101 Ways to Take Your WordPress Website to the Next Level

Posted on Friday, April 15th, 2016 No Comments


101 Ways to Take Your WordPress Website to the Next Level

Ready to take your WordPress website to the next level? These 101 tips and ideas will help you improve any website that’s built on WordPress.

How is this list different from other lists of website tips?

  • There are only a few plugins recommended. The majority of the tips apply to your website as a whole, and don’t require extra software.
  • These tips are based on my personal 15+ years of experience working online with a variety of clients and companies.
  • You can apply this information to any type of WordPress website.
  • Everything here is meant to be encouraging and to help you improve.

These ideas are in no particular order.

Here we go!

101 Ways to Take Your WordPress Website to the Next Level

  1. Start With Your Theme. The design of your WordPress website is handled by its theme. Get a theme that looks professional, clean, and modern. This is especially important if you haven’t updated your theme in a few years. Since web design evolves so quickly, your website can look outdated before you know it. You might be able to find a theme with features that better suit your business, and you should make sure that your theme is compatible with the latest version of WordPress.
  2. Start and Grow an Email List. Email marketing is still one of the best marketing methods. It allows you to recover potential customers by re-connecting with them. It’s a more personal communication method than social media because your messages land directly in people’s inboxes. Once you have someone’s email address, you can remind them about your business again and again until they become a paying customer.
  3. Target Keywords with Landing Pages. If you’ve done some keyword research and decided on keywords that you’d like to target, you can create specific landing pages to target your keywords individually. This way, you have an entire page dedicated to each keyword. This doesn’t have to be complicated – simply create a page and use your keyword in the URL, title, headings, and in the text. You can also use the keyword in image file names and alt texts. Link to the page from other pages on your website, using the keyword in the link’s anchor text. If you have no idea what all of that means, get started with SEO with the Beginner’s Guide to SEO from Moz.
  4. Get on Pinterest. Pinterest drives more traffic than Twitter, LinkedIn, and Reddit combined. In my experience, Pinterest continues to drive traffic from pins long after postings on other social media platforms, even sending visitors years later. Learn how to use Pinterest for your business.
  5. Easy Keyword Research. Even if concepts like “keyword research” and “SEO” sound scary to you, there are easy ways to find keywords. For example, if you search for something in Pinterest, you’ll see related terms at the top of the page that you might not have ever thought of. Learn more in this article from Search Engine Land. You can also take advantage of Google’s auto-promoting feature, which suggests related keywords based on what people search for the most.
    pinterest keyword research
    google auto prompt keyword research
  6. Use Hashtags, Especially on Twitter. Posting on Twitter without a hashtag is like writing a message on a piece of paper, folding it into a paper airplane, and tossing it into the wind. It won’t end up anywhere in particular, if it ends up anywhere at all. With a hashtag, your paper airplane will at least end up in a pile of other paper airplanes that have messages on the same topic. To find good hashtags, try an online tool like Rite Tag.
  7. Find Better Plugins. Plugins are great. They extend the functionality of WordPress in countless ways. But they’re written by random people who have their own agendas and varying levels of skill. Whatever plugin you’re using, you might be able to find one that works better. If you’re a little annoyed by how a plugin works, or its lack of a certain feature, search for more plugins that do basically the same thing.
  8. Use an SEO Plugin. Install either All in One SEO Pack or Yoast SEO. The most important benefit you get from these plugins is the control over your page titles and meta descriptions. This is important because it influences your website’s display in search results. You must write your own page titles and descriptions if you don’t want Google to generate them for you. Those two bits of text are the first and only chance you have to grab a searcher’s attention.
    serps
  9. Install Google Analytics. Install Google Analytics so you can monitor website traffic and identify what’s working and what’s not. A plugin isn’t necessary, but you can use one like Google Analytics Dashboard for WP. Other than that, simply set up a Google Analytics like you would for any other website. The only difference is that you’ll need to install the tracking code yourself.
  10. Install Google Search Console. Google Search Console, formerly known as Webmaster Tools, is another important tool. At the very least, you should use your SEO plugin to generate an XML sitemap and submit it via Search Console. In addition, Search Console gives you data about how often Google indexes your site, the keywords sending traffic to your site, who links to your site, and it monitors your site for problems.
  11. Fix Broken Links. Check for broken links and fix them. This is another item that Google Search Console will help you with. Broken links are very annoying for website visitors and they interrupt search engine crawlers. In addition, make sure every link is actually linking to the correct place. You should continually test links. Mistakes slip by all the time.
  12. Browser Cross-Compatibility. Test your website in all major browsers. As of this writing, I would recommend you view your website in Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Edge. Internet Explorer is on its way out, but it’s still used by many people, and some corporations force their employees to use older versions.
  13. Test on Devices. You should also test your website on as many devices as you have access to. You can manually shrink your computer’s browser to simulate smaller screen sizes, but that doesn’t account for everything. I know from experience that sometimes Safari on iOS is pickier about things than Chrome on my Windows computer. Make sure to check Windows computers, Mac computers, iPhones, iPads, Android smartphones, and Android tablets. If you can also check devices like the Kindle Fire, that’s great.
  14. Be Responsive. Responsive web design is no longer an option. Some websites see 50% or more traffic coming from mobile devices. Google is now ranking non-responsive websites lower in mobile search results. Even without a search engine penalty, you wouldn’t want to risk losing 50% of your potential audience simply because your website was too small for them to read on their device.

