We thought we would go ahead and give pointers to people that want to try and build and rank their own WordPress (WP) sites on their own. Maybe you are on a tight budget and can’t afford a professional right now, or maybe you just want to have your own blog. Whatever the case, this post will help guide you through getting a WP site setup and running!
We have been quite vocal in the fact that all the Websites that we build for ourselves as well as our customers are on the WordPress Platform. We find it very easy to manipulate and keep up to date as well as make our own customization’s to help make our sites unique.
It’s also important to note that we are talking about our own self hosted WordPress sites, and not WordPress.com that you can get for free hosted by WordPress.
We also find that it serves our customers very well. Most of our clients are based in the Real Estate industry, and they need to be able to easily access their site to add or remove listings. WordPress makes this extremely easy!
If you have never done anything with WordPress before there are a ton of Videos across YouTube that can help get you started. We actually made one a few years ago that walks you through the entire process of selecting your Hosting to setup of your site and some plugins to start with. You can watch it below. It’s a little long, and a little techie, but a must for hosting your own WP site –
So that video is for people that have never built a WP site before.
Once you have a site built, one of the most important things that you must do is keep your site, plugins and theme’s up to date. If you don’t you are leaving your site open to potential hackers. It’s a pain, but must be done.
So how do you know what version of WP you are running? Jenni McKinnon recently made a post about just that, multiple ways to easily check to see which version of WP you are running to make sure you are up to date:
How to Find Out Which Version of WordPress You’re Running
Knowing which version of WordPress you’re running is important for ensuring your site is up-to-date and that any plugins you want to use are compatible with your site. Fortunately, there are many simple ways you can check which release you’re running.
If you have an older version of WordPress installed, ideally, you should update your site as soon as possible because each update comes with security fixes and if you don’t apply these changes your site will become an easy target for hackers.
Here are five ways you can check your version of WordPress so you can ensure your site’s up-to-date and your plugins are also compatible. It only takes a second or two. So let’s get started.
Dashboard Updates Page
In your admin dashboard in single installs of WordPress or your super admin dashboard for Multisite, got to Dashboard > Updates. You should see the version you’re using listed toward the top of the page.
If you find you aren’t up-to-date, be sure to create a full backup of your site before going ahead and updating. If something goes wrong, you can then easily reinstate your site.
In WordPress versions 4.1.5 and above, take a look at the footer of any page in your dashboard. You should see the version of WordPress you’re using on the right.
So far we have touched on setup and making sure your site is up to date. Another reason to ensure you are running the latest version of WP, or which version of WP you are running is for your Themes and Plugins. Themes and plugins must be compatible with the version of WP you are running to ensure no problems with your site displaying properly.
So now onto Themes. Themes are what give your site it’s general appearance and look. There are a ton of free themes as well as paid. The selections of themes is almost endless, and can seem overwhelming. Go ahead and take some time to find one that you really like and you believe will suit your purpose. One thing to keep in mind is that if you have a site ranking in Google and change your theme, you might see a slip in your rankings for a little while, but should rebound.
Let’s suppose you are on a tight budget and want to start with some Free themes. Freddy Muriuki on WPKube recently put up a post on some great FREE themes:
Top 12 Free WordPress Themes They Don’t Want You to See
WordPress is growing bigger by the day and with it the WordPress theme repository. Developers are hard at work churning out theme after theme like the world is ending tomorrow. For this very reason, the collection of free WordPress themes in the repository, and on the internet in general, is expanding exponentially just like our very own galaxy.
This throws you a curveball when you’re looking for the perfect free WordPress theme for your next project. I have used (and still use) free WordPress themes on some of my projects, and I can assure you it’s an uphill task settling on the right fit. You have to dig and dig deep you will to find a theme you truly love amidst the thousands of themes out there.
Top Free WordPress Themes for 2016
But with these top 12 free themes, you don’t have to dip your hand in the lottery machine when looking for your next free theme. I’ve personally tested and use(d) some of these free themes, and in the next few words, we are confident you’ll find a free WordPress theme you’ll be glad to use.
A’ight, stay with me.
If you’ve used Twenty Fifteen, you’ll quickly relate to Good, a simple but elegant theme by FancyThemes. This is the kind of theme that suits bloggers, freelancers, small businesses and agencies alike, thanks to a versatile design that you can adapt to your needs. Good is 100% responsive allowing it to degrade gracefully depending on your screen size. This means your site will look awesome and perform exceptionally well regardless of the device the visitor is using.
It comes with generous thumbnails that will add color and pomp to your brand just by their sheer size. You get author bio boxes and a related posts section that will drive more engagement on your site. The footer supports several widgets making it the ideal section to place extra content.
Next, plugins. Plugins let you do more things and add functionality to your site. Again there are a lot of free plugins as well as paid.
With plugins you can do so many things! Get people to interact with your social profiles, have a contact form that goes to the email of your choice, compress pictures (to make your site load faster), security to help keep out hackers, back up your website, and the list goes on and on!
16 of the Best Free WordPress Plugins You Must Use in 2016
With over 40,000 free plugins available in the WordPress repository, there is no shortage to the amount on functionality you can add to your website by installing one of them.
However, it can also be difficult to sort out the great ones from the bad ones, so we are giving you a list of the best plugins that you must have in the most essential categories. We also list an alternative for many of the categories.
All the plugins considered here are free and can be installed on your website within a few moments.
Best SEO Plugin
WordPress SEO by Yoast is the most revered SEO plugin for WordPress. Takes care of Title tags, XML sitemaps, meta descriptions, focus keyword and much more.
Alternative: All in One SEO Pack is another highly recommended plugin with over 1 million active installs. Provides advanced SEO for WP e-commerce websites, Google Analytics support, title optimization and much more.
Best Social Sharing Plugin
There are plenty of social sharing plugins, but if you are looking for one that just works and supports a big array of social networks, then the Floating Social Bar is what you need. It adds the essential sharing options to your WordPress website without slowing it down.
So we have covered a lot in this post. From setting up your first WP site, making sure you have the latest version, or which version of WP you have installed, Free themes and Free Plugins you need to be using. We know it can seem overwhelming, but after diving in and submersing yourself in it for awhile, it becomes second nature.
If it’s to much for you and would rather employ the services of a professional, check us out for all your web design needs and services! We would be more than happy to help! 🙂