We love WordPress for its ease of administration and flexibility. It is therefore not surprising that many use the CMS for a new project. But although WordPress is so user-friendly, there are a few rules to keep in mind when you get started. In this article we reveal which ones.
For one or the other who creates and wants to realize a project with WordPress for the first time, it could probably look like this: quickly went through the 5-minute installation, installed the most popular plugins and then created a few more pages. The new WordPress project seems almost finished.
Sure, you can start a WordPress site like this, but you shouldn’t! Because sooner or later you will encounter problems that have to be solved manually and in a time-consuming manner. It is therefore worth laying a good foundation right from the start.
1. Put a stronger focus on good structure
301 redirects are anything but pretty. And aside from the B-grade, they make it harder for search engines to find content, lengthening the path to content. They also require some planning and maintenance. But if you don’t structure your WordPress installation well from the start, you will sooner or later be faced with a redirect plugin or the htaccess file.
If you want to avoid this unnecessary circumstance, you should think about a good structure for the following areas before you start:
- Pages & Articles
The best way to start planning is with a mind map. This can be used to understand what the page structure should look like and what functions the listed elements have. If this is not done early, tags and categories can become mixed up. It also becomes unclear when pages and when articles should be used for new content. Clear structures help to maintain an overview.
The structure also includes the structure of the links. WordPress allows you to define so-called permalinks in the settings. In these, for example, you can determine what the link structure of categories or articles should look like. In the latter case, for example, the publication date, the primary category or just the title can be integrated. Either way: Think about what is relevant and good in your situation!
2. Weigh the need for plugins
There are thousands of WordPress plugins out there and many of them perform similar functions. WordPress has more than 15 different plugins in its directory that can be used to design galleries. Many others protect against spam comments, integrate Google Analytics or allow contact forms.
So if you decide prematurely for a plugin, you could quickly regret it – for example, if a form of a newsletter plugin is integrated in every article, but then a better plugin is found, the form has to be changed manually. Depending on the amount of items, this can mean several hours of work.
The same applies to contact forms, tables or galleries that are maintained in detail: If you have created them in a time-consuming manner and then discovered a better plugin, you are faced with a time-consuming and nerve-wracking changeover.
In general, it should be kept in mind that plugins can reduce the speed of the WordPress installation. In some cases it may make more sense to do without the extensions, for example when integrating a Google Analytics tracking code.
3. Don’t neglect SEO details
Precisely because WordPress is so simple and can be used efficiently after just a few minutes, it tempts many to start maintaining articles right away. This does not seem wrong in the first place, but there is a risk that articles will start poorly optimized.
Those who write monthly or weekly will rarely bother to revise old articles. Ergo: A lot of potential remains unused and visitors who would otherwise have found the site via search engines will never come across the content. Therefore, the following SEO measures should be observed from the start:
- Sensible naming of images
- Maintain meta description and title
- Set keywords and optimize articles towards them
- Setting internal links
- Generate sitemaps and submit to search engines
- Create SEO-strong link structures
So it definitely makes sense to be aware of the search queries visitors should use to find the content before writing an article or creating a page. Good keyword research also includes weighing up opportunities: Is there a real possibility of ranking well for the specified keyword? If not, are there possible alternatives that are less competitive?
Anyone who pays attention to SEO factors should look forward to a steadily growing stream of visitors in the coming months and years. So it’s worth the effort!
Conclusion: Preparation makes sense
Despite the many advantages of WordPress, the same applies as with any newly launched website: good preparation is almost everything! This prevents future stumbling blocks and saves a lot of time. If you then create high-quality content with all the thoughts about structure, SEO and technology, you are on the right track with a solid website and a reliable CMS.
A contribution from our main sponsor Mittwald.