9 Vital WordPress Tips For Beginners In 2020

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My Best WordPress Tips Overview

I talk up WordPress in almost every conversation I have regarding websites. WordPress is great because it requires no coding, it’s fully customizable, and Google loves it. Because of WordPress and it’s a large selection of themes and plugins, I’m able to design websites quickly and create a great user experience that drives more users to my site, and encourages them to convert. I want you to have the same experience I have while using WordPress. That’s why I’m giving you my 10 best WordPress tips for beginners in 2020.

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WordPress Tips I’ll Be Covering

These are my 9 top tips for anyone just starting out on the WordPress CMS.

#1. Learn & Understand There Are Two Different Types Of WordPress

There are two different types of WordPress. There is WordPress.org( the content management system (CMS)) and WordPress.com (build-it-yourself online web application comparable to Wix or Squarespace).

#2. Purchase The “Divi” Theme

WordPress offers a lot of free themes but honestly, none of them are worth it. Read my bullet point on Divi and learn why the Divi theme is the only way to go when building a website with WordPress.

#3. Try To Build Your Site Using As Little Plugins As Possible (2 Or Less)

Plugins can help your website in many ways but too many plugins can really hurt your site. For any new WordPress user, I recommend keeping your plugin count as low as possible. Doing this helps you with problem-solving and keeping your website as simple as possible.

#4. Use Design Inspiration From Other Sites You Love

Pablo Picasso is famous for saying “Good artist copy, great artist steal”. When I make websites I take this saying to heart to find inspiration, and to keep moving forward through any and every project.

#5. Take A HTML/CSS Class Online

Though it’s not mandatory to know HTML and CSS to get started with WordPress, it can be extremely helpful. Take a course or two online and you will be creating amazing, professional, and fully customized websites in no time.

#6. Make Google Your Best Friend

The best skill you can develop as a WordPress developer is a skill to Google things. Google things frequently, and eventually you will understand everything about WordPress.

#7. Make Backups Before Making ANY Changes

I broke server after server when I first started developing websites, don’t let this happen to you. Create backups of your servers as frequently as possible. You never know the next time you will mess something up.

#8. Get Creative, Play Around And Explore WordPress

This tip may go against number three but for good reasoning. Though I believe you should keep plugin count low, it’s extremely important to familiarize yourself with the popular plugin and theme options. This section tells you all about the ways you should be exploring WordPress.

#9. Surround Yourself With Other WordPress Developers

Finding a group of friends to help me along the way has been a huge advantage for me while learning how to build websites with WordPress. This WordPress tip might be the most important.

#1. Learn & Understand There Are Two Different Types Of WordPress

Screenshots of WordPress.org and WordPress.com home pages.
WordPress.com VS. WordPress.org yes, there is a BIG difference. When you hear anyone from Ebadore speaking about WordPress, we are talking about the WordPress.org version of WordPress.

Before you can start building a website using WordPress, you need to realize and understand the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. If you miss this step, it can severely hurt the outcome of your website and overall business. That’s right, there is more than one version of WordPress. The easiest way to differentiate the two is by calling them WordPress.org and WordPress.com. When I talk about WordPress, I’m talking about WordPress.org’s version, NOT the .com version.

What’s The Difference In WordPress.org And WordPress.com?

In the simplest terms, WordPress.org is the fully customizable, SEO friendly, speedy, website development software I speak of constantly. WordPress.com is a “build it yourself” website design platform that is similar to Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace. The WordPress.org and .com versions are so different, that they are almost not even comparable. I personally see zero perks in WordPress.com other than it’s extremely simple (negatives attached to a “simple” website), so I’m just going to explain the negatives of .com and the positives of .org.

Negatives Of WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the version that is comparable to Wix or other “build it yourself” platforms. The issue, like with all easy-to-build website software, is you don’t have full control over your website, server configuration, and you are limited when it comes to customizing your website.

  • You have zero control over your server’s configuration
  • You are limited to the customization options provided by the software
  • Only offers a handful of selected plugins & themes
  • Very expensive compared to the alternative

Positives Of WordPress.org

WordPress.org is an open-source content management system that you can install onto a server. This version of WordPress is installed on 35% of all web servers throughout the world. The reason so many people turn to develop and design with the WordPress CMS is that it’s fully customizable, and in most cases, requires zero coding experience at all.

