1. Understanding the basics of WordPress management
WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that allows you to create and manage websites easily. It is an open-source platform that is highly customizable and user-friendly. With WordPress, you can create a wide range of websites, from simple blogs to complex e-commerce sites.
WordPress essentially functions by using themes and plugins. Themes determine the overall look and feel of your site, while plugins add functionality and features. WordPress also has a built-in editor that allows you to create and edit content, such as blog posts and pages.
Key features of WordPress include its flexibility, scalability, and ease of use. It offers a wide range of themes and plugins that allow you to customize your site to meet your specific needs. Additionally, WordPress is constantly updated and improved, ensuring that your site remains secure and up-to-date.
Want some time to better understand the basics? Why not book an hour of 1:1 training for just £99.
2. Choosing the right hosting
Choosing the right hosting provider is crucial for the performance and security of your WordPress site. When selecting a hosting provider, there are several factors to consider. These include the provider’s reputation, uptime guarantee, customer support, pricing, and scalability.
There are different types of hosting options available for WordPress sites. Shared hosting is the most affordable option, but it may result in slower site speed and limited resources. Virtual private server (VPS) hosting offers more resources and better performance, but it is more expensive. Dedicated server hosting provides the highest level of performance and security, but it is also the most expensive option.
Some of the hosting providers for WordPress we like are SiteGround, 20i and WP Engine. These providers offer excellent performance, reliable customer support and plans specifically designed for WordPress sites.
3. Optimising your site for speed
Site speed and performance are crucial for user experience and search engine optimization (SEO). A slow-loading site can lead to higher bounce rates and lower search engine rankings. Therefore, it is important to optimize your WordPress site for speed.
There are several tips you can follow to optimize your site for speed. First, choose a lightweight theme that is optimized for performance. Avoid using too many plugins, as they can slow down your site. Optimise your images by compressing them and using lazy loading. And on the topic of images, avoid using copyrighted ones.
Use a performance plugin to store static versions of your site’s pages, reducing the load on your server. Finally, you can add a content delivery network (CDN) which may speed things up by distributing your site’s content across multiple servers, improving load times.
There are also various tools available to measure your
. Google PageSpeed Insights and GTmetrix are popular tools that provide insights and recommendations for improving your site’s speed. These tools analyze your site’s performance and provide suggestions for optimisation.
4. Customising your WordPress theme for a unique look and feel
Having a unique theme is important for branding and creating a memorable user experience. When choosing a theme for your WordPress site, consider your target audience, your brand identity, and the functionality you require.
There are thousands of free and premium themes available for WordPress. Free themes are a good option if you are on a tight budget, but they may have limited customization options. Premium themes offer more flexibility and customization options, but they come at a cost.
Once you have a theme in place, you can customise it to match your brand and desired look and feel. WordPress provides a built-in theme customiser that allows you to change various aspects of your theme, such as colors, fonts, and layouts. Additionally, if you have the skills, you can use custom CSS to further customise your theme.
We recommend using a page builder as an alternative to a prebuilt theme as these provide unlimited options for styling and are the most flexible – often without the need for a Developer to write CSS code. We like and use Elementor, Divi and Bricks.
5. WordPress plugins
Plugins are an essential part of WordPress, as they add functionality and features to your site. However, it is important to choose the right plugins and manage them properly to avoid performance issues and security vulnerabilities.
When choosing plugins for your site, consider their reputation, user reviews, and compatibility with your theme and other plugins. Only install plugins that you actually need, as unnecessary plugins can slow down your site and increase the risk of conflicts and security vulnerabilities.
To manage your plugins effectively, keep them updated to ensure compatibility and security. Regularly review your installed plugins and deactivate or delete any that are no longer needed. Additionally, regularly check for plugin updates and test them on a staging site before applying them to your live site.
Common pitfalls to avoid when managing plugins include installing too many plugins, using outdated or unsupported plugins, and not regularly updating your plugins. These can lead to performance issues, security vulnerabilities, and conflicts with your theme or other plugins.
6. Protection from cyber threats
Site security is crucial for protecting your WordPress site from cyber threats such as hacking, malware, and data breaches. A compromised site can lead to loss of data, damage to your reputation, and financial loss.
There are several tips you can follow to secure your WordPress site. First, keep your WordPress core, themes, and plugins updated to ensure that you have the latest security patches. Use strong and unique passwords for your WordPress admin account and other user accounts. Limit login attempts by using a plugin that blocks repeated login attempts from the same IP address. Install a security plugin that provides features such as malware scanning, firewall protection, and login protection.
Our recommended security plugins for WordPress include Solid Security (formerly iThemes Security, Wordfence & Sucuri Security. These plugins offer a range of security features and can help protect your site from cyber threats.
7. Maintaining Your WordPress Site
Regular site maintenance is important for keeping your WordPress site up-to-date and running smoothly. It involves tasks such as updating WordPress core, themes, and plugins, backing up your site, and monitoring for issues.
To maintain your site effectively, regularly check for updates and apply them as soon as they are available. Back up your site regularly to ensure that you have a copy of your site’s data in case of any issues. Monitor your site for performance issues, security vulnerabilities, and errors using tools such as Google Search Console and uptime monitoring services.
Be aware that software updates can cause problems with your site, or render it unusable, so we recommend that updates are made on a staging copy first. Failing this – make sure you have a backup of the website you can recover from in the event updates cause problems.
8. Use Google Analytics to optimise your business website for success
Google Analytics provides valuable insights into your site’s performance, user behavior, and marketing efforts. By leveraging analytics, you can make data-driven decisions to optimise your site for success.
To set up analytics on your WordPress site, you can use Google Analytics. Sign up for a Google Analytics account and install the tracking code on your site. This will allow you to track various metrics such as site traffic, user behavior, and conversions.
Once you have set up analytics, you can use the data to optimise your site. Analyse your site’s traffic sources to identify which channels are driving the most traffic. Use behavior flow reports to understand how users navigate through your site and identify any bottlenecks or areas for improvement. Track conversions and set up goals to measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
9. Troubleshooting Common WordPress Issues
Despite its user-friendly nature, WordPress can sometimes encounter issues that need to be addressed. Common issues include plugin conflicts, theme compatibility issues, and errors.
To troubleshoot common WordPress issues, start by identifying the problem. Disable all plugins and switch to a default theme to see if the issue persists. If the issue is resolved, it is likely caused by a plugin or theme. Enable each plugin and theme one by one to identify the specific one causing the issue.
Once you have identified the problem, you can take steps to fix it. This may involve updating the plugin or theme, contacting the plugin or theme developer for support, or finding an alternative plugin or theme that is compatible with your site.
There are also troubleshooting plugins available for WordPress that can help you identify and fix common issues. Some recommended troubleshooting plugins include Query Monitor, Debug Bar, and Health Check & Troubleshooting.
10. Get professional help
Effective WordPress management is crucial for the success of your website. By understanding the basics of WordPress, choosing the right hosting provider, optimising your site for speed and performance, customising your theme, managing your plugins, securing your site, maintaining it, managing content, leveraging analytics, and troubleshooting common issues, you can ensure that your WordPress site is running smoothly and effectively. Ongoing management and maintenance are important to keep your site up-to-date, secure, and optimized for success.
Now, if you have got this far and are thinking to yourself “This is all a bit much, I’ve got a business to run”, then maybe think about leaving it to us? Our Care Plans are designed to do just that – peace of mind and hassle-free from just £30