15 Essential WordPress Tips for Beginners
If you are a newbie to WordPress and thinking to become a WordPress pro, here are few essential WordPress tips for beginners you need to learn first.
No doubt that WordPress is the most used content management system in the world. There’s a reason why most people use WordPress as their CMS (or) blogging platform and the reason is it’s secure and properly optimized for the search engines.
If you are a WordPress beginner and searching for ways to take your blogging skills to the next level, this guide is especially for you. In this detailed guide, I’m going to share you the best WordPress tips for beginners.
Table of Contents
- Essential WordPress tips for beginners
- Install a SEO plugin
- Change your WordPress admin username
- Make sure to create a sitemap
- Stop cluttering your blog design
- Make your WordPress site loading time faster
- Optimize your permalinks
- Always use “alt” tags with images
- Use an editorial calendar
- Make it easy to share
- Setup your Google authorship
- Never (EVER) forget to interlink to your old posts
- Backup your WordPress sites regularly
- Save your time, Install Disqus to prevent spam comments
- Find and fix your broken links
- Secure your WordPress sites from hackers
- Bonus tip – create an account in Google analytics
Essential WordPress tips for beginners
Install a SEO plugin
Be it all in one SEO or SEO by Yoast, you need to install a SEO plugin if you want to get organic traffic from search engines. You may ask, why I need a SEO plugin.
A SEO plugin makes it easy for you to optimize your posts and pages for search engines so you don’t have to worry much about extra things.
I would strongly recommend you to install All in one SEO pack plugin if you are a beginner to WordPress. You just need to create posts, and this plugin takes care of everything, it automatically optimizes your contents for search engines.
Change your WordPress admin username
Most beginners make a common mistake. They all use the default admin username and this is the reason why most hackers easily hack their websites (as they already know the “default username”, they just have to guess the password). So don’t do this blunder WordPress mistake, change your default WordPress admin username to something complex, something hard to guess.
Here’s how you can change your default admin username into something you like. This is a simple 5 step process, please make sure to take a full backup of your site before doing anything.
- Go to Users, then click on Add New
- Now fill the information and select Administrator from the Role drop-down. Click on Add New User.
- Log out from your WordPress dashboard and enter your newly created admin details with password.
- Now go to the Users, delete the old “admin” user (make sure to backup your site doing this, as a safety precaution)
- Please note that, attribute all of your posts and pages to your newly created admin name (without attributing its posts to your new admin user will delete all those posts!)
So start doing it now. Change your usernames immediately if you are still using the default “admin” username.
Make sure to create a sitemap
A simple yet powerful WordPress tip for beginners is to create a sitemap that lets crawlers crawl all of your content.
Without a sitemap, Google crawlers can’t crawl your blog posts or web pages. It means, even if you create content, Google won’t give you any results on their search results. So as soon as you create a WordPress site, create a sitemap.
For WordPress users, it’s extremely easy to create sitemaps, just install Google sitemap generator plugin and it will take care of everything. This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines to better index your blog.
Stop cluttering your blog design
If you have to know about only one essential WordPress tip for beginner, it is that blog design is king. One of the reasons most people abandon WordPress sites as soon as they visit is because of the cluttering in web design. Don’t clutter your sidebar, or footer with too many ads or unwanted stuff.
It can only create a mess and give you no extra benefits, make sure to declutter your WordPress blog design. Always focus on your sidebar as it is one of the most distracted things while reading. If you can use it well, you can give better user experience, if not people will find it hard to read your blog contents. And you will have a hard time in retaining visitors which also leads to high bounce rates.
Make your WordPress site loading time faster
Install a caching plugin. You can either use W3 total cache plugin or WP super cache. Both are good at their own terms, but most people use W3 total cache plugin as their caching plugin to make their site loading times faster.
Also limit your WordPress plugins as they can make your loading times slower and always use a better web host for your sites to keep your site loading time faster.
Permalinks are oxygen to your blog posts, they give maximum results if you use them right in the search results. Don’t use messy permalinks that can only harm your search engine rankings and results. Always optimize your permalinks.
One of the best ways to do that is to optimize your overall permalinks structure. Here’s how you can do it on WordPress.
Go to your WordPress dashboard, click on settings >> Permalinks, then change your URL structure to post name. This is by far the the simplest and most optimized URL structure for WordPress sites.
Alt tags play an important role in getting traffic from Google image search results. If you use your specific keywords in your images, you will tend to receive more traffic from search engines as Google crawlers give much importance to alt tags in images.
So don’t forget to use at least one image for every blog post you write and never (ever) forget to use keywords in your alt tags.
Use an editorial calendar
Have you ever heard of an editorial calendar? For WordPress users, it’s a gift. Editorial calendar is what makes it easy for you to organize and schedule your blog posts in advance. This is a simple yet powerful WordPress plugin that is a must if you batch your posts.
