Customizing WordPress for your needs

WordPress has become the web platform to help organizations build websites, and there are many articles on how to customize WordPress, in this article I will take you through some lesser-known tips and tricks.

I have put together a list of WordPress customization that you are not aware of, but definitely need to know, for better site customization.

Customizations for your clients

If you doing it for yourself or for clients, the backend of WordPress can greatly benefit from customization. As a WordPress expert, you know all the great plugins and themes that are needed to design the perfect website for you or your clients. But what about all the plugins and themes that can improve the WordPress experience for you or your clients as the site moves forward from development to production and clients will maintain their own websites?

WordPress is a very easy platform to use, like any platform, there is a learning curve to get over, it’s short. The WordPress’s platform is designed for streamlined and simplified user experience, it’s not initially easy to guide the user to anyone spot in particular.

At the beginning of a site lifecycle, clients are going to be completely inexperienced in website development or even WordPress. Anything you can do within the backend to simplify the experience would be a big help to your clients – and a big boost to the perceived value you provide to them.

Clean Up and Compress Images

Image galleries can get bogged down with a lot of unused media: original images before resizing, poorly cropped and now unusable images, etc. Rather than leave them to occupy space in your media gallery, you can use WP Smush Pro to clean up the excess. Image compression is also an important factor in keeping site speed fast. If your pages are filled with large, unwieldy images, they will take a long time to load – which means a slow website.

Create WordPress Documentation

The first thing you can do to help users getting over any confusion or frustration with WordPress is to create a set of documentation for your clients. By creating a step-by-step guide of resources for your clients within WordPress, you’re providing them with an extremely valuable asset they can reference whenever questions or issues arise. You can use WP Help plugin to create one master set of documentation that addresses all the major points of owning and managing a WordPress website.

White Label the Dashboard

To web administrators, the WordPress dashboard has a very generic look, if you’re aiming to provide a more streamlined experience for your clients and add your brand’s personal touch, then you should customize the dashboard. You could start the customization with Ultimate Branding by adding, removing or changing WordPress across an entire Multisite network.

You can start with the following:

  • Add your logo to the login screen
  • Update the header and footer
  • Clean up the dashboard widgets so your client will only see the ones they need
  • Clean up the admin menu sidebar so your client will only see the menu items they need

Skin the backend

A great theme to skin your backend is wphave Admin, which will give you a different-looking backend for either your own or clients’ sites, and makes customization a breeze.

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Add a Content Scheduling Calendar

To improve your search rankings you need to increase the size of your website through original and relevant blog post content. If you blog regularly or are planning to do this when the new website is developed, then you should use a calendar to help keep the editorial schedule organized.

A great calendar scheduling plugin is CoSchedule, it’s an editorial calendar for your content marketing and social scheduling.

Before your client starts sharing their content on social media, a featured image should be associated with each post. Without that automatic image attachment, they may end up with plain text posts that receive much less attention than ones that include an image. Add the Post List Featured Image plugin to your site, so your clients can see which post or pages that do not have a featured image.

The responsibility of attaching a featured image to a post is something the content editor has to manage on their own, but you can give them a tool that’ll remind them when they’ve forgotten to take care of it.

Add Variety to Sidebars

Sidebars may seem like an inconsequential piece of a website, but they provide a great opportunity to create a more customized experience for both your client and their site visitors.

The Custom Sidebars plugin allows you to display custom widget configurations on any page, post, category, post type, or archive page, you can even target a different audience. By designing the sidebar element to reflect that purpose, you’re giving the website a much more professional look and your clients a chance to convert more leads by serving more customized sidebar elements to their audience.

Categorize Categories

There is a lot to remember when creating content:

  • Writing SEO-optimized copy
  • Creating an engaging title
  • Updating the slug
  • Selecting a focus keyword and writing a unique meta description to go with it
  • Attaching a featured image
  • Associating tags and categories to the post
  • Scheduling for the “perfect” date/time

The Uncategorized category can get lost in the shuffle. It’s the default setting for post categories and can result in missed opportunities for the websites.

Categories help site visitors find other posts on similar topics. If posts are left with the Uncategorized setting, it’ll be a clear indication to visitors that:

  1. the content editor doesn’t know how to use the platform
  2. the content editor doesn’t care about guiding visitors to the content they want to read.

The first thing to do is to change the Uncategorized category to something relevant to the content of the site or business (“Shopping” for a clothing retailer).

Control Post Excerpt Content

You don’t want your whole content of an article or blog post to take up your front page, it makes more sense to have a short excerpt of the content featured alongside an image. Excerpts are also useful when content editors want to include a preview of their content on other pages of the site or in the search.

Easy Custom Auto Excerpt plugin allows users to set preordained rules and guidelines for excerpts: how long they can be, which punctuation or word they should end at, what the Read More link should say, etc.

Create Tweetable Quotes

The most important part of your site is your content, not the design, it’s how you communicating through content to your site visitors. You need to get your content on to social media, you can do that with having social media buttons on your front page or what I like is to urge readers to share your content by adding tweetable quotes within the posts. A great plugin that I use is Better Click to Tweet.

Enable Related Post

Related post promotions are always a great way of keeping website visitors engaged, but it can take time to find the right ones, manually hyperlink to those posts, or custom-code pages to include excerpts of them. You can either build it in as part of the theme or you can get a plugin I recommend Jetpack by WordPress.

Increase Social Proof

To reach new customers you should tap into your customer base and get them to provide testimonials that you can use as a way of providing social proof to prospective clients. Great testimonials will help you in getting new customers.

Strong Testimonial is a great plugin to get you started in adding testimonials to your site.

Broken links can be a big problem for websites, not just because of the negative reaction when a visitor tries to find out more information and is instead brought to a 404 error page, but also for SEO purposes.

  • Broken Link Checker: This plugin will check your site when a broken link shows up on a website.
  • 404 Page Setup: This is a plugin for users who want to direct visitors who hit a broken link to a custom-made page that matches the rest of the website.
  • Redirection – to manage 301 redirections and keep track of 404 errors without requiring knowledge of Apache .htaccess files.

A WordPress website is a great platform for marketing and sales tools. Setup a great looking website that drives interest in services and converts leads. The website should be easy to navigate and give all the information that the visitors are looking for.

If you find this useful, let me know by commenting below.



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