WordPress is a feature rich Content Management System, powering more than 30% sites on the Internet.
Considering the said factor, Website Development has been revamped with the WordPress cheat sheet, more than any other Content Management System.
Today’s article contains the WordPress Cheat Sheet for Website Developers. By taking care of the facts defined in this article, you can shine your skills as a WordPress Site Developer.
WordPress cheat sheet for website developers
1. Decide on the WordPress.com or WordPress.org
WordPress is an Open Source Content Management System. Its Core files are available at WordPress.org. You can download the package from its official website, and create your site by setting up the package on your Hosting account.
On the other hand, the WordPress.com also provides creating free sites powered by WordPress. In this case, you can build a website by creating an account on the WordPress.com.
2. Pick the right directory
By default, most sites are installed in the Root Directory of your Hosting account. The Root is commonly represented by Public_HTML directory.
Sometimes, you may need to choose a different installation directory for your WordPress site. It works, and there are no technical limits on selecting another directory, but it is highly recommended choosing the Root of your Hosting for the WordPress installation, rather than others or inside a folder such as WordPress or My Website.
3. Create a strong username and password
Password Attacks are common. According to Word Fence, more than 6 Million password attacks are recorded in 16 Hours only.
With that clarified, when creating your WordPress site, make sure you create strong passwords for both the WordPress Dashboard Login and the Database credentials.
For the said purpose, you can use the WordPress Plugins that ensure creating and enforcing strong passwords.
4. Change blog categories
Once you complete your WordPress installation, it contains default content category named as Uncategorized. The first thing you need to change after WordPress installation is to rename the mentioned category.
Also, create more categories for arranging your site content. For example, if you blog about Digital Marketing, you can create and assign categories to content, such as Marketing, Website Traffic, and Paid Ads.
5. Search engine visibility
As a Website Developer, you often create WordPress sites. There is an option in the WordPress Settings, which lets you disable Search Engine Indexing for your site.
You can use the option while using WordPress for developmental purposes. If you don’t focus on disabling the Indexing feature, it may affect your site future SEO. You can use the feature by going into Settings, and land on the Reading page.
6. Remove the sample config file
A Config File holds login information for the WordPress Database. After the WordPress installation, the setup creates a Config File named wp-config.php.
The point of impact is removing the sample Config File after WordPress installation. As the Config Files contain sensitive information, to stay safe from security attacks, deleting the sample Config File named wp-config-sample.php plays an important role.
7. Remove the default content
For preview purposes, and to check your site Theme appearance, the WordPress installation comes with a sample page and post. You can find the default content, page and post, on Pages and Posts pages respectively.
Once you test out your theme or start creating new pages and posts, you can safely delete the default page and post. Removing the default content is essential once you decide to take your site from Offline to Online state, as the WordPress shows your default page and post on your newly created website.
8. Create a sitemap
A Sitemap outlines a site’s content for users and search engines. It helps users and bots understand the site structure correctly.
One of the most critical tasks you need to do is to create a Sitemap after WordPress installation. To get started, fortunately, you can use the WordPress plugins to create a Sitemap for your site.
We recommend the Yoast SEO for creating and updating your site’s Sitemap. The best part is, the Yoast SEO creates a Sitemap for your website and updates it automatically once you update your site content such as Pages and Posts.
9. Special characters in the URL
The URL structure affects your site SEO Ranking. By default, the WordPress puts in the Dashes between words used in the URL.
However, if your site is built with other CMS, make sure you don’t put in underscore in the URLs. Instead, use Dashes between the words in the URLs.
The URL structure affects your site SEO, and it is vital to use characters known to users and Search Engines alike.
10. Create amMenu
The WordPress installation doesn’t contain a menu. After WordPress installation, you must create your first menu by going into Appearance, Menus.
After you create a Menu, you can create new Pages. Make sure you adjust Menu Locations properly, so that new pages you create are displayed automatically on your site.
