Entrepreneur recently posted seven tactics to optimize your website built on the popular WordPress content management system (CMS). The tactics were a bit basic and should be considered foundations as opposed to advanced optimization techniques. Nevertheless, the seven tactics were great to consider as they address some very important things to remember.
Here are the seven tactics the author suggested along with our added commentary:
- Use a quality theme
- Choosing a theme to work with takes much more time than one would expect. The job isn’t done once you’ve found one you think looks nice and has the features you want. The theme has to be easy to work with as well. We definitely had our fair share of themes that didn’t work out because they were far too cumbersome to edit and make changes to. Luckily WordPress makes it easy to switch themes while saving your content. While some text entered directly into the theme appearance sections can be lost when switching themes, page content and structure remains intact.
- Choose a good host
- This is good advice, but it goes for any site – not just WordPress sites. Choose a reliable host. That is, choose a host that can serve your website quickly and reliably. Also, if you’re likely using them for e-mail as well, make sure they don’t have chronic problems with their service. We advise looking at reviews for the host to see what other people are saying. As with all review sites (read: Yelp), sporadic mentions of issues aren’t typically cause for concern. Numerous and/or frequent complains are a red flag.
- Unless you can code well yourself (in which case you might not be using WordPress), plugins are a way of life. Plugins are to WordPress as Apps are to Apple. Need your website to do something not included in your theme? There’s a plugin for that. Given the nature of WordPress, it’s easy to rack up a ton of plugins that you don’t need, especially if you’re trying out a lot of different themes that each use a couple of plugins themselves. Remove the ones you don’t need or aren’t using to keep your WordPress site running as quickly as possible.
- Initial Settings
- The author wrote about making sure comment moderation and permalinks were set up mindfully. It’s definitely good to give your site thought during initial setup, but we aren’t sure this needed to be said.
- Mobile formatting is paramount to the Search Engine Gods. There are countless studies that say mobile search is surpassing desktop search, translating to more mobile devices potentially browsing your site. It follows that making sure your site is mobile format friendly is incredibly important. Luckily, a lot of themes do this for you, further emphasizing tactic #1.
- WordPress sites are typically fairly secure out of the box, but the author suggested using plugins (surprise!) to further secure your site. It’s not a bad idea, but it’s not exactly an optimization in the traditional sense either.
- We feel that the fact the author included this as a tactic was a bit of a cop out. How do you optimize your WordPress site? By using SEO, of course. To be fair, the author did point to a plugin that we feel everyone should use: WordPress SEO by Yoast. However, we think that this was added more to allude to the fact that truly optimizing your site requires more than simple setup and plugins. Sure – it starts with that, but there’s so much more to do. Here’s a good resource to both learn more about what SEO is and perhaps how to get more from that plugin.
All-in-all, not a bad way to ensure your WordPress site puts its best foot forward on the path to being optimized.