WordPress Tips

As we have already established, WordPress is, by far, the best and most adaptive website builder.   Our team works with WordPress website every day.  Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your WordPress website.

WordPress Tip #1: Use a professional theme

When you’re designing a WordPress site, make sure you choose a professional theme. Professional themes will help you create the best possible experience for your users.  Our team uses one of 3 themes.  We either use Avada, Elementor, or Divi.

One of the best professional themes available is the Avada Theme. (https://avada.com/) It has everything from parallax scrolling to full-width sliders, so it’s perfect for almost any kind of site. It also comes ready to utilize any Google font, so you can choose exactly how your site looks. It offers a wide range of customization options that allow you to create a unique look for your site. If you want to add more content or change the way that it looks, then Avada will be perfect for you. Personally, I prefer the Avada theme over the other choices.

Another option is Elementor (https://elementor.com/), which is also an excellent choice for creating professional websites. It is especially good for complicated eCommerce sites.  This theme has many features that make it easy to customize your website without having any coding knowledge at all. You can easily add dozens of elements without needing any code knowledge whatsoever. In addition, its drag-and-drop interface allows you to easily change the layout of your website with just one click on each section so that it looks exactly how you want it too. Many of the web designers on my team prefer the Elementor theme over Avada.

If you want something more advanced, then the Divi theme (https://www.elegantthemes.com/gallery/divi/) would be perfect for you. Like Avada, it has been around for many years and has been constantly improved over time so that it can handle almost any task thrown at it! Personally it is my least favorite of the 3, but still a good option.

There are many risks to using a theme that is not professional.

First of all, and unprofessional theme can make you look…well… unprofessional.. People will see that you don’t take yourself seriously enough to do things correctly, and they’ll start to wonder if you will use their donations as haphazardly as you are managing your website.

Secondly, it can make your site slow. Slow websites = less donations. If the theme isn’t coded properly or optimized for performance, then it could cause your site to load slowly or even crash at times. This can lead to people getting frustrated with your website and leaving before they even have the chance to give or get involved.

Finally, free themes have been known to break and can result in webpages having to be rebuilt.  A broken theme can lead to lots of wasted time by your developers and content creators, as well as lost revenue from unhappy donors.

WordPress Tip #2: Be familiar with the dashboard!

  • The dashboard is the main screen you land at after logging in. Spend a few minutes learning how things are organized in WordPress.
  • The main menu sidebar is on the left—The sidebar is where you navigate to create posts and pages, customize your website’s appearance, access settings, etc.
  • At the very top, you’ll see your name and a few quickly accessible links. Clicking on your website name opens the front-end of your site.

WordPress Tip #3: Distinguish posts content from pages content

When you create a website, you have to decide whether you want to use a post or a page.

  • Posts: They work great for blog content. Posts are to be easily shareable, searchable, and comment-able. You can schedule them to be published at future dates and times, and you can choose to make them appear on your site in any order desired.  Posts are meant to be added often and updated frequently.
  • Pages: They work great for content that won’t change much over time, like your “About” page, “Contact” page. Pages are displayed in your top navigation bar and menus.  It’s important not to use pages for information like news, events, recaps, updates, reviews, and opinions that are better contained within posts

If your content changes frequently or is time-sensitive, then use a post. If it doesn’t change often and will stay on your site indefinitely (or at least for the foreseeable future), then use a page.

WordPress Tip #4: Focus on your titles

Your post and page titles are what help your audience make a quick decision about whether to click on your content or not, and your titles are also important because Google indexes them for search results. Create titles that are:

  • Engaging: Grab their attention.
  • Insightful: Let your audience know what they’ll learn and what they’ll gain.
  • Clear: Quickly inform your viewers what the topic is. Use appropriate search terms, but don’t repeat the same keywords over and over.

If you need a great tool, go to www.copy.ai.  The title creator function in copy.ai is an incredibly useful tool that lets you create a title for your content in just a few minutes. Whether you’re writing a blog post or a novel, the title creator will make it easy for you to find the perfect title that reflects what your audience wants to read about.

WordPress Tip #5: Don’t plagiarize

It is actually against the law to use copyrighted media without permission from the owner. Also, Google is looking for sites with original content.  Only add content to your site that fits into one of these categories:

  • You made it yourself.
  • You asked for the original owner’s permission.
  • It is already available for anyone to use under the public domain.

Consider Using Artificial Intelligence to Write Your Copy – Like www.Copy.ai

AI has been used to create content for a long time now, but it’s only recently that we’ve seen it being used more and more often.

AI generates content in many different ways. Some of it is created using algorithms that takes in data about what people are writing about and then write it’s own copy based on that data. Some of the AI generated content is created by feeding a neural network with a lot of existing text, which then learns how to write on its own. The current best practice it to then take the copy it generates and rephrase it in your own words.

The benefits of using AI generated content are numerous:

  • It’s fast
  • It’s cheap
  • It can be produced in large quantities
  • It is unbiased

And just because something is written by AI doesn’t mean that it is plagiarized —I t just means that the machine is doing most of the work instead of a human being. Google does not penalize websites for using this kind of content either; they treat it just like any other kind of copy!

WordPress Tip #6: Optimize your photos

  • Compress: The photos you upload to your website should be sized under 1MB—this smaller file size helps your site run faster and allows for more overall storage space. Yes, it’s an extra step, but it doesn’t take long. (Kraken.io, ImageResize, Smush, and Optimizilla are a few free online tools you can use to optimize your image.)
  • Resize: After you upload an image to WordPress, you can edit the image and resize it to fit whatever your page or post needs. WordPress lets you flip images, mirror them, and scale and crop.

WordPress Tip #7: Keep your sidebar simple

It’s easy to cram a ton of widgets into your sidebar, but if you use too many, they can take away from the content you really want your visitors to engage with.

Assess your sidebar, and if your sidebar becomes overloaded, edit it down, ruthlessly. Experiment and see how simplifying it affects your site’s traffic.

WordPress Tip #8: Avoid installing too many plugins

Yes, there are a lot of great plugins out there. But that doesn’t mean you need them all. Installing too many plugins, or low-quality plugins, can affect the speed of your website.

Reliable plugins are compatible with WordPress’s latest version, and will have good reviews, support forums, and frequent updates. The first plugin to consider at the beginning is for SEO. The most popular one is called “Yoast“—it makes sure you’re following good Google search index, like keyword density and meta descriptions.

You might also want to consider a security plugin. Make sure to add plugins one at a time to make sure they work properly with the rest of your site, and always deactivate & uninstall the ones you decide to stop using.

If you’re not using a plugin, uninstall it.  Dormant and un-updated plugins often are portals for Malware attacks.

WordPress Tip #9: Update to avoid site crashes

If you don’t continually update WordPress and your theme, your site becomes vulnerable to security attacks. If you don’t update your plugins, they can actually make your site crash. Turn on automatic updates, or check every few days and update them manually.

WordPress Tip #10: Run backups of your site!

Backups are extremely important. There are hackers out there who would love to steal your data, but there are also user errors that you might make. The best way to make sure you’re consistently backing up your site is to automate it with a plugin. “Jetpack” offers many different helpful features: daily backups, a contact form, mobile theme, security, and faster image loading.

We host our sites with SiteGround and their basic service provide automatic daily backups.  Many premium hosts provide this feature.  We recommend these hosting services:

Need Help?

Do you need help with your nonprofit’s WordPress site?  Please reach out to us.  Our team if glad to lend a hand to solve your WordPress problems!  Schedule a free consultation here: https://staffordnonprofit.com/contact/

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