Before we get started on “10 Essential Tips for WordPress Beginners”, I just want to make it clear that whether you are a so-called beginner or not, I guarantee that you are in just the right place!
For your information, among other famed CMSs (Content Management Systems) such as Drupal, Joomla or Magento, WordPress takes the lead in terms of development and market share, with almost 60% of all the websites (according to w3techs.com).
Therefore, in order to meet the various requirements raised by users, WordPress has never stopped improving itself. With so many changes and updates from WordPress, newbies may feel overwhelmed when first introduced to this CMS. Understanding this, I decided present to you some useful and essential tips for beginners I have collected from my friends and colleges, some of whom have been very successful with WordPress.
As to guarantee an excellent journey with WordPress, have you ever wondered “What do I should remember?”, “What should I do first?”, “What should I avoid?”, etc? If you are nodding your head in confusion, do not worry, because I am here to answer all those questions. For the already-old-to-WordPress users, do not go anywhere because you will also need to reinforce your knowledge about WordPress, don’t you?
10 Essential Tips
By analyzing and wrapping them up into these measures below, I ensure you that it will be worth it to read all these 10 essential tips, which respectively are:
- Secure Web Hosting and Domains
- It is Better to Publish Your Website Early
- Treasure Your Sidebar
- Differentiate between a Page and a Post
- Organize Your Media Library Smartly
- Know How to Create “Private” Posts
- Make Use of Excerpts
- Limit the Use of Plugins
- Make Full Use of Titles and Descriptions
- Do not Ignore the Footer
It might sound easy, but it takes effort! So, let’s dig deep into each one of these essential tips and see what you need to do in details, shall we?
1. Secure Web Hosting and Domains
If you’re new to setting up a WordPress website, when it comes to choosing a web hosting and domains service, you need to pay careful attention. Before making any decision regarding what company to register, you should have some overall and detailed knowledge about the companies you have your eyes for. For example, if you do not know what to expect in a web hosting service, follow the following map I draw:
- Ask yourself what you especially needs in a hosting;
- Then, investigate its hostility and uptime guarantees;
- How about its upgrading options and hosting features?
- Study its usage policy as well;
- And do not ever forget to check the prices!
There you can have a good web hosting service by carrying out those steps above. As for domains, there is a tiny thing you should definitely bear in mind, that is to insert your or your company’s name in the domain accounts!
2. It is Better to Publish Your Website Early
What do I mean by “early”? Well, I absolutely mean that instead of waiting for your website to be 100% complete to publish, you should do so before when it reaches about 90%. Don’t rush to think this is a bad idea! Not at all! Listen to me, Google tends to give higher search rankings to websites that have new content on a regular basis, which means publishing your website when it is almost finished is one of the easiest ways to get traffic. What is more, with a little beautiful banner saying “Our website is evolving and improving every day!”, you may get more return visits than you think!
However (and this is a big “however”), make sure your contact information is adequate and correct when you publish your beloved website. You surely do not want to give your potential customers the wrong phone number or a missing address, do you?
3. Treasure Your Sidebar
I find it funny and tragic at the same time when I see sidebars stuffed with so many things, some of which are even irrelevant. Many WordPress users make the mistake of putting everything into their sidebars, ranging from ads, social media icons, links to the most recent posts and tweets, photos of fans from Facebook, etc. What is the problem here? Well, supposing that you have a link there that is really interesting and important, which you would like your visitors to see. But, how can they spot it out of the mess you make?
Therefore, it is advisable that you keep the essential elements on your sidebar. These elements vary according to your niche, but a typical sidebar may consist these things:
- A search box;
- Social media icons (about 03 is the best);
- Upcoming events (if any);
- Ads and promotions;
- And some links to recent posts.
4. Differentiate between a Page and a Post
To experienced WordPress users, this may sound quite strange. But yes, there are newbies who feel a little confused about the difference between a page and a post. Well, if you are, remember that a page is static, such as About page or Contact page, it is not dated and will not show up in any RSS feed. Meanwhile, a post is fluid and will be displayed on your RSS feed. What is more, it is categorized and tagged differently when compared to a page and will appear in chronological order, unlike pages.
5. Organize Your Media Library Smartly
Imagine your media library as a book library. Now, would you favor the idea of arranging your books in separate rooms with chronological order, or to be more specific, by the month they were acquired? And then waste time on searching in a room after room for the book you want? I don’t think so.
Your media library is no different. That is why you should have an integrated folder where you store all the media files. In that way, you only need a keyword to track down the file you need. How to do this? Well, simply go to “Settings & Media” and click to uncheck the button next to “Organize my uploads into month- and year-based folders.”
And now you have a neatly-arranged media library as you wish!
6. Know How to Create “Private” Posts
Private posts are those that only show themselves to a specified group of users. There are two cases in terms of “private” posts. On WordPress.com, there is an option to privatize your whole blog. However, when it comes to self-hosted WordPress website, you will need a password to protect the posts you consider as private. How to make that happen? Well, you may notice that in the publish box, there is a visibility option. Now, click on it and change the setting. Right after that, a box will pop up so that you can write the password onto it.
After clicking OK and publishing the content, only those knowing the password will be able to gain access to your post.
7. Make Use of Excerpts
An excerpt will determine how your post is displayed on the Internet. In case you’re using an SEO plugin, this excerpt is called a meta description. There is only one distinct between the two, that is the excerpt box will appear once you have your blog posts set to an excerpt format, while the meta description would appear under the title of your post in Google search results or in places where you share the link to the post.
Be careful when using excerpts, though. Make sure that only your excerpt is displayed to email subscribers because if they are allowed to read everything in the email, they will not likely to click on the link leading to your website. To do this, go to “Settings”, then “Reading” and check “Summary”.
8. Limit the Use of Plugins
Plugins seem amazing, and they sure are! They offer so many additional features to your website, great ones indeed! Nevertheless, we cannot say “The more the merrier” in this case. Why? Because more plugins mean much more space taken, hence leading to your website loading much slower. You do not like that, sure. Your customers definitely do not like that either.
Therefore, getting too many plugins is not a good idea, especially when they are unnecessary! Remember to install only the vital ones.
9. Make Full Use of Titles and Descriptions
Titles and descriptions are important because they are what show up on Google search results and in places where you share your posts, for example, LinkedIn, Google+ or Facebook. People rely on these two things to decide whether or not to click the mouse. What is more, page titles are also important to search engines, which determine your rank in search results. As these are important texts, you might want to install such plugin as Yoast SEO and get it help you in editing the titles and descriptions.
There is, however, something I want to remind you: your descriptions are written for humans, not for Google robots. While it is important that these robots like them, you should also make them as promising and call-to-action as possible to guarantee clicks from potential customers!
10. Do not Ignore the Footer
I have seen many WordPress users forget about this area, and you should not be one of them. As you have just started with WordPress, I feel a strong need to remind you that this place offers quite many advantages. You can put a message, a link to some important piece of information you would like them to read, or simply some information about yourself. The wonderful thing is that nowadays, many premium themes give you the chance to expand the footer into a full-fledged section where you can place a short bio, an opt-in to your email list, and so on. I do not see any reason why you shouldn’t make use of it.
Do not ever underestimate the footer by thinking that no one will scroll that far. Actually, they do. And since they might look for something amazing, do not miss this opportunity to surprise them!
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