Just started out a WordPress blog or thinking of starting one in 2019?
Do you want to stay on a budget and manage your own website for your business?
As a WordPress expert, I want to share with you the 10 essential WordPress tips that will make your work easier, faster and more enjoyable 🙂
The best thing about it is that you don’t need to be a pro to implement these steps! I created this post especially for beginners, who just started out with WordPress or are about to start.
The username is what you’ll use to log in into the WordPress website. Make sure it doesn’t contain “admin”. Why? Years ago all WordPress installations up to version 3.0 came with a default ‘admin’ username, making it very easy to guess to hackers.
Furthermore, make sure that the username you use to log in is different to the display name.
If you avoid these two little things, also if hackers will try to guess your username (I don’t want to be pessimist, but unfortunately it will happen at a certain point of the blog’s life), it will be impossible for them to find the right one.
For logging into a blog/website, apart from a username, you’ll need a password.
My best advice is to use a complex one, at least 12 characters long, including upper and lowercase, numbers and special character. Avoid using password you already use for other accounts, especially if they have personal details.
If you’re worried about not being able of remember the password, you can use app like Last Pass to help you store it.
Here’s what makes WordPress the best CMS. Plugins! To start, I recommend to keep it as simple as possible. A mix of some basic administration plugins and something more blog related but still simple.
For example, my three go-to plugins that I always include when I create a website for a client are:
- Wordfence – my favourite ever, is a security plugin that helps keeping your blog/website safe from undesired hacker’s attacks, malware and all nasty things. A feature that I find great is the possibility of lock an IP address out after an certain number of times it tries to log in, as well as blocking username guessing containing certain word.
- Anti-spam plugin – Of course the purpose of a blog is to write blog post and engage with visitors. But you’ll also find a lot of undesired spam comments! Having plugins like Akismet or Antispam Bee can make the difference and help you auto-categorise a certain type of comments.
- Jetpack – Despite is not indispensable, this plugin can help you a lot in taking care of your blog/website. It can provide you with some insights on the traffic, some extra security features and much more.
- Yoast SEO – Also if you’re still small, it doesn’t mean that you cannot already thinking about SEO! Your blog will work also without this plugin but, as I said earlier, the purpose why you started is because you want your blog to reach as much as people possible. So it’s good to start working on it from the beginning.
Interested in other plugins? Have a look at this article: The best 5 WordPress plugin for beginners bloggers.
Setting regular backups is important to keep your website safe (if your website get hacked you can always install a previous uninfected backup) and give you peace of mind in the case an update or any amendment go wrong.
One of my favouring backup plugin is Updraft Plus and it comes with free a free and plugin version. What it makes it different from other backup plugin is the amount of features you have just in the free version! I love it. I’ve also write a guide on how to set the plugin up and running.
Choosing a great theme is one of the things that will make your blog standing out from others.
Aim to choose easy-to-navigate and responsive themes that showcase the message of your blog or business easily and connect to your brand identity. Avoid cheap looking themes like the one you find on WordPress. I’m not saying that they’re not good, but I think it worth spending some time in researching a good one and invest some money into it than looking like an amateur – especially if your aim is to make money out of it.
There are plenty of websites which offer WordPress themes at very different prices. Have a look at this stunning themes for blog:
6. Blog Posts
Writing blog posts will be the heart of your blog or also website because they are a great way to drive traffic, inform your readers about what you sell/what you. Remember, when writing a blog post you want to give a solution to your target audience’s problem.
With that in mind, is good to remember that, once you’ve written a blog post, you can re-vamp it and re-publish it in the future if you’re lacking of ideas. To do so, you want to avoid to put the date of publishing in the post URL.
To change settings, simply go on “settings” on the left sidebar of your wordpress admin area and click “permalink”. It will open the permalink settings where you can change the appearance of the posts URL (note: the action is not retroactive, so is best to do it as soon as you create the blog and before posting).
For SEO purpose, I chose the post name structure – the title of the post will be shown after the prefix of my website, making it easy for search engine to find it and list it in search results.