    responsive wordpress

    You’re Hired Responsive Resume Theme

  15. Pay Attention to Small Things. I always roll my eyes when I see an outdated copyright year in the footer. In WordPress, you can replace the year with <?php echo date (‘Y’) ?> and it will automatically update itself. Even without that, fixing it takes all of two seconds, and if you don’t, your website will look like it hasn’t been updated in years. Take the time to find other small issues, like mis-numbered lists or minor grammatical errors.
  16. Use Contrasting Colors. Use contrasting colors for anything that you want to stand out, such as links and call-to-action buttons. The specific color doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s different from the predominant color of website. For example, if most of your website is in shades of blue, make your buttons orange. If most of your website is gray and white, any pop of color will do.
    contrasting colors for buttons
  17. Identify the Purpose of Every Page. Every page on your website should have a purpose. Whatever that purpose is, it should be clear to the reader. For example, the purpose of a product page is to sell a product. Don’t muddle that up with trying to get people to follow you on Facebook and sign up for your email list, too. Likewise, the only goal of your email signup page should be to get someone to sign up for your email list.
  18. Treat Every Page Like a Landing Page. Every page on your website has the potential to be the first page a person sees. The purpose of your business should be understandable, there should be links to other important pages on the site, and there should be enough content to make the page look engaging. Don’t leave out any stragglers, like an abandoned blog post or a half-finished “About Us” page.
  19. Encourage Signups. Give people a reason to sign up for your email list. Usually this is accomplished by offering a freebie, like a free ebook, report, or app download. Don’t feel like you must offer an ebook, though. Do whatever makes the most sense for your website. What can you offer that has real value and establishes you as a leader in your industry?
  20. Stay On Topic. On your website and on social media, stay on topic, for the most part. On social media it is valuable to look like a real person. However, stick to discussion related to your industry and stay away from controversial topics. There will be many exceptions to this, and you’re probably the only one who can say what those exceptions are. Overall, if someone followed you because they’re interested in wine tasting, they probably don’t want to hear about the intricacies of your children’s school district. You should show your own life experiences, though. I like this brief article on the topic: How to Balance Your Personal and Professional Lives in Social Media
  21. Target Your Market. Understand your audience and target demographics. It might be a waste of time to use one social media platform over another. It might be a waste of time to write a blog post on a certain topic. People of a certain age might not get your jokes. Think Geek is a great example of a company that speaks the language of its target customers – just look at any of their product descriptions.
  22. Change What You Don’t Like. If you don’t like some little detail on your website, don’t suffer with it. Figure out how to change it. “I don’t know how” is no excuse. WordPress makes most things very easy, and you can reach out to the theme developer or the plugin developer and ask questions. On top of that, there are a billion WordPress developers out there that are willing to answer your questions for free. At the very least, you can use it as an excuse to learn more about how WordPress works.
  23. Make Sharing Easy. Add social sharing buttons to your pages and blog posts so that people can easily share your content. I always use the AddThis plugin, but there are other options. Consider whether you want to display the share count of each page. If there have been many shares, that acts as social proof, but if there haven’t, it can have the opposite effect.
  24. Display Large Images. Small images look outdated, for the most part. Use larger photos and graphics when appropriate, especially for showcasing your products.
  25. Improve Site Speed. Use a tool like Pingdom or Google’s PageSpeed Insights to test your website speed. Common things that slow down a website are large image file sizes, too many http requests, and requiring users to download lots of JavaScript before the page can load. You can use a caching plugin like WP Super Cache to help with site speed. (Remember to turn it off while updating pages or doing development work, otherwise you won’t see your changes.)
    site speed wordpress
