Your WordPress questions answered!? Yaaas. Who’s ready for this? It can’t just be me. Gayel here from Made Neat; if there is one topic I love chatting about, it’s WordPress. I can and will take an afternoon out with friends, sipping margaritas, to a conversation about their Google Analytics and websites.

It’s one heck of a party trick.

To suggest I can be a geek at times is a mild statement but it is all for the greater good. And hey, I work for a pretty cool digital agency these days. That makes it all ok. Probably.

What I find interesting about many people who own websites, is that they don’t realise how many elements go into establishing and maintaining a great home on the internet. They overlook tasks and practices that could be implemented to achieve great performance, SEO, traffic and conversions. Things they could be doing themselves, but usually aren’t.

Things that the professionals just do by default.

With that in mind, I thought for my very first post on the new look Suger Coat It, I would touch on these topics. It’s my WordPress Questions Answered, big fat 2018 tip of the day all in one. And maybe down the track, Suger will let me back to expand on them if you have questions. So make sure you leave them in the comments and we’ll go from there.

Your WordPress questions answered - Suger Coat It

Your WordPress questions answered.

On Using Themes … because they always look pretty straight out of the box.

For many people, choosing to run a theme over a bespoke WordPress website comes back to the budget. There are so many themes on the market it is easy to grab the first one-off the shelf and request your website designer customise it. Careful with this route. It can prove problematic.

Careful consideration needs to be given to using themes, the big one is page speed. Often many plugins are required for the theme to run on your sire which inevitably slows down your page speed. Poor customisation of these themes can also mean that the site lacks branding and a unique look each website deserves.

Work with your designer to find a theme or follow their recommendation for one that they know works. If you’re installing yourself, make sure you read reviews {scroll past the five stars and look for three or four stars to get the real version}. Sometimes it’s best to stick with a theme developer recommended by a friend.

What do you mean page speed? My website loads … eventually.

The speed in which your page loads isn’t just something that provides for great user experience. That said, nobody likes to wait for anything to load these days, keep that in mind. Page speed will impact your Google ranking and score for usability. If your selling products or services via your website, it’s pretty much a death sentence.

There are a few factors that come into play with a websites page speed, the big ones are :

  • Hosting that is on a shared server.
  • Images not optimised.
  • Amount of plugins running.
  • The type of theme being used.

You can check your page speed at

Plugins … can I have all of them?

As previously mentioned in page speed, running too many plugins on your site will slow it down and risk problems with incompatibilities. Suger, I’m looking at you and your love of all things plugins here. Keep things really simple for yourself and only run the bare minimum of plugins.

The essential plugins we recommend as a digital agency include :

  • Gravity Forms
  • WP Fastest Cache

The trick is to only use what you need and delete any that could be running or are redundant. And I mean everything. If you’re not actively using it. Disable it, test it didn’t break anything important by refreshing your webpage and remove it. You can always reinstall it later if you change your mind.

We know that running only necessary plugins on a themed site can be difficult. Often developers will use plugins to deliver items that someone building a Bespoke website will code in. It’s finding that middle ground between what your budget allows, how you want your site to look and the page speed. Walk that line, you’ll find your happy place.

Google Analytics … you mean stalking my site visitors to see where they live right?

Having Google Analytics running on your website is essential. Especially for anyone that needs to maintain excellent Google ranking. Keeping an eye on your Google Analytics ensures your website is running as best as it can be and growth can be tracked. That doesn’t only mean looking at your site demographics, other important indicators include your site’s bounce rate, acquisition and site speed {that guy again}.

Google Analytics tracking code can be easily added by yourself or preferred developer if you don’t already have it on your site. See how you go with this tutorial from Google as a starting point to install on your website. If you pay close attention to what it’s asking you should get through it in no time.

HTTPS … Do I really need a security certificate?

If ranking in Google is important to you, then ensuring that you have an SSL certificate running is essential. I’ve said that before, but there are a few key things Google views as important and this is one of them. Google now gives preference to sites that are https {secure} over those that aren’t. It’s about the user experience, they want to make sure the users they are sending to your site are safe there. Contact your host for an SSL Certificate. They should also be able to assist you in getting it up and running on your website.

Gutenberg … Excuse me, say what now?

Over the coming months, WordPress will release its own version of a page builder called Gutenberg. In the WordPress development community, we are waiting with excitement to find out exactly how this will change the environment we work in. For the everyday WordPress user, this means no longer needing to use a page builder plugin that can be tricky and heavy on page speeds.

Suger uses Divi on her blog {editor: plug} and it uses a thing called Page Builder. But this WordPress native development meant that you can get that ease of use without having to be on a certain theme from a certain developer for it to work efficiently. Watch this space, this is exciting news for those who DIY their website.

Gutenberg, or a Page Builder, will mean having more control over how your website pages look. This could be a great thing for you or it could just be one more section of WordPress that makes no sense. It all depends on how good you are at design and user experience. Which in the end, as experts, is why people will always need Developers like us. Job security, phew.

And lastly… my top tip for 2018 – A Great Digital Content Strategy

I’m hoping that this post has helped get your burning WordPress questions answered. It can be daunting to someone new to get started. I hope I’ve helped! But the final tip I wanted to share is about creating a great digital content strategy. Sure, you can pay to get to the top of Google, but that isn’t necessary. When you have a great digital content strategy you can place your business website there in an authentic and organic way.

Utilising content as an SEO strategy is by far my top tip for 2018. Honestly, it is one of the easiest ones to deploy on a WordPress site. Create great content by being helpful, solving problems with evergreen content. Make a list now of the questions your customers or clients always ask and start answering them.

Alongside that incorporate updates in your industry, the clients you are working with through profiles and/or links and happenings in your business. This style of content {the personal, getting to know you stuff} will always win you results. People like you to be a person on the internet. Especially on social media. And personally, I think is a far better way, way more fun, easy to generate week after week way to outrank your competitors than coughing up the dollars.

{editors note: Want to hear more about this? I have a BUMPER post coming talking about creating a digital content or social media plan for your business. Watch this space}. 

And that’s it! Phew. Your WordPress questions answered over and out. Got more? Leave them in the comments and between Suger and I and we’ll get back to you. After all interactions like that are good for your linked website and this one. Did you know that?

WordPress Pro Tips - Suger Coat It

Photos by Ben KoldeAnnie Spratt on Unsplash

Gayel is the Sales and Marketing Manager at Made Neat. She believes that designing a stunning website or creating a brand identity needs to be unique and go above and beyond your competition. But most of all that it needs to be personal. Gayel is also a wine lover, beachgoer and mother of three who lives on the Fraser Coast.