Which theme should I use in WordPress

15 tips for WordPress

WordPress is the most popular CMS worldwide. For this reason, in this article we have devoted 15 WordPress tips to basic optimizations for your site in order to achieve optimal security and performance. Even if some of these points may be very technical and you do not maintain your WordPress site yourself, you can still use this list to check your own website or have it checked by your supervisor and adjusted if necessary.

So, let's start with the 15 steps to your top configured WordPress website.

1. Use a good, proven theme

Very often, ready-made themes are used to create websites with WordPress. The advantage is obvious - with little effort you can get a beautifully designed website and have many functions at hand that have already been prepared.

An individually programmed theme makes sense if you have very special requirements or are striving for a particularly lean and high-quality implementation - because with all the advantages that ready-made themes offer, they also have their disadvantages. A large part of the functions that extensive themes often provide are not used - but they are available and ensure a correspondingly bloated code with correspondingly longer loading times.

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1.1. Pay attention to the choice of your theme

However, care should be taken when choosing a theme - the demo pages of a theme often look great. However, once purchased and installed, the theme is far from great. The quality of the implementation and the functions is often difficult for a layperson to recognize at first glance. A bad choice can lead to revenge later and additional costs, e.g. B. for necessary charging time optimization. If you implement your website with an agency, you should let them work with their preferred themes. As a rule, they have already had good experiences with it and can thus best achieve the desired result.

If you want to choose a theme yourself, or if you want to check the choice of your provider, you can check the download numbers of the theme, the ratings and the last update date. A platform on which you can z. B. can buy a lot of themes is themeforest.net.

1.2. We reveal our favorite: Avada

Our favorite theme among themes is “Avada.” It boasts of being the best-selling theme. With over 480,000 sales on Themeforest alone, that claim seems legitimate. The theme is regularly developed and offers a huge range of functions. Using various demo content, you can already import many settings of the desired optics and use them. It also comes with an integrated drag & drop editor (Fusion Builder), with which pages can be created very easily.

So make sure you have a good, stable theme. It forms the basis of your entire website, so you definitely shouldn't be skipping in the wrong place here. Free themes simply cannot provide the functionality and support that paid themes offer you.

2. URL structure

WordPress offers various options for how the structure of the individual URLs (Uniform Resource Location = the complete link of every content page) can look.

Under "Settings> Permalinks" see the possible options. Unfortunately, an option is selected here by default that is less optimal for both search engine optimization and users.

With the standard setting, a URL would be displayed as www.mama-magazin.at/?p=123 - where p stands for Page and the number afterwards represents the ID of the page. Such a link is neither very meaningful for search engines nor for users. The other options are also rarely used meaningfully. The correct option for most websites is option "Post name" - here the URL is then also used as you are used to e.g. B. displayed as www.mama-magazin.at/beispielbeitrag/.

But be careful - do not change this setting without the help of a professional if your website is already online. As soon as you change the URL structure, you change the links on all of your content pages, which can lead to various problems if the change is not made correctly.

3. Page structure (parents)

Now that we've already got to the URLs and thus also the page structure, here's another tip. WordPress offers you the option of subordinating content pages to others. This gives you a well-structured page hierarchy. Do you have e.g. B. an overview page for your services (www.abc.at/leistungen), you should subordinate all other service pages to this page. This then results in a very clear URL structure for the website, e.g. B. www.abc.at/leistungen/beispielleistungs1.

You can use this structure when editing every content page on the right-hand side at the point "Page Attributes" to adjust. Simply select the so-called parent page to subordinate the current one to this.

4. Broken Link Checker

Especially if several people are working on a website or if it is quite extensive, you should be careful not to have any dead links over time. Links that lead to an error page are not a pleasant thing for both the user and search engines. There is a slight remedy for this - with the "Broken Link Checker", a WordPress plugin, automatically searches for broken links so that you can correct them.

5. Do not put down the media library after months or years

Another basic setting to consider is the structure of the media library. Unfortunately, WordPress doesn't shine here. In contrast to other CMS, it is not possible to create a real folder structure for images and media, as you would e.g. B. is used to the computer.

Since WordPress has its roots as a blog system, the images are stored on the server by default in monthly and year-based folders. This is not exactly clear later, especially if you want to find, replace or delete the image directly on the server.

Under the point "Settings> Media" you can deactivate the option. All images are then stored in a single folder.

6. Provide an overview in the media library

As just mentioned, there is unfortunately no inherent folder structure in the media library. You can still keep things tidy with the “WP Real Media Library” plug-in. With this plugin you have the possibility to create virtual folders and to manage your pictures more clearly.

7. Make sure the page is visible to search engines

A tick, to rule them, to find them all, to drift into the dark and to bind forever ... we're not talking about the Lord of the Ticks (uh ... rings), but the one tick that you can set in the WordPress settings and yourself thus can exclude from the listing of all search engines.

Under the point "Settings> Read" there is an option that allows you to do just that. Why would you even do this? This option is often activated when the website is created so that the unfinished website is not already found in the search engines. Sometimes people forget to deactivate this option again when going live - with the result that the page simply cannot be found by search engines and therefore hardly has any visitors. So make sure that you have not activated this option by mistake.