Using an editorial calendar plugin, you see all your posts and drag and drop them to manage your blog. You can also drag and drop to move posts, edit posts using this plugin. A must have plugin if you are thinking to schedule and manage your posts from one place.
WordPress blog posts don’t go viral by default. You have to make them go viral. How can you do that? The simplest way to get it done is to attract more likes, and shares on social media instantly after your posts go live.
Don’t give your visitors or readers hard chances of sharing your blog posts, make it extremely easy to share your contents. You can use plugins like Digg Digg, Sharebar, Flares etc. to get this done. Remember to use a sharing plugin on your WordPress sites to get more traffic and likes.
Have you ever seen the author’s profile under Google site links when you search for some information online? It’s what called Google authorship. It improves your click through rates and gives you more traffic and visits from search engines.
You first need to sign up for Google+ and create a Google+ profile. Then you can link content you publish on a specific domain (such as www.facebook.com) to your Google+ profile.
Here’s I have written a detailed guide on how to set up Google authorship for your WordPress sites.
One of the essential WordPress tips for beginners is “interlinking” posts. Most beginners don’t link to their posts, they often end up publishing the posts without even linking to one post.
Listen, interlinking is often leads to deep crawling of your web pages. Whenever you update your blog with a new post and interlink to your old posts, search engine crawlers get a chance to crawl those pages. This is good and gives you better results for not only old pages but you will also get better rankings for those keywords.
If you don’t have much time to interlink to your posts, you can also use plugins like seo smart links etc. to automatically link to other pages (with similar keywords).
Backup your WordPress sites regularly
What if someone hacks your WordPress sites? Or what if you lose all the access to your database and your whole WordPress contents? It sucks, right?
The chances of getting back your contents once they are gone are very less. So it’s better to regularly keep backups of your site content.
There are many backup plugins available in WordPress directory, I also recommend you to use “hosting side database backups” (your hosting providers provide this, and you can regularly take your whole WordPress site backups without paying anything). There are also many services and tools available that automatically creates backup for your sites.
Start taking your site’s backup now and regularly automate this process to never lose your precious data.
Save your time, Install Disqus to prevent spam comments
WordPress comes up with a default commenting system. But the problem with that is it also attracts tons of spam comments.
Managing with spam comments is a tedious task for most bloggers. This is the reason why I suggest most new bloggers to use Disqus commenting system on their sites. This plugin gives your readers flexible options to live comments on your blogs and it almost 100% prevents spam on your blog posts and saves a lot of your time and energy.
Broken links are really bad on any WordPress site. They are the one’s that give you visitors bad user experience and Google also penalizes your site if your site is full of broken or dead links.
So it’s your job to find and fix your broken links as soon as possible. Luckily, there’s a plugin called Broken link checker for WordPress users that automatically detects all the broken links and keeps you updated about it.
So whenever you find a broken or dead link, you can simply fix them either by updating or removing the links permanently.
Secure your WordPress sites from hackers
There are thousands of blogs that get hacked each and every day. The good news is that, by following little precautions you can make your WordPress sites hacker proof.
Here are two plugins that help you make your WordPress sites more secure.
Limit login attempts: This is great security WordPress plugin and blocks an Internet address from making further attempts after a specified limit on retries is reached, making a brute-force attack difficult or impossible. A must have plugin if you want to secure your sites.
Bullet proof security: This plugin creates greatest security protection against: XSS, RFI, CRLF, CSRF, Base64, Code Injection and SQL Injection hacking. So your WordPress sites will be mostly safe from these kind of injections from hackers.
Bonus tip – create an account in Google analytics
If you want to analyze your users or visitors who land on your sites easily, Google analytics is the best choice. Moreover it’s completely free to use.
By adding Google analytics to your WordPress sites, you can measure and track how your users are behaving, where are they coming from, your top traffic sources etc at one place. By analyzing these results, you will have a better idea on what to write and what not to write on your sites.
Setting up Google analytics may sound hard to most WordPress beginners, but there’s a plugin created by Yoast team that enables you to make this process pretty simple. Google Analytics for WordPress is a free plugin that allows you to track your blog easily and with lots of metadata.
Once you install this plugin, Go to the options panel under the ‘Settings’ menu and add your Analytics account number and set the settings you want.
Conclusion – Essential WordPress tips for beginners
If used right, WordPress can give you plenty of chances to increase your traffic, page views, subscribers, and money. The only way to become good at WordPress is to constantly learn from the pro’s. Make sure to follow all of the WordPress tips and tricks mentioned in this post and you will have fun while doing it.
So there you go, the above are the essential WordPress tips for beginners and implement few of the above tips if you want to look like a WordPress pro (even if you are new to WordPress world). What else WordPress tips for beginners do you have? Please share your comments below.