WordPress is one of the most popular and best blogging platforms available for anybody to use.
For anybody looking to start their own blog, I recommend taking a look at my super in-depth guide on how to start a blog, and for all beginners I recommend starting out using WordPress for all of your blogging purposes.
I think that when I first started my original blog a few years ago I was using a free platform like Blogger or something like that.
It was fine when I was just starting out, but I eventually needed some more options for customization and lately I’ve been focusing a lot on monetization, something that you just can’t do with free blog.
For beginners, I know there’s a learning curve using WordPress, despite how easy it is to get started with, so I wanted to come up with this list of helpful WordPress tips for bloggers and anybody that just started their own blog that wants to get a better grip on what you can do with this awesome blogging platform.
Helpful WordPress Tips for Beginner Bloggers
Familiarize Yourself with the Layout
The first thing you want to do after starting your blog on WordPress is to take some time to get familiar with the layout of the dashboard.
Click on all of the different menu options to see what happens and check out all of the different settings to see what you can do.
On the left hand side, the “Dashboard” menu option will always bring you back to the homepage of your WordPress blogging platform and you can click on it whenever if you happen to get lost or you just want to start something from scratch.
To start writing a new blog post or edit one of your previous ones, you can click on “Posts” and decide whether you want to see all of your current blog posts or add a new one.
To make changes on how your blog looks, click on “Appearance”, and you can customize the layout of your blog, change your theme, create or edit your menus, and play around with the different widgets.
Just take some time to check out all of the different menu options to see what happens and get familiar with your blog from the beginning, rather than waiting a few weeks to see what everything does and getting into a panic if you happen to make a mistake somewhere.
There are so many different plugins available on WordPress to choose from and it’s very likely there’s one available for whatever specific needs that you have.
From the beginning, I would actually recommend using the “Yoast WordPress SEO” plugin because it will make it easier for you to optimize your blog posts so that they’re more likely to show up in search engine results.
Apart from using Yoast, it’s really up to you to decide which specific plugins you want to use.
It’s a good idea to use a social sharing or social button plugin, so that you can have social media buttons on your blog.
Focus on Optimization from the Start
SEO, also known as search engine optimization, sounds pretty technical but it’s actually really easy to get a hold of, especially if you focus on it from the beginning.
Search engine optimization is the process of getting traffic from search engines by making changes on your blog that make it easier for search engines to find your content.
Using the Yoast plugin that I mentioned up above makes this process a little bit easier and there are a few other things you can do to help improve your chances when it comes to ranking in Google and getting free traffic from search engines themselves.
One of the main things you want to do is use variety of different relevant keywords that are related to the topic that you’re blogging about.
For example, this post is about WordPress tips for beginners, so some of the relevant keywords that I could include are ones like:
- Beginner WordPress tips
- WordPress tips for bloggers
- How to use WordPress
- WordPress tips and tricks
These are some different keywords that people are actually going to be looking for when they’re doing Google searches online so you want to try to use a good amount of relevant keywords so that you show up in a wider range of different search engine results.
Another thing that you should do is focus on writing longer content that’s packed full of helpful information.
Longer blog posts are going to perform better in search engines and are also able to provide a lot more value to your readers, especially compared to something short and uninformative.
At the bare minimum, I recommend keeping your blog posts at least 1000 words in length, with the sweet spot being anywhere between 1700 and 2300 words.
One more quick SEO tip that I want to mention is that you should try to make sure that your blog loads as quickly as possible.
This can be pretty technical, especially for a beginner, and I recommend checking out this helpful post on how to improve your website speed.
Having a fast website makes for a better user experience and with such short attention spans these days, you want to make sure that everything loads quickly for your readers.
Link Your Blog Posts Together
Linking all of your blog posts together, as long as it’s relevant to do so, is another cheeky little WordPress SEO tip that’s really easy for you to take advantage of.
The reason you want to do this is because it helps to keep people on your blog for longer and it also introduces them to more of your helpful content.
This is really effective at developing a dedicated and loyal audience, especially if you’re looking to get more traffic and grow your blog in the long run.
It’s really easy to link your posts together and you can do it either while you’re writing a blog post or afterwards when you’re editing before you post.
To link to another one of your posts, start off by highlighting the word, phrase, or sentence that you want to use for your link.
Then, click on the small paperclip icon at the top of your WordPress text editor.
Now you can either paste a specific URL that you want to link to or start typing some letters so that you can search through your posts to find one to link.
It’s really that easy to interlink of your blog posts and I recommend doing so whenever it’s relevant.
Change Your Permalink Structure
Set default permalink structure, or how your URL looks for different blog posts, is surprisingly rather ugly and it’s not that good for SEO either.