  26. Use Standard Social Media Icons. Link to your social media profiles with good icons. You can find lots of icon sets online, or you can use an icon font like Font Awesome. Try to use up-to-date icons that match what’s shown on the social media website. Twitter, for example, only uses the bird image nowadays, not a “t” logo. Display your icons in your website’s header or footer.
    social media icons set
  27. Improve Your “About” Page. Write a compelling “About” page. This is often one of the highest-trafficked pages on a website. People want to know who’s running the website behind the scenes, especially people from older generations who don’t trust online companies as easily. Make the page less about you and more about your audience. Tell your story, but also explain how you can help your customer or reader. Frame your story in such a way that it explains how you can uniquely serve your audience’s needs.
  28. Be Normal. In some ways, your website needs to be normal. People expect certain things to be present, like a consistent header that shows the same navigation menu across the top of every page. People expect a logo in the top-left or top-center that links to the homepage. On an ecommerce product page, provide expected elements like a price, add to cart button, and product description, all of which should be in reasonable places on the page. If you sell services, people expect a page that clearly explains what you offer. These things might seem like no-brainers, but I’ve seen many websites that don’t provide these basics.
  29. Keep Your Stuff In One Place. Don’t spread your content across multiple domains. For example, if you’re an author, don’t register a new domain name for every book that you write. Likewise, don’t put most of your content on janesmith.com and then put your blog over on janesmith.blogspot.com. Keep everything in one place. It’s much better for SEO, because all the link juice is going to one place, and it’s also less confusing for your readers.
  30. Get a Real Domain Name. Use your own domain name, rather than a hosted domain on a web service. For example, register fancywidgets.com instead of using fancywidgets.wordpress.com. This goes a long way toward making you look more professional and credible. Domain names are only around $10 per year, so it’s not a big expense.
  31. Think Outside the Layout Box. Think beyond the same page layout you see everywhere else. For the past few years, it’s been very common to see homepages with a slideshow at the top and three featured icons or content boxes underneath. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that layout, but after you’ve seen it a thousand times, it gets boring. As far as slideshows go, they’re a lot less useful than you’d think, so don’t feel like you must use the same features that you see everyone else using.
  32. Learn Some Code. To take control of your own website, learn some HTML and CSS. Try Treehouse or Codecademy for class-style learning environments. Both of those provide instruction that’s just as good as what you’d get in a college course. HTML and CSS are fun and easy to learn.
  33. Use Appropriate and Professional-Looking Fonts. By now you should know not to use Comic Sans unless your website is about comics and for kids. Another personal font-hatred of mine is Papyrus. I see it everywhere, and I always imagine someone discovering it for the first time and saying, “Oooh! It looks Egyptian! Let’s put it on everything!” I once heard someone call it “elegant.” #facepalm Ridiculous fonts aside, choose fonts that are easy to read, render nicely in the browser, and are served from an online source like Google Fonts or Adobe Edge Web Fonts. That allows a reader to see your font choice even if she doesn’t have that font installed on her computer.
    fonts to avoid
  34. Use Appropriate and Professional-Looking Photos. Some people will tell you not to use any stock photography at all. I think that’s going too far. If you can take your own photos, great, but there’s also plenty of value in stock photography if you choose photos that work for your project. You’ll know a cheesy photo when you see it. I like Pixabay for free stock photos. There’s some junk in there, but there are also a lot of good photos to choose from. I use that site to get images for my theme demos.
  35. Be Yourself. Writing content like blog posts can sometimes feel paralyzing. With millions of posts being published every day (stats in that link are only for wordpress.com, not wordpress.org or any other platform), everything that can be said has already be said. But it’s never been said from your point of view, so be yourself and write original content from your unique perspective.
