Do you know how to get the most out of your WordPress website? Part of our job here at Forge and Smith is teaching our clients how to manage their new sites. We all have our favourite WordPress tips, and we want to share them.
Whether you’re managing your business’ website, your personal site, or just want to know our secrets for quicker, more efficient content management, this list is for you.
WordPress tips from Forge and Smith
Tip #1: Use a word processor
Don’t write original copy in the WordPress dashboard — this is true of any in-browser platform. If your internet connection drops or your login times out, your work could be lost. You can roll back a WordPress site to undo updates, but not to catch content that was lost before it was saved.
Write in a word processing app like Google Docs, which automatically saves every few seconds. And when it’s time to move that copy into WordPress, make sure to use the next tip on this list.
Tip #2: Paste as text
Don’t paste directly into the WYSIWYG from Microsoft Word, or wherever you’ve created copy. It can add lots of extra tags and code, which can interfere with styling or make crazy formatting happen.
You know when you go to delete a line of text and everything suddenly changes to H4, or you have a paragraph that always starts one line below the top of the field, no matter how many times you delete that space and update/save? That’s some wonky extra code happening.
Always use the “paste as text” option, which inputs all of your text completely free from formatting. This can be accomplished by selecting the little “T” on a clipboard from the menu, or by learning the shortcut keys.
External links should always open in a new tab, to keep your reader on your site. As far as WordPress tips go, this one is super important for both your user experience and your SEO. It’s important to improve your site’s dwell time and session duration in Google Analytics, and also to ensure you aren’t sending people away never to return.
When adding links to your content, consider the “Open in a new tab” option. If you set all links to open in a new window, your site will remain open in the first window and they will have to return after viewing the link you shared.
This toggle can be found under the “Insert/edit link” option in the editor. Links to pages within your website should also have this selected, so that visitors are encouraged to return and finish reading that first piece of content.
Tip #4: Image dimensions
Large, high-quality images are easy to upload, but can cause significant load time (especially on mobile devices) and will hurt your SEO with Google’s mobile-friendly prioritization. Big images are rarely needed on websites, which use lower resolutions than print media.
Tip #5: Name your files
For an SEO quick-win, name your image files before uploading them into WordPress. Instead of leaving photos as their default “DSC0245”, you should rename them to describe what they are, and use your keywords if possible. This will also make it easier to search for them within the WordPress media gallery.
Don’t forget to set your images’ alt text attributes after uploading! This is another SEO win, and it makes your content more accessible to those with visual impairments because a screen reader will narrate this copy to the user.
Tip #6: Screen options
In the WordPress dashboard, “Screen Options” (at the top) contains a lot of panel options that are hidden by default. If you can’t find a tool you have used previously to edit some part of your page or post, check Screen Options first.
Tip #7: Security with Wordfence
We frequently recommend a free plugin called Wordfence to provide blanket security against brute force and insertion attacks by spam bots. This is great for businesses that often forget to keep their stuff updated. There’s nothing worse than getting your website hacked. Read more about must have plugins.
Do you have favourite WordPress tips that we didn’t mention? We’d love to hear it! Tweet to us @forgeandsmith. We love talking about making the Internet a better place for everyone.