Important Things Your WordPress Website May Be Missing!
Don’t Let Your WordPress Website Efforts Go Unrewarded!
There is a reason why WordPress powers nearly a quarter of the websites online today. WordPress is easy to use yet powerful enough to manage the largest websites. It is this ease of use, however, that makes too many WordPress websites less successful than they could be.
I am a big supporter of do-it-yourself website building. But it pains me to see so much work go into a website only to have the creators’ efforts go unrewarded because important elements of a healthy and successful website are overlooked.
In anticipation of my upcoming, comprehensive WordPress course, I plan to address many of these overlooked issues. This first post covers some of my personal peeves.
Is Your WordPress Website Mobile Ready and Mobile Friendly?
I have written before about how to be “really” mobile ready. Your website is one of the most important areas you should make sure is “really” mobile ready.
Most WordPress users opt for responsive themes when making their site mobile ready. I agree that this is a great solution; but I encourage you to test your theme on as many devices as you can. You can use a mobile device emulator if you don’t have devices available. When testing, make sure your site is more than mobile ready. Make sure it is also mobile friendly.
Don’t assume that just because a theme is responsive it offers a good user experience. Test your theme as if you were someone who had never visited your website, and who may lose interest in a matter of seconds if the experience is not a good one. Better yet, send a link to some friends and family and have them give you feedback about their experience.
In some cases, you can find an additional solution to elements of your theme that are lacking. In my case, I was not happy with the navigation my theme offered to mobile users.
To solve this issue, I added the UberMenu Mega Menu plugin to improve the navigation of my theme for both mobile and desktop users.
In my new comprehensive WordPress course, I explore many mobile solutions for WordPress websites, as well as work arounds for common issues.
Is Your WordPress website Search and Social Media Optimized?
There has always been a lot of attention paid to optimizing WordPress websites for search engines – as well there should be. However, how much attention are you paying to optimizing your website for social sharing? Have you tested how your site content looks when it is shared to social media sites?
For instance, when someone shares one of your pages or posts, is the title and description representative of the content? When allowed, does the social media site present the image you want it to? All of these things can be controlled with the right plugins.
I recommend the Yoast SEO plugin for both search and social sharing optimization of your site. Using Yoast SEO allows you to control what shows up as the title and description when shared to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google Plus, and more; as well as which image should represent a post or page.
This attention to detail helps your site get the exposure it deserves, and shows your visitors that you take pride in how your brand is represented.
These are the types of topics we address in my upcoming WordPress course: topics that go well beyond just building a website – topics that address issues to help you really get noticed!
WordPress Website Security and Site Performance
A slow loading website can put a damper on your search engine placement, your site’s mobile readiness, and your site users’ experience. And WordPress sites – if not managed properly – can be very slow loading!
I recommend regularly testing your site using Pingdom’s Website Speed Test tool. You may need to run the test a couple times in a row to get a more accurate report.
One of the main things that can help speed up your WordPress website is to cache resources – like images – so they don’t need to be loaded every time your site is visited. There are some good caching plugins that can help with your site performance and speed; but I prefer to use a CDN (content delivery network) like Cloudflare.
I especially recommend using a CDN if you have many videos or other robust functionalities running on your website that require a lot of bandwidth. CDNs can also help keep your website secure.
Speaking of security: WordPress sites are notorious for getting hacked. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to avoid most attacks.
Here are some tips that can help with both speed and security:
- Research every plugin you install on your site – making sure they do not have vulnerabilities
- Plugins and themes should be updated to match your current version of WordPress
- Keep your WordPress install updated to the latest version
- Remove any unused themes and plugins from your site
- Use a good hosting service: I use Siteground since they specialize in WordPress and are vigilant about security
- Utilize plugins that test your site for vulnerabilities – but don’t completely rely on them
There are many more precautions you can take. WordPress has a “Hardening WordPress” guide worth checking out to help you make – and keep – your website more secure.
In my new WordPress course, I delve deep into site performance and security issues – focusing on affordable and effective ways to keep your website safe and secure, in language you can understand.
A WordPress Website Clutter Free and Ready to Convert
And speaking of plugins…
There are so many amazing, functional, and fun WordPress plugins and widgets out there, it is difficult to resist the urge to install way more than we actually need!
WordPress websites can start to look cluttered and unfocused if too many widgets or plugins are in place. And keep in mind that each plugin you install adds to the possibility of attack, and puts more bandwidth on your site.
When considering adding a plugin or widget to your website, ask yourself:
- Does it add a necessary function to my site?
- Does it improve the user experience of my site?
- Does it add value for my site visitors?
- Does it align with the goals of my site?
And probably the most important thing to ask, is whether a widget or plugin is actually pulling attention away from your website’s intended message. Research confirms that if you offer visitors too many choices they are less likely to choose anything at all.
Each page or post on your site should have only one main CTA (call to action). Secondary and tertiary CTAs are fine as long as they don’t take too much attention away from your main focus.
Below is a shot of one of my best converting pages. The “buy now” button is the main CTA, the email sign up is the secondary CTA, and the alternate places to take the course is the tertiary CTA.
There are many more factors that contribute to successful webpage conversion, like the right buttons, good sales copy, and proper follow through. I explore these topics and many more in my new course.
Only the Beginning
Believe me, I have much more to share on all of these topics and more; but this is a good start. Do you have anything to add to this initial list – important things you think most DIY website builders are missing? Is there anything you want to know more about?
Author: Deltina Hay
DeltinaU founder, Deltina Hay, is the author of The Bootstrapper’s Guide to the Mobile Web and The Social Media Survival Guide. Deltina developed the graduate, Social Media Certificate program for Drury University, and serves as the board chair of the Independent Book Publishers Association.