  36. Update Old Content. Go back and update your older posts and pages. Give them a bit of fresh content, and if you’ve changed your style since you posted them, make them match the rest of your website. This is especially good for “evergreen” content that’s not tied to a particular point in time. It can also be good for SEO if the page has important keywords and incoming links. Information and standards change, and remember that people could still be entering your website via any old page. You can use Google Analytics to find obscure entry pages.
  37. Make Your Homepage Useful. I always recommend that you treat your homepage like a summary of your entire website. Use it to showcase all of the important parts of your website and link to the major pages. Even if your website is primarily a blog, the homepage doesn’t have to serve as a blog index. Make sure to outline who you are, what you do, and direct visitors to the most important information.
  38. Set Up Goals in Google Analytics. Set up goal tracking in Google Analytics to track your conversion points, like sales or email signups. Without this, you won’t know which streams of traffic or which pages are performing the best (or the worst.)
  39. End of Posts Content. Add something to the end of every blog post to keep people on your website. This could be an automatic list of related posts, an email subscription form, a social media follow box, or anything else that you think is relevant for your business.
  40. Understand Posts vs Pages. In WordPress, there are “posts” and there are “pages.” Posts are the individual blog posts that get organized by date, categories, and tags. Pages are static pages that exist outside that blog structure. You should use pages for content that will always be there, like your About Us page, a Services page, a Contact page, or a FAQ page. Use blog posts for timely content like news about your business, event announcements, and any other standard blog-type content.
  41. Make Interesting Sidebars. Do something interesting with your sidebars instead of just showing categories and tags. You can use the sidebar for graphics that showcase certain website features, promotions, signup boxes, call-to-action buttons, or your latest Tweets.
  42. Create a Conversion Funnel. Create a pathway that directs website visitors through your website toward a certain goal. Think of it as a funnel that starts out wide and gets narrower and more specific as the user journeys through your website. A very basic example of this is: a visitor starts on the homepage, views a product category page, choose a product, and buys the product.
    conversion funnel
  43. Be Kinda Trendy. Pay attention to web design trends enough to not be extremely outdated, but don’t worry about overhauling your entire website every year. Google web design trends to get a general idea of what people are doing, and see which elements you can adopt.
  44. Don’t Be a Copycat. The previous tip notwithstanding, don’t blatantly copy everyone else in your niche. If your website looks and functions exactly the same as those of your competitors, you won’t stand out. Look at other websites to get ideas, take note of what you like and don’t like, and then do your own thing.
  45. Consider Color. Be thoughtful about your color choices. Instead of using straight black, try a darker shade of gray. Consider the overall impact of color choices in marketing. I keep thinking about this quote from a Creative Market blog post: “I know we’re a landscaping company, but I really don’t like green.” Use colors that make the most sense and communicate the essence of your business.
  46. Google Things. If you don’t know how to do something, Google it. Wishing your website did something else? Google it. Not sure how to use a plugin? Google it. I’ve worked with plenty of people who, when faced with a problem they don’t know how to solve, simply say “I don’t know how” and give up. Googling it never crosses their mind. Google has answers to just about everything. What a time to be alive.
  47. Remove Distractions. Remove distracting or useless elements, especially on landing pages and around conversion points. If you want someone to click on the Add to Cart button, don’t distract them with other options. People are extremely easily distracted, so don’t make it easy for them to wander off.
  48. Secure Your Site. Secure WordPress so that it won’t be hacked or otherwise taken out of your control. Read this: 10 Point Strategy To Beef Up Security On Your WordPress Site
  49. Optimize Your Graphics. Large graphics come with large file sizes. Optimize your graphics until you get the smallest file size possible while still retaining enough quality. Use a program like Photoshop to do this.
  50. Re-Think Form Fields. The usual advice is to use fewer form fields to increase conversions. The idea is that the longer it takes to fill out a form, the less likely a person is to go through with it. But that’s not always the case. It might be more accurate to say: only ask for the information that you really need and seems relevant. If you’re offering an ebook download, you really only need a first name and an email address (maybe not even the first name). Asking for anything more than that will make a person feel like their privacy is being invaded. On the other hand, travel inquiry form that asks for your travel destination, dates of travel, number of travelers, and budget range can get away with more fields.
