A lot has been said about the multiple benefits of blogging for students and the advantages of WordPress as the platform of choice for most CMS-based blogs. However, what’s often left out in most articles encouraging new student bloggers is that it does take some dexterity to manage a successful WordPress site.
While it’s surely possible to hire a developer to set up and administrate your blog in the same manner that you hire professional essay writers, it’s really better to learn to do everything on your own in the case of WP.
First, good developers charge just a bit more than essay writers. And second, blogging requires constant effort to be successful – it’s not like you can pay once, get your job done, and then rest on your laurels.
So, leave your essays to professionals if you need to, and read on to find out some of the most popular WordPress hacks that every student blogger like you should note!
But before we start
Let’s make it clear what exactly a hack means. In our case, a hack is practically the same as a trick – i.e., some not-so-obvious manipulation that can enhance your experience with using WordPress.
Another important thing to note is that, though it’s often declared in WP guides and tutorials that coding skills are not necessary to deal with this platform, there are cases when they are. We’ve tried to avoid the tricks that require coding skills in this article, but you can find even more ideas on the internet if you can code.
Finally, we’ve tried to make navigation easier for you by dividing the hacks into groups related to the most important issues that new WP users face. They are:
- SEO and analytics;
- Performance optimization.
Now, let’s proceed with the hacks!
Security is a huge issue for all websites operating on WordPress. There are two main reasons for that – namely, the platform’s immense popularity and the lack of experience of the majority of its users. Here’s what you can do to protect your site from hacker attacks.
1. Protect Your Admin Directory With a Password
Creating a strong password is the essential thing by itself, and WP certainly requires a password to access the admin area. However, you can protect your blog even better by setting up a two-phase authentication procedure.
You can do it several ways – i.e., using cPanel, or manually – by adding a piece of code. Whatever you choose, make sure to come up with a strong password and change it regularly.
2. Limit Login Attempts
One more simple trick is to limit login attempts to your site, as WP gives an unlimited number of them by default. This definitely puts your site at greater risk, as malefactors, in this case, can keep trying until they succeed.
Unfortunately, this option is only available through installing a plugin, which is a risk in itself, but in this case, it’s better than nothing. So, choose from the most popular options like LoginLockdown or WP Limit Login Attempts, and get the thing done!
Design and UX
Quality text content is essential for any successful blog. Still, don’t forget that your site also needs to look pretty and be user-friendly. But what options are there if you’re not a web/UX designer than to pick up one of the free templates?
Well, there are some, apart from hiring a designer.
3. Create a Custom Home Page
By default, your newest blog entries are displayed on your site’s homepage. But what if you don’t want it to be this way? If you need to greet your visitors with a custom page, you can do it by setting up a new page and choosing it as your homepage.
The process is not difficult but requires concentration, so it’s better to do it step-by-step while watching a tutorial online.
4. Display Article Summaries on the Main Page
Besides creating a custom home page, you can make your site more user-friendly by displaying short summaries (excerpts) of your blog posts on the main page instead of the entire posts. This is also rather easy to do, even if you can’t code at all.
SEO and Analytics
SEO, or search engine optimization, is still super-important for WP blogs to drive more traffic. Analytics, then, is crucial for finding out where exactly that traffic comes from. Here is what you can do.
5. Install Google Analytics
The easiest way to keep updated on your site’s performance is to install Google Analytics. And yet again, you will need to install a plugin to do this. One of the popular options is MonsterInsights.
Another way to get the thing done is by inserting the code into your theme files, but if you decide to change the theme, this piece of code will disappear, and you’ll need to insert it once again. Therefore, it’s also a good idea to learn child themes work on WP. By using child themes, you’ll avoid losing the changes you make to your theme template.
6. Install Yoast SEO Plugin
Yoast is one of the most popular WordPress plugins, installed more than five million times and counting. What this plugin does is that it basically takes care of all issues concerning SEO-optimization, so you won’t have to deal with it manually.
It can help you optimize permalinks, scan all your content, and make suggestions on how you can make it rank higher, improve your texts’ readability, and more.
There are also other popular SEO plugins for WordPress sites apart from Yoast – All in One SEO Pack, Google XML Sitemaps, and many more. Whichever you choose, remember that in the end, it’s you who should be in control – so, knowing the basics of SEO optimization is always handy!
- Compress Images and Videos
Quality Images and videos play a critical role in how attractive your blog entries are for the users. But that doesn’t mean that you have to overdose on them and post them in original sizes. Doing so will instead lower your site’s performance, increase the time required to load the entry, and, eventually, irritate users and make them leave for good.
7. Install a Caching Plugin
Your blog’s loading speed is essential and can make a huge difference in visitors’ number of times browsing your content. If it takes too long for the site to load, new visitors will leave your blog and move on to the next search result.
Proper caching can help avoid this problem. Basically, caching saves a static image of your site’s pages either to a server’s disk or RAM or to a user’s browser. Some hosting providers take care of caching for you, but in most cases, an additional caching plugin like, for instance, Cache Enabler or W3 Total Cache needs to be installed to speed up your site.
8. Update Regularly
And, finally – don’t fail to update your website every once in a while. Skipping updates may result in more problems than just lowering your blog’s performance – such carelessness can also make it more prone to hacker attacks, as new versions usually contain serious security fixes.
The same applies to your site’s content: that, too, should be regularly revised and updated to stay relevant and continue to attract visitors and drive traffic to your blog. When revising your entries, pay special attention to external links – check them often and remove those that are broken.
Blogging can be beneficial for students in many ways. But it’s not that easy to set up and maintain a top-ranking WordPress site as you might have thought. It takes a lot of time, knowledge, and dedication to get things right. However, you can start improving your blog right now by using the hacks from our list. It would be best if you were persistent and patient. Good luck!