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Originally Posted On: https://wearerounded.com/web-design/seven-wordpress-tips/
You don’t need to be humble around us. It’s perfectly fine to admit it: You want the best website on the block. You want to be at the head of the class — and the leader in the SERPs! So today, we’re breaking down 9 WordPress tips that will give you the website edge you crave.
Your Business Website Is a Vital Marketing Tool
A company’s website is its top salesperson, branding expert, and virtual receptionist all rolled into one. Effective sites are optimally calibrated and showcase businesses in the best possible light.
So what type of website is best? The answer depends on your industry and niche, but restaurants, small businesses, non-profits, and medical practices do well with WordPress-enabled websites. These days, even governments use the programming platform.
Some people get confused when we recommend WordPress because they think of it as blogging software. And yes, that’s how it started. But today, WordPress is a world-class content management system used by some of the biggest corporations on the planet.
Building websites with WordPress is the smart way to go, and you can read about why here. Today, though, we’re focusing on seven things to consider and implement on a WordPress site that may give you an advantage over the competition.
First Things First: What Is WordPress?
If you’re brand new to digital marketing and website development, you may be wondering: What is WordPress?
One of the most popular website platforms on the planet, WordPress powers over 40 percent of the world’s top 10 million websites. In fact, “The New Yorker,” BBC America, Sony Music, and even the Swedish government all have customized WordPress websites. A stable, open-source content management system that supports Web 2.0 functionality, WordPress is easy to use and enjoys excellent support coverage.
The WordPress Advantage
What are the benefits of using WordPress? For starters, it significantly slashes your website development budget. Platforms built from scratch usually cost a fortune. But the WordPress base comes pre-programmed. Secondly, since many people use WordPress, there’s a massive market of premade themes — aka designs — and plugins that help sites run smoother and enhance marketing initiatives. That said, you don’t want to load your site up with bulky themes and cumbersome plugins. We’ll get into the why below.
But what elevates WordPress above other options is that it makes adding and removing content a snap — and if you want to attract patients, clients, or customers, maintaining a steady flow of content is a must.
Seven WordPress Tips That Will Give You an Edge
If you want the best possible WordPress website — one that works for your business and attracts new customers, patients, or clients — there are seven tricks and strategies that can make all the difference.
#7: Clean Up Your Permalinks
Permalinks are the full URLs for individual web pages. For example, the permalink for our about page is https://wearerounded.com/about/. Blog post permalinks can be long, which typically isn’t great for SEO purposes. So if you want your website operating in peak performance mode, a URL overhaul may be in order.
In addition to being an SEO no-no, overly long URLs can be a turn-off to visitors because they feel unwieldy. Plus, they’re not social media-friendly. Someone is much more likely to repost an eight-word link as opposed to an 80-word one.
Thankfully, WordPress makes it easy to clean up your permalinks.
- One: Go to the settings tab on the left side of your backend dashboard.
- Two: Click on “permalinks.”
- Three: Pick an option that works best with your site’s structure. For example, if you only post weekly, the “postname” option works well. If you post multiple times a day, you may want to pick the date option. To determine which permalink architecture is ideal for your case, consult with an SEO professional.
The Takeaway: Clean permalinks are better than gangly ones, and users are more likely to share shorter links on social media.
#6 WordPress Tip: Don’t Overload Your WordPress Website With Plugins
Another thing that makes WordPress user-friendly is the ability to add plugins, which you can think of like apps for your website. To date, there are over 50,000 free plugins — and just as many paid ones. Premium plugins typically cost anywhere between $1 and $35 a month.
Plugins facilitate myriad tasks. Some connect websites with social media accounts, and others fight SPAM. Security, SEO, and widget plugins that help optimize and enhance websites are also exceptionally popular.
But when it comes to plugins, too many can spoil a site — not to mention turn off potential clients. The number of plugins a website should have depends on the nature and functionality of the site. However, if plugins are causing your website to load slowly, it may be time to thin the herd.
John Mueller, a search advocate at Google, recommends a load time of less than two or three seconds. According to a Google study, 90 percent of people will click away from a site if it doesn’t load within 5 seconds. That may seem short, but think about it for a second: How annoyed do you get when a site takes forever to load? Do you sit around and wait, or do you click away and assume the website is broken?
The Takeaway: Too many plugins slow down a site, and users hate slow sites. So don’t overdo it!
#5 WordPress Tip: Go With a Simple Design
Back when the Internet was new, elaborate websites were the height of fashion. But then Apple came along and changed the game with its sleek, minimalist design. It was an aesthetic mic drop, and from that point on, simplicity became the gold standard.
Ultimately, people don’t like to be bombarded with bells, whistles, and alerts.
Websites should be easy to understand and flow intuitively. Additionally, be mindful of color schemes. Refrain from garish hues. Adding a pop of vibrancy is fine — great, even. Just don’t shock people’s senses. If you want to check out the latest palette trends, head to colourlovers.com.
There are millions of design themes for WordPress, but if you want a unique design, enlist the skills of a WordPress developer who can customize a theme just for you.