  51. Break Up Blocks of Text. Break up your text with headlines, bullets, and graphics. This creates visual interest on the page. It also allows a person to read one section at a time, without feeling overwhelmed by a large wall of words. As a bonus, you can use keywords in the headlines.
  52. Add a Graphic to Every Blog Post. Include a graphic with every blog post for sharing purposes. When your post is shared on social media, it will automatically pull up an image it finds in the post. An easy way to take handle is to create what I call a “topper” graphic – just a small graphic with the title of the post and a background image. Set it as the “featured image” for the blog post, too.
  53. Offer a Trade. The old method of link exchanging may not be a very good idea anymore, but maybe you can give something else as a trade for a link, like a free product or a review. Or, offer up a link to someone else’s site for a review of your product or a mention on social media.
  54. Review Every Website Element. Look at every element on your website and ask yourself what its purpose is. Is it really necessary? Can it be improved? Is there an empty box floating there for no reason?
  55. Test Every Website Element. Test every element on your website to make sure everything works. It’s very easy for errors to happen, especially when you’re making updates. Check hover effects, make sure JavaScript is working, fill out your contact form, and add a product to your shopping cart. Click some random links just to make sure they go to the right places. You should definitely do this after updating WordPress or updating your theme.
  56. Make the Footer Useful. People look to the footer for standard information like social media icons, links to important pages, and contact information. You can have as much or as little content as you want in the footer, but make sure to provide at least a few basics for navigation. Check out 20 great examples of website footer design for ideas.
  57. Implement Schema Markup. Use markup from Schema.org to improve your search engine display with rich snippets and help Google understand what your page is all about. Try a plugin like All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets and go to org to learn more about it.
  58. Schedule Future Posts. If you’re trying to keep up with publishing blog posts on a regular basis, you can write them ahead of time and use WordPress to schedule them to be published at a date in the future. There’s an option for this in the “Publish” box at the top-right of the page. You can take this one step further by scheduling a social media post for the new content with Hootsuite or Buffer.
  59. Choose a Permalink Structure. In WordPress, go to Settings > Permalinks. You can customize the way URLs are generated for your website. For most sites, I recommend using the “Post Name” option and leaving everything else as it is.
  60. Fill in the Media Fields. Do your due diligence and fill out the title and alt text fields for every image that you upload. The options you’re given are: title, caption, alt text, and description. Enter appropriate text for the title and alt text Alternative text is important for both SEO and accessibility, and this text appears if the image doesn’t load. Only use the caption text if you want a caption to appear underneath the image. You can leave the description blank.
    wordpress media fields
  61. Provide a Custom 404 Page. If your theme includes a php file, you can use it to create or modify your website’s 404 page (that’s the page that appears when you follow a broken link). Instead of leaving it as a dead end, you can offer a search box, links to important pages, or anything else you think might be relevant.
  62. Make a Child Theme. It’s wise to create and use a child theme if you plan on making any changes to your theme. A child theme is like a copy of the main theme that contains only the changes you want to make (plus a few required files). Your changes are protected from the main theme and won’t be overridden by an update. Learn more about child themes.
  63. Be Brave. Don’t be afraid to dig in and modify some files. The more you poke around and look at your theme’s files, the more you’ll learn about how they work. A couple important warnings, though: 1) Don’t modify the files that run WordPress itself, and 2) ALWAYS make a backup before you mess around with stuff.
  64. Add a Favicon. The “favicon” is the little image that identifies your website in your browser bookmarks. WordPress has a built-in method for creating a site icon, and you can find that in the customizer. You can also create a favicon and use FTP to upload it to your website’s file directory.
