes, and necessary security patches.
Updating your plugins and themes is also essential since they will need to work compatibly with the latest WP versions.
Track Website Performance With Google Analytics
When you know how your website performs in the eyes of search engines, you can use the data to tweak and improve things even further.
Google Analytics gives you insight into essential metrics such as bounce rates, traffic, conversions, etc., enabling you to pinpoint your best sites and optimize the rest using it as a template.
Become a Part of a WordPress Community
The open-source nature of the platform has sparked the formation of several online communities where members can keep learning about WordPress and pushing its limits as a CMS.
Apart from that, it’s a great place to share your experience, learn from others, and more. As a beginner, these forums can help you:
- Get assistance when you’re stuck. If you’re struggling with a plugin or a theme, chances are, someone will help you if you start a thread about your issue. They will also give you advice on various topics, like SEO practices, best plugins and themes, and generally, how to run your site like a pro.
- Learn from some of the best. A lot of developers have done amazing things with this platform. Chances are, you can learn quite a few interesting hacks and tips that will make you a better site operator and even help you learn some fancy web dev skills. On the other hand, can hear the stories from more experienced users who faced the same struggles as you before they “made it”.
- Share what you’ve learned. Whenever you can help: help. Chances are, there will be users who are facing the same problems you faced when you first installed the software. Share your experience and garner some “street cred” on the forums.
Third Time Lucky, or How I Conquered WordPress: There Doesn’t Have to Be a Third Time
WP’s learning curve can be steep for some, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get the hang of it on your first try. Patience and consistency are crucial in the otherwise fast-paced digital world, whether you’re running a simple blog or an online store.
Think about your website as an ecosystem that requires regular attention and tweaking. Without the required care, it won’t live up to its potential.
Fortunately, there’s tons of help you can get both on- and offline, so don’t get discouraged.