For small business owners and marketing agencies, the plethora of WordPress hacks, tips, and other lists online often cause confusion. Many posts give developers tools to manage and code the backend of their WordPress sites, but business & agency owners are often strapped for time and do not desire to develop their understanding of the code. These tips do not understand the needs and limited time of marketing teams (whether small business or an agency) and the ease of functionality they need from their websites and blogs.
Rather than looking in detail at the coding aspects of WordPress hacks, the following 15 tips show a busy business owner how to make just a few tweaks to get the most out of their website with relevant tools, sensitive to the demands on a marketer’s time.
1. Tap the power of WordPress keyboard shortcuts.
Putting links on a website page or a blog takes time; when you have to move your mouse to the top of the screen, it also interrupts your thought process. Thanks be to WordPress, there is a better way: Ctrl+K. This shortcut opens the link window and allows you to edit the link without moving your mouse. This is only one of the many keyboard shortcuts available for WordPress blogging. These shortcuts help you fill your website with content faster by cutting out time-consuming switching between keyboard and mouse.
2. Set a home page.
Most templates default to a list of recent posts from the blog. This is not very beneficial for a business website. Small businesses need to deliver the answers to customers’ questions on the front page. Customers want to know who you are, what you offer, how you can help them, and how to contact you. Put this information on a static page, and set that page as your home page by using the “customize theme” option on your WP dashboard.
3. Randomize posts shown to spread the love.
These detailed instructions of various WordPress hacks show how to create a page that displays a random blog pulled from your blog roll. Randomizing posts from a specific blog category can be a great way to present varied information to prospects each time they log into your site and spread the love to some of your older posts previously lost to the archives.
4. Display prominent “about” & contact information.
Your website is the face of your business for many of your customers. Many times a website is designed with a specific purpose in mind, like lead collection, presenting your beautiful brand, etc., and misses the simple fact that people want to know who you are and how to contact you. Your customers are looking for your business, so make sure they have the information to find you readily available, or you risk losing ’em!
5. Edit using full-screen.
A significant portion of these hacks used by Buffer revolve around the full-screen editor. Pressing the expanding arrows icon on the top of your WordPress editor will blow out the text editing section to fill your entire screen. Pressing F11 on your PC keyboard will further expand your screen by removing your navigation bars on top of your browser (press F11 again to remove the full-screen). These, along with the other tips (screen sizing, etc) on the linked post reduce distractions and help you focus in on your content creation.
6. Publish blog post on other platforms.
There are many resources and social platforms for automated publishing of blogs. From WordPress’s blogroll to Bloglovin, Apple News, and Medium, find blog aggregators that work for your industry and link your blog to them. This will gain you wider exposure with minimal additional work.
7. Get a little nerdy.
As this post by Codeable shows, there are some easy functional and design changes that an ambitious small business owner can implement with limited coding or plugins. While the customization and coding covered in that post are more than most business owners want to learn, there are many hacks available. If you do want to learn the code necessary to manage your WordPress site completely yourself or hire a technical consultant for a few hours to spiff things up for you, this is the way to go.
8. Leverage Disqus for comments.
While there are many comment manager systems, integrating a social platform that plays nice with WordPress like Disqus or Facebook into your comment list reduces spam and increases user engagement. A social comment platform also streamlines lead generation through gaining followers as you respond to comments on your site.
9. Auto-embed social channels & other sites.
There are many sites which WordPress auto-embeds media on. While YouTube is the most well known, the list of sites is very comprehensive. If you do not know how to find out what size of image is required for your template dimensions, or how to resize the images, embedding media through WordPress’s supported social platforms is a wiser way to go.
10. Automate lead collection.
Your business website is a tool for turning leads into customers. As such, you need to collect leads (name, contact info, etc.) from the visitors to your site. While WordPress has native lead collection functionality, a focused lead management app like Ambition Ally or SumoMe collects leads automatically without adding extra steps to your workload.
11. Streamline promotion of your site.
While not exactly a WordPress hack, per se, promotional management tools like Buffer give you the capability to increase views to your site. Buffer or other social automation tools provide you with social media management services so that you can promote your brand across multiple social platforms at specific times without needing to be in front of your computer. Use one of these to plan out an entire week’s worth of social promotion (or more!) in one focused session and free up your mind to tend to core business work the rest of the week.
12. Create online courses.
WordPress is a great tool for creating and managing simple courses. You can use e-courses to provide information to customers, train employees, add a new product to your marketing mix, or create a lead magnet (something to bring people into your system).
This post shows how to create a course in more detail.
13. Add bio box to blogs.
If you have more than one person creating your blogs or just want to provide integrated contact information on the individual post level, you may want to add a biography box at the end of each post. This little WordPress hack does require some limited coding, but the added information can be worth it.
14. Outsource WordPress content.
While a website is a great tool, it will fall by the wayside if it does not get regular injections of new content. If your agency or business is too overwhelmed to focus on writing your own blogs or maintain a regular content schedule, use a site like Verblio (formerly BlogMutt) to automate your content creation, keep your website up to date, and decrease the time you have to spend writing blogs.
Verblio is directly integrated into the WordPress platform (and HubSpot, too) so you won’t have to worry about tricky formatting issues or transferring content from one platform to another.
15. Upgrade your template.
Free WordPress templates are nice. They are cheap; who can beat free, right? Even though they are functional and customizable, you will discover that customizing free templates can require too much time and code to be worth the time of any business owner. When you find yourself wanting more from your site than seems currently possible, it is time to find a professionally designed template. While premium templates cost more money, they give you customizable tools, integrated plugins, and the right look so that you know your site delivers the content needed at the right time and look good doing it.
These 15 tips give you the information necessary to start customizing and growing your WordPress site or blog with limited work on your part.