  65. Change Your User Nickname. If your username is “admin” and your blog posts show “Posted by admin on …” then you’re giving away the username for your website. You can customize the display name in the User settings in WordPress. This post says it was posted by “admin” but that’s not the actual username 😉
  66. Learn FTP. Learn how to use FTP so that you can download files, modify them, and re-upload to the server. It is no more difficult than managing files on your own computer. The trickiest part is setting up your server login information so that you can connect to your website’s server. The specific method for doing that will depend on your hosting service. Get a free FTP program like FileZilla, and then check your hosting information for the details you need.
  67. Audit Your Plugins. Disable and/or delete plugins that you’re not using. Plugins can sometimes be vulnerable to hacking, especially if they’re outdated. In addition, there’s no need for that extra code to be active if you’re not using it. Simply removing the http requests and extra CSS could speed up your page load time.
  68. Consider Tags and Categories. Create your tags and categories to be useful for your website visitors. When you create a new category or tag, make sure it’s understandable and relevant to your post. Group your posts in those categories and tags appropriately. Think about it from the visitor’s point of view – is there any value in clicking one of the tags to see more posts of that type? In addition, categories and tags might have some benefit to SEO, although probably a small benefit. Every little bit helps, though, so use keywords in your categories and tags.
  69. Set Up Automatic Backups. Use a plugin that will automatically back up your entire WordPress site at regular intervals. In addition, make a backup before you install a new version of WordPress or a new version of your theme. You never know what’s going to break your website, and it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry.
  70. Change Your SEO Mindset. SEO is nothing like it used to be. Most people still think they can optimize for a keyword and show up on the first page of Google. Nowadays, SEO should be thought of as just one part of your overall marketing plan. I frequently recommend this article for a great overview of modern SEO: Why I Stopped Selling SEO Services and You Should, Too
  71. Use Crawlable Content. Search engines can’t read the text in images, and if you have an entire page’s content wrapped up in Flash or an animation of some kind, none of that is readable by search engines, either. It’s completely fine to use graphics or animations, but make sure you include regular text on the page as well. If you use videos, consider posting a transcript on the page. Use Fetch as Google for websites to find out how Google sees your website.
  72. Organize Your Pages. Google and other search engines like to see a top-down structure of website pages. Let’s consider a website for a small book publisher: the homepage sits at the top of the structure, and it links to Authors, Books, Signing Events, Submissions, and Media. The Author page links to individual pages for each author. The Books page links to individual pages for each book. Each author page cross-links to each of that author’s books. The idea is to create a series of levels with more detail on each level, like a family tree.
  73. Tell People What You Do. Your homepage should clearly communicate what your business does or what your website is all about. Show a clear headline with a value proposition, such as “Author of Five Mind-Bending Horror Novels” or “Local Organic Wine and Grocery Shop.” This is another one of those things that seems like a no-brainer. How could anyone forget to say what they do? But it happens.
  74. Skip the Black Hat Techniques. Don’t use any “black hat” SEO techniques. Google is onto those methods and it’s always releasing algorithm updates to combat them. Learn more about black hat vs white hat SEO.
  75. Continue Learning. Follow blogs and keep learning more about website development, web design, and content marketing. A few good blogs to start with are CreativeBloq, ConversionXL, WordPress for Beginners, and Kissmetrics Blog.
  76. Be Available. Make it easy to contact you or find your location. If your business has a physical space, prominently show your address, phone number, hours of operation, and include a Google map. Most of that should go right in the header. If you’re a service provider or blogger, give people a contact form to use.
