While I’m not a WordPress guru, I have been using it for several years in both personal and professional settings. I had been using Blogger for about five years too long, and I knew it was time to make the leap to WordPress.org. There is no right or wrong time to switch. Some blogging professionals will tell you how you don’t own your content on Blogger or that your site could get shut down at any time, but some of my personal favorite bloggers still use Blogger. What works for some people doesn’t work for everyone. Only you can make the decision as to what blogging platform to use, and they both are just fine in my opinion. While I am loving the customization options and the various plugins WordPress offers, it is definitely not for everyone.
If you do decide to hop on WordPress or do a transfer from Blogger to WordPress, I recommend hiring a professional for guidance. Or, even just a friend (like me!) to hold your hand while you work out the kinks. I have transferred two websites to WordPress, but I paid for this blog to be transferred. I care too much about my blog to worry about missing a step!
After spending a few months on WordPress, I wanted to share five easy tips to get your WordPress site up and running.
5 Easy WordPress Blog Tips
1. Find a reliable host. One of the reasons I waited so long to transfer from Blogger to WordPress was the idea that I would be “on my own.” My site host could go down, and I wouldn’t have a way of accessing my blog or my content. I frequently saw in my Twitter feed friends with blogs that were down or worse, friends who lost content without a proper backup before doing a design tweak. My site on Blogger was never down, that I know of, and I felt safe. However, when I knew it was time to be self-hosted, I did some research on what web hosts to use.
2. Add plug-ins. This is the fun part. I have loved researching and adding plugins to my site to optimize my content. Some you may find you don’t need, but some might be worthwhile. Lisette helped me with a few of these, and it is important to remember that not every plugin will work on your site or with your theme. I had the hardest time getting Pinterest hover images to work, but it was because I needed a different plugin.
- BJ Lazy Load: This helps with site speed. It doesn’t load my images until you scroll.
- Blogger 301 Redirect: Redirect your old links.
- Blogger Importer: When you transfer from Blogger to WordPress, this is what gets you started.
- Click To Tweet: Create stylish boxes that encourage readers to tweet your content. I’m going to use one in this post so you can see!
- CommentLuv: I prefer this comment system.
- Comment Reply: I didn’t realize I had to install plugin to make sure users were getting my replies! This is an easy fix.
- CoSchedule: You must try this one! It helps schedule out your posts on social media including Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, and more. I am currently in the trial phase, and I am enjoying it. It is integrated with WordPress so you can easily promote your post and schedule future shares.
- Engageya: This is what shows related posts at the bottom of my content. I like the circle design.
- Pinterest “Pin It” Button Lite: This is the Pinterest button at the top of every post that shows how many shares it has received. I have noticed an increase in pins after using this plugin.
- Pinterest Pin It Button For Images: This is the only plugin I could find that worked with my theme. This makes a “pin in” image appear when you hover over my images.
- Shareaholic: I have Shareaholic displayed at both the top and bottom of my posts. I like that you can customize the design and include your Twitter handle for social shares. Please customize this! I hate sharing content without it already tagging you in a post. 😉
- Simple Social Icons: An easy way to add your social networks to your page with custom colors.
- WordPress SEO: I think every WordPress post talks about this plugin for good reason. It’s a must-have! It basically holds your hand so you can optimize your post for Google.
3. Monetize your site. I use the Google Adsense plugin, and I am also a member of Mode Media. You never know what your site visitors will click on, so try ads and see what works. You might find your readers are clickers or maybe they’re not. Some bloggers are able to create serious salaries through Adsense (which I’m totally jealous about!), but others are not able to find the right fit to monetize their site. Create custom channels on Adsense, optimize your most popular posts with relevant ads, and get creative!
4. Have an easy to find opt-in. I use the Mailchimp for WordPress plugin, and I found it easy to install and use. I haven’t had any issues, and I have this in the top right of my layout under the subscribe tab. I hope that’s easy enough for people to find! I also added a checkbox in the comment section where readers can opt-in that way as well.
5. Declutter your navigation bar. Sometimes there are just too many THINGS in a navigation bar that I get confused. I’m still tweaking mine so do not use mine as an inspiration, but I realized some of my titles were confusing. I have “home” in the top navigation bar and “home” in my secondary bar. They both take you to different places. One takes you to the home page of my site and the other takes you to articles about home decor! While I work on my own navigation bar to make it user-friendly, my only suggestion is to really highlight what your site is about. I don’t like lengthy drop-downs since that, again, can get confusing. Don’t hide your valuable content. Make it easy to find and in your reader’s face!
What WordPress plugins do you like? What tips do you have for a blogger looking to start on WordPress?