So, you’ve decided to build your website with WordPress. But how can you ensure that your site will look and perform as it should?
Without the right WordPress development, you could quickly run into serious issues that threaten your entire site:
- Poor design practices that make your customers lose confidence in your business
- Security vulnerabilities that could compromise the site as well as your customer’s information
- Broken functionality that leaves your visitors frustrated and unlikely to return to your site
Avoid these common mistakes and build your site the right way. Use the following WordPress development best practices and tips as a guide to launching a professional website for your business.
1) Start with good hosting
Before you can even begin your WordPress development, you need to make sure it’s hosted in the right environment. That means choosing a dependable web host that ensures your site remains fast and stable.
Not all hosts are ideal for WordPress installation, so be sure to choose wisely. For optimal performance, WordPress currently recommends that hosts support the following:
- PHP version 7.4 or greater.
- MySQL version 5.6 or greater OR MariaDB version 10.1 or greater
- HTTPS support
At WP Tangerine, we have this WordPress consultant to guide you all the way. We strongly recommend WP Engine (which is why all of our customers receive free WP Engine hosting with their plan).
For the fastest possible speeds (particularly for more robust sites), you may want to consider dedicated hosting, which means your site gets its own dedicated server (instead of sharing a server with other sites).
2) Avoid bloated themes
Choosing the right theme is so important for WordPress development. If the theme is buggy or poorly coded, then your site will experience issues constantly.
As a general rule of thumb, stick to well-rated themes built with clean, minimal code. This will ensure your site loads as quickly as possible. Today, there is no shortage of WordPress themes that are designed like backend website builders – but often these themes are massive in size and loaded with junk code that will slow your site down.
When in doubt, check user reviews to see what others say about the theme before you install it. Also, choose themes that are updated frequently. But I highly recommend seeking the opinion of WordPress experts about WordPress website design.
3) Disable and remove unused plugins
Every plugin you install influences the performance of your site. Even if you’re not actively using the plugin, it still contributes to the size of your site, bogging it down with each page load.
For example, many WordPress themes now come with several plugins pre-loaded, such as a slider plugin (which enables you to create a slideshow of images). Even if you don’t create the slider, the plugin can still slow down your page-load speed as long as it’s enabled.
For the best performance, disable those unwanted plugins or delete them entirely.
4) Be careful with custom WordPress development
This is a common mistake made by website owners who know a little about editing code but don’t have much experience with WordPress.
WordPress gives you the option to edit your core theme files, CSS, PHP and other code. You’re certainly free to do this if you’re unsatisfied with the limitations of the theme. However, chances are that any changes you make will be overwritten the next time the theme receives an update.
So, what’s the best way to make these edits? First, look for a plugin that uses its own code to achieve what you’re trying to do. If there isn’t one, use a custom-code insert plugin, which will enable you to make the code edits you want, without worrying about them being deleted.
In case you still confused and errors file up, you can check WP Tangerine offered WordPress services, to help you fix your site and achieve what you need.
5) Test on multiple devices
These days, most WordPress themes are already mobile friendly, automatically formatting your site for an optimal viewing experience on mobile phones, tablets and desktops. (If you’re stuck with a theme that’s not mobile-responsive, then there are some basic plugins that allow you to create mini mobile versions of your site).
However, don’t assume that your pages will always look the way you envisioned them on mobile devices. Take the time to actually view your site on a mobile device to see how it loads and make adjustments as needed.
- WordPress Development Tip: Try resizing your desktop’s browser window to mimic the size of a mobile device. Your site should reformat automatically to the mobile version. This gives you a quick way to approximate how your site looks on mobile without using your phone every time.
6) Use a staging environment
Whenever you’re building (or rebuilding) a site, it’s best to do your WordPress development in a staging environment, instead of the live site.
For starters, no visitor wants to see a site that’s under construction. If the page looks messed up, they’re likely to exit and never come back. You may seek for agency’s opinion or look for a WordPress freelancer to guide you.
But also, making big changes to your live site is risky. If you encounter any problems, it could bring your entire site down.
Use a secured testing environment that enables you to view the website as you develop it, so that the new site isn’t visible to the public while it’s under development.
7) Always Be Updating
Okay, so this WordPress development tip is more for beginners, but it’s a good reminder for even the most experienced developers: keep your site updated!
That rule applies to WordPress core files, themes, and plugins. As soon as a new update becomes available, it should be processed.
Outdated plugins are a recipe for disaster. Some of the most common reasons for an update are patches for security vulnerabilities. And as soon as those vulnerabilities become known publicly, hackers start crawling the web looking for sites that aren’t yet patched. All it takes is one outdated plugin to bring your entire site down or result in other problems, like functionality breaking or your site’s layout going wonky.
Stay on top of updates to keep your site secure.
Need a Hand? Our WordPress Development Team is Here to Help!
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