Optimizing WordPress Functionality: 10 Tips for a Usable Site
Simply installing a theme on your WordPress-based site or launching it online without proper optimization is not enough to make it truly usable. In today’s web environment, the audience has become very picky and demanding. They are looking for speed-optimized, functional yet good-looking online resources that provide every piece of information and functionality they are looking for. When building a usable and functional WordPress site, pay attention to the following 10 major tips.
1. Choose the Best Host
A powerful and reliable hosting is a huge determinant of better WordPress functionality. There are plenty of options that you can choose from, but it’s important to consider the budget of your project and the amount of data that you need to share on your site. Shared hosting is a great starting point for smaller web projects that do not have a steady flow of income. However, it’s important to choose a hosting that provides regular and safe backups, as WordPress sites are vulnerable to hacking. Additionally, select a hosting plan that includes the caching system and high page loading speeds to avoid making your clients wait for longer than 2 seconds until the web page loads.
2. Install Plugins Selectively
There are thousands of free plugins, and just as many premium ones to choose from for all purposes. However, it’s important to be selective when installing plugins. Only install plugins you need and try to condense features into one plugin if possible. Having a lot of plugins isn’t always bad, but it does increase the amount of effort you’ll have to put in when testing for updates.
3. Use Responsive Designs
WordPress is not a mobile-friendly solution, so it’s important to install some third-party plugins to the dashboard of your site to make it look and feel on all screen sizes perfectly well. Luckily, there are plenty of responsive WordPress themes to choose from, both free and premium. With the growing shift of the web community to the use of handheld devices, it’s indispensable for every site to be mobile-friendly.
4. Social Media Integration
Integrating your WordPress site with social media options makes it more usable for your audience. Social sharing options allow customers to share their preferred pieces of data with a single click, social media widgets display the latest publications right on the pages of your site, and the social login feature eliminates the need to fill in registration forms.
5. Use HTML5 Animation
Enhance your website with HTML5 animation for a number of reasons. First of all, search engines do not see Flash-based elements of your site. Additionally, HTML5 animation is mobile-friendly, which grows the chances that your site will look more interactive.
6. Make Your Navigation Easy & Obvious
It should be easy for first-time visitors to your site to find the necessary pieces of information in a few seconds. The intuitive and recognizable navigation patterns will enhance the users’ browsing experience, thus making your web resource look more user-friendly. Place the navigation panel at the top of the page and add an Ajax-based search box next to the main navigation panel of your site. Enhance your site with categories list in the sidebar, archives, and breadcrumbs.
7. Simple and Clean Design
When building or revamping your WordPress site, keep one simple rule in mind – site visitors look for WordPress functionality over form. So, when working on the design of your site, ask yourself a simple question – “Will a design like this confuse my visitor?” If you hesitate to answer this question, then it might be better for you to opt for a different strategy.
8. Use a CDN
Make sure your website speed is up to par with your competitors by using a CDN. This is a crucial part of speeding up WordPress, and since there are so many free CDN services to choose from you don’t have any excuse not to give it a try. A CDN is a content delivery network usually located around the world that delivers your static website content (like images or CSS) to your readers faster than your own web server can.
9. Focus on SEO
Please don’t neglect SEO. It really is as important as folks say it is. Search engine optimization does require a lot of time and effort to master, but there are tons of plugins, guides and tips online to help you get started.
10. Don’t Forget to Update
Lastly – don’t forget to keep your WordPress installation, theme and plugins up to date! Not only is updating WordPress important for security, but it also ensures you have all the latest bug fixes and new features available (which goes a long way towards improving your WordPress functionality).
Final Thoughts on WordPress Functionality
WordPress is a powerful content management system, which is used by more than 30% of the websites available on the contemporary web. The growing WordPress community provides more tools and useful recommendations on how to make your site more functional and usable. We hope that the tips discussed in this post will help you to optimize your site properly and grow user engagement.