Just getting started with WordPress? Try these 20 tips to help you on your way

SkillsCategory
7 min read
Scott Robinson

WordPress is a powerful tool for building engaging websites, complete with a blog, general pages, and even a storefront. But where do you begin? How can you get yourself into the world of WordPress without losing your mind with tech? This article will help you on your way to a great start. Nothing is carved in stone though, and there are plenty of additional tips. These will get you going at least and assist you in your new journey.

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1. Choose the right hosting provider

Your hosting provider is responsible for storing your website's files and making them accessible to visitors. It's important to choose a reputable provider, like GoDaddy, with a good track record of customer support and uptime. 

2. Correctly install WordPress

The WordPress installation process is generally pretty straightforward. However, it's important to follow the instructions carefully to avoid any problems. The good thing is with GoDaddy, you can use Installatron to do the initial install for you, just by filling out a few form fields. 

3. Choose a theme that reflects your brand

Your WordPress theme controls the overall look and feel of your website. That being said, choosing a theme that is both visually appealing and that matches your brand identity is important. Be absolutely certain though that you either utilize a free theme ONLY from the WordPress repository or get a paid theme from a reputable company. 

4. Customize your theme

A person in a blue jacket and red tie is touching a virtual interface with the word "CUSTOMIZE" at the center, surrounded by icons representing customization options such as a checklist with a magnifying glass, a wrench and screwdriver, gears, and a control panel with sliders.
Credit: wladimir1804 - stock.adobe.com

Once you've chosen a theme, you can customize it to your heart's desire, using the WordPress Theme Customizer. This allows you to change the colors, fonts, layout, and other aspects of your theme's design. 

Different options are available, based on the theme you choose. But you can also hard code elements into your site's child theme if you so desire. That is much more advanced and best left to a seasoned expert or developer though. 

5. Use plugins to extend the functionality of your website

Plugins are add-ons that allow you to add new features and functionality to your WordPress website. There are thousands of plugins available, both free and premium (paid). Keep in mind though when choosing a plugin, be sure to stick to the formula of: 

  • High star rating 
  • Recently updated 
  • The plugin is compatible with your version of WordPress 
  • It runs on the same version of PHP your site is running on 
  • High amount of downloads 

6. Create high-quality content

Your content is what will keep visitors coming back to your website. Make sure to create high-quality content that is informative, engaging, and relevant to your target audience. Google Analytics will help you with this, as will customer surveys. 

7. Optimize your site for search engines

Search engine optimization (SEO) is optimizing your website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). 

There are some things you can do to help improve your website's SEO, such as using relevant keywords, writing descriptive titles and meta descriptions, and building backlinks. Most of the good SEO plugins offer suggestions as to how to improve your content. 

Use their suggestions. 

8. Promote your website on social media

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Credit: jirsak - stock.adobe.com

Social media is a fantastic way to promote your website and connect with potential visitors. Share your content on social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and others. Don't be shy. You've worked hard. Get your name out there. 

9. Engage with your visitors

Respond to comments quickly, answer their questions, and participate in conversations on social media. Engaging with your visitors will assist you in building relationships and keep your visitors coming back to your website. 

This can result in sales! 

10. Keep your WordPress website updated

WordPress and plugins are regularly updated with new features and security fixes. It's critical that you keep your website updated to the latest versions to avoid any problems; like a compromise. 

11. Back up your website regularly

 In the event something goes sideways, it's important to have a backup of your website that you can restore from. You can use a plugin like UpdraftPlus to automatically back up your website on a regular basis. You can also use GoDaddy's Sucuri backups. 

These are stored off your hosting plan or server and updated incrementally each day. The last thing you need, sans being compromised, is to get an irreparable error on your site and not have something to restore from to fix said issue. 

12. Use a security plugin

WordPress security is important, and there are a number of things you can do to protect your site from hackers. One of the best things you can do is install a security plugin like Wordfence or Sucuri. These plugins monitor your site and help keep out the riff-raff. 

13. Limit the number of plugins you use

Plugins can add new features and functionality to your website; however, they can also slow down your website and make it more vulnerable to security attacks. Only install plugins that you absolutely need. 

There is no magic number of plugins you need to stick to. It all depends on the size and requirements of your site. But the more plugins you have, the more chances you'll have of incompatibility issues. 

14. Learn some of the basics of HTML and CSS

An isometric illustration depicting elements related to web development and programming. A computer monitor displays lines of code with tags labeled HTML, and there are floating symbols of CSS, JS, and C++ around the workspace.
Credit: Abdul Qaiyoom - stock.adobe.com

Even if you're not a developer, it's important to learn the basics of HTML and CSS. This will help you to make minor changes to your website's design without having to hire a web developer. But for substantial changes or hard coding, it is best to hire an experienced WordPress developer. 

15. Always use a child theme

A child theme is a theme that inherits the styles and functions of the parent theme. This allows you to customize your website without having to modify the parent theme. This also allows you to perform updates to your parent theme without losing the changes made by you or a developer. 

16. Version control your website

Version controlling is a system for tracking changes to your website's files. This can be immensely helpful if you need to revert to a previous version of your website, from a backup, or if you are working on a project with multiple developers. 

17. Use a staging environment

A staging environment is a copy of your website that you can use to test changes before going live. This can help you avoid any problems with your live website. Making changes on the fly to your live site can lead to a broken site, which leads to lost visitors and more importantly... lost revenue! 

18. Test your website regularly

Close-up photo of a laboratory setting with a pipette dispensing a blue liquid into a test tube. Multiple test tubes filled with blue liquid are arranged in a holder, indicating a chemistry experiment or analysis in progress. The image has a cool blue tone, conveying a sterile, scientific atmosphere.
Credit: number1411 - stock.adobe.com

It is important to test your website regularly to ensure everything is working properly. This includes testing your forms, links, and images. Don't just assume all is well. You never know when something has gone south unless you check things out. 

19. Monitor your website's performance 

You can use a tool like Google Analytics to monitor and track your site's performance. This will help you track your website's engagement, traffic, and other important metrics. The findings will aid you in fine-tuning certain aspects of your site. 

20. Learn all you can from others

There are several great resources available to help you learn more about WordPress. You can find articles, tutorials, and videos on the WordPress website, as well as on third-party websites like GoDaddy Resources, WPBeginner, and WPTuts+. You can't know everything. So, be willing to learn more each day. 

Let this WordPress tips help on your journey

These WordPress tips are just the beginning. Your journey begins here and will never end. And that's a wonderful thing! Be sure to check out some of my other articles on more advanced WordPress tips and tricks, and keep learning. 

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