First Steps: Getting Started WordPress Tips and Tricks
Designing a website can be a daunting experience but it really straightforward once you have a basic idea of the steps involved and the WordPress design process. Below are some WordPress Tips and Hints to get you going fast with minimum problems or confusion.
The first step is to plan out and sketch a rough plan on how you would like your site to look on paper. Many great sites have started out being mapped on a piece of paper.
Next step is to get a domain name and some hosting. If your Domain name is already taken by some else, try some variants like .org, .net, .me, or others. I use Godaddy, but there are heaps of others, Crazy Domains, VentraIP, and others. Your domain name and Hosting do not need to be at the same place either but it helps as it cuts out some steps.
The journey is long and I am constantly learning. I am still learning about WordPress, dropshipping, marketing, building a website, and affiliate marketing after 5 years. Keeping a log and reading through it all has helped me get a better understanding of how to make a valuable site for readers.
It is now time to install WordPress from your c-panel into your domain name folder. As of writing the current WordPress Version is 4.4.2 (We are now up to WP 5.4) April 2020
The WordPress install will only take a few minutes, and it will require you to set a username and password for your database. Write these down as it will be how you log into your WordPress to add content, via a web browser usually (yourdomainname/wp-admin)
Finally, you can now start to add content. A blank word press is just that blank. Just like a new PC with only windows installed you need to add content or programs to get the full use.
To make your website really pop without any coding you should use a theme. These are like a custom-made website performed with colors, layout, links, picture places holders, and more. All you have to do is add some text and pictures and hit publish.)
There are many great themes that are free and many more great paid ones. I suggest sticking with a free theme, first to get practice in changing themes and adding content. The theme I use here is Customizr which is free but there is a paid version that enables more content.
To add content log into your WordPress admin and press either add Pages or add Posts. So what’s the difference between a page and a post?
- Post: It’s content you add every day for the world to read. You can add tags, category’s and dates to posts to make grouping a search simple.
- Page: It’s a fixed page for content like contact us, about us.
Usually, you will have more post pages than pages. (Good English there!) Adding a post is the usual way to add content and these newer Posts will be shown usually at the bottom of each web page on your site linking to the new content depending on how you set it up.
Beginner Top 5 WordPress tips, hints, and tricks.
Ok so now we are all set up and added some content and are ready to move on to the next step. My Top 5 WordPress Tips on what helps me day-to-day are.
Number 5: Themes
Websites now days need to be mobile responsive. That means when you look at this site on a PC it looks nice and wide and everything fits, the text is large and pictures look fine. Now if you look at this site on a mobile phone or tablet the site looks slightly different.
The text is Larger, photos get smaller but fit on-screen and everything just fits as you scroll down. No need to pinch to zoom. If it wasn’t responsive the site would be too small to read and you would be continuously pinching, zooming, and moving the page to view content. You will also get ranked by google better if your site is mobile responsive, that’s a bonus.
To get new themes and try them out go to Appearance / Themes /Add New in your WordPress Dashboard and select a new theme.
Some themes do this automatically. The theme I currently use on this site is Customizr. It is a responsive site and performs great. There have been some quirks with widgets and sidebars, but a bit of trial and error has sorted them out.
Number 4: Plugins
Without plugins, most sites would just be hard to code and make life difficult for the Web designer. Some of the most Popular Plugins are free and will make your life so much simpler. The Plugin I use the most and recommend are:
Best WordPress Plugins
- Google Analytics by Yoast – This plugin makes it simple to add Google Analytics to your WordPress site, adding lots of features, e.g. error page, search result and automatic outgoing links and download tracking
- Jetpack by WordPress.com – Jet-pack enables you to connect your site or blog to a WordPress.com account to use the features like Contact Forms, Comments login, post by email, site stats, sitemaps, and more
- Redirection – Manage all your 301 redirects and monitor 404 errors. What are they you say? Well if you delete a webpage or move it, search engines still link to the old address and throw a 404 error. 301 Just tell search engines that the address has moved to a new address. It’s effortless to redirect with this plugin. Great time saver
- UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore – Backup your entire WordPress blog site to another server like Amazon S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace, (S)FTP, WebDAV & more, automatic scheduling of backups. Just in case something goes wrong, you have a backup.
- WP Gallery Custom Links – Put web page links into your gallery photos like these DIY Home Projects. I was a little stumped for a while until I found this
- Yoast SEO – This is a must if you want to rank well in Google searches, gives you hints on how to make your web post rank well using keywords, metadata, snippets, and content analysis. I have found it to be one of my Favorited WordPress Tips.
- Google Adsense – Makes adding in the Google Adsense code really easy and simple. May Clash with WordFence, see error 403 fix here.
- WordFence Security – Locks down your website stopping Hackers trying to get into your site. Blocks IP addresses for multiple login attempts. It’s free and works really well.
Once you add a plugin to your site, review how it performs for a day or two as sometimes plugins don’t play well together. Like AdSense and WordFence lately. It took me a while to work that out.
Number 3: Adsense
Google Adsense is a program where you can advertise on your site and in turn receive a commission for your hard work. But to get accepted into the Google Adsense Program takes a lot of hard work and good content. They don’t just accept anyone. Google wants quality content for its advertisers so there is a minimum standard that Google sets.
The 5 Things you really need to do before getting accepted are
- Have good relevant content without spelling mistakes. The exact number of pages you need to be accepted is a mystery but try for 20 pages of content before trying to be accepted. Each page should be over 300 words long. Content that is original, no copying and pasting other sites.
- A Homepage, About Us page, and Contact us page with your email.
- A Domain name that is at least 6 months old, again not gospel but will help your chances.
- Your Pictures must be original or have permission from the copyright holders.
- Don’t have Adsense Prohibitive content eg: Content about Illegal Drugs, Hacking, Violence, etc
Adsense, will you get accepted?
I got accepted first go using these rules, and writing a Web Site takes time so don’t expect it to happen overnight. Once you are accepted you will get access to the Google Adsense Code which you can add to your site either as HTML code or use a Plugin like the Google Adsense WordPress Plugin which makes adding in the code really simple.
Remember don’t click on your own links it will get you BANNED.
Number 2: Category’s and Tags
Always set these up when adding a new Post. It will make navigation on your site better for your visitors so they can quickly find all relevant content and keep them engaged.
Number 1: Keep Your Site Updated
Many people think they can just make a site add content and walk away. The best WordPress Tips I can give you, apart from adding new content is Keep WordPress Updated, this includes all plugins. Go over your post comments and vet them for spam. There are plugins that can do this automatically if you don’t have the time. If you don’t keep WordPress Updated bad things can happen like unresponsive plugins or at worst give access to hackers. Log in at least every other day and go to your WordPress Dashboard checking for errors and updates.
Let me know in the comments below what other WordPress Tips, hints, plugins and themes you use