Here you’ll find some useful WordPress tips for beginners.
This dynamic list will include all the most commonly unused features and mistakes I see people making, with their solutions (where applicable).
In many cases just the awareness of a problem is enough to solve it.
Getting the most out of technology is often a matter of being familiar with the user interface. WordPress is no different.
WordPress Tips for Beginners
This button on the WordPress editor opens up the bottom row of extra formatting and importing options. More on formatting your posts here.
This small tab on the top-right on every page in the WordPress administration allows you to turn on, or switch off elements. They change depending on the page you’re working on and the plugins you have installed.
Here’s what the Screen Options look like on my Edit Post page.
Want to bring an old post back to the top of the pile?
Making posts sticky makes them sit on the very top of your main blog page regardless of the date of the article. It’s a great way to give a previous post some extra juice, or to create an offer or alert message.
How to make posts sticky
On the Edit Post page you need to find the Visibility section, click the Edit link and tick the box, click OK then Update your post.
You can also navigate to Posts >> All Posts, click the Quick Edit link, tick the Make this post sticky box and click Update.
Importing content from other sources like Word Docs or HTML pages can be problematic. You can either copy and paste into the visual window and clean it all up in the Text mode (which can be scary) or use one of the import buttons then add formatting and links later.
If you have a Microsoft Word document you want to turn into a WordPress post, many people copy and paste directly into the Visual editor window. Unfortunately this brings with it a lot of junk that will make your pages look strange.
In this case you should use the Paste from Word button.
For other text documents you should use the Paste as Plain Text button.
It is possible to copy and paste HTML directly into the Visual editor but this brings in messy code that has to be cleaned up in Text mode – scary for some beginners.
The upside is that you keep the formatting and links from the previous content.
If you’re not seeing changes that you’ve made to your site you may need to clear your browser cache.
The other thing you can do is to do a hard-refresh.
Just hold down the SHIFT key and press the refresh button in your browser.
Your hosting is the foundation of your website and its ongoing stability and security.
Here are some issues that indicate your hosting real estate may be sub-prime:
- Poor support
- Failing to notice and repair server issues
- Excessive downtime
- Bandwidth limits that make the back-end unusable
- Incompatible with full WordPress functionality i.e. trouble upgrading plugins.
Top WordPress Hosting
These are some of the top-rated WordPress hosting companies (for beginners) :
One of the things you can do to keep WordPress secure is to keep your plugins and themes updated.
Most plugins update without a problem, but updating themes should be only done if you haven’t made any edits to the files themselves. Using a child-theme is one solution to this problem.
One caution with upgrading: Make sure you wait until the script has finished. This can get WordPress stuck in maintenance mode.
The solution is to delete a file in the root directory of your WordPress install called “.maintenance”.
Having a reliable backup schedule gives you peace of mind that all your hard work is not at risk. If you’re using a free WordPress.com account, you can make a backup by navigating to Tools >> Export and downloading the file to your computer.
Self-hosted WordPress users can make easy backups by following this guide.
The more clutter you have on your site the less people will take action on anything.
One thing that shows a lack of professionalism is a cluttered unfocused website. Don’t take my word for it. Nielsen: Top 10 Mistakes in Web Design
A good way to refocus your site is to decide on 2 to 3 things that you want people to take action on when they visit your site and remove all other elements on the page that may confuse your visitors from taking those actions.
A theme should not only have a design that suites your purpose but also be coded with some attention to detail and good practices.
But what do I mean by clean?
- Free from malicious code
- Well designed and easy to use
To check your current theme for potential threats and injected code you can use the TAC plugin.
Some good sources of themes:
This is much more relevant to self-hosted WordPress users but even if you’re using a free WordPress blog you need to secure your passwords properly.
Securing your WordPress site gives you peace of mind and allows you to focus more on blogging and connecting with your readers.
When someone arrives at your website you have mere seconds to signal to them “this is for you”. A well thought out tagline puts them at ease that they’re in the right place.
And if they’re not you’ve spared them some time trying to find out. Respect!
- Nielsen Norman Group – Tagline Blues: What’s the Site About?
- More on finding your niche and creating a strong tagline here.
Many people still upload raw images from their camera without optimizing the file for quality and dimensions. This causes problems for uploading as well as making image SEO more difficult.
Every link on your site should serve a purpose. By default WordPress makes your images link to the original (largest) version of the image. This is often unneccesary as well as being bad for useability.
For images that are already linked you can just highlight them and click the unlink button on the WordPress editor.
If you want to improve your website and increase conversions, you must be tracking your visitors with reliable statistics.
Free WordPress.com bloggers can only use Jetpack statistics. Self-hosted WordPress users can use Jetpack stats but much better is to have Google Analytics installed. You will also want to filter out your own visits in GA as well.
If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.
There’s more and this list will be updated as we discover more WordPress tips for beginners. Let us know in the comments if you think we’ve missed anything important!