Your New WordPress Website – 5 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your CMS

17th October 2011
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Plug in to WordPress to get the most from its features
Plug in to WordPress to get the most from its features

WordPress is a constantly updated and well-supported Content Management System that has skyrocketed in popularity in the past several years and once it’s set up it really is easy to manage, especially by clients who define themselves as “technologically challenged”.

WordPress, the format I use for all my websites, is a perfect solution giving the client a CMS they can easily update on their own. Clients love that I create the design, get it implemented and then they can go away and add blog posts and pages with ease (I offer a quick training consult to get each client up to speed with the system).

Here’s 5 tips to make sure your WordPress website works for you after it’s been built, whether I or someone else builds it for you:

1. Does your website have separate home and blog pages?

Very simply your website should have a home page with unique content whose job is to sell your product or service; it’s best to only hit new users with snippets from your blog, not the entire blog, unless this section is the focus of your website. Make the blog easy to find, but not the primary focus.

2. Learn how to create new pages and add content as you need them.

This is the best thing about WordPress – it allows you to take control of your site content to change with your needs. Make sure you are able to easily create new content pages and that they work the way you expect. This saves hundreds of dollars in service fees since you’re basically taking over basic development and growth of your website. If you have a WordPress-based shopping cart like WP E-Commerce, learn how to add and remove products and other product data.

3. Use your contact form to drive your business forward.

Make sure it works! Set it up to the email you use most to communicate with clients. Nothing more embarrassing than receiving and sending business emails through your personal account without realising. Make your content form clear about what the user will get if they hit Send Message, or Find Out More. Are they added to a list? Do they get a personal phone call from you?

4. Use Widgets on your site to connect your website to your users’ preferred networks.

With a little bit of training you can find out how to add more widgets as you need them, many websites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn offer widgets that encourage sharing and connection from your website back to theirs. Being able to add more widgets and content to your site saves you time, money and keeps your users engaged. Most social networking websites offer a free widget and accompanying code, you just copy and paste this code to a Text Widget that then shows up on all content pages.

5. Have you set up your website around a primary goal? Have you studied how usable it is?

Usability is key on the web. If your site doesn’t work, your product or service doesn’t sell. For example, if you sell car parts, does your website make it as easy as possible to buy those car parts on any page, at any time? If not, review this and make sure Buy Now buttons are green and large and in a logical place. Make sure your shopping cart, if you have one, is error free and fast and also makes it easy to not only add products but buy them. Be clear about this primary goal and users will instantly get it. Lack of clarity brings confusion and dropped conversions. (Coincidentally, I offer Usability Testing for new and existing websites.)

So, hope this helps! Let me know in the comments what other things you’d like control of when you buy a new website. Chances are WordPress can give it to you.

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Nathaniel Flick

I'm a Front End Web Developer passionate about usability. My primary specialties are HTML5, CSS3, SCSS, LESS, and jQuery and I am very familiar with Foundation and Bootstrap frameworks. I've worked on top of and with Rails, Python, and ASP.net/Umbraco back end frameworks.