Tips to Getting Started With WordPress

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WordPress is a popular Content Management System (CMS) that powers millions of websites all over the world. It is popular because of the way it is conceptualized, including its many attractive features. However, understanding all the facets of or mechanisms in WordPress can be very demanding, especially when you are not using a professional web development company.

Below are a few tips you could use if you plan to start a journey with WordPress.

Select an Appropriate Hosting Plan
 As a content management system, WordPress is packed with exciting features that help you to set up and optimize your website. But as efficient as it is, WordPress is not a web hosting provider. This means that WordPress is necessary but not sufficient for a serious online presence. 

Therefore, the onus is on you to identify a web hosting service that suits your budget and other preferences while complying with the minimum hosting requirements of WordPress. There are several web hosting companies out there but WordPress has formally endorsed Bluehost, DreamHost, and SiteGround. Many will tell you that Bluehost is the best, but it all depends on what will work best for you.

Before opting for a plan, be sure to engage in careful analytics research in order to estimate the expected characteristics of your website in terms of variables like the volume of data to be processed, potential daily visitors, etc.  Such information will help you determine the size of your website in terms of bandwidth, storage space and other technicalities. 

Some popular hosting plans you can select from include shared hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated servers, and cloud hosting. In a nutshell, choosing an appropriate hosting plan is important because it helps guard against problems such as slow speeds, downtime, and crashes.
Choose a High-Quality Theme
A theme provides the design layout or structure for your website, so it is important to select a theme you are very comfortable with bearing in mind the nature of your website. For example, themes for an e-commerce site are quite different from those of an e-magazine. But no matter the nature of the site you are building, you'll still be faced with a large number of themes that can make selection confusing and even difficult. 
One way to overcome this selection headache is by watching live demos of prospective themes to see the features they come with and subsequently opt for a theme that suits you best. Be sure to install themes that work well on mobile devices so that your website's mobile metrics will not suffer.

Add an SEO Plugin
Let us say you've worked extra hard to craft quality content for your website. Congratulations but it doesn't stop there because you need to optimize whatever content you've come up with in order to rank well in SERPs. This is where a good SEO plugin comes in. 

With the importance attached to keywords by today's search engines, an SEO plugin will not only help analyse and optimize your keywords but will also do the same for other online metrics. This can go a long way in helping you achieve your website's ranking objectives. There are many decent SEO plugins out there so, again, you personally have to do the hard work to ascertain what will work best for you as far as your budget is concerned. 

Like Bluehost in web hosting, many consider Yoast as the best SEO plugin available so you may want to try it out to see how compatible it is with your SEO demands.   

Moderate Use of Plugins
As noted above, Plugins are a necessity because they boost the diversity and functionality of your website. However, this does not imply that you should install a very large number of plugins. One reason to be cautious about plugin addition is that too many of them can be counterproductive. For example, they can slow down the speed of your website. Thus, the emphasis should be on installing a moderate number of plugins that you really need and nothing else.   

Add Google Analytics
In today's highly competitive internet world, it is very necessary to keep track of your website's key performance metrics such as the number of visitors per day, number of viewers of each blog post, among others. Monitoring such details will help you find out areas you lag behind and how to bridge the gaps. Unfortunately, WordPress will not be in a position to supply you with all the performance metrics necessary. 

Do not worry though because, with Google Analytics, you'll have most if not all the necessary data/information you need for a holistic definition of your site's performance. You'll also love the convenience Google Analytics brings by enabling you to access all these details from the comfort of your WordPress dashboard.    

Use Compressed Images
Images and videos are essential ways of enriching or adding extra information to online content. However, just like installing too many plugins, large-sized images and videos can also slow down the speed of your website. 

One way to guard against this is by compressing large image files into smaller sizes. Image compression will not only allow your website to maintain its speed but also save valuable storage space. If you need help with image compression, then there are decent applications out there that can help.

Work on Your Permalinks
Permalinks is a short term for permanent links. They are web addresses, e.g., addresses of your website or blog posts which WordPress automatically creates by default. But utilizing these default permalinks may not be optimal since they are usually too wordy and SEO unfriendly. This means there will be a need to fine-tune them for better results. 

Fine Tuning or changing your permalinks is not difficult. Just go to Settings on your WordPress dashboard and click on Permalinks. You'll then notice a number of options through which you can work on your permalinks. However, be sure to concentrate on the Post Name option since it is the option with the most reward in terms of SEO. Do not forget to save your new settings after modifying the permalinks to your taste.

Stay Safe
Cyber security has become a big and vibrant industry, thanks to activities of cyber criminals prying about the internet, including on WordPress. To stay one step ahead, it is necessary to keep an eye on the latest trends in the industry in order to precisely determine the newest security measures to adopt. 

Also, to guard against bugs and cybercriminals, you should always ensure you are using the latest version of WordPress. Same for your plugins, themes, etc.  Remember to always back up your information in the case. There are quite a few backup apps that can help you do the job.

Apart from regular updates, you should also explore and implement other measures to keep you very safe on the internet. Also, endeavour to learn as much as you can about cybersecurity.  

Comments Management
In addition to the content you put out on your website, Google also keeps an eye on the comments section of your posts hence the need for an effective comments management policy. Readers comments are a great way of directly interfacing with your visitors and therefore an important PR activity. 

Though Google is a champion of free speech, it frowns at spam comments. So the onus is on you to set your rules of engagement as far as the use of language is concerned and according to acceptable standards.   

You can manage readers comments by selecting your preferred options from the Discussion section of your WordPress Settings menu.

Get Rid of Clutter
There is no need to clutter your website with banners, ads, widgets, and other stuff. Over elaborating on your site can make it appear complex to go through and even confusing to some visitors. So you need to get rid of all unnecessary detail and rather focus on the core items that add more value to your website. In other words, keep things as simple as possible. Simplicity will help your website have a pleasant, easy-to-follow, and user-friendly appearance.

WordPress is one of the more popular CMS out there.  Its popularity derives from its design layout and attractive features. However, it is a complex product that needs careful and continuous study since it is constantly evolving. One advantage of having a strong knowledge of how WordPress works is that such knowledge can help you optimize for desired results. This article aims to offer a few tips to those about to get started with their WordPress experience. 

But after you must have mastered WordPress, the journey does not end there. You also need a deep dive into the vast world of digital marketing to help you produce and promote your products and services. A web development company like Seek Social can easily see to all your digital marketing needs. With a staff that boasts 40 years of combined experience and a number of awards, Seek Social has both the manpower and the tools to be your digital marketing solutions provider. Visit the Seek Social website now for more information!
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