There’s no disputing the fact that WordPress is the most popular CMS out there – by a longshot! Since it started 13 years ago, WordPress has cast a wide net over the market of self-hosted sites and risen to superstardom.
Powering some of the most well-known, high traffic sites out there (think Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and National Geographic), the popular CMS sure has come a long way since it’s humble beginnings back in 2003. In fact, almost 75 million sites are powered by good ‘ol WP. That’s one site for every person in Turkey (if that helps put things into perspective).
Part of the reason for WordPress’ success is because it is easy to use and fully customizable. However, as more and more people start to realize that the quality of the backend of their site is just as important (if not more) than the quality of the frontend, we expect to see that 75 million figure skyrocket.
Beyond the customization and user friendliness, WordPress is reliable and is the only option if you are looking for organization, speed, design, and functionality. Make sure that you are heading into 2017 with a fully optimized, high-performing WordPress site and set yourself up for success using these quick tips!
Become Familiar With Multilingual WordPress Setups
Is 2017 the year your business goes global? If so, do yourself a favor and familiarize yourself with the WordPress Multilingual (WPML) plugin. WPML is sophisticated enough to build and run a corporate, enterprise-level site yet simple enough to translate blogs and other less-complex sites.
Related: Top Practices in UI/UX Design
Using WPML you can translate posts, pages, taxonomy, custom types, and menus into over 40 languages. You even have the option of adding your own language variants such as Canadian French or Mexican Spanish. And that’s not all folks! WPML is compatible with every theme or plugin that uses WordPress API to make the setup as seamless as possible.
Integrate Landing Pages Within WordPress (Rather Than On A Subdomain)
Of course! Who doesn’t like centralizing their efforts!? This is where the phrase “work smarter, not harder” comes into play. If you want to keep your URL structure consistent, abide by SEO best practices, and maintain a desirable website speed, you best be integrating those landing pages within WordPress.
Try using Unbounce’s landing page plugin for WordPress. With this plugin, you can create fully customizable landing pages for your site and publish them to your existing WP site. Not only will your landing pages look super slick and on brand, but you will also be able to track traffic, conversions, and other metrics all in one place!
Make Your WordPress Site Interactive
By now we are all aware that content is king. In order to keep bounce rates low and keep potential or current customers/leads engaged, you must provide them with valuable content. However, there is no rule saying that the content has to be cookie cutter. Make your website stand out from the other 74,999,999 WordPress sites by creating an interactive user experience.
Use a calendar plugin, create a forum and encourage comments, implement an interactive poll or quiz. These are all great ways to turn your static WordPress site into an active, engaging platform of community involvement.
Give Switching Hosting To WP Engine Some Serious Thought
Why? Speed, security, easy installation, migration assistant… I could ramble on forever. WP Engine is the industry leader in WordPress hosting and they are constantly working on ways to run WordPress in the best, most efficient way possible. When you host your site on WP Engine, you know that your site will be faster, more scalable, and more secure than ever.
Oh, and did I mention that with WP Engine you get built in CDN, built in SSL, and CNAME setup? It’s not even a question: switch to WP Engine now.
Meet Sucuri – the future of WordPress security. Free to all WordPress users, the Sucuri Security WordPress Security plugin is a security suite designed to complement your existing security measures with integrity monitoring, malware detection, audit logging, security hardening, and more.
With one easy install, Sucuri will complement and enhance your existing security controls, making your WordPress site more secure than ever!
Prepare For WordPress PHP Version 7.0
That’s right ladies and gentlemen, 7.0 is coming in 2017! If you create themes or plugins, make sure that you are updating your themes or plugins in accordance with 7.0. Or, if you run or manage a website, make sure that you update your site before you upgrade to PHP 7.0 to make sure that your website doesn’t fold under the pressure.
You’ve been warned…
Understand How WordPress Contributes To Overall Organization
Now that WordPress’ framework is much more powerful and quicker to use, you will start to see people foregoing themes and cheaper budgets in 2017. Make sure that you are prepared to show others the true value of WordPress: it’s not just a means of spitting out a front end, it’s a means of running a business.
Decrease Load Times
And when I say this, I mean doing anything you possibly can in order to cut down wait times. Page loading time is an extremely important part of your website’s user experience. In fact, studies have shown that page loading time has a direct effect on conversion rate. However, despite this fact, many site managers or developers sacrifice load time in order to achieve a more appealing aesthetic design, innovative functionality, or high-res imagery.
Related: Basic CRO: Page Elements & Testing Opportunities
Nothing gets my (or your potential customers’) blood boiling more than a website with a ton of bells and whistles that takes forever to load. Start fresh in 2017 by cutting down your page load times. You’ll thank me later when you see conversion rates through the roof!
Cut Down On Plugins… Enough Is Enough!
The theme of this post almost follows that of an episode of Hoarders. Stop trying to cram every new plugin that comes your way onto your site. You don’t need all those bells and whistles that may seem cool at first, but actually end up hurting your site. Lose that ish!
Start the new year on the right foot with these quick tips! And remember, sometimes the simpler, the better.