Nowadays, having a website for your brand or business is becoming more of a necessity than a luxury. Companies use websites for many reasons — to build awareness, inform people of their products and services, provide valuable content, sell their products online, receive payments and many more.
The challenge, however, is that not everyone knows how to build a website. Thankfully, no one has to start from scratch anymore. Instead, you can use a content management system to have a fully functioning site faster. 42.2% of the world’s websites run on WordPress, making it one of the biggest go-to solutions for anyone who wants to start a website.
But where does one begin and how does one create a reliable website with WordPress? Here are five WordPress development best practices for anyone who wants to start a website and do it right.
1. Use a reliable hosting and domain provider
Learning how to build a WordPress website from scratch starts first with understanding where to host it. A website will need a domain name and hosting. The domain name is the unique address that people can navigate to get to your website. The hosting is where your website files will be stored.
When watching any WordPress website tutorial, this is the first place you’ll start so ensure that you get a reliable hosting and domain provider to avoid any future problems such as website downtime or losing any of the data and files you’ll store on it.
2. Choose themes and plugins with proven performance
Some companies will consider installing add ons like live chat software, e-commerce plugins, marketing widgets and so on. Select widgets that have proven performance and still get updated regularly. Old plugins or unreliable ones could slow down your website, cause you to lose core functionalities, or even become the root of data breaches and hacks.
Searching for plugins through the WordPress official store adds a layer of filtering to ensure you get the right plugins for the job. Read reviews on the plugin store and outside as well to get a better grasp of what a plugin can do. When you stop using a certain plugin, remove it from your backend system.
3. Update your website regularly
When developing a website using WordPress, you’re going to want to make sure that you do so with the intention of regularly updating it. Failing to update your website could lead to performance issues, which will slow down your website. Update your plugins, WordPress theme, and the WordPress CMS itself as often as you can. As a rule of thumb, if you’ve gone two weeks without an update, it’s time to check your site and update again.
Apart from updating apps, also ensure that you update the content of your site such as contact forms, contact information, links and so on. Having little to zero broken links will improve the viewer experience and is also a great way to increasing traffic on a website as it plays a factor in search engine optimization.
4. Optimize your posts for SEO and readability
Speaking of search engine optimization, or SEO for short, there’s a vast world of possibilities for a website that has been optimized for search engines, so that should be something on your radar as well when creating sites on WordPress. The best way to get good SEO rankings and scores is to create posts that use strategic keywords.
Up to 70 million new posts are added to WordPress every month. Most of these content pieces are in the form of blogs to provide value-giving content to their target audiences. Other companies add videos or podcasts too, but most of the time, a blog post will do the trick. Apart from giving people a reason to visit your website, blog posts also boost search engine searches if you’re consistent enough with the keywords that you use. Run your posts through a readability check to see if people will want to read them. When you have people visit your sites and leave without reading the whole post, it could increase your bounce rates, which will directly affect your website’s performance in the long run.
5. Get a Developer to Help You with Complex Fixes
What do you do when a website runs into a problem and goes down? A lot of times, fixing WordPress errors can be done without the help of a web developer. But there are still numerous occasions that having a developer on standby can be beneficial to the business.
Given the increasing price of college over time, many web developers are opting to study on their own, so educational attainment might not be the best way to find the best candidate for the job. Instead, look into their track record by asking them for websites they have set up and maintained in the past. If your company is small and you can’t afford to hire an in-house developer, consider getting a freelancer who can work on a per-project or per need basis.
75% of people will check out a brand by visiting its website. But what can those people visit if a brand doesn’t have a website, to begin with? That’s why having a website should be part of your priorities if you don’t have one yet.