If you know anything about web development or have ever had to make small talk with a web developer at a dinner party, then you have probably heard about WordPress. WordPress is a business that effectively enables you to add design and functionality to your website. It has fundamentally two sides to web development. The first is allowing newbies to build their own site from a template, and second allowing more advanced developers to create much more bespoke websites to align to more sophisticated and unique designs. But what do you need to know as a newcomer? Well…
1. Find the right web hosting plan
The first step is creating a site is choosing a domain name (i.e patchagency.com) and finding a company to host your domain. This is different from what WordPress offers, so you need to do this first before you start with WordPress. It is also worth considering one of the preferred domain hosting services, available on their website.
2. Pick a quality theme
WordPress has a staggering amount of thematic templates you can use as the bedrock of your website. Just beware of the imagery and assets you incorporate into your site design as you make the template your own. The best scenario is that you have multiple high-quality brand-specific images that you can incorporate. Alternatively, it might be worth considering a Canva account or Google search for royalty-free photos and videos. You don’t want an email out of the blue of a content creator requesting you take the image down, or worse.
3. Use Google Analytics
Once you have set up and designed your website you might want to familiarize yourself with website analytics. Although this may sound complex and data heaving, Google analytics actually has an interface that is growing in usability. And the information garnered from understanding analytics can be vital to growing your business. For example, understanding where your website visitors are located, how long they spent on the site, which pages were more popular etc. It is a large dataset, and as such, you can gain a lot of insight into the effectiveness of your content, as well as the quality of marketing-driven traffic.
One thing that WordPress does very well is the ease in which you can incorporate plugins to add features and optimisations to your website. Think of these plugins as you would apps on your phone. There are multiple plugins created by multiple developers that all do different things, some of which are free and some that require payment. But as a top-line recommendation, if you don’t have any plug-ins on your website then there is a good chance your website wasn’t properly set up to begin with.
5. Compress images
A simple tip, that surprisingly a swath of website developers neglect to focus on, is the loading speed of the page. Obviously the more fancy content you have on your website i.e. videos, high-res photos, etc the slower your webpage is going to take for users to download. So make sure that any file you can compress, particularly images, you do it. You’ll be amazed at how much this can speed up your page. Also, you can get some good plugins to do this for you as well.
6. Modify your permalinks
There is a very good chance you are aware of what permalinks are, even if you haven’t heard them called that before. Permalinks are just the part of the web address that comes after the domain name. And users many times use these permalink names as a way of navigating the website and getting an appreciation of the content of a page without having to travel to it. I.e patchagency.com/contact. Often these are automatically labelled for you as your site is built, and that is the problem. Go through and manually check they are correct and make sense!
7. Prioritize safety
WordPress a popular site for a number of reasons. And as with any big business, they become a big target for fraudsters and hackers. So make sure you are regularly auditing the security aspects of your website. And change your passwords every six months!
8. Learn how to use meta tags
We won’t go into the intricacies of setting up on-site SEO optimisations, but one tip to ensure your site doesn’t just look good on a browser, but also looks good in a search engine, is to update your metatags. You would also have seen metatags multiple times (probably just today), but not known their name. They are effectively the subheadings of what appears on a search engine whenever your website comes up as a listing. What is written in these metatags can be crucial information for individuals that are looking to understand your business, and can many times determine whether they will click on the link or not.
Finally, more of a philosophy than a tip is to declutter your site as much as you can. This can come across many levels. Decluttering the design is great from the aesthetic nature of your site, as well as decluttering the code and back-end fluff that could make your site run faster and more efficiently. Minimise plugins where you can too, as too many can ultimately work against each other and slow down your site. Then maybe declutter your own house too, you’ll feel better!
So there you have it. 9 tips and starting points to get into the web design and development gain. Of course, there is much, much more to building and optimising websites than just 9 points, so if you feel your talents and time could be better spent actually running your business, then contact Patch Agency and we can take (and run) with the burden for you!