WordPress Top Tips – The stuff I wish I had known before creating my first website
I currently run three websites on WordPress, this one, I have been using for blogging for over 18 months, and recently, I have found some tips and tricks which I wish I had known about from the start.
Two things on Permalinks; one, make a decision early on what format you want, and two, make sure they are unique. Firstly, I think that using the post name as your permalink looks better, especially if you’re creating a non traditional blog site. The only issue is, if you change your permalinks at a later date, all previous versions of the links will now 404, and this is something you really don’t want. Secondly, when using this route, you want all posts to be unique, so take the time to think about how you want to structure your post names. I write a lot of reviews, some of them are for the same attraction year after year. The first time I reviewed Scare Kingdom, it made sense to call the post ‘Scare Kingdom Review’, but then what about the next year? Changing the title to ‘Scare Kingdom Review 2014’ made sense, but then the previous post should be renamed ‘Scare Kingdom 2013’, however if I change it now, I end up with more 404’s. Before throwing out your first posts, think about the longevity of your site, and develop a standard structure for your posts, to ensure that they all follow a similar format, but remain unique, and easily identifiable.
I probably spent about 4 hours going through all the themes when I got my first website set up. In fact, I spent more time on this than anything else. The problem was that until you have some content to put up, it’s quite difficult to see how a theme will work for you in a preview. In reality, what I should have done, was spent more time planning the structure of my site; deciding where the menu should go and what should be included on it, and how I wanted the website to look overall. Then, once I have some posts published and the core of the site set up, I can look for a theme that fits my vision, instead of flicking through hundreds of themes, and trying to make my site fit within that structure.
Check them all out before you start adding content. See what options you have, and make decisions before you begin. Taking the time to do this now will make it easier than finding a feature 6 months down the line and wanting to change (see permalinks above)
Decide these very early on, think of them as sorting options. What will you be writing about, and how many categories can this be sorted into. This is not an optional feature, all posts must have at least one category, so if nothing else, amend your default category to something generally relevant, and don’t just leave as uncategorised. Try to keep these broad, you ideally don’t want more than one category per post, although sometimes this happens.
These are optional, and should be viewed as the index to your site. I use them to list words that are worth searching for to bring you to my post, and they are case sensitive, so Manchester and manchester are two different tags. Before adding a tag, think, is this term worth clicking on?
Get to know all the little edit feature hidden around your add new page or post screen. Click the toolbar toggle on the far right of the edit toolbar, to reveal more edit options. (I found this button 18 months after starting blogging!) Scroll to the top right and look at the screen options, as standard, some things are hidden that you might find useful (see below)
Really good for you front page summaries and sharing content, allows you to sum up the post rather than relying on the first 50 words or so, and lets you give the reader a good overview of what the post contains
Allow comments on posts (these should be designed to create conversation) but not pages, and do not allow trackbacks. People can take advantage of this to spam you and your spam filters won’t be able to pick it up.
Use one on every post, it helps when you share the content as it ensures your best picture is used
Likes and Shares
Disable likes, it’s not facebook, no one clicks it, but shares can be good to see
Ignore it, useless, no idea why this is there…..
A post of words is boring, all my posts contain at least two images. If possible I also include embedded links. WordPress will automatically embed content from quite a lot of other sites just from pasting a link into the content, and this can add some great features to your post. For a full list of sites that can be embedded automatically, see here.
Decide early on which social media accounts you should link in, these can be great for getting you blog out there, but need to be relevant, i.e. don’t link a personal blog to your professional accounts.
Can be great to add fun things to your site, but don’t go overboard, keep it clean, simple and relevant, or your site will end up looking too busy.
Maybe you have a lot to write about one week, but then you’re going to be busy for the next three. If your content isn’t time sensitive, why not schedule it to post at a later date when you’re less likely to have time to create new content? This was your site is being updated regularly, and will see less down time.
Without a doubt there are some plugins I would not live without, and anytime I create a new website, I install these straight away!
- Jetpack – has all the nice feature add ons in one plugin
- Akismet – Spam filter
- WP Edit – Extra edit buttons for your toolbar
- Yoast SEO – Takes care of SEO for you
- WP Super Cache – Makes your site faster
- BackUpWordPress – Backs up your website
- Img Title Removal – So when you hover over pics on your site, file names such as IMG232137 don’t pop up
Thanks for reading!
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