Starting a new blog is an exciting time. You get to decide on your direction, choose a color palette, pick a name, choose your platform, and a whole lot more.
I’ve always been a huge fan of WordPress because of the amazingly supportive community, all the helpful resources, and the freedom I have with my website to do and create whatever I want.
However, choosing WordPress as your platform doesn’t mean that you can simply move on to the next decision. Like any other platform, there are other things to think about. Today we’ll go over 4 things to know before starting your WordPress blog.
1. Your theme choice matters
There are endless amounts of themes available, free and paid. All with a unique look, feel, and functionality.
Many beginners make the mistake of choosing a free theme that looks nice, without putting much thought into it. That’s exactly what I did when I started my first blog. I found a low-priced theme that I thought looked okay, purchased it, and off I went.
However, there were several things I didn’t think of.
First, I quickly found that the fonts, colors, and cute placeholder logo that I liked enough to purchase the theme didn’t matter. I decided that I wanted to try a sidebar-free option on some of my pages. Turns out, that wasn’t part of the theme – bummer. When I chose a no-sidebar layout everything appeared off-center and looked awful.
Next, I noticed the importance of having a header opt-in and decided I wanted one after shifting to focus on growing my email list. Luckily, I’m a developer. I didn’t know WordPress development at the time, but my web development skills got me far enough to have an unattractive looking header after about a day’s worth of trial and error.
Those two things were huge. That’s when I knew the fonts and colors on a theme weren’t what I should have been looking for. Those things would have been much easier to customize than the page layout. I should have been looking at the layout and overall functionality of the theme as it related to my goals!
Don’t make the same mistake I did. When choosing a theme, ignore the fonts and colors. Well-made themes will allow you to update those aspects easily. Instead, focus on the bigger picture. Do you want a sidebar or not? What about a featured header section? Footer widgets? Landing pages? Those are the things you want to pay attention to.
2. There are thousands of plugins – you don’t need them all
The wide variety of over 40,000 plugins available to WordPress is a large part of what makes the platform so flexible. You can find a plugin to do just about anything you want!
However, it is important to keep your plugin choices to a minimum, both for the performance of your site and for the effectiveness of your blog overall.
Too many plugins can both slow down your website and cause security issues. Now, a good web host will do a lot for your site speed and security, but even the best won’t be able to keep things moving if you install every fun plugin you see.
Plugins also have the ability to introduce security vulnerabilities. After weak usernames and passwords, plugins left without updates are the top cause of hacked websites. Yikes!
When installing plugins, take a look at the rating, how long it’s been since the plugin was updated, and whether that plugin will actually support your blog and business goals, rather than serving as a distraction.
For a list of my favorite plugins, check out this post!
3. Updates are important
I hinted at it in the last point, but the updates you see (or will see) popping up are important and shouldn’t be ignored. Many of the updates you’ll receive are to not only improve functionality and fix bugs, but also to patch security vulnerabilities.
The reason for each update is also listed publicly for users of the plugin, meaning hackers know exactly what to target when attacking a website.
To learn more about increasing the security of your website, check out this post.
4. There’s a learning curve, but the freedom is worth it
One of the most common complaints you’ll hear about WordPress is that it’s confusing and difficult to learn. The truth is, if you expect to go in knowing everything there is to know about the platform, yep, it will be confusing.
With the freedom of WordPress comes many options available at your fingertips. Many of the options you’re looking for will be right where you expect them to be and you’ll know exactly how to use them. But that won’t always be the case.
Luckily, WordPress has a huge community of people always willing to help and an endless amount of tutorials, resources, and videos. Doing a simple Google search for what you’re trying to do will get you the solution you’re looking for 99% of the time. Then, that’s one less thing you don’t know how to do!
Your theme choice will also play into your ease of use, specifically when it comes to updating fonts and colors, using different page layouts, and customizing widget areas or images.
I’ve got something for you!
If you want to find a theme that will make those options nice and easy, Coded Creative Themes is just what you’re looking for! Our simple, beautiful, and effective themes will do the hard work of growing your business, while making the look and feel easy to customize. Our 3 tiers of themes ensure there’s an option perfect for where you are in your business and all fonts have easily customizable fonts and colors, they’re mobile responsive, and you can upload your own logo!
Sound good? Check out the themes here!