  77. Accurately Represent Yourself. Many people will refer to themselves as “we” even if there’s only one person running the business. There may be some cases in which that’s beneficial, but there’s also value in being a one-person show. As one person, you can represent yourself as your brand and interact with your customers in a more personal way. People love individual attention.
  78. Show Social Proof. Social proof comes in the form of testimonials, product reviews, social media followers, success stories, or photos of customers using your product. Include this on your website in whatever way you can. Come up with some fun ideas to generate social proof, like product giveaways in which people submit a story or photo in exchange for a contest entry.
  79. Create Unique Content. Google doesn’t want to see duplicate content. Duplicate content is content that appears in multiple places on your website. It can also be content that’s duplicated across different websites. At the worst, Google considers is plagiarism, and at the best, Google considers it useless content that’s not work ranking very high.
  80. Check Out the Leaders. Look at top sites in your niche to get ideas, but don’t worry about trying to imitate what they do. You can get some great ideas about web design and content by studying the best. But remember that you don’t have much data about their website, so you don’t know if certain elements are actually leading to more sales or not. You could inadvertently copy something that turns people away.
  81. Ignore Everyone Else. Instead of taking cues from others in your industry, you can go the other direction and ignore them completely. Do whatever reflects your unique personality and story. This is a sure way to stand out from the crowd.
  82. Keep Your Branding Consistent. Once you’ve settled on a logo, color scheme, and the overall look of your brand, keep it consistent. Use the same logo and colors across both your online and offline marketing materials, including your website, social media profile photos and headers, business cards, flyers, brochures, direct mailers, etc.
    consistent branding
  83. Improve Your Copy. Learn more about copywriting to improve the text on your website. This is extremely important since your website speaks for you. Copyblogger is a fantastic resource. I recommend signing up for their package of free ebooks.
  84. Include Internal and External Links. Try to include both internal and external links in each of your blog posts. Internal links are links to other pages on your website. If you can include a keyword in the anchor text, that helps your SEO efforts a little bit. Link to other websites that are on the same topic and provide additional information for your readers. This is another benefit for SEO and it also might earn attention from the owner of that website. This is an older article about external links, but still relevant.
  85. Be Professional and Credible. This is a big one. Most people don’t really trust websites that they don’t know, which is why the “About” page is often one of the most-read. Do everything you can to look like a professional and trustable person or organization. That includes a clean, professional web design that works on mobile devices. Don’t do anything that seems scammy, spammy, or fishy. Provide examples of your work in a portfolio or as case studies. Be upfront about who you are. Invite people to call or email you with questions. Be present on social media simply for the fact that it helps you look more like a “real” person.
  86. Use White Space. Let the elements on your page breathe by using enough white space. By cramming too much into one area, you overwhelm the viewer and they’re more likely to miss your message. Learn more about white space in web design.
  87. Try A/B Testing. A/B testing is the process of comparing two similar designs (or headlines, etc) to see which performs better. You can go about this in different ways, such as using A/B testing software, using Google Analytics, or by manually testing different elements and tracking the data yourself. This is a pretty big topic, so get started with The Ultimate Guide to A/B Testing.
    a/b testing
  88. Remove Annoyances. Don’t bug people with flashing graphics or music that plays in the background. Luckily, we don’t see much of that anymore, but it still crops up here and there. You might be tempted to include elements like these because you think they will draw attention. They will draw attention, but only because people will be trying to find the source so they can shut it off.
  89. Rise Above the Junk. You’ve seen those sites that draw you in with clickbait (“14 Times This Thing Happened. You Won’t Believe #8!), and then make you click through to a different page for each of the items on the list. Don’t be spammy like them. It’s the opposite of being professional and credible. Their goal is not to provide valuable content or a professional service. Their goal is to increase page views to get more advertising revenue.