8. Optimize images

Loading time is an important issue - very often you see unnecessarily large images on websites, which negatively affect the loading time. Ideally, images are brought to the correct size and resolution before they are uploaded.

With the help of plugins it is possible to automatically optimize images afterwards or to ensure that they are reduced to the maximum required size when uploading new images. Plugins like "WP Smush", "EWWW Image Optimizer" or "Imagify" usually offer a certain free contingent of images that can be revised. A license can be purchased for a small fee to optimize all images.

9. History

Do you work in a team or with external service providers? Then you may know this question - “Who was that ?!” Especially when several people are working on a website, it helps to know who made which changes. With the plugin "Simple History" a continuous record of all changes is made. You can see exactly which user made which changes and when.

Important: Make sure that each person who works on the website has their own user.

10. Backups

Imagine if your website was suddenly deleted - now what? You should make regular backups of your website to avoid exactly this horror scenario. Even before major changes, the installation of new plugins or updates, a backup should always be made first.

With plugins like "WP Back-Up" this is very easy. You can save both the database and all files as a backup. It is also possible to set up an automatic, regular backup.

11. SEO by Yoast

When it comes to optimizing the website for Google & Co, you cannot avoid the top dog in this sector - the plugin "SEO by Yoast". This plugin extends the functions of WordPress in order to be able to make important optimizations for the search engines.

Thanks to this plugin you can e.g. B. Give each content page an individual title and meta description - 2 basic points for any search engine optimization.

You will also receive an automatic quick analysis of your content page and suggestions for improvement to improve your ranking in the search results.

12. XML sitemap

An XML sitemap is a file that lists all of your content. This should be submitted to the Google Search Console - a service provided by Google for managing your website. This enables the Google Bot to have a better overview of your website and ensures that your content is analyzed accordingly.

There are various plugins that create an XML sitemap and update it automatically with every change. If you did the aforementioned "SEO by Yoast" installed, this function is already integrated. So make sure you have a) an XML sitemap and b) it is also in the "Google Search Console" was deposited.

13. Load Time - Caching Plugin, Good Hosting

Loading time is an extremely important factor in this day and age. Not only for the visitors, but also for a good ranking in the search engines. Google rewards fast websites with better rankings.

In order to optimize your page, you not only have to choose a good theme and optimize the images, as already mentioned. You also need a so-called caching plugin. (We have described what this is and how it works in our article on CMS systems.)

There are also various plugins here. Popular options are "W3 Total Cache", "WP Rocket" or "WP Super Cache". Caching plug-ins should be set up by professionals - because most of the time, simply installing the plug-in does not complete everything. Depending on the theme and website, various settings must be made and tested in order to find the optimal configuration.

14. Choose plugins with care

Even if we have already mentioned a lot of plugins here, you should still choose and use them carefully. Each plugin installs code in your website and can thus lead to conflicts with other plugins, introduce security gaps or even slow down the website significantly. So really only use the plugins that you actually need and uninstall the rest.

When choosing plugins, you should always make sure that you only choose high quality plugins that are regularly updated. Similar to the themes, you can see this from the date of the last update, the ratings and the number of downloads.

15. Security

The security of your website is also an important issue. To make your website more secure against hack attacks, we have given you the most important tips:

  • Strong database password
    Make sure you have an extremely strong password for the database during installation.
  • Change table prefix
    By default, the database tables are prefixed with wp_. However, this can be assigned individually. Use this option to further secure your database.
  • Strong user for log-in
    Do not assign a user with the name "admin" and choose strong passwords. Make sure that you only have 1 administrator log-in if possible - even if other people are working on the website, one editor access is usually sufficient.
  • Hide the log-in mask
    By default, you can log into WordPress via / wp-admin. Spam bots know this, call up the site and automatically test various user names
    and passwords to hack your site. You can make it harder for these bots by hiding the login behind an individual link. There are also various plugins for this. The registration could be B. then via www.beispiel.at/meinlogin. A good way to make these and other settings is the plugin "WP Security".
  • Limit log-in attempts
    You can also limit the number of failed log-in attempts. Does someone try z. If you log in 3 times and enter the wrong password each time, it is automatically blocked for a defined period of time. This is also z. B. with the plugin "WP Security" possible.

  • This requires z. B. solving a simple arithmetic problem and in turn prevents bots from automatically performing log-in attempts.
  • Update regularly
    Both WordPress and the plugins used
    are regularly updated by the developers to ensure functionality, compatibility and security. Make sure these updates are done regularly.

But be careful: A backup should be made before every update in case something goes wrong. In general, it is advisable to have your website administrator carry out this task.

Conclusion: If you follow these 15 WordPress tips, you will already have a very well optimized website. The visitors and Google will definitely thank you for it. Even if some of these points are relatively technical, you can use the WordPress tips as a checklist to go through them with your website operator and to find optimization potential. I wish you success!

Do you need support with the implementation of your WordPress website? Contact us, we will be pleased to advise you!