Here’s another design tip: Display graphics in rows and columns. Crisp, large images are best. However, make sure they’re optimized. Untouched pictures can slow site downs, which you want to avoid at all costs.
The Takeaway: Pay attention to your website’s design and color scheme. Sleek, minimalist aesthetics are best.
#4 WordPress Tip: Prioritize User Friendliness
The point of a website is to sell your services. So like any good salesperson, it should make potential clients feel like the center of attention! The goal is to make things easy for people who land on your site. This is achieved through good UX — or “user experience” — design. For example, you’ll want to make sure that the:
- Navigation is intuitive and free of glitches
- Site is stable and doesn’t include seizure-inducing graphics or features
- Site contains some way to get in touch with you
- Font size isn’t unreasonably small
The Takeaway: Make sure your website doesn’t include things that will annoy users, like minuscule fonts, seizure-inducing graphics, or a glitchy navigation experience.
#3 WordPress Tip: Invest in Paid Protection
We live in a digital world, and our lives are inextricably linked with the Internet. In some ways, it’s wonderful. Who doesn’t love being able to order food without having to talk to someone!? However, hackers are also operating at an all-time high. As such, whether you’re a small mom-and-pop store or a multinational conglomerate, locking down your website is a must.
There are plenty of free security plugins for WordPress, and many do a decent job. In fact, everyone should download WordFence, the platform’s starter security plugin. But take our advice and pay for the premium option — especially if you don’t have a managed WordPress hosting account. If you don’t know what that is, don’t worry, we’ll get to it below.
Whatever security option you choose, make sure to limit the number of login attempts for your backend dashboard. Hackers now have programs that can cycle through millions of username and password permutations until they get a match. Also, don’t reuse login credentials. If cybercriminals get ahold of your password, and it’s the one you use for all accounts, you could be in for a world of hurt. And lastly, change your password at least once a month.
The Takeaway: Hackers are lurking around every digital corner. Don’t be cheap when it comes to website security and observe best practices.
#2 WordPress Tip: Make Sure You Have a Responsive Layout
Quick: How many screens are in your life? According to the latest statistics, the average person owns 10 digital devices that connect to the Internet. Some have small displays, others large. Regardless, your website should function on every single one — from macro to micro.
This type of design flexibility is known as responsiveness, and a lack of it can push you way down in the SERPs. You read that correctly: Search engines will punish your domain in the rankings if your website doesn’t size up and down to accommodate different screen sizes.
The Takeaway: Make sure your website looks good on all screen sizes, both small and gigantic!
#1 WordPress Tip: Spring for a Managed WordPress Hosting Account
A managed WordPress hosting service is the way to go for most folks. Sure, if you have an advanced degree in network engineering and the know-how to run a secure server, then you probably don’t need a managed account. But for everyone else, managed hosting is best. The benefits are many, including:
- Network experts on-call
- Less website downtime
- Enhanced security
- Faster load times and more SEO features
- Better scalability
Ultimately, if you don’t want to spend hours chatting with support staff halfway around the globe every time a website glitch pops up, go with a managed hosting package.
The Takeaway: Invest in a managed hosting package; it’s better for your bottom line in the long run and much safer.
Extra-Credit SEO Reading
We’ve walked through the whats, whys, and shoulds of WordPress design and functionality. The next step is growing your website in a way that attracts and converts more clients, customers, or patients. To get you started down the SEO path, we’ve curated a list of links on how to improve your SERP ranking, which leads to increased profits.
- How Important Are Backlinks?: Backlinks point to your website. They’re highly valuable, and cultivating them is an important part of SEO. However, bad backlinks can harm your site. We introduce the topic in this article.
- Backlinking Strategies: Variety, Velocity, and Volume: This article delves deeper into the importance of securing links that point to your website.
- Blogging With Purpose: SEO Content Writing: In this piece, we outline the importance of business blogging and how it can help you climb the search engine rankings.
- What Is On-Site SEO?: This post breaks down seven SEO tips that could make a huge difference.
- 5 Things To Include in Every Blog Post: Not sure what to write about in your blog posts? Use this guide to get started.
- How Many Blog Posts Should I Publish Per Month?: Unsure how much you should be blogging to generate the best SEO juice for your niche? Read this post to get a better idea.
- What Are Keywords and How Should I Use Them?: Keywords are the backbone of all content marketing initiatives. Click through to learn about the ins and outs of keywords and how to leverage them.
- Font Pairings: Need a little help picking out the perfect font? Our design team has some tips.
Invest in a Website That Kicks The Competition’s Butt
DIY website options are available, and many people are seduced by their rock-bottom sticker prices. But what starts out as an inexpensive workaround can wind up costing a fortune. In the end, it’s always better to have a team of digital marketing experts and network engineers on your side.
Rounded Digital has years of experience shuttling clients’ websites to the top of the SERPs. We know the landscape and have the relationships to elevate your online promotional prowess.
And don’t assume it will cost a fortune. Most clients are pleasantly surprised to learn that hiring a digital marketing team doesn’t need to break the bank. If you’re ready to grow your client, customer, or patient roster, get in touch. Let’s begin the conversation.