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6 Steps to Get Started With WordPress

WordPress websites work great for businesses of all sizes due to their flexibility and affordability. Large companies using WordPress include the New York Times, eBay, UPS, CNN, and more. We recommend them for the small businesses we work with, as well, because of their limitless add-on options and ease of scalability. Although a learning curve exists, following these six steps helps optimize WordPress websites for success.

1.) Choose a good host. This is basically your website’s “home” — where all its content is stored. You want a WordPress host that keeps your website up and running constantly and provides regular updates. We like Bluehost.

2.) Select a quality theme. A theme provides the skeleton for how your website looks. Thousands of free and premium themes exist. Look for themes that are reliable, flexible, and easy to modify and provide support for bugs. We like Themeforest.

3.) Install appropriate plugins. Next, install your plugins (for e-commerce, social media integration, etc.). Choose only reliable and reputable plugins — and don’t install too many. This slows down your website, affects SEO, and upsets visitors.

4.) Configure your website. Once you’ve installed your theme and plugins, configure your settings. Consider how your permalinks are set up, how comments are moderated, etc. Configuring now makes changes easier in the future.

5.) Optimize for mobile. Fifty-one percent of visitors access websites through mobile phones rather than desktop computers. Your WordPress site must be optimized for mobile and have a responsive, fast-loading interface.

6.) Optimize for search engines. Search engine optimization (SEO) means being found at the top of search results. Good keywords and other best practices improve SEO. Plugins like Yoast’s WordPress SEO help. Active social media presence also helps.

Following these steps when using WordPress helps optimize your website effectively. If you have questions, our SBDC counselors can help. Call (712) 325-3376 to set up a free, confidential appointment!

The Iowa Western Small Business Development Center provides free consulting services to startups and small businesses. We serve seven counties in Southwest Iowa, and work to help businesses start, grow, and prosper.

(Photo credit: mkhmarketing / Flickr)

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