Best Practices for Managing Your WordPress Site
I speak to a lot of people who think that creating a website is all you need to do to have a presence on the Internet.
They think that simply having a site out there, preferably one built on WordPress and using a great theme and some plugins to make it even better, will help them to reach a huge online audience and connect with more people or make more sales.
Unfortunately it isn’t as simple as that. Once you’ve created and launched your site, you can give yourself a quick pat on the back, but you really mustn’t rest on your laurels. This is only the start of the ongoing task of managing your site and keeping it up-to-date, relevant and secure.
In this post I’ll look at some of the things you need to do to manage your site effectively over time. I’m going to look at five key areas:
Managing your site isn’t difficult. Millions of website owners do it and there are plenty of tools out there to help you, some of which I’ll mention here. But it can be hard work, especially if you want a site with high levels of traffic, as you’ll not only need to attract the visitors you want, but also ensure your security measures keep out those you don’t.
So let’s start with my favorite out of the five topics (I’m a writer, what do you expect?): Content.
Managing Your Site Content
Managing and updating content is pretty easy with WordPress: it is a content management system after all. But WordPress won’t do the hard work for you: you have to create your content, share it with a wide audience and engage with the people who are reading it and commenting on it. By doing these things you’ll create a site which encourages people to come back regularly and which gets found by search engines.
The three main areas you need to think about are:
- Publishing regularly
- Sharing content
- Managing subscribers and comments
Publishing to Your Site Regularly
In the early days of working on your site, the chances are you’ll have lots of adrenalin and write new content fairly frequently. As time passes you’ll get distracted by other things, you’ll lose your enthusiasm and start publishing less and less frequently. In time you may stop publishing altogether.
If you want people to keep visiting your site and the search engines to keep finding it, this can’t happen. So you need to define a publishing schedule that you can stick to from the outset. If you’ve got loads of ideas at the beginning, by all means start working on them, but don’t publish them yet: save them as drafts or in note form and publish them at a later date when you haven’t got so many ideas or so much time.
Here are some tips for creating and sticking to a regular publishing schedule:
- Identify how frequently your site visitors will expect you to post new content. This will depend on your site and your audience, and is likely to be higher if you want to make money from the site.
- Be honest with yourself: can you realistically write, edit and publish content at this pace? If you can’t do it yourself, you may need to rethink your plans or hire other people to help you.
- Create a publishing schedule with details of when you’ll publish and what type of content you’ll publish when: for example you might post different types of posts on different days of the week.
- As you come up with ideas, allocate them to dates in the future. Give yourself a reasonable amount of time before publication to allow time for writing, editing and creating or sourcing assets.
- Take time to edit your posts. After drafting something, don’t hit ‘Publish’. Save it as a draft and then come back to it another day to make edits, or (even better) ask someone else to.
- If you’re not going to be around on the days when you normally publish content, use the WordPress scheduling feature. In the publishing pane, you can select a future date for publication and then hit ‘Schedule’. WordPress will automatically publish the post for you when you tell it to.