Setting up a brand-new website for your business can seem like a daunting task. With so many options available it can be difficult to know where to start, especially if technology and design are not your strong points. Below, we outline how to make the most of your WordPress website.
Powering over a quarter of all websites online, WordPress is a free to download platform with inbuilt user-friendly content management system and a worldwide network of users, making it a great option for personal blogs and small to medium business websites alike.
Of course, choosing your platform is only the first step. While WordPress clearly provides a strong base, there are a number of things you can do to ensure the success of your site. Let us guide you through our top tips for making the most of your WordPress website – from the look and feel, to functionality, performance and security, every choice you make gives you the opportunity to create something that will help your business thrive.
Choose the Right Design
It’s estimated, at present, that there are around 30,000 themes available for WordPress. That’s 30,000 different options for design, look and feel, available in a range of prices from free to premium, all ready to be dropped onto your site with minimal fuss.
While an out of the box theme can seem like a great starting point, they can often be limited in flexibility, meaning you have to make your content fit the template rather than having a layout that is tailored to showcase your business.
Engaging the services of a web designer allows you to work with a professional who can really look at your business, your content, your marketing and your target customer base and design a layout for your website that will actively support your business goals.
Use Plugins to Enhance Your Functionality
Chances are, you want your website to do more than just look good, you also want it to be feature rich for both your customers and you. WordPress plugins are just what they sound like – additional features that “plug in” to your site to expand the functionality.
There’s a plugin available for almost anything you can think of from basic contact forms to full ecommerce options. Plugins should be used strategically, the quality of them can vary and it’s always best to only what you actually need to avoid conflicts and potential security issues. If you are working with a web designer or developer then choosing the right plugins should be part of your package and they can advise you on the best option for your desired result.
Optimise Your Site for Speed and Performance
Even the best-looking website won’t generate new business for you if it doesn’t perform well. Data suggests that 53% of users will leave a web page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load and 50% of users expect it to load in 2 seconds or less, so speed is optimum to keeping potential customers on your site. On top of this over half of all website traffic is from mobile phones so your website needs to have 100% functionality on smaller screen sizes.
A good web development company will take care of both for you during the initial build of the site, and a quality hosting or support package will ensure the performance of your site is kept up to date.
Perform Regular Maintenance and Updates
Speaking of website updates, maintaining your WordPress website is an essential part of your ongoing management. Think of it like a car – you need to have it regularly serviced to keep it running at its best. WordPress themes and plugins as well as the core WordPress engine release bug fixes, security patches and functionality updates on a routine basis and it’s important to stay on top of these.
Around once a month is a good frequency to check your site for new updates. Ask your developer or hosting company if they offer a care plan for the peace of mind of having this managed for you.
Keep Your Website Safe and Secure
You’re well on your way to WordPress success, so why risk your hard work being undone? The unfortunate reality of putting your work on the web is that there are any number of security threats online and they generally don’t discriminate in who they target. While the regular updates you are now performing on your site will go a long way towards protecting it, hackers are always looking for vulnerabilities that can be exploited.
The first thing you want to do is make sure you have a solid backup plan. Taking daily backups of your website ensures that you have a clean version to roll back to if your site should be compromised and also provides a safeguard against any of your data being lost.
There are a number of backup plugins available for WordPress but these often store the backups in the same place as your website – if this space is compromised you run the risk of losing your backups as well so a more secure option is to choose a service that allows you to store your backups on external servers.
In addition to this, running security scans on your website will identify any malicious code that has managed to find its way through, enabling you to take prompt action to remove it. Again, security scans are available as WordPress plugins or as part of a website care plan if you have one.
While it may seem like a lot to consider, your best results are always going to come from some strategic planning and considered implementation. Putting in a little time and effort in to maximise your WordPress website will make it a valuable asset that will continue to enhance the overall success of your business. For more information on websites or to discuss your digital marketing strategy, contact practiceedge.