Wordpress Blogging TipsWhile WordPress has its roots as a blogging platform, it has become much more than that today. Whether you’re a small businesses, solopreneur, or entrepreneur, WordPress is a platform that you can easily learn and customize to suit your specific needs. You’re also in good company with sites like Forbes, CNN, eBay and many others using WordPress.

I first stumbled across WordPress in 2011 while playing around with building a few websites, without any training or know how at all, that is until I attended my first WordCamp in February 2012. WordCamp is a weekend full of sessions on a variety of topics for online businesses, developers, bloggers, hobbyists you name it.

When I stumbled into my very first beginner session at WordCamp I thought I knew quite a bit because I actually had not one but two sites up and running. The first question the speaker, Kathy Drewien, asked everyone and I knew I was in trouble as I gave her a deer in the headlights look. I found out that I had lots to learn then and still today.

Let’s get to what you really want to know. My top five tips to rock your WordPress site (for today anyway)!

Hostess with the Mostess

You’re going to want to make sure that you have a reliable host for your WordPress site. You certainly don’t want to do the work and drive traffic to your site and have a host that either can’t handle it or that isn’t there if you have questions (like “Help, I killed my site!”). The most important thing that your host needs to have his superb customer service and I don’t mean the one with the most TV ads. You need to find one that has customer service that goes above and beyond, because many of us don’t have the IT background to figure out major problems that we have created.

For instance, when I was working on my current website MuttButs.com in December 2015, I realized that had so many Google accounts that my analytics had gotten mixed up and I needed to get it straightened out and operating on my site. In the process, I ended up killing my website, not once, but TWICE! This while I had announced my “GO LIVE” date to all of my Periscope fans. Something they all remembered and reminded me of daily!

I couldn’t even login to try to fix my site. I didn’t panic, I didn’t freak out (I also didn’t have a backup!). I just got onto the pop-up chat with my host and they had me up and going before too long. That’s what I mean by superb customer service. I didn’t have to jump through hurdles to get the help I needed and the customer service rep was very knowledgeable, not just someone reading a script. They even helped with a few other minor issues I had been working on in the same chat.

I’m using WP Engine as my host because of their customer service and also because of the great deal I was able to get when I met them at WordCamp Atlanta. If you’re not sure what host to select, this is where your community really comes into play. I’m going to talk a lot more about that in my final tip, so stay tuned.

Get Plugged In

WordPress has a plethora of plugins for you to use and some of them are from reliable sources and others, not so much. That’s the great thing about WordPress, it’s open source. If there is a need for additional features and customization without having to be a coder, there someone that’s come up with a plug-in for it. Some are free, while others are paid or have a paid version.

When looking at plugins make sure they have lots of good reviews, numerous downloads and that it’s been recently updated. You’re not going to want to add a plug-in to your site but hasn’t been touched in a few years, it will probably be buggy and could have security holes

Several plugins you are going to want to check out include: an all-in-one SEO (like SEO by Yoast), a Popup to get people on your email lists, a backup and custom CSS.

Back it up baby – just do it

You’ve written your blog and you’re probably going to be blogging regularly. You’re putting all this time and effort into writing and also into setting up your website so you certainly don’t want to lose it all.

A 2015 wordfence security survey revealed that almost 39% of users reported a hack in the last 12 months. So if you’ve taken all the time effort and some money to put into your website don’t risk it by not backing it up. There are lots a backup plugins available for WordPress including BackupBuddy and CodeCard. The best thing about having a plug-in do the work is that it is automatic and you don’t even have to think about it. It just happens behind the scenes.

Customization is Key

One of the main things I love about WordPress is being able to go in and constantly make changes and tweaks to my site. This being said, I must warn you: do NOT change your CSS master code! If you’re like me and you want to customize certain things, so make sure you get a plug-in that will allow you to change the coding while leaving alone the master code. Changing the master code can really cause you problems sitewide – so don’t do it! This was my first takeaway I learned from WordCamp.

Another way to customize your wordpress pages and posts is through a little HTML. No, you don’t have to learn any of that techie stuff. That’s what Google is for. For instance, while I was trying to embed a YouTube video, it simply would not center, no matter what I tried. So I googled “HTML code to center Youtube video” and found the answer and it worked like a charm. You’ll put the HTML coding into the text, not visual tab.

Outta sight, outta mind. Adding a little HTML can also help you if you have trouble finding an option you’re looking for. For instance, it’s my belief that ALL external links and sometime a few internal links should open in a new tab. If you link to someone else’s work, you still want them to have your site open to come back to. In case they get sidetracked by the great resource you’ve provided, your site is still open to remind them to come back to your site. It’s just HTML code: target=”_blank” at the end of your link. (Yeah, I Googled that too.)


Blogging Community

I’ve left my best piece of advice for last. Way before I fell in love with Livestream, I fell in love with WordPress. The one similarity that these both share is their sense of community. Similar to the community I found with Livestream, WordPress has a great community of people that really want to help one another. Everyone seems to want to share all of their knowledge.

When I attended my very first WordCamp I met some friends that have helped me throughout the years with my website and I even found out that the speaker from my very first WordPress session Kathy Drewien lives within miles from me and hosts a monthly WordPress Meetup where we get together and learn WordPress tips and help one another with their issue of the moment. I never leave a WordPress meetup without learning something. That’s my biggest tip, if you don’t take anything else away from this, search on meetup.com and find WordPress meetups near you and also a WordCamp in your city. They’re great resources, I know if I have questions, they’re just a message away.

Tricia Clements is the Chief Fur Wrangler with MuttButs.com. She provides dog and cat lifestyle tips and also offers products to help make your pets the happiest and healthiest they can be. She does this primarily through in-home and Facebook Parties.






5 Tips to Rock Your WordPress Blog Like An Expert
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5 Tips to Rock Your WordPress Blog Like An Expert
Tips and tricks for beginners using WordPress for their blogs.
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Hi, I'm Lisa Illman.

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