Whether you’re a new website owner or a seasoned site developer, WordPress makes it easy to set up a website and pack it with the content you need to build your brand and promote your products. But building the ideal WordPress website for your business depends on making smart choices about its appearance, functions, and searchability.
WordPress powers about a third of the world’s websites, and because it is free and open-source, it can be downloaded and used by anyone, in any setting. WordPress was originally designed for blogging, but with an array of general and industry-specific themes and plugins to extend a site’s functionality in virtually unlimited ways, it’s a versatile and scalable platform for new startups, small businesses and large corporations alike.
Working with WordPress
WordPress consists of three core components: the WordPress core code, which defines the basic structure of a site, themes that define a site’s appearance and layout, and plugins to add other kinds of functions like payment portals for e-commerce, galleries, portfolios, and live chat. New users with no coding experience can customize and set the functions of a new WordPress site from the site’s dashboard without ever working with the WordPress core code or the style sheets that define elements like colors, fonts, and images. More experienced developers can access those site files directly to make more complex changes. It is possible to create a WordPress website for just about any purpose – but to make your site easy to find, navigate and share, you’ll want to consider these five tips for building an awesome WordPress website that showcases your company and keeps customers coming back.
Choose Your Theme Wisely
Your site’s theme defines how your website will appear to visitors, so it is important to select a theme that both reflects your brand and provides a positive user experience. The WordPress theme directory is instantly accessible from any WordPress site and offers hundreds of free and premium themes, with many more available to purchase from third-party developers from around the world.
Before picking a theme, spend some time considering how you want your site to look and what elements of your brand you want it to reflect, such as colors, fonts, styling, or images. Themes can be switched out if you find that your selection doesn’t work, but this can create problems for displaying content you’ve already created with the original theme. So, it pays to have a plan before going theme shopping.
Free themes work well for site builders on a budget, but consider purchasing a premium theme for your business website if possible. Whether you purchase a theme outright from a developer or select a subscription option, you’ll get ongoing support, theme upgrades, and other features to take your site from good to great. Look for a theme that is light, fast loading, and mobile responsive to give your visitors the best possible experience on your site.
Pick the Right Plugins
WordPress users can choose from thousands of free and premium plugins from both the WordPress plugin directory and third-party developers, and there’s a plugin for just about every function your website needs. When you’re building your own suite of plugins, consider your site’s goals and purposes, as well as essential issues such as security and searchability.
WordPress developers caution against overloading your site with too many non-essential plugins that can slow it down and cause compatibility issues, but aim for installing a core set of quality plugins for basic functions, such as:
- SEO (search engine optimization)
- Spam blocking
- Social media sharing
- Security, particularly if your site involves transactions and storing sensitive data
Depending on your site’s purpose, you may need to install other types of plugins, as well. Look for plugins that are compatible with the latest version of WordPress, and install updates to your current set of plugins whenever they become available.
Make Your Site Mobile Friendly
More than half of all web traffic worldwide comes from mobile devices, and mobile users want a quality experience on the sites they visit. Making your site mobile friendly extends the reach of your brand and encourages mobile users to keep coming back. Look for WordPress themes that are mobile responsive and consider installing the Google Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, plugin for WordPress, which optimizes select pages of your site for better viewing on mobile devices of all kinds.
Analytics software plays an important role in business and commercial websites by providing insights about traffic, user behavior, and more. That information can be invaluable for guiding decisions about developing the site and creating the kind of content that appears there. Google Analytics is a free tool that can be installed on websites of all kinds, and a variety of analytics plugins that provide both basic statistics and more sophisticated tracking features are also available from the WordPress plugin directory and a variety of third-party developers.
Add Lead Generation Tools
Statistics show that 75 percent of people who visit a website, but take no action, leave the site and never return. That means business and commercial sites of all kinds need ways to engage visitors and turn them into customers and clients. Lead generation tools such as email list builders, opt-in forms, lead magnets, and landing pages can create two-way communication between your site and its visitors, and WordPress offers multiple ways to integrate lead generation on your site. Some themes are designed specifically with lead generation in mind, with templates for sales pages, squeeze pages, and landing pages. Additionally, a number of free and premium plugins feature tools for creating subscription forms, contact forms, live chat, email newsletters, and more.
The best WordPress websites are fast loading, mobile friendly, and optimized for search and a great user experience. With the right combination of themes, plugins, and tools for searchability and lead generation, your WordPress website can showcase your brand to the world and turn browsers into buyers.