I’ve built lots of WordPress sites over the years and I regularly come across the same problems so I decided to share a few WordPress tips to help you make the most of one of the world’s most popular pieces of software.
Never Use Admin As A Username
Admin is often the default username for WordPress installations and makes your site an easy target for hackers attempting to gain access. I currently manage a lot of WordPress sites and I protect my clients from numerous unauthorised login attempts on a daily basis.
Almost every site I have ever built has had somebody somewhere attempt to login without the owners permission and every one of those sites has had at least one login attempt where they have tried to login as admin.
Don’t Allow Unmoderated Comments
WordPress blogs are a great way to encourage discussion and boost engagement. Unfortunately however brilliant your website is and however worthy the discussion, if you’re not careful, your site will quickly become engulfed by comment SPAM.
WordPress posts will by default allow site visitors to leave comments. Please make sure that that you only allow approved comments to display on your site, otherwise you could find that spammers bombard your site with links to other websites many of which are likely to be pharmaceutical and adult sites.
WordPress can hold all comments as pending, which allows you to check them, approve the genuine comments and mark the numerous others as spam. It is possible to speed up this process by using a paid spam fighting plugin such as Akismet, which will protect your site from the majority of problem comments.
Use Strong Passwords
One of the best ways to protect your WordPress site is by using complex passwords that you don’t use on any other website.
The best passwords include a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers and some punctuation characters.
I know that it can be frustrating having to come up with suitable passwords for lots of different websites but a unique, decent quality password is one of the best ways to protect your WordPress website. If you use the same password on a number of different websites and one of those sites gets hacked, the people responsible will almost certainly attempt to use those passwords across the internet which will cause you a lot more problems.
Keep Your WordPress Site Up To Date
WordPress sites need regular updates. The themes that style your site, the plugins that add functionality and the core files of WordPress itself will all need to be updated from time to time.
Updates for WordPress themes and plugins help to ensure that your site continues to run smoothly and the updates regularly include code that deals with potential security issues.
Self hosted WordPress sites need regular updates, that is non-negotiable. If you create a website using WordPress and don’t keep on top of the updates, sooner or later you are bound to run into a problem.
Optimise Website Images
Always optimise your images before you add them to your WordPress site. Using high quality images is a must, but uploading enormous images with huge file sizes will slow down your site, frustrate your users and put you in Google’s bad books.
Always check what size images are recommended for the theme you’re using. There are few (if any) themes that require you to upload an image which is 7000 pixels wide and most WordPress installations will attempt to stop you uploading any image files which are over 2MB in file size.
Another important thing to remember about images is that you should always include alternative (alt) text. This provides information about the image which is useful for anybody using assistive technology such as screen readers; anybody that has stopped their device from displaying images; and also provides additional information to Google or other search engines, who can read file names, but can’t “read pictures”
Launching Your Website Is Only The Start
Launching a new WordPress site can be exciting and fun. It can also be hard work, but please remember that launching your new blog or website is only the first step.
Just because your site exists on the internet, doesn’t mean that anybody will ever see it or that once they’ve seen it that they’ll ever return. WordPress sites need regular maintenance and if you’ve chosen to include a blog element, then you also need to build in regular content.
Never underestimate how much time and effort it can take to create regular, interesting blog posts or other content so always try to plan ahead.
One of the many positives of using the power of digital to talk to your customers is that you easily measure how effective it is. There are plugins which can help you work out which webpages or blog posts have had the most impact and free tools from Google such as Google Analytics can help you get lots of information about your site and help you make decisions about your digital marketing.
Need A Hand?
These are just a handful of WordPress tips to get you started. If you’d like more information or would like to find out how I can help you with your WordPress site, get in touch.