Also, you can add Pages, Posts, Custom Links, and Categories in the Menus; and display content at Header and Footer locations on your website.
11. ALT text for images
ALT Text contains information about images. It describes the nature and content of the Images.
In WordPress, you can set ALT Texts at the time of uploading. Not only ALT Text describes the content of Images, but it also helps Browsers understand your images, Google as well.
12. Create a better 404 page
A 404 Page is shown in case of absence of a content piece on your site. The user sees the 404 page when browsed to a page not existed on your site.
By default, your site theme contains a 404 page. You can let your theme display the default 404 page, but to improve the user engagement and Search Engine Visibility, you should focus on designing an optimized 404 page for your site.
You can display relevant links on your 404 page, offer a lead magnet, or redirect users to an existing page on your site.
13. Validate search inputs
WordPress provides searching your content for specific user input. The Search function helps in finding content in a large Database of a site.
After you install the WordPress, make sure you check the WordPress Search feature by browsing to site.com/?s=text, while site.com represents your site address, and text your search term such as Marketing. You should also check your site for bad inputs, and prevent the system from showing content if the user enters bad data.
If for example, the mentioned search URL doesn’t work, you should land and check the Search Box on your website. Also, you can optimize the search page for the Search Engines.
14. Create and setup social profiles
Your business needs Digital Marketing online. If you don’t focus on marketing your business after creating a website, your business falls short of achieving the expected results.
To make sure you proceed in the right direction, right after creating your WordPress site, create your social profiles as well.
In this regard, the Yoast SEO plugin helps you create optimize content and profiles for social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. By using Yoast SEO, you can improve your SEO, and create attractive media for the social media.
15. Setup regular backups
Backup helps you keep your site safe from Data loss. Installing a Backup plugin provides options to backup your site files, including Themes, Plugins, and Uploads.
A Backup plugin also helps you restore your site files. After backup, you can keep your files on the server, or upload to a remote location like Google Drive. You can also download the Backup files to your computer.
Use the Up Draft Plus plugin for the WordPress Backups. It provides an easy interface to Backup and Restores your WordPress site. After buying the premium package, you can also achieve automated backups and Remote File Hosting.
16. Improve your page loading speed
Although a freshly installed WordPress site doesn’t contain mass content, you can run a speed optimization campaign and improve your page speed.
Page speed is important. It directly affects your Google Search Ranking.
Moreover, compressing code files, updating the WordPress Core Software, Themes, and Plugins, and running a Database cleanup tool help you boost your site speed. You can also install speed boosting plugins for improving your page speed.
17. Set the URL structure
The SEO friendly URL structure positively enhances your SEO score. In the WordPress Settings, you can change your site link structure.
Head to Settings and then select the Permalinks. On the next page, you can change the URL structure for your WordPress site.
According to SEO, choosing the Custom URL option plays well. It organizes your site content under different relevant categories which helps Search Engines understand your site content properly; but make sure you create relevant categories first in the Posts, Categories section.
18. Update packages and remove inactive plugins
Updating of the WordPress Core System, Themes, and Plugins helps you improve your site speed. It also enables you to guard against security threats.
On a regular basis, keep updating WordPress, Themes, and Plugins. You can find the update notifications on the Updates page.
Besides updating, if you keep a specific plugin inactive, you should remove it. The more you have fewer plugins installed, the more it can positively affect your site speed and security.
19. Test the web forms
You need to place the contact information on your WordPress website. In WordPress, the Contact page holds information about Email, Social profiles, and Web Forms used to contact web owners.
After you install and setup the Contact Form on your site, make sure you test it out. Most web forms are made to inform web owners by sending out Form filling notifications.
To get started, install and activate the Contact Form 7 plugin. It provides an easy to use interface to create and use the contact forms in WordPress. By having more than 5-Million Active Installs, the Contact Form 7 leads the Plugins Pack on the WordPress Plugins Directory.
