I’ve been using WordPress since early 2010 and have seen the blogging platform become a larger Content Management System (CMS). I have become an expert with WordPress, learning the in’s and out’s, and mistakes people make when they’re first starting to set up a site.
First off a lot of folks confuse WordPress self-hosted, the open source CMS, with WordPress.com, the blogging platform. WordPress self-hosted is not only open source but offers a lot of flexibility and customization for your business or blog. WordPress.com is more like Blogger or Tumblr in the sense that its hosted for you, and the platform offers a lot of paid upgrades to add features and customization. Starting a small blog WordPress.com is amazing, but doesn’t offer the flexibility a self-hosted WordPress site would. On a self-hosted site, you can change everything from the theme, to how pages look and feel.
The WordPress tips and tricks will make using WordPress easier, and make you a ninja at using the CMS.
Choose the best host
A fast and efficient website is an important part of making a successful website, especially with the rise of Google’s AMP and Facebook’s Instant Articles. Users on the web want a website to load in mere seconds, and anything longer than 2 or 3 seconds could mean a lost view.
A lot of web host do shared hosting; where each website is given space on a larger server where they all share the resources from that one server. This is a cheap way to find hosting, however, it means your website is slow and could be taken down by other websites over the use of resources on the server. Sunny, Ninjality’s back-end developer, always recommends using a cloud hosting platform like DigitalOcean. The resources of your websites distributed across servers around the world, and up time is almost at 100%. On top of that, a cloud solution would mean a faster website. While many people think a cloud hosting service is hard to set up, DigitalOcean offers one-click installs or Ninjality offers the option for the team to fully manage your website each month.
Organize your media library
Uploading an image or two to each post on the site is important to keep readers interested and make your website pop. However, if you upload the images and don’t name them or give them descriptions your media library can become unruly and hard to use.
When I upload images to any WordPress site I always name them with not only general words like “phone” or “LG”, but also include more descriptive explanation like “LG G5 Images from press event”. It allows me to go back and search for the G5 or press event photos. Of course, any photos will be linked to a post, but searching for images to reuse is always important. You don’t want to have books without titles, and the same goes for photos without descriptions.
WordPress generally does a good job creating URLs for your pages or posts, but sometimes you’ll need to adjust.
Your post might include special characters like %, &, $, @, or *. These characters make it difficult for search engines to read and can be problematic for mobile browsers, potentially preventing some of your pages from loading. If a post title is long it’s worth shortening it for your permalink. A post title could go from “a developer built a WordPress plugin that would make everything easy” to “a WordPress plugin makes everything easier.” The URL would be more appealing and optimized for search engines.
Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com and the company behind the WordPress open source project, runs a plugin that blurs the line between a self-hosted site and a WordPress.com site. The plugin is easy to install and offers paid upgrades like VaultPress which backs up your whole WordPress site if some glitch deleted all your hard work. Trust me, things happen even in 2016. Backups from VaultPress have saved me time and a huge headache. Kyle, the front-end designer at Ninjality, recommends backing up your site even if they’re managing backups for you.
Jetpack also offers features to share your post to social media, and an option to have your photos uploaded to a Content Distribution Network (CDN). A CDN host your photos off from your server on a server optimized for photos, which in turn makes your site load faster and more smoothly. In addition to to those features, Jetpack offers an analytic service built on your self-hosted site. It allows you to see who’s reading what and all from the comfort of your website admin area.
Use a unique theme
Looking like everyone else is painful. It means users are looking at dozens of sites with the same look and feel. The users won’t remember what they read on your site or if they read it on another. It puts your website within a small window of what you can do and alter to make your site stand out. However, a custom theme on a WordPress self-hosted site would be an amazing way to brand your website and make it stand out from other business in your market.
The Ninjality team does custom WordPress themes that offer a unique take on your business brand and identity. They offer free quotes to help you understand how inexpensive and easy getting a custom built theme. The team can build custom pages, custom post pages, and built a brand around what your business offers. Everything is custom built and custom branded so no other website on the web will look like your site. It will surely make other business owners jealous, and bring in more customers and readers.
Using a WordPress site isn’t as time-consuming or difficult as you may think. At first, the options and admin panel can be overwhelming, but once you know the direction you want your site to go it becomes much easier.
I’ve started hundreds of WordPress sites, and every time I’ve used these tips to help me create the best site out there that no one else could rival. A WordPress site doesn’t have to look like a blog, and in fact, large business like Walmart and TechCrunch use WordPress to run blogs and full-fledged websites.
If you want more WordPress tips to tell us in the comments below what problems you’ve faced when you’re setting up a WordPress site!