Tips For WordPress – Your Getting Started Guide
No matter what type of business you are running, there’s no denying the power of WordPress.
WordPress is still the most popular content management system (CMS) on the web today. It’s easy to use, free, and has an active community of developers who are always adding new features and fixing bugs. If you want to learn how to create a site using WordPress, then these tips will help you get started quickly. Let’s dig in.
Purchase A Domain
There are several options available when buying a domain name. Some domains cost less than $10 per year, while others can run upwards into the thousands or more. The price also depends on how long you plan to keep the domain name.
A domain registrar is where you will purchase a domain from. There are lots of options for registrars. Some registrars also sell hosting packages, but I always recommend purchasing hosting and your domain name separately.
A recommended registrar I have always used is Namecheap.com. I’ve been with them for nearly a decade at this point and they’ve never let me down. If you need help stepping through the purchase flow, just follow my guide here.
Pick A Hosting Plan
There are many different types of hosting plans available. Each type offers different benefits and drawbacks. You’ll need to decide which one best suits your needs.
A shared hosting plan is ideal for those starting out. This plan allows multiple sites to run off the same server. However, it does require some technical knowledge. If you don’t know how to set up a site, you might end up spending hours trying to figure things out.
The other option is a dedicated server via their VPS hosting plans. With this type of plan, you’ll usually get more bandwidth so this type of solution is more suitable if you are already running high-traffic websites. If you’re looking for reliable up times, this might be the solution for you.
Choosing the right plan and host is vital. Slow load times, crashes, and downtime can happen if you don’t choose a reputable host, so make sure you do your research.
Siteground is ideal for shared hosting plans if you’re just getting started. Their service has improved over the years and their website is easier to navigate than ever before.
The other service I’ve used before and would recommend is Pressable hosting. Their customer service is second to none and you can basically live chat your way to having them fix your issues. It’s as if you had a dedicated IT team on your side. Their turnaround is faster than Siteground, but it comes at a slightly higher per month cost.
Pick An SEO-Friendly Theme
Every theme will have its own customization options, but I would recommend going with lightweight themes to speed up your website and using a page builder to do the heavy lifting for design.
Consider going with the Kadence theme as it is lightweight and fast and works perfectly with their builder.
When choosing and testing your theme you also want to make sure it has a responsive web design that allows you to optimize your site for mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. This is the only way to make sure that your site looks good across multiple platforms.
Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Tool is one of the easiest ways to check whether your site is responsive. Simply enter your URL into the tool and see how well it performs. If there are issues, you’ll receive some tips on what needs to change.
Get An SSL Security Certificate
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and it provides an encrypted connection between your visitors’ browsers and your website. By having this certificate installed, it shows Google and your visitors that you have an added layer of security.
Many hosts like Siteground will include an SSL certificate for free as part of their hosting package. Be sure to check with your hosting service.
Select Permalink Setting
WordPress comes with a built-in feature that lets you change the format of how the URL of your post looks.
That’s where permalink settings come in handy. There are two common permalink options: Post Name and Custom Structure.
Post Name will simply take the URL slug and append it to the back of your domain name.
Custom Structure allows you to customize exactly how you want the URL structure to look. In this example, the trailing backslash has been removed as my custom structure.
WordPress comments can be a double-edged sword. Enabling the ability for your readers to comment allows for some back and forth dialogue, but the downside is anyone can leave comments.
This then requires you to actively monitor what is being said. There are scripts that will search for blogs and auto-post comments which leaves a lot of spam on your pages.
I recommend turning them off until you have a large enough team to be able to monitor them.
To turn off comments on an entire blog, navigate to Settings > Discussion in your WordPress dashboard.
Then uncheck Allow people to submit comments on new posts.
To turn off comments for a specific post, navigate to the post you want to disable comments for, then on the right panel, make sure you are in the Post tab, then open the Discussion options and uncheck Allow comments option.
Optimize Your Images
Images are one of the most important parts of your website. They help convey information about products, services, brands, and companies and your articles. But too many images can slow down load times, make your site look cluttered, and reduce the overall quality of the experience.