  • You have full control of your server and can configure your server for higher performance
  • Fully customizable (good for static web pages, web applications, and adding PHP, Javascript, HTML, CSS)
  • Pick from over 31,000 themes
  • Customize your site with over 55,000 plugins
  • Search Engine Optimization friendly
  • Extremely low-cost month to month

#2. Purchase The “Divi” Theme

The Divi builder tools being used while building a page on the Ebadore Digital website
The Divi Builder puts all the tools in front of you as a website designer. Divi makes it easy to construct websites without needing to know any code at all.

Divi is the best theme for both WP beginners and experts. The Divi theme can be explained as a tool belt with every single tool you need to build a website. Divi allows web designers to drag and drop content like images, text modules, and toggles. This helps accelerate the speed a website can be designed at, and also removes the need to know code to build a fully customized website.

The Difference Between Dragging & Dropping With Divi Vs. Wix Or Weebly

I assume you might be curious to ask “if I’m going to drag and drop anyways, why not just use Wix?”.

When you utilize Divi you are also utilizing WordPress. Divi is an enhancement to WordPress that gives you the ability to design your website with as little effort as possible. Because you are using Divi installed on WordPress you then can use WordPress to optimize your site for speed, search rankings, data collection, and more. If you were to choose to build your site with Wix, you would miss out on all the perks WordPress offers.

You Can Still Add Custom Code To The Divi Builder (Not Required)

This is what makes Divi the most awesome and best WP theme for beginners and experts. Divi allows WordPress developers and designers to add custom markup and programing text to any page you create. This means if there are any special features you would like to add to your website like online booking, custom hover effects, or other custom features WP doesn’t already have plugins for, you can add them (unline Wix or Weebly).

Divi Theme Pricing

Divi is a paid theme you can purchase from Elegant Themes. You can purchase the theme online, download it from the Elegant Themes website, and upload it to your WordPress website. Pricing for the Divi theme is $89 a year, but it only requires a yearly subscription if you want to keep updating your version of Divi. Regardless, purchasing this theme is still cheaper than paying for a Wix website and performs WAY better.

#3. Try To Build Your Site Using As Little Plugins As Possible (2 Or Less)

A screenshot of the backend of WordPress plugins add new page

There are many reasons why all experienced WordPress developers will tell you to keep your plugin count as low as possible. The most common reasons include security issues, and an increase in load time. My reasoning to keep your plugin count down, is neither of these. Though I believe both of those reasons are valid arguments, I simply want to see what you can do with less fancy options.

Keeping Your Site Simple

Having fewer plugins on your website is just one way to keep your website simple but this one tip can help your website’s performance in major ways.

Helping You Become A Better Developer

I’m 100% sold on the fact that anyone can build a really awesome website using just the Divi Builder (no plugins needed). I say this and added this WordPress tip because I know how easy it is to get carried away with plugins as a new developer. Simply, build your website using the tools you have on hand, if you can’t find a solution right away, try to get creative. Doing this will make you a better designer.

Keeps Your Website Secure

There are over 55,000 plugins for WordPress that are all produced by different creators. Some of these creators are amazing developers who create really good and secure plugins. Other developers don’t care as much about security and when you install those plugins, you are susceptible to potential hacks. As a beginner WP developer, you may have trouble pointing out what plugins are secure, and what may lead to a future hack of your website.

Keeping Your Website Fast

I talk about improving website speed constantly. Read my blog post about things not to do when designing a website and you might learn more ways to keep your website fast.

Each plugin you install to your website has its own set of PHP, Javascript, CSS, and HTML files. The more files that need to be read on a page load, the longer that page will take to load. With fewer plugins, your website will load super quick.

My Favorite WordPress Plugins

there are a LOT of plugins I love to use again and again. I created a blog post explaining all my favorite plugins. If you are interested in learning more about these WordPress plugins read “4 Essential WordPress Plugins To Us On Every Website“.

#4. Use Design Inspiration From Other Sites You Love

One of the first bits of advice I got as a website designer was that it’s best practice to look at what has already been created and base your ideas off of those. Using design inspiration can help you design a website faster because you have a roadmap. Having this roadmap also helps you add or take away necessary or unnecessary pages you may or may not have thought you needed. This simple web design trick is used by both beginners and very experienced professionals.

Vector icon art showing how you can take inspiration from different websites to build your own website.

Good Artist Copy, Great Artist Steal – Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso didn’t mean steal a physical object or steal something color for color, line for line. What Pablo Picasso meant was take this little bit from this artist, take another bit from another artist, merge it together and create something amazing.

