By simply installing a theme on your WordPress site and taking it live without the proper optimization or setup, you won’t be squeezing every last bit of functionality out of your site. Today’s web audiences are a spoiled bunch and have become very picky and demanding. If your site is slow to load or poorly optimized for mobile devices, you’ll lose visitors. The internet audience is looking for a functional yet good looking online resource that can easily provide them with the information they are seeking. When building your WordPress site, we advise you pay attention to the following tips.
Choose The Best Host
This is where your website‘s story begins. A powerful and reliable hosting is a huge determinant of better WordPress functionality. There are plenty of options that you can choose from. Some of them are cheaper than others and may include a different set of features relating to price tier. In order to help you choose the best host that will meet the requirements of your website, take a look at the following checklist.
- Choosing the best hosting type, consider the budget of your project and the amount of data that you need to share on your site. Although many developers don’t like shared hosting due to the fact that you need to share space with other sites, this is the perfect choice for the smaller web projects that do not have a steady flow of income.
- Vulnerability. It’s important to choose a hosting that provides regular and safe backups. WordPress sites are vulnerable to hacking. So, in order to feel safe that all of the valuable pieces of information from your site are protected and secured, pick the hosting plan that includes regular backups.
- Fast page loading. Select the hosting plan that includes the caching system and the high page loading speeds. If you do not want your clients to leave for the competitors’ sites, don’t make them wait for longer than 2 seconds until the web page loads.
Install Plugins Selectively
You will have no difficulty when looking for the most optimal solution to add specific WordPress functionality to your site. There are thousands of free plugins, and just as many premium ones to choose from for all purposes. Moreover, many premium WordPress page templates are loaded with extensions that will fit for the specific purposes. For example, this may be an online booking form, slider, WordPress contact form, LMS, etc.
Even though there are so many awesome plugins, be selective. Only install plugins you need and try to condense features into one plugin if possible. Having a lot of plugins isn’t always bad, but it does increase the amount of effort you’ll have to put in when testing for updates.
Use Responsive Designs
As a content management system, WordPress is not a mobile-friendly solution. In order to make it look and feel on all screen sizes perfectly well, you need to install some third-party plugins to the dashboard of your site. Luckily, there are plenty of responsive WordPress themes to choose from, both free and premium.
With the growing shift of the web community to the use of the handheld devices, it’s indispensable for every site to be mobile-friendly. Moreover, mobile-first designs are becoming way more useful, especially for WordPress functionality. Using these, you’ll feel certain that every piece of information provided on the web page is displayed properly and doesn’t clutter the page.
Make Site Navigation Easy And Obvious
It should be easy for first-time visitors to your site to find the necessary pieces of information in a few seconds. The intuitive and recognizable navigation patterns will enhance the users’ browsing experience, thus making your web resource look more user-friendly.
Do not reinvent the wheel when you think about website navigation elements that should be present on your site. It’s always a good idea to place the navigation panel at the top of the page. This is exactly where the users expect to find it. Also, add Ajax-based search box next to the main navigation panel of your site. Enhance your site with the categories list in the sidebar, archives, and breadcrumbs.
Integrate Social Media
You will hardly find a person who doesn’t have an account in any of the popular social media networks. By integrating your WordPress site with social media options, you make it more usable for your audience. Moreover, you grow the chances that more people will become engaged with your brand.
Social sharing options allow the customers to share the word about their preferred pieces of data with a single click and social media widgets display the latest publications right on the pages of your site. Many themes have at least basic social media integration via widgets or a header/footer module. But it’s very easy to add it yourself with a social media WordPress plugin.
Use HTML5 Animation
It’s been a decade since the official announcement about the death of Flash. In the today’s web, it’s better to enhance your website with the HTML5 animation for a number of reasons. First of all, the search engines do not see the Flash-based elements of your site.
How often do you update the Flash player? Can’t recollect the last time you did? So do most of the web’s users. Most of us use the outdated Flash players, which won’t support the Flash animation effects that you enhanced your site with. Additionally, HTML5 animation is mobile friendly, which grows the chances that your site will look more interactive.
Use A CDN
Make sure your website speed is up to par with your competitors by using a CDN. This is a crucial part of speeding up WordPress, and since there are so many free CDN services to choose from you don’t have any excuse not to give it a try.
A CDN is a content delivery network usually located around the world that delivers your static website content (like images or CSS) to your readers faster than your own web server can. You can read more about CDN benefits but in general, it’s a good idea for every website (WordPress or not).
Focus On Your SEO
Don’t neglect SEO folks. Search engine optimization does require a lot of time and effort to master, but there are tons of plugins, guides and tips online to help you get started. We recommend Yoast SEO as a great place to begin. Adding keywords and meta descriptions to the pages of your site will help boost your search engine rank so don’t forget to add them either.