It’s only recently that I’ve been updating EdwardTorpy.com regularly. But I’ve been using WordPress for a few years now. I started with a free WordPress.com blog as many people do. I’ve long since moved to a self-hosted blog and have chosen to continue using WordPress. Most of my tips are relevant to self-hosted WordPress installations but some may apply to both.
If you’re confused about the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org (requires self hosting), click here.
Plugins I use
You can find plugins to do just about anything, though some may have some adverse effects. For that reason, I try not to use too many and generally only use plugins that are known to be good.
Jetpack is a suite that comes with a heap of useful things like site stats, easy way to verify your site with search engines among others. This plugin comes from the makers of WordPress so you can be quite sure that it will work. You will have to have to link a wordpress.org account to use it.
Akismet will protect your site from spam. You’ll need to sign up to get an API key, the basic plan requires you to choose how much you want to pay. (You can pay $0.00)
If you allow comments and you don’t have some kind of spam protection , your blog will be over-run with comments like these:
Want your website to rank higher in Google? This is one of the better Search Engine Optimizing (SEO) plugins. The days of stuffing a keyword in a page as many times as you can are long gone. Although there’s no way Yoast can guarantee that search engines will like your content, following Yoast’s suggestions will give you a better chance. Yoast is really easy to use. Type in your keyword and it will tell you what you can do to improve your SEO
Yoast also does something else that’s extremely useful. It tells you how readable your page is. Again, it gives you tips on how you can improve it.
If you have a WordPress site, it’s inevitable that people will try and break into your admin page. From here, they can destroy your site and turn it into a spam machine. One of the most common ways they do this is through brute force attacks. They’ll just try many username and password combinations until they get in. Not only does this mean your site is at risk, it also uses up a lot of server resources, which means your hosting provider might temporarily take your site offline.
What Loganizer does, is after a certain amount of failed logins it will ban that IP from the login page. You’ll still have people trying to get in. With Loganizer, instead of 50,000 login attempts in an hour, you’ll now have only 4 in 24 hours. Loganizer is customizable, so you can allow more or less login attempts before locking your login page.
Genesis Simple Hooks and Genesis Simple Edits
These are only relevant if you’re using a Genesis theme from StudioPress. These plugins make it much easier to modify things like your header and footer messages.
Themes I use
There’s a lot you can do to a WordPress site without a theme. Themes do away with a lot of the work that goes into making your site look good. I use the Genesis theme from StudioPress (Affiliate link). If you use the Genesis theme it works pretty well on it’s own, but to really results a child theme is installed underneath it. At the time of writing I’m using the Digital Pro theme.
Some WordPress Tips
Got a few posts already written and want to post them in the future? No problem, just change the “Publish on” date.
Setting up posts to publish in the future is somewhat intuitive. But something that isn’t as well known, is that you can schedule it to be posted in the past. Obviously this isn’t time travelling and actually posting it in the past (as far as I know). This can be useful if you want posts to appear in a specific order in your archives. Or you’re doing a 30 posts in 30 days challenge and you’re catching up but still want each post to have it’s own day.
Jetpack can give you a basic overview of your website stats including which country. But if you’re using Google Analytics you have access to so much more data. It can tell you where your readers come from, what device they’re reading your website on, how long they spend on each page. One of the cool things you can look at in Google Analytics is the behavior flow. This shows you which page users first land on and where they go from there.
As you can see from my current flow, I could be doing a lot better. Although it doesn’t tell you directly, once you have the data, it’s not too hard to work out how to improve. By looking at this I can tell that an easy improvement is to provide link to my other posts, especially on the posts that have higher dropoff rates.
Change your username
Whatever you do, do not leave your WordPress username as Admin.
What are your tips?
These are just some of the things I’ve learnt from using WordPress over the years. There are many more useful tips that I haven’t included or perhaps I don’t know yet. If you think I’ve left anything out that needs to be in this list, let me know in the comments.