Here’s some quick tips for anyone that has recently installed WordPress.
If you’re new to WordPress there’s a bunch of important settings you need to configure properly.
On top of this you’ll also want to avoid mistakes beginners make when they’re first getting started with WordPress.
Lets check out a few things that will help you understand the basics:
1. Image Width
Most beginners end up changing themes at some stage.
When you first start adding images to your media library and inserting theme into your posts and pages, keep them under 600px.
If they are too wide, you may find they don’t fit into another theme and extend over the side of you content area.
After hundreds heaps of posts, you’ll find it a very boring task to change all of them.
Your header image is the first thing your site visitors will see when they land on your website.
Make it unique, relevant and descriptive of your sites content.
What’s your site about and what do your offer your readers?
If you can afford it, find a graphic designer and invest in a great looking header or video for your site.
Otherwise, use a web design tool to make your own.
3. Search Box
The search box which is included in every WordPress installation doesn’t work every well.
Try using it to search yourself and see what i mean.
A better alternative is to install a free search plugin like Relevanssi or better still, add Google custom search.
This will help both you and your readers find content quickly & easily as the results are far more accurate.
4. Personalize Your Blog
Have you ever read a blog posts but don’t know who the author is?
In order to build your profile and readership, your visitors need to know who owns the site.
They’ll also want to know more about the author so creating an about page & adding an author box with an avatar image of your face is very important.
You’ll connect better with your audience once they know who you are.
5. Sub Headings
Most of your new visitors will quickly scan your content until something catches their eye.
To make your content highly scannable, change the color and font type of your sub headings.
This way your readers can easily find exactly what they are interested in and stay on your site longer rather than surf away.
Image and video are more attractive to your readers than text.
But not if they’re poor quality.
Find compelling images which bring out some emotion in your readers and make them feel good or laugh.
Setting the write tone helps stimulate the right feelings you want your readers to have and dig deeper into your content.
You can find some excellent value for money images at istockphoto or use Flickr photos that allow attribution under create commons.
Building your site on a solid foundation is extremely important.
The last thing you want to do is fix errors caused by changing the framework your theme is built on.
The list of problems this can cause is endless and can be everlasting.
Choose a theme framework which offers a large range of high quality child themes which make the change easy.
Changing to another theme built on the same framework is far easier than changing to a totally new framework.
8. Text Color
Everyone has their favorite color.
The only problem is, you might like it and your readers don’t.
You might be tempted to highlight lines or paragraphs of text using a different color in each post or page.
This can be very time consuming to change once you have published a few hundred posts.
A better option would be to add colored content boxes in your html editor.
This way you can change the background color of the box in your theme editor, which will result in all the boxes changing across your entire site. Or simply disable the code which created them.
You may be tempted to fill your sidebar with every possible widget known to man & women.
Rather than draw your readers away from the main content area, keep it clean and simple.
Add a sign up form, a popular posts widget and a search form.
An even better option is to install a plugin which creates custom sidebars for different categories, pages etc.
This way you can keep your sidebar content relevant to the content on that specific page, post or category.
10. Custom Post Types
Custom post types are popular at the moment and many theme developers are adding theme to their themes.
The only problem is they create a unique slug (Part of your permalink) which may not work and become broken when you change themes.
There are ways to fix this problem, however the solutions can be challenging to some beginners.
Be careful about choosing a them with custom post types.
If you fully understand the consequences of changing themes at a later date, then you don’t have anything to worry about.
Ask your theme developer about theme lock and get the answers you need upfront.
All these tips are based on my own personal experience using WordPress.
The great thing about WordPress is the community is very helpful and supportive.
You’ll find a list of the top 100 blogs about WordPress along with links to some of the most useful solutions in my new resources page.