Plus in this way, two URLs won’t be the same as you’re not going to write same post title twice.
The media section is where all the media file are stored to be used in your WordPress blog or website. You can upload images, PDFs, videos, music and more.
Once a file is uploaded, WordPress automatically gives it a URL but you can edit the rest of the fields as much as you want.
My advice is to use keyword dense or SEO optimised text in the “TITLE” and “ALT TEXT” section.
If you search something on Google, the first results you’ll get will be the most similar to your keywords (of course there are other factors, like domain authority and geographical factors, but this is another topic). In order to index the best result first, Google analyses what’s behind a blog or website. Basically all that weird text that appears to be something like:
<p>This is <sub>subscripted</sub> text.</p>
Hope you are following me so far… So, if Google analyses what’s behind of what you graphically see on your blog or website, it will also read media! Here’s an example. In the following picture, I used the text “wordpress tips for beginners” both for title and alt text. If I go to see how the picture would appear in HTML language, it would be something like that.
<figure class="wp-block-image"><img src="https://www.isalillo.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/wordpress-tips-for-beginners-683x1024.png" alt="wordpress tips for beginners" class="wp-image-1998"/></figure>
If you have a look at the code on the right, can you spot the alt text? Well, if you can then also Google can! And will use it to index that picture in a web or image search.
8. Site title & Tagline
Similar to the what I’ve discussed for media, is important that your blog or website have a site title and tagline in place. I’ve seen a lot website with just the title and the tagline completely skipped or forgotten.
For the same reason Google can analyse what’s behind a graphic content like a picture, same way it analyses your website title and tagline.
I won’t dig too much in details this time, but my advice is to use the name of your brand as title and a keyword that reflects your brand as tagline.
If you wish to edit them, simply go on “settings” and then click on “general”. Once your in the general setting page, change title and tagline accordingly to your needs and remember to click “save changes” at the bottom of the page.
You have probably noticed that in some websites, all the content extends across the page. In others, especially blogs, the content is about 2/3 of the page and the other 1/3 is for something called sidebar.
It’s a no brainer that sidebars are important also if you’re a beginner, because in that section you can insert important things like your profile, your last posts or more important ones, affiliate links, adverts, etc… Almost all the premium themes have the two display options: fullwidth or sidebar (that’s another reason why buying a premium plugin is better than using a free one).
Once you’ve selected the sidebar option – some themes even let you select it for different pages instead than for the whole website – you can customise it with what works best for you.
Go on “settings” and click on widgets. On the left you’ll find a list of all the widgets available in you WordPress installation. On the right you have the “places” where you can use your widgets. Some of the most common are sidebars, footers, headers but it varies for each theme.
Now, if you’ve got some widgets already in the sidebar you can keep it, edit it or delete. If you wish to add new or more, simply drag one widget from left to the desired place. Remember that the order you see in here, will be the same as the visual version – if you check the sidebar of this page, you’ll see the “search” widget, followed by the “categories” on and so on.
Every widget works very easy: just click on the arrow next to the widget name and fill the required info and click on the blue button “save” or click delete to get rid of an undesired widget.
Last but not least, is very important to keep your WordPress version up to date (if you want to know how, I’ve done a video tutorial about it) as well as the plugins.
You don’t have to check for new updates every single day! For experience, every week., for example every Wednesdays, is enough to make sure your blog is safe and everything works fine.
If you really have no time for it, you can hire a VA or a professional to do it for you – for example, I offer monthly maintenance service which includes backup and live security updates.
Outdated plugins, especially if poorly coded, create the perfect mix for hacking vulnerabilities.
Blogging with WordPress
WordPress is a great platform for blogging or creating a website for your business. It definitely gives you a wider range of customisation than other CMS like Squarespace or Wix.
With these 10 easy steps, even if you’re new to WordPress, you can make sure to have a great blog that converts.
I’d love to know, in the comment below, if some of the steps is something you already do or it’s completely new to you 🙂