Web Design & The Best Practices for WordPress

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By |Nov 2, 2015

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WordPress is undoubtedly the world most popular online publishing platform today. Indeed, millions of readers read billions of pages published on this platform every month. A while back, WordPress was seen as a platform only used by the smaller blogs and websites. However, with the numerous web development techniques being introduced to WP sites by developers today, the platform is increasingly becoming more sophisticated and, therefore, ideal for creating even more complex websites.

This post looks at some of the latest development techniques that developers are using to build excellent WP sites.

1. Use of Structured Data

Structured data such as microdata helps search engines analyze various types of the web content posted on websites. Microdata, for example, is the latest form of structured data that has gained massive popularity today. It consists of a set of meta tags that are used to provide the necessary context to search engines.

Google regards structured data as one of the most effective SEO strategies and has even set up a Structured Data Testing Tool for the same (https://developers.google.com/structured-data/test... Using this tool, you can tag different types of data including places, addresses, events and even products on Schema.org.

There are several ways in which you can add structured data to your website. For example, you can use various plugins such as Yoast SEO and Schema Creator plugin for this function. Besides, all WP sites entail some form of structured data that mainly comes from core installation, for example, in RSS feeds. You can also use a variety of frameworks such as Roots that include microformats in various template files. However, you’ll often need to add the necessary code to these template files when using them to add the structured data to your site.

2. Using Icon Fonts

There are various types of icons you can use for your WP site creation or when designing a theme. When selecting the best one for you, it is recommended that you go for those licensed under the General Public License (GPL) since they are free to use even in commercial projects. A good example of such icons is Genericons that are vector icons released as part of Twenty Thirteen theme. You may also consider using other fonts such as those licensed under the SIL Open Font License. This may include popular options such as Iconic and Font Awesome.

Licensing may not be a big issue for you when creating a custom theme for a client. However, it may matter if your aim is to use the theme for commercial purposes or for submission to the official WP Theme Directory.

Other methods to assist you come up with icons fonts to use include:

  • Using plugins such as Genericon’d that allows you to use icons such as Genericons font with shortcodes.
  • You may also use online services such as Fontello to generate custom icons.
  • You can also generate your own icon fonts using open-source vector graphic tool such as Inkscape.

3. Using Bootstrap with WordPress

The Bootstrap Framework is popular for its sleek and intuitive framework that helps to make web development easier and faster. It utilizes LESS, CSS as well as icon fonts while also including several responsive layouts and UI elements. When used together with WordPress, it makes the web development process a lot easier and even faster. Today, there are several Bootstrap themes that have been developed for use with WP that include Bootswatch themes, Bootstrap WP, Sass WordPress Bootstrap, and Roots.

4. Optimizing Your WordPress Site to Become a Content Delivery Powerhouse

There are various ways through which you can optimize your site to enhance its performance.

Cache the site

Installing an efficient caching WP plugin such as W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache is one of the best ways of improving the performance of your site. This way, the site’s PHP engine generates a page once instead of doing the same for each visitor.

Host your files externally

You may want to consider hosting some of the static files on the site externally to allow for faster downloads. Besides, you can also use externally hosted fonts such as Google Fonts. However, if you cannot host the files externally, consider hosting the static files in a secondary domain or a subdomain that are preferably cookie-free for quicker load times.

Minimize the number of plugins

Using a tool such as Plugin Performance Profiler (P3), it is pretty easy to know how each of the plugins affects your site’s performance. As such, you may want to delete those that are inefficient as well those you deem unnecessary. It is recommended that you remove them through the WP Admin panel.

Optimize your themes

Themes, just like plugins, can significantly slow down your site if not chosen wisely. As such, it is important that you go for themes optimized for mobile, SEO and accessibility. Conversely, if you opt for a custom theme, always remember to use semantic code and avoid any missing files or broken links. Besides, always check with WordPress Theme-Check plugin for the latest WP theme standards that you should observe.

It is also recommended that you use CSS instead of image files where possible. Besides, always minimize the number of classes in your code and ensure the CSS is as lean as possible.

Minimize your content

Reducing the amount of content on a page and your feeds is an excellent method to speed up your site. Ensure that you keep the sidebars as clean as possible by reducing the number of widgets occupying this area. Besides, minimize the number of posts featured on each page and instead show excerpts.

Lighten your database

You can optimize and repair your MySQL database using various plugins or a database tool such as phpMyAdmin. Besides, consider deleting unused images and emptying your WordPress trash and spam boxes to lighten the load on your database.

Choose a good hosting service provider

In a majority of cases, you get what you pay for as far as hosting is concerned. For this reason, it's only prudent that you go for a reliable hosting company such as 92West if you’re to enjoy excellent site speeds. Other considerations to make when selecting your preferred host include; proximity to your targeted audience, whether you can afford a dedicated virtual hosting in place of shared hosting whether the host allows you to use Zlib compression tools, etc.

Enhance your site security

This is perhaps one of the most important aspects you’ll need to be keen about especially due to the rampant site attacks and hacking cases being experienced lately. As such, you should take the necessary precautions such as ensuring all your WordPress themes and plugins are regularly updated. You should also make a good host selection. Use powerful anti-comment spam plugins such as Akismet or Bad Behavior to help you manage spam comments on your site. You can also consider using plugins such as LockDown that help to minimize brute-force attack attempts.

Conclusion

Having touched on most of the crucial techniques you can use to for easier WordPress site management, it is now upon you to implement them and create a more efficient and safe WP site for your business. You can also consult with us here at 92 West for all your WordPress needs and leverage our extensive experience for proven results for online success.

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