If you’re thinking about launching a WordPress site or simply want to revamp your current domain, a winning plan of action is crucial. Without a strategy in place, it’s likely that the whole project will fall flat.

Here are 15 simple ideas to ensure you gain the best results. If you are looking for additional steps to improving your WordPress site, here is an additional guide to optimizing WordPress performance.

#1. Don’t Con Yourself, Com Yourself

You could be the next Christiane Amanpour (or a journalist/writer that you actually like), but it won’t matter if your web domain is wrong. If you think people are gonna type www.needlesslongwebsiteaddress.wordpress.com into their address bars, you’re deluded. Pay for a premium .com domain name, and keep it short. This will make a far better impression.

#2. Find The Host With The Most

Ever visited a website to find it’s currently down? Check. Went back the following week to find the same message? Check. And did you go bother going back a third time? Didn’t think so. Your users will quickly lose faith if your web host doesn’t provide near perfect uptime. Do not get this selection wrong.

#3. Get Rid Of Twenty Seventeen

After all, that is so last year! The default WordPress theme isn’t only one that’s used by thousands (if not millions) of lazy users, but it’s also utterly pants. For the sake of a few dollars, a premium theme will instantly help your WordPress theme stand out from the crowd. At the very least, you should install one of the alternative free themes on offer.

#4. Plug-In Baby

Plug-ins can be your muse as you look to build a winning WordPress site. Whether it’s premium plug-ins or freebies from the marketplace is a matter of personal taste. Either way, finding the solutions that work well with your theme can be a beautiful thing. Aside from boosting the appearance of your site, it may spark some ideas regarding content.

#5. Be Self-Absorbed (Just This Once)

Nobody likes a narcissist (at least I don’t), but writing a killer ‘About Me’ or ‘About The Company’ page is crucial for the success of your WordPress site. I’m sure you’d win readers and clients over in a matter of seconds using face-to-face interactions, but working in the digital world makes it harder. The about page can educate them about your journey while showing your personality.

#6. But Appreciate You’re Not Shakespeare

A blog without quality writing is nothing while even an online store needs attractive descriptions to lure customers in. While I hate to be the bearer of bad news, the fact of the matter is that you’re probably not quite as strong a writer as you think you are – especially if you aren’t experienced in this specific discipline. Sorry to sound like your mom, but practice makes perfect.

#7. Clean The Dashboard

I really am starting to sound like your mom, aren’t I? Nevertheless, a clean dashboard and backend will lay the foundations for a better WordPress site. Delete the plug-in you installed and never used, organise the tabs, and keep the dashboard clear and crisp. There’s a time and place for being dirty; this isn’t it.

#8. Use Pictures Wisely

Frederick R. Barnard said that a picture paints a thousand words (along with a number of less pithy sayings), but that was before the days of the internet. The right images can bring your posts and website to life, but big files will slow the loading times and consume more data. Users, particularly mobile ones, won’t stay around for longer than 3 seconds. Finding the right balance is key.

#9. Be The Control Freak

At least over the comments… While user participation is a crucial feature of a successful business site or blog, bots are the worst thing about WordPress. Irrelevant, promotional, and spam comments can destroy the professional vibe you’ve built. Change the settings so that you have to approve comments, or just ban them – unless you enjoy headaches, in which case you should keep it unmoderated.

#10. Use Protection

WordPress sites come under attack from hackers far more regularly than you’d imagine. After all, fraudsters know that the majority of owners don’t take the right precautions. Create a new admin user, build a backup of the site, and always utilize strong passwords. If you have other people using the backend of the site, modify their credentials. As mom says, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

#11. Perform Better

Delivering good content is good, but delivering it fast will set your WordPress site apart from the crowd. Not many WordPress users know how to use cache plug-ins or the cloud-based Content Delivery Network (CDN). It may sound about as exciting as a weekend of doing your taxes, but the knowledge gained from researching these subjects could make all the difference.

#12. Go SEO

It’s not only very strange drivers that love traffic. As a website owner, getting people to visit your site is arguably even more crucial than getting the content right. Google is the greatest tool at your disposal, and mastering the basics of SEO will ensure your site fires up the rankings. Just be sure to avoid the techniques that could result in a penalty.

#13. Get Social

Facebook and Instagram aren’t just for checking up on your ex to see that their life has fallen apart (I know, it shocked me too!) and can be great resources for your site. This is the perfect way to interact with a vast audience while ensuring that web updates are automatically posted on social media streams will help grow your visibility and presence.

#14. Stop Repeating Links

The home page of your website is essentially a shop window, and appearances count for everything. A good logo, interesting content, and great color schemes work wonders. However, you’ll ruin it all if you have links to categories displayed in several places. If you have a toolbar menu in place, don’t then add a category block to the sidebar too. It looks less organized than the state of global politics.

#15. Be You

It sounds a little obvious, but perhaps the most critical aspect is to present yourself in a unique fashion. There’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from others, but simply copying others is a little pants. Even if your place in the market is niche, there will be a big enough audience for it. People can tell when you’re faking it, so be sure to stay true to yourself.

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Andrew Palmer
Andrew is the founder of Elegant Marketplace.