Changing the WordPress permalink structure is really easy and it’s something you’re going to want to do as soon as you start blogging.
To quickly change the structure, follow these simple steps:
- Hover over “Settings” on the navigation bar
- Select “Permalinks”
- Select the option for “Post name”
- Click on “Save Changes” at the bottom
This is going to make your URLs look a lot nicer and it also has a slight positive impact in your rankings in search engines.
It hardly takes any time at all and it’s a quick fix that every WordPress beginner should do.
Manage Your Posts Effectively
It can seem rather daunting when you first start blogging and there seems like there is just too much going on when it comes to posting a single blog.
Head over to your “Edit Post” page and take a look at the options in the top right corner, right underneath where it says “Publish”.
This is where you can manage your posts a lot more effectively than having to to do it all in the actual list of different posts.
For example, you can use the settings here to schedule a new post so that it’s posted to your blog in the future, rather than right when you’re done writing it.
This is great because it helps you stay on top of your blogging schedule, and you can even write a few new blog posts to schedule them in the future without having to post them right away.
If you’re blogging with someone else, you can set the post to “Pending Review”, and this makes it easy for the people you’re sharing your blogging duties with to take a look at your post and review it before it goes live.
With “Visibility”, you control who is able to see your content.
For the most part, you’re going to want to leave your visibility as public, but there are times you might want to set it to “Password Protected” or “Private”, especially if you’re offering private access to posts on your blog through a mailing list sign-up or something similar.
Another thing I love about the “Visibility” feature is that you can choose to “Stick this post to the front page”, and this makes the specific post show up at the top of your latest blog updates rather than getting pushed down.
With “Publicize”, you can easily connect your blog to different social media platforms and have it so that your latest posts are posted on social media whenever they’re posted.
Finally, the “Revisions” section makes it really easy for you to see changes that have been made to the post in the past, and this can be helpful if you want to update something specific or if you’re sharing the writing duties with others.
Easily Create New Content
With WordPress it’s really easy to do everything you need to do all in the same browser window, except for researching your content.
You can easily create new blog posts and make all of the different changes you need without ever having to leave your WordPress page.
This is thanks to the super intuitive “Visual Editor”, which makes it simple to write new content, add your images, and post your blog posts online.
Take a look at these awesome options that the editor provides you with when you’re looking to get to work on your next blog post:
- Use the Distraction Free Writing Feature
On the main editing toolbar, right underneath the “Visual” and “Text” tab, do you see that small icon that looks like an “X”?
Clicking this allows you to enter into the distraction-free writing mode of the WordPress editor, and this gets rid of all of the headers and side menus so that you can focus on your post writing without all of the other distractions.
To get back into the full WordPress layout, simply click on the “X” button again and you’ll be brought back to the original screen.
I really like this feature because it allows me to focus on my content when I’m trying to get into the writing zone and I don’t get distracted by anything on the sidebars.
Use the Second Toolbar
When you first start using the post editor on WordPress you only have a single bar of editing options. There is actually a second to a bar with a lot more different options to choose from, and I recommend toggling it on so that you can always take advantage of the other options available.
To toggle on the second toolbar, click on the icon on the farthest right of the original toolbar that looks like a weird square. This will open the second row and you’ll be able to use a few different options when you’re creating and editing your posts.
Use Keyboard Shortcuts for Quicker Editing
If you want to be able to create your content more effectively, you’re going to want to take a look at the “Keyboard shortcuts” that are offered through the editor.
To look at these different shortcuts, click on the small question mark con on the bottom row of the second toolbar. Clicking on this icon will display to you all of the different keyboard shortcuts and you can use these when you’re writing or editing your content to quickly implement these shortcuts and improve the appearance of your blog posts without having to do so much clicking around.
- Implement Excerpts on your Home Page
One more feature that I want to mention is the “Insert Read More Tag” that you can find on the far right of the top row of the main toolbar. This allows you to create a small excerpt of your content so that your separate blog posts look a little better on your main page for anybody visiting your homepage.
After your first or second sentence in your post, simply click on the read more tag icon and anything before the icon will be displayed underneath your future image, with everything else hidden away under the “read more” button that will be displayed.
Change Your Screen Options
At the very top right of all of the different pages that you’re on when you’re on WordPress you should see a button that says “Screen Options” with a small little arrow beside it.
When you click on this button you’ll be presented with a few different options that you can use to customize the appearance of your dashboard and all of the other WordPress screens that you’re using.
For example, you can choose which specific boxes that you want displayed on your “Edit Post” page, like Yoast or one showing comments, and you can also choose whether or not you want a single or double column layout.
Be sure to take a look at these different settings and try out some of the different changes to see if there is a layout that you would prefer more than others.