Color Palettes

Remember, some exact colors are trademarked so you need to be careful not to steal color for color. Instead, choose some colors you like and find other websites that use those same colors. You can use this to find unique ways to combine your colors and maybe find alternative color options that may work better.

Page Layouts

I grab ideas from other page layouts frequently. Almost every website I design, I stole bits and pieces of the page layout from other websites I like across the web. Remember, don’t steal the words, steal the layout and use the words as an example.

Page Copy/Text

With this tip, you have to be extremely careful. I’m not saying to go steal someone’s paragraph text word for word. This will for sure get you in trouble and most likely sued for Copyright. Instead, learn from what other companies or organizations are adding to their websites. See if you are missing important information about your business that is commonly added to other sites in your industry.

#5. Take A HTML/CSS Course Online

Two books. One book is about learning HTML and CSS while the other book is about learning Javascript and Jquery
Learning the basics of front-end development code will help you our as a WordPress designer.

I know you already have learning WordPress on your plate. Even though I have recommended that you can get started with WordPress without knowledge of how to code, that doesn’t mean it won’t help. It will help a ton! I’m not asking you to be an HTML and CSS expert, but take some time to learn the basics for both HTML and CSS.

What Is HTML & CSS?

Both HTML and CSS are basic coding languages that help make up almost all the content you see on the web.

HTML

HTML stands for “HyperText Markup Language” and is a basic langue that gives us the ability to show things like text on a web page. The most important HTML elements I recommend you learn are those that form the structure of your site and have the most impact on SEO.

The most important HTML elements to learn are the “H” tags (includes h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6), “P” tag and the “div” tag. If you have no idea what any of these are, that’s okay. Take a course and try to understand it as much as possible. Don’t expect to learn HTML overnight, because it will really hurt your head. Learning any programming language will take time and patience. Practice 10-30 minutes every day.

CSS

CSS stands for “Cascading Style Sheets” and this language gives us the ability to add color and other styles to our HTML content. Learning this language requires just as much patience to learn as HTML, but is much easier because it’s dealing with making elements pretty rather than just show up. The most important areas of focus while learning CSS is learning how to change background colors, text colors, font sizes, and learning about paddings and margins.

Best Places To Take HTML & CSS Classes

There are a lot of websites that offer online HTML and CSS classes. My two favorites are Codecademy and Treehouse. Both of these websites are amazing. Personally, I prefer Treehouse because it offers video lessons with every subject, where Codecademy is text-based learning.

#6. Make Google Your Best Friend

Next to “stealing” designs, making Google my best friend has helped me become a better WordPress developer. Anything you have a question about regarding website design, coding, or WordPress, Google has the answer. Before you go around asking your friends for answers, just type your question in the search bar. You will find your answer quick and maybe even get more inspiration. Remember, the better you are are searching, the smarter you will become.

Researching + Learning Through Google Tips

Try Different Search Terms

I’m a pretty complex guy that likes to find answers to complex questions. In most cases, I find answers very quickly, but in other cases, I spend hours or days Googling answers. For instance, I spent two full days searching for a way to write some Javascript. I suck a Javascript. I couldn’t find my answer so I had to research and research. Each search I change the way I asked my question until I asked the right question and found my answer.

Don’t Forget The Power Of Rest

I say don’t forget the power of rest because, I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve Googled and Googled, literally ripping my hair out to find an answer. The longer I stay awake at night searching for answers, the harder it becomes to find that answer. Simply take some breaks from learning because you will find the answer faster when your brain is relaxed.

#7. Create Backups Before And After Making ANY Changes

I made the huge mistake of not creating backups MANY TIMES before I finally made a habit of it. In fact, I’m going to go make a backup right now, and you should also! I couldn’t tell you how many times I spend hours, days, and weeks working on a website just to crash the server and lose everything. Don’t risk losing everything you have made in the past. Create a backup regularly. This is honestly the best tip I can give anyone starting out with WordPress.

Important Changes To Make A Backup Before

Like I said, in the past, I crashed a LOT of servers. I have learned over time how to fix those errors without needing backups (most of the time) but for beginners, it’s always safe to back up. This is a list of tasks that you should always back your site up before or after doing.

Changing Your Domain Name

You can easily override the domain name in the backend WordPress settings, but if you are brand new, don’t risk it. Back it up or you will find yourself searching for your wp-config.php file.