20. Test responsive design
A higher number of users use hand-held devices to use the Internet. It means you should focus on making your site responsive and browsers compatible.
On the purchase or download page of your WordPress theme, you can see the responsive and Browser compatibility status for your theme. As most themes are responsive, you should also test out your site theme for responsiveness.
Apart from themes, test your forms as well. Most of the Form creating plugins build responsive forms, such as Contact Form 7.
21. Check your broken site links
At the start of your WordPress site, you may experience creating and removing content pages.
The content creation process leaves broken links on your site, which may lead to bad SEO. Although you can check your site links at the start, you can also perform links checking on a timely basis.
Use the Broken Link Checker Chrome Extension for finding out broken links on your site. Just install the plugin from the Chrome Extensions Directory, browse to a page you want to check, and click on the Extension Icon to find broken links on the page.
22. Install security plugins
Your WordPress site needs security on a regular basis. There are Millions of attacks on WordPress sites each day.
WordPress Security requires dealing with manual areas of the site. You can also use plugins to improve your site security.
Start with the WordPress Security Checklist. Besides old-fashioned ways, install security plugins such as Word Fence and Sucuri. These plugins help you scan your site for security threats, malware, and monitor your site in Real-Time.
23. Manage redirects
Redirects refer to directing users to a new location on your site. You can use the Redirects for 404 pages on your site.
Redirects also help you direct the users on browsing specific URL formats. By using a Redirect plugin, you can set Redirects without knowing Web Server Rules.
To improve your user experience, you can also redirect users after submitting your contact form. You can achieve this feature by using the Redirection plugin for Contact Form 7.
24. Create short URLs
According to SEO expert Brian Dean, short URLs perform better than long ones. It means you can use short URLs for your site Pages and Posts.
As you create more content, your site structure becomes populated. In this case, you may experience a complex URL structure of your site, but to improve your SEO and keep your site structure simple, you can create relevant content categories and use short URLs.
Short URLs contain 2-3 words and help user and search engines understand your content easily. Also, make sure you keep your URL words in your Title and Body Text. It will drastically improve your site SEO.
25. Set the URL settings, www or non-www URLs
After you complete the WordPress installation, the first thing you should set is the URL structure. By clicking on the Settings in the WordPress Dashboard, you can change your site URL settings.
There is no hard rule regarding URLs containing www, or removing it from your site address. The fact is you should choose one and stick to it for life, changing it later may cost you Search Ranking.
If you set your site address with www, users who type in your site address without www are redirected to the www version of your site, automatically. You can also create a Google Search Console account, and set your Preferred URL for your site.
26. Setup Google Search Console and Analytics
After you install WordPress, you should setup Google Search Console and Analytics for your site. Google Search Console and Analytics help you rank and see Traffic Data for your site respectively.
To proceed, create your Google Search Console account. After creating an account, you can see no specific data for your newly created site in the start but can see your top pages, errors, and ranking suggestions with the passage of time.
Similarly, to setup Google Analytics for your site, install the GADWP plugin. You will need to carry out Google Authorization for the GADWP. After Authorization, you can see your site traffic sources and suggestions to improve your Site Ranking.
Wrapping it up
Apart from WordPress features that increase your productivity, the cheat sheets we defined in this article improve your WordPress experience as a Web Developer.
By focusing onthe above facts, you can choose between WordPress.com and WordPress.org to create your site. Apart from this, creating strong Username and Password helps you keep your site login more secured. Also, if you want to explore WordPress and try out its features, you can use the WordPress feature that prevents Search Engines from indexing your site.
Last but not the least, once you decide on building your site online; make sure you choose between the www and non-www URLs in the WordPress Settings.
Let’s discuss more facts about WordPress productivity. Also, to explore WordPress features that increase your worth as a Website Developer, the Visual Composer WordPress Knowledge Base helps you increase your knowledge about WordPress. You can also get the Visual Composer Builder to create your WordPress sites with Drag and Drop options.