WordPress is not just a platform used for blogging; it is the world’s most popular Content Management System (CMS). Due to its versatility, you can create any WordPress website imaginable, be it a personal blog, a company site, a membership portal or a fully-fledged corporate e-commerce website. The possibilities are endless.
For content creators who have just started out in the SEO game, making a website in WordPress can prove to be a valuable experience. It is perfect for beginners as it is safe, secure and is also an SEO friendly option. However, as with exploring anything new you need to dedicate yourself to learning all the little intricacies of the subject because they can be the factor which decides whether you fail or succeed in the long run.
This guide will list the best WordPress website practices you can follow in 2018. Let’s get started.
Add a layer of security in your admin directory in WordPress
All administrative tasks on your website go through the WordPress admin directory. That is why it is already password protected, however, adding another layer of security or authentication can keep the hackers away. You can enable password protection in your WordPress admin directory by logging in to your cPanel dashboard area and then clicking on ‘Password Protect Directories’ icon under the security section.
Keep track of your WordPress website visitors
The most important thing to do after setting up your website is to generate traffic. Monitoring your traffic stats will help you know which type of content or strategy is bringing in those visitors. It, therefore, enables you to only focus on things that work.
You can easily monitor traffic by installing ‘Google Analytics’ which is a free plugin provided by Google.
Limit the number of login attempts
You can make an unlimited number of login attempts in WordPress by default. If you let this setting remain as it is, it will make your site vulnerable to hackers because they can eventually crack the password by guessing or using brute force attacks.
You can install plugins such as ‘Limit Login Attempts’ or ‘WP Limit Login’ to limit the number of login attempts on your WordPress website.
Make your WordPress website Mobile Responsive
Nowadays there are more people visiting websites on their mobile devices than on desktop. So, it is crucial to test and optimise the way your website looks on a mobile device. If the formatting of a website doesn’t look user-friendly on a mobile device, visitors may form a bad impression about the creator.
You can use plugins like ‘WP Touch’ or ‘WordPress Mobile Pack’ to customise how your website looks on a mobile device.
Practice the basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
WordPress is a fantastic platform to practice your ‘SEO’ skills. You can use the ‘Yoast’ SEO plugin to make the process a lot easier.
Always include a ‘Focus Keyword’ in your articles or blog posts. They are the main keyword that you think your visitor will search to come across your website. Then you can focus on getting long-term organic traffic by using long tail keywords in your posts. Also, try to make your ‘Meta Descriptions’ short, relevant and exciting to read.
Maintain regular Backup of your WordPress website
Maintaining regular backup is a must to reduce risks. Beginners often make the mistake of not maintaining backups of their data, and when something unexpected or bad happens, they have to start all over again.
You can use plugins like ‘UpdraftPlus’ to make backups within your dashboard when you work on a live site. To schedule automatic and offsite backups, you can use paid options like ‘BackupBuddy’ or ‘VaultPress’ or use a free option like ‘BackWPup’.
Regularly update your WordPress website
If your website is not frequently updated, you run the risk of being hacked by hackers and lack new features and security patches. Sometimes updating your site may feel a little scary because more often than not something can go wrong and break your website. However, if you follow the instructions carefully and your themes and plugins are adequately coded then the whole process is as easy as clicking a button. Needless to say, before upgrading your website, you should always create a backup first. A backup will save you a lot of pain in the future if things go awry.
Keep the spam in check
Keeping the spam in check is very important. Spam comments can create hundreds of outbound links and take your precious visitors away from your website, and it is also a plain eyesore. You can manually check and filter spam comments, but this will take a lot of time and effort. A simple free plugin like ‘Akismet’ or ‘Stop Spam Comments’ can do the job automatically.
Use a proper WordPress Theme
It is essential to use a theme that feels naturally connected to the content of your website. Fortunately, there thousands of paid and free WordPress themes available on the internet. Just be sure to check the reviews before installing a new theme. Having a backup proves useful if anything goes wrong when installing a new theme.
Optimize your WordPress website for speed
Nobody loves a slow loading website. A slow loading website can hurt your website ranking in Google, decrease traffic and even affect conversions. To test how fast your website loads be sure to clear your browser cache first. You can use a tool like Pingdom to test your website speed from different locations.
There are a lot of things which you can do to optimise your website speed. You can choose a better web hosting provider, use a caching plugin like ‘W3 Total Cache’ to reduce the load on your server, remove bad plugins and external scripts etc.
Optimize your images
The images on your website can serve many different functions. First of all, you can reduce their size to help speed up your page load time and save space. You can generate an alternate text tag to substitute images with writing when they are not available or add a title tag so that your visitors can see some more info when they hover over your image. They are also useful for SEO and can also help your rankings. Be sure to include relevant keywords in your sentences and only include relevant information.
Set your permalinks correctly
Many beginners forget to change the URL structure of their page, or they don’t pay any attention to it, which is a big mistake as it is terrible for SEO and can also look amateurish to your website visitors.
An excellent way to make permalinks SEO friendly is to make them short and include focus keywords. Make sure they don’t contain any stop words (the, and, of, etc.).
You can change your Permalinks setting by going to the Permalinks option under the Settings tab.
Make data-driven decisions
Collecting data is extremely important if you want to boost your rankings, increase your conversion rates and generate more leads. You can only make proper decisions if you have the correct and adequate data to support you. Plugins like ‘Google Analytics’ make it very easy to collect the data you need. In fact, it is an essential part of running any website.
Google Analytics can help you know the locations or countries from which your website is getting the most visitors. It can help you see the bounce rates of your site, the page load speed, the average time spent by visitors on your website, when do people visit your website, which pages are getting the most visitors and how do people find out about your site. It can also help you figure out which devices your website visitors use the most. All this information can help you to create better strategies or plans. It can also help you to conduct various split tests that allow you to decide on the best course of action to take.
Practice and test something new every day
Beginners are filled with enthusiasm, initially. They spend hours on various websites learning about WordPress tips and tricks in their first few days, but their motivation often fades as time goes on. They visit their site less and less when they don’t see the results they were expecting and eventually stop visiting altogether. The only way to fail is to give up. If you make it a habit of spending even just 10 minutes each day learning something new about WordPress and put what you learn into action, then you will succeed.
Each day you can try doing something different to see what works for you. Maybe you can add a new theme to see how it goes. Perhaps you can fidget around with the CSS to customise it entirely. You can change your website structure by following one of the busy websites in your niche or even your competitors to see how they fare.
No Matter what you do don’t be afraid to take risks and fail a few times at first. Keep in mind that once diligent working becomes a habit, you are guaranteed to succeed.
So, which one of these tips will you put into action? We hope you have learned something new from our post. Feel free to use our WordPress website development services, and be sure to revisit us to read more tips and tricks about WordPress–the world’s most popular content management system. Good Luck!