  90. Match Ads to Landing Pages. It’s okay to send ad traffic to your homepage, but you might be able to get more conversions by targeting specific offers and sending traffic to a landing page that explains that offer in further detail. Use similar copy in the ad and on the landing page to make the whole experience feel cohesive.
  91. Be Bold. If you have an interesting idea for design or content, be bold and go all the way with it. You might feel tempted to do something milder for fear of the concept being too wacky, but you’ll end up with a better result if you commit to it.
  92. Read, Edit, and Re-Edit. When I was in school and we had to take those multiple-choice standardized tests, the teacher would remind us a few times to check over our answers before handing in the test. That always stuck with me. In WordPress, before I publish a post I save it as a draft and then Preview it in the browser. You’ll find errors simply by looking at your text in a different setting. Once you feel satisfied, go ahead and publish it, but read it again once it’s live. You might find even more things to fix or adjust. Read it again the next day just to see if you find anything else.
  93. Emphasize Benefits, Not Features. If you’ve studied copywriting, you’ve probably learned to emphasize benefits, not features. Tell people why the features exist and what they do. As a simple example, instead of, “Includes Google Fonts,” I might write, “Create your own style by choosing from 12 popular Google Fonts.”
  94. Add or Remove Publication Dates. Consider adding or removing the publication dates on your blog posts. In some cases, showing a publication date might put people off. When researching SEO, for example, a reader might disregard your article from 2009 because it’s too outdated. Think about your specific content and whether or not it will be relevant a few years from now. If it will be, don’t scare people away with the date.
  95. Be Consistent. I see a lot of websites that are cobbled together with different software. Maybe the main site is on WordPress, but they added a forum on some other software, and then they added a shop on yet another platform. They try to replicate the same design across all of them, but it doesn’t work because each is built differently. The less cohesive your website feels, the less confident your visitors will be in your product or service. It might seem like it’s not a big deal, but it looks unprofessional. We have to reduce confusion and mistrust as much as possible.
  96. Respond to Comments. It’s kind of a big deal when someone comments on your blog post. They took time out of their day to write you a message, and they definitely didn’t have to do that. Respond to comments and answer questions.
  97. Conduct User Testing. Do some informal user testing. Show your website to someone that’s not super technical and ask them whether anything seems confusing. Let them use whatever computer or device they’d normally use, so that you can also test that hardware. You’ll usually find some random thing that you can fix or improve.
  98. Go Ahead and Publish It. Sometimes people can be too worried that things aren’t perfect and forever delay going live. You certainly should test and edit your website, but at some point you’ve gotta put it out there. One of the nice things about digital media is that it’s changeable. You could work on one website, painting, illustration, or infographic for a lifetime without ever publishing it because you never felt that it was good enough. Even if it’s perfect now, pretty soon you’re going to learn something new and you’ll want to change it. So publish it now and go about your life.
  99. Create for the User. Your website is for the user, customer, or client. It’s not for you, so don’t be self-indulgent. If the majority of people have an easier time reading dark text on a light background, don’t insist on the opposite just because you personally like that better. Continually ask yourself whether the items on your website would make sense to someone who’s not familiar with your company. Use actual data to inform your decisions.
  100. Get Help. I’m not good at everything in the world, and you’re probably not, either. We specialize because one person can’t do everything. If you’re stuck, you might be able to find someone to help you for free. There’s also a lot of value in working with a professional.
  101. Ignore Online Tips. Ignore tips when they don’t apply to you. The author of any article doesn’t know your website personally, so take tips with a grain of salt.

I hope that this giant list of tips and ideas has been useful. Leave a comment if you have questions. If you liked this post, share it with your friends.

Note: This post originally appeared on ZenWebThemes.com, but I’ve since taken that website offline and moved some of the popular blog content over to this website.




Posted in WordPress.