We all know that content for a blog is important, but the look and function of a blog – the pragmatic facets – are just as important. Every website can be improved, and performing that improvement does not have to be difficult or time-consuming.
One of the prime ideas behind WordPress is that you don’t need to be a web developer to make changes to your site. Much of the time, you can enhance your WordPress site without coding or spending money. Let’s take a look at some of the simple ways to improve your site.
1. Keep It Clean
If your site is visually a mess, clean it up. Start the cleaning with the menus and widgets. What can be improved about the navigation menu? The sidebar and footer? These alone are small aspects of a website; however, when they are added together, they account for the entire interface, functionality, and usability that every visitor to the site will have to look at and use.
Never hesitate to redesign and then redesign again. The options are practically limitless, and the right combination of features can make any WordPress website a success. Basic advice to follow for this cleanup includes:
- Keep your WordPress core updated
- Publish or delete comments and trackbacks
- Uninstall themes and plugins not in use anymore
- De-clutter the dashboard
- Reformat and/or reorganize design elements to make the most important parts of your site more accessible.
2. Install Plugins to Improve Design
Plugins expand the functionality of WordPress. There are over 45,000 WordPress plugins available and counting. The WordPress plugin directory is a priceless bookmark for any site owner.
One noteworthy plugin is Slider WD – a useful tool that can create responsive sliders. Slider WD offers a wide range of transition effects. It can create super responsive, highly configurable sliders with customizable effects for any WordPress site. Even better – it can be downloaded for free. This plugin can improve a WordPress website and fits everybody’s budget.
Slider WD can be added as both a widget and plugin. It can also be included in the theme, allowing for the display of the slider within the theme, using a PHP function. Images (graphics, photos) and videos (YouTube, Vimeo) are supported by Slider WD.
3. Install Plugins for Functionality
Another example of a perfect plugin that is a simple and free solution to improve a WordPress website is the Calendar Event WD plugin. This plugin allows for the organization and publishing of events in a simple and efficient way. So many WordPress users are looking for an advanced tool to display and manage upcoming events for their business or organization. This plugin is essential for publishing and tracking events your visitors may want to keep track of.
Calendar Event WD lets you set the calendar to one of any four views (month, week, list and day) as well as the ordering of the views. This plugin can improve many WordPress sites by making the typically messy or confusing calendar of upcoming activities more prominent and easier to navigate. It offers:
- A responsive design
- Unlimited number of calendars and events
- Structured event markup (microdata)
- Event categories
- Customize event tags.
At the end of all of this talk of plugins – do remember to delete the old ones, and any that are no longer being used. Remember – keep it clean.
4. Change your Host
If you’re hosting your website on a cheap hosting provider, you may be short-changing your visitors with slow response times for AJAX queries and slow load times for your pages. There are hundreds of excellent WordPress host providers out there. WP Engine, for example, is a dedicated WordPress managed hosting provider, offering long term and reliable service.
WP Engine is not free. Starting at $29 a month, however, it may be well worth the cost. It offers excellent speeds (no WordPress blogger wants their reader waiting for the page to load), powerful security, and customer service support for queries a WordPress publisher might have about migrating to WP Engine, storage capacity, data transfer or any other technical support-related question.
5. Make Navigation Self Explanatory
Navigating through a WordPress site should be effortless. Visitors should be presented with an easy and efficient map to navigate and find what they are looking for without digging. If a WordPress publisher buries an article, the site visitor is not going to waste time looking for it. They are going to go in reverse, leave the site and move onto the next one – one more easy to purchase from.
Some of the elements that aid navigation can include:
- A navigation or search bar
- A “categories” list in the sidebar
- An archives page
Any WordPress user can also utilize WordPress’ powerful ‘Custom Menus’ feature to bring important features to the foreground. Simplifying navigation is a surefire way to enhance any WordPress website.
6. Have a Memorable Landing Page
Many WP publishers are likely to find that their landing pages are the most important pages on their site.
A clever WordPress publisher would use this to their advantage. How? You guessed it, more plugins. WordPress offers a Landing Page plugin – which can stand alone or work with WordPress Calls to Action and WordPress Leads plugins to create an effective and free lead generating system for site or business. This plugin creates landing pages for any WordPress site, giving site owners the ability to monitor and track conversion rates, visitor information, and other relevant metrics. Features unique to this plugin include:
- A visual editor to view changes made on the go
- A tracker to view conversion rates for better ongoing improvement
- The ability to easily clone existing landing pages and run A/B test on variations
- Easily update a customized landing page design.
All of these solutions have led us to one conclusion: it’s not terribly difficult or time-consuming to update and constantly improve a WordPress website. Plugins exist which make changes seamless and easy.
Any WordPress site can be optimized, customized and redesigned to make it more user-friendly, profitable or fast. Don’t discount any solutions on this list, but don’t hesitate to discover your own either!