Last Updated on March 13, 2023
WordPress is by far the most popular content management system for building sites, and it’s no wonder why; it’s user-friendly, customisable, and offers a range of features that make it an ideal choice for all types of business owners. With its many thousands of plugins and themes you can do just about anything with a WordPress website.
Because it’s such a vast eco-system, there’s a lot to figure out, and problems can pop up – mainly around plugins and updates. So let’s look at some of the ways you can ensure a successful website outcome when using WordPress.
Start with a solid website plan.
Before you start building your website or engaging with a web developer, take the time to create a solid plan. Determine your goals for the site, who your target audience is, and what content you want to include. Answering the “Five Ws” during your planning can be incredibly helpful. The Five Ws (and one H) are borrowed from journalism and stand for ‘who, what, when, where, why, and how’. If you answer all of these questions with factual information you’ll be well on your way to nailing a successful website and the actual site build will be smooth sailing.
Use a well regarded and highly reviewed WordPress theme.
There are thousands of free and premium themes available for WordPress. Often a theme will have a free version and the option of upgrading to a premium add on. My advice is to upgrade to the premium add-on, as it usually unlocks a lot of extra styling options and functionality and will give you better access to the theme developer if you ever need support.
If you are working with a web designer, they will guide you as to a suitable theme, and will probably recommend using one of their preferred themes. These are themes that have proven to be reliable, well supported, patch quickly if there are ever any security issues, and help your website perform well in usability and performance tests.
If you are choosing a theme on your own, pick one that is professional-looking, easy to navigate, and reflects your brand. With all good WordPress themes you can use the theme customiser to adjust the theme to suit your needs. There are also plugins like Beaver Themer, which will give you the option to overwrite parts of the theme with your own custom headers and footers.
Invest in good web hosting.
Good web hosting is essential for the success of your website. It ensures your site is fast, secure and available to your customers. Look for a reliable hosting provider with good performance, security, and support. It’s particularly important that you read the real reviews – as many hosting reviews are thinly disguised affiliate marketing click-bait.
Optimise for search engines.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) ensures your website appears in search results when people are looking for businesses like yours. Use plugins like Yoast SEO to optimise your site for search engines by adding meta descriptions, titles, and checking your website content mentions your main keyword search phrases.
Keep it simple.
When it comes to your website’s design, less is often more. Keep your design clean and simple, with plenty of whitespace to make your content easy to read. Use a clear, easy-to-read font, and ensure your site is mobile-friendly.
Focus on quality content.
Your website’s content is what will attract and retain visitors. Make sure that your content is high-quality, informative, and engaging. Use images and videos to break up text and make your site visually appealing. Anticipate the questions your visitors will ask, and have the answers either written into your content or set up as a dedicated FAQ section.
Use plugins wisely
WordPress offers a wide range of plugins that can add functionality to your site. However, too many plugins can slow down your site and make it less secure. Choose only the plugins you need, and ensure they are from reputable sources. A good rule of thumb is to only use plugins from the official WordPress repository and always check the reviews and the number of active installations and whether the plugin has been tested with the latest version of WordPress.
See the list of official plugins at: https://wordpress.org/plugins/
Test and optimise
Once your website is live, testing and optimising it regularly is essential. Use tools like Google Analytics to track your site’s performance and make changes as needed to improve its effectiveness.
Creating a successful business website using WordPress takes time and effort, but the rewards are worth it. Following these tips, you can create a website that attracts and retains visitors and helps you achieve your business goals.