To speed up your website, you must optimize your images. The easiest way to achieve this is by installing plugins like ShortPixel Image Optimizer.
ShortPixel gives you options to select different quality levels of compression so you can balance quality and performance. If you run a photography business, you can optimize for quality. If your images don’t need to be high fidelity, you can optimize for performance.
Back Up Your Website Regularly
If you don’t regularly back up your WordPress site, you could lose everything if your site gets attacked by malware.
A recent report from Statista reported that just in the first half of 2022 alone, malware attacks had reached 2.8 billion.
The good news is there is a simple way to back them up thanks to the handy plugin All In One WP Migration.
This plugin will let you download a zipped-up file of your entire website in just a few clicks, giving you peace of mind for when the next attack arrives.
The number of times you should back should be similar to how often you update your site. If you’re updating weekly, I would recommend backing up weekly or every other week.
If your website is more static like a portfolio, quarterly or a couple of times a year should be sufficient.
Start Writing Content
Writing content is the lifeblood of any online business. It’s how you get traffic, it’s how you build trust with your audience, and it’s how your brand becomes known.
But staying consistent could pose a challenge when you’re first starting out. You might not know where to start or what to write about.
Here are some quick tips to get started with writing:
1. Write regularly
It’s more important to stay consistent and write smaller articles than it is to write large articles that you might not finish.
Start with a schedule that works with your current schedule and you can scale up and down as you go, but don’t stop writing.
2. Start small
If you’ve got a family and a 9-5 job, consider writing once a month to start off. As your schedule opens up, try to write 2 articles a month.
The goal should be to make this time enjoyable and not another job you have to get it.
3. Focus on consistency rather than quantity or quality
I know this sounds counterintuitive, after all, who doesn’t want to write quality content?
The reality is unless you are already an experienced writer, your first several articles aren’t going to be great.
If you try to go for the gold star of writing right at the beginning, you’re going to spend hours writing and risk quitting right at the start.
To avoid this pitfall, simply write what you know about. Don’t start writing about subjects that you have no interest in and you’ll set yourself up to finish your first article.
4. Don’t worry about perfection
Don’t even use any SEO tools to start your first few blog posts. Just write about something you could draft out in under an hour.
Usually, this is will be a topic you enjoy and read about in your free time or something you have work experience in.
Write a simple draft, fill out the article to around 800 words, and check for general spelling and grammar and hit the publish button.
5. Find inspiration everywhere
Invest in a physical or digital notebook. Create a space where you can add ideas because you will find that the more you read and write, the more ideas you will have for content.
6. Read widely
Always be reading. As you start writing articles, the way you read will change.
You will start looking at how introductions are crafted, and transitions are integrated into writing.
Reading other people’s work will help you become a better writer, but only if you pair it with consistently writing yourself.
7. Keep learning
Along with improving the craft of writing, you can also improve more technical aspects of your business.
Even if you don’t want to execute the technical bits yourself if you don’t know how to manage the simple technical tasks, you will have a hard time outsourcing the work.
Learn it yourself first.
8. Always keep your eyes open for opportunities
Opportunities are hiding in plain sight all of the time. If no one is knocking on your door to give you writing opportunities, consider pitching other blogs and writers.
Writing cold emails will be one of the best skills you can learn as a business owner.
9. Give yourself permission to fail
Failing has such a bad connotation to it. To improve is to fail and reflect. Failing just means you didn’t achieve your goal this time. It doesn’t mean you are destined to never achieve it. Just not right now.
Don’t write to “win.” Instead, write to know you are moving toward your future, better self.
10. Be patient
I struggle with this daily. Almost every successful person was a 10-year “overnight success.” I have learned not to attach myself to the outcome, but instead, to focus on the activity which is, just keep writing.
What Will You Do?
You are about to start on a long journey that will teach you important skills you can keep to improve your own business or even into your next job.
To make it is to get started, but start small and stay consistent. Use the practical set up tips to get your blog stood up, and then the writing tips to get going.
I can’t wait to see what you come up with!