As businesses, our online presence has become more advanced in recent years. Helping lead this advancment is WordPress by making the transition relatively easy for many businesses. Let’s take a few minutes, though, and make sure you didn’t forget any basic, fundamental tips that will set you up for success online.
It’s easy to stay focused on your content, the format, feel and SEO for your site–and you should be concerned about these areas, but if your website is built on WordPress, the path to successful content and format, etc., starts with WordPress admin settings.
In this article I am going to make sure you aren’t forgetting some basics that could be detrimental to your business success. All the hard work you put into your site could be for nothing if you don’t follow some basic best practices. Making critical WordPress mistakes could make all of the work you’ve done in other areas fall short; your strategies may be less successful. Since WordPress is the backbone of your website, it is important that you aren’t making any of the common mistakes listed below.
Are your General Settings are correct?
These settings are easy to forget when you are worried about, themes and plug-ins. Though they may not change the look of your site, it will definitely affect how search engines view your site. Take a few minutes now to look at your WordPress settings pages and check:
- Is your site title correct?
- Verify the address URL
- Set the correct time zone
- Is the default language set?
Another important area is to look is how your permalinks are setup. This will set how each page link is created and appears in the browser. The default setting of a numeric ID number gives no help to the SEO value to be gained by good page links and names. The time zone setting is also important because it will allow you to optimize for local SEO. These are easy changes that are very beneficial and often overlooked by web developers.
How’s your page speed or loading time?
After all these years, businesses are still making the mistake of not paying attention to page load times. Regretfully, it tends to be ignored because many businesses don’t even know it can be a problem in this age of broadband and high speed internet.
Make sure when choosing your theme that you take load time into consideration. Many themes today make it easy to add big background photos, but if you do not optimize the images you use, these will bloat your site and slow down the time it takes to load.
Many people will also tell you not to use too many plugins or they will slow down your site. It’s not necessarily the number of plugins, but the quality and their legitimate purpose that will have the greater effect.
Do you require approval or use CAPTCHA for blog comments?
Most businesses will figure this out quickly, but even if it’s not caught onto within a few weeks, your SEO results can take a huge hit by allowing spammy comments that link to poor quality or even malware containing websites.
To prevent an issue, turn off automatic approval for blog comments, or add a CAPTCHA (a tool that verifies the comment author is actually human) to eliminate this common type of spam. If you have spam comments google will rank your pages lower because of the links that are included in the comment and the overall irrelevant content. Even after you do this, you need to check your pages manually for spam.
Is your theme optimized for mobile users?
When you are choosing a WordPress theme these days, it absolutely MUST be optimized for mobile users, or what is commonly called responsive. Google has introduced changes to the way they display results to mobile users and they will penalize sites that they do not consider mobile friendly. Most modern WordPress theme developers have been taking this into consideration for quite some time, but if you website is not just as easy for a mobile user to view as it is for a desktop computer user, you need to consider changing themes.
It is already very likely that the majority of your site visitors are coming from a mobile device and this trend is growing with no signs of stopping.
Keep in mind
WordPress is a powerful tool, and for businesses that use it, it’s your online foundation. Check these basics to make sure your foundation is not on shaky ground. Sometimes it is better to pay a little bit more initially for your website, than to reduce your income because it’s not responsive, gets you lower page rankings or is just overall not friendly to your visitors.
There are some good, free and low-cost WordPress themes available, so if you don’t have a choice but to do-it-yourself, look at the theme marketplaces, such as ThemeForest or the library of Genesis child themes.
If you are a little more creative and want to have complete control over the look and layout of your website, I recommend looking into the Beaver Builder theme and page builder combination.
Let me know in the comments what mistakes you’ve made or tips you wished you known about sooner.
If you would like to know more about how you can improve your website, you should get our free report and course that teaches any business owner simple things they can do to their website to increase sales.