WordPress is one of the most advanced software solutions the internet has even seen. What’s even more amazing, is that it’s completely free to use, and has generated billions of dollars in new business for companies that have figured out new and exciting ways to make it even better. In short, WordPress makes starting a blog easy!
In addition to WordPress making a ton of money for businesses around the world, it’s also helped fuel a whole new industry of bloggers who have gone on to some pretty amazing things. In short, WordPress is a gift from the gods — even when it’s installed and running right out of the box. However, there are still always going to be some room for improvements to make your site and content run even better, while also providing a higher level of user engagement in the process.
To help with this process, here are some recommended tools, tricks, and resources to make your WordPress site even better!
Improve Your SEO Skills
No matter how long you’ve been active in the world of content creation or blogging, you already know the rules of SEO and ranking in Google are always changing. One of the best ways to stay ahead of the competition and make sure your site is ranking where it should be is to stay on top of the latest WordPress SEO trends.
Such topics and methods to always keep an eye on are making sure your WordPress SEO settings are setup correctly from day one — making sure your URLs are SEO friendly and that your WWW vs. Non-WWW aren’t getting confused with each other. SEO Plugins can also play a huge role in how your site ranks in Google, so always make sure you are using the latest updated versions, along with XML sitemaps and optimization of your individual blog posts. New WordPress SEO best practices are also changing all the time. Make sure you continue to internally link to your best content, no-follow external links when necessary and also optimize the speed and performance of your site.
Feature an Expert Roundup on Your Site
Creating content for your site is one of the best ways to provide value to your audience and increase rankings in the search results, but always coming out with the same type of content can really be a killer on your audience’s interest and engagement factor. This is especially true if you have an informational based website, where it’s mostly made of text or data-rich information.
One way to bring a fresh breath and excitement to your blog is to feature an expert roundup from industry experts in your space. The concept here is quite simple. Find a bunch of authority figures or bloggers that have an expertise in whatever your blog topic is about, and ask them all a single question your audience would find value in. Once you’ve accumulated enough responses, you can then post an expert roundup post on your site. Not only will this help with bringing a whole new type of content to your site, it will also explode your social shares, backlinks, and references, while also featuring some of the top experts within your space right on your site!
Create a Better Contact Form
By default, many WordPress blogs are set up with a contact page that allows site visitors to send emails to the owners of the blog. Popular plugins like Contact Form 7 have also been installed on millions of WordPress sites, but still… the real features and stats that could be there are simply lacking.
A better solution is WPForms, which is an advanced drag and drop WordPress form builder that allows site owners to have complete control over how and where they build forms and collect information on their sites. Not only does WPForms offers the ability to create any type of online forms you can imagine, it’s also setup for accepting online payments, creating subscription-based forms, eliminating spam with captcha features and also offering a wide range of form templates to choose from.
Simple WordPress Optimization Tips
As mentioned earlier, WordPress right out of the box is pretty amazing… but as you continue to add new plugins, content, themes, and comments build up, it can become quite a clunky and messy world in the database and backend area of your site. This is why it’s important to always keep an eye on the performance of your site and continually run optimization tests and methods wherever possible.
ElegantThemes has an excellent checklist of optimization methods that every WordPress users should be performing. Such tasks include using a fast WordPress theme, monitoring your plugins and removing any inactive ones, emptying your trash and removing spam comments, reducing your drafts, spam, pingbacks and trackbacks to your existing posts… and of course, optimizing your web images for peak performance and fast loading.
Run a Google Speed Test
You might think you have a fast website or blog, but it’s probably best to let the experts at Google decide. With Google now putting more weight on the actual speed and loading time of websites and how they rank in the search results, it’s more important than ever to make sure you aren’t hurting your site with a few slow loading images or scripts.
The good news is that this can all be tested within seconds through Google PageSpeed Insights. Simply plug your site URL into the form and click “Analyze” and you’re off to the races. Google will then provide you with a quality score for how your site loads on both mobile and desktop devices. In addition to receiving a score, you will also get a list of key areas that you can improve to further increase your site. Once you’ve made their recommended changes, be sure to run the test again and see where your new score is.
Bonus Tips: Reduce the amount of HTTP requests
The more requests and outside content loading on your site, the more likely it is to have stress and complications on the server. For example, if you are running a Facebook Fan Page widget or an outside advertisement, these can greatly increase the loading time of your site.
As reported on various sites, around 80% of slow website loading times are attributed to excessive HTTP requests. It’s not just outside widgets and advertisements than can be slowing down your site, these elements can be in play as well.
- Having too many scripts on your page or scripts that use too many lines of code.
- Having an excessive number of images or images that are larger than necessary.
- Displaying large spreadsheets in the body of your page, rather than compressing them to be downloaded or viewed off site
- Streaming content to visitors as soon as they visit your page.
To better understand how fast your site is loading, and what might be slowing it down, be sure to run a free speed test through Pingdom.
Make Your WordPress Site Screaming Fast in 2018
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to improve upon whatever you might already have in place with your WordPress site. Whether it’s improving your WordPress theme or how you are collecting data through your lead generation forms, it’s all about staying up with the latest trends and implementing such changes on your site. Be sure to run through each of the recommended resources above and don’t forget to check out our resource guide on the top website analyzer tools to continually improve the overall performance of your site.