10 Things you Need to Know About WordPress but were Afraid to Ask
WordPress is a lot like wine. There are always more things to learn about it.
But there are some things everyone must know about WordPress in order to be effective and prolific.
Here are 10 things you absolutely, positively and maybe desperately need to know about WordPress.
1. Yoast does more than Optimize for search
Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin does alot more than just optimize. Here are 3 things you might have missed
Set Page Titles
For your site name, tell WordPress what you want the Browser Title to say, literally.
The same for the Post and Page only this time use the code, %%title%%, to make your post titles appear as the Browser Title.
Control Social Posts
Tell Google+ and Facebook exactly what to say about your post.
In Yoast on Edit Post, go to Social and add comments to your Facebook and Google+ Accounts. You can even upload an image to override the Featured Image.
Set a 301 Redirect for old, indexed pages
For previously published pages you want to take off line without incurring 404 Page Not Found errors
On the Edit Page in Yoast, click Advanced. Tell the Google bots to not index the page and put a Redirected URL in both Canonical URL and 301 Redirect.
While it’s not advisable to have too many of 301 Redirects on your site, it’s better than risking a 404 error if you want to keep that page on your server.
2. Paste your Text in Single Space
If you compose posts in Word, copying and pasting them into the Edit Post page WordPress will double the space between your paragraphs.
Don’t delete up every paragraph! That’s a waste of time.
Instead, do an Advanced Find/Change for paragraph marks. Set “¶ ¶” In Find and set “¶” in Replace. Click Replace All and in two breaths you will have perfectly spaced text ready to copy and paste.
3. Don’t Diss your Screen Options
Screen Options makes visible the functions you need on many pages.
Screen Options are not just for setting and forgetting. They are crucial for Pages and Posts. When installing a new plugin, the plugins option must be checked for the plugin to be visible. You can allow change the number of columns in Edit Post/Page to rearrange your dashboard.
For list pages, like Media, Comments, Posts, Pages, in Screen Options you can set the length of list, which allows you to scroll more or less.
On the main Home Dashboard, use Screen Options to deactivate some of the junk WordPress gives you.
In Widgets, Screen Options allows you to enable or disable Accessibility Mode.
Screen Options in Menus is super important as it allows enabling many important functions.
4. Remember All Themes are created differently
When you start learning about WordPress, try an easy, free theme.
Once you decide what features you need, upgrade to a more complicated theme.
Either load up a free theme with plugins to give the required functionality, or get a premium theme with that functionality built-in.
It all depends on you.
Remember that every theme can have peculiar proclivities.
Confounding issues can often be troubleshooted by simply changing themes.
When choosing a theme, look for:
- Responsive – for mobile viewing
- Theme Options – for easy customizing
- Custom Posts – structured for specific needs
- Good support – help when you need it
5. Avoid Child Themes
Child themes create a separate folder in your directory to place files that are customized from the Parent theme. The server looks into the Child theme for instructions before going to the Parent them.
Child themes are usually created to house the CSS file (Cascading Style Sheets) to protect the customizations from being overwritten when the theme is updated. But creating a Child Theme just for the CSS is a waste of time.
Instead, use Jetpack plugin Edit CSS for style sheet customizations. It’s super handy, and works well, but it only works when you’re connected to WordPress.com.
6. Reduce and Reconcile Plugins
Because too many plugins can cause conflicts and ruin page speed, use only high-quality plugins that are widely used, recently updated, and well-supported.
Update your plugins every time they announce an update, most of which are security-related fixes.
Don’t just disable your unused plugins. Delete them completely and if possible uninstall every trace of them.
If you are having a problem with your installation, troubleshoot the issue by deactivating your plugins and one-by-one reactivate them, checking the site each time. When your site starts behaving properly while a plugin is disabled, you will know it is your culprit.
7. Shorten those Slugs
Slugs are the permalinks that follow your site’s URL. If left untouched, the slug will mirror your title, word for word.
In the case of very long titles, your slug will be full of stop words (ie: the, and, if, or) and diluted descriptors.
Slugs that include your keyword and not much else will rank better in SEO than the breadth of your title. And they look prettier.
8. Move Images Around on the Edit Page
If you’ve ever wanted to tweak the position of an image on the page without deleting and replacing it, there are two ways to move the image around.
In Text – find and grab the image’s full code (starts with “a href”) and cut and paste the code where you want it. This method is often not visually workable for most people and although it’s more efficient, just finding the right code can take an hour.
In Visual – click on the image and drag it while watching the position of the cursor. Release the image when the cursor is at the head of the paragraph where you want it. This is a delicate operation, but more visually intuitive, and you can always hit Command Z to undo the move if the image falls in the wrong place.
9. Set External Links to Open in a New Window
When you place an External Link on your page, be sure to hit the Open Link in a New Window box. That way, when users click on a link, they will never lose sight of your site.
For an Internal Link, there’s no need to check that box.
In both case, don’t forget to insert a Title. The search spiders will love you for it.
10. Control Line Spacing with Soft Return/Hard Return
A Hard Return is where you hit the Return/Enter key, which gives you a double spaced line. This may be good following a Header Tag (H1, H2…) but not for regular use.
For a Soft Return, pressing Shift when you hit the Return/Enter key and you’ll get a single space. This in universal in all computer programs, no just WordPress