Writing A Big Blog Post Or Adding A Lot Of Content

The worst thing ever is to lose a bunch of work you spend weeks working on. I try to backup daily.

Updating WordPress, Themes, Or Plugins

Before making any updates on your server you should ALWAYS backup. You never know when one little change to your theme file will mess your entire site up. Because you don’t know exactly what is included in every update, always backup to be safe.

Making Changes To Any Code On Any Page Of Your Website

This tip goes especially for if you are adding custom code to your PHP files inside of your server. Always back your website up or you WILL lose everything.

#8. Get Creative, Play Around And Explore WordPress

This tip might actually contradict some other tips I said previously in this article but that’s okay. When I say “Get creative and play around” I mean I want you to explore plugin options, themes, and learn all about the WordPress community. Though I believe you should keep your website as simple as possible by removing all unnecessary plugins, I also believe knowledge of the platform will take you a long way. Play around with different tools offered by the WordPress community, and soon you will be a WordPress rockstar.

Test Out Multiple Plugins That Offer The Same Benefits

Every website is different. Differences include targeting different audiences, having different agendas that require different plugins, and have different amounts of custom code added to them. There are more things that make every website different, just know that no plugin is the best fit for every website. Because every site is different, be sure to test out and familiarize yourself with as many plugins as possible. I do this constantly with almost every plugin I install. I find all my options, test them out one by one, and audit the user experience and web performance I get out of every plugin.

Testing Out Caching Plugins

I wanted to make this section it’s own bullet point. Caching plugins ALWAYS require testing multiple plugins on every site. This is because every website you build will have a different array of Javascript, HTML, CSS, and PHP files based on the plugins and themes you install. I always test out multiple caching plugins and find a solution that works best for my individual website.

Exploring Theme Options

Though I recommend the Divi Builder, there are a lot of other on-page building plugins like it. If I were you I would explore your options and find a solution that works best for you. I don’t know very much about other WordPress themes, so if you find other themes you like, send them my way.

Divi

Divi is the theme I use and is honestly the only theme I have ever used since I started building websites on WordPress. Divi makes it extremely easy to build web pages because everything is drag and drop. Need header text, paragraph text, testimonials, or images? Just drag them onto your web page. I actually talk more about Divi in tip number two of this article.

Extra

Extra is a theme that is powered by the Divi Builder but focused on blog-heavy websites. Extra makes it easy to sort content so viewers can find more articles faster.

Beaver Builder

Beaver Builder isn’t a plugin I’ve played around with but it could be a possible option for someone that doesn’t want to pay a yearly subscription. From the looks of it, Beaver Builder doesn’t offer the same modern advancements that Divi offers. Beaver Builder also has a higher upfront cost but a lower year to year cost because it’s not a subscription.

Elementor

Like the Divi Builder, Elementor gives designers the ability to drag and drop modules onto web pages and build full websites without needing to know any code. The biggest issue I see with Elementor is it lacks the advancements and community that backs the Divi experience. If you are on a budget, I recommend Elementor over Beaver Builder. This recommendation is not from me testing the product but instead, is based on presentation and price alone.

#9. Surround Yourself With Other WordPress Developers

This should actually be my #1 WordPress tip and not #9. I learn a lot by watching videos and Googling answers but I find answers to questions I didn’t even know I had by having friends. To learn even more at a rapid pace, I recommend surrounding yourself with other WordPress developers. You can do this by going to local WordPress meetups or joining WordPress Facebook groups and adding friends. Some of my best friends have come from meeting people in WordPress Facebook groups.

Go To Local WordPress Meetups

There is a huge community backing WordPress. This community throws events in every city across the world.

Need help finding the nearest event?

Simply log in to the backend of your WordPress website and head to your main dashboard. From your dashboard, you will see a toggle tab that says “WordPress Events and News”. Click on the dropdown (if it’s closed). You will then see a list of upcoming events near you.

Another alternative is to search MeetUp.com for upcoming local events.

A screenshot of the Ebadore Digital WordPRess backend with arrows pointing to where you can find the local upcoming wordpress events in your area.

Joining Facebook Groups

Facebook can be used as an extremely powerful tool when it comes to making new friends. Actually, some of the most inspiring people I know came from me meeting them in Facebook groups. If you are having issues finding good groups, simply ask other developers what groups they are in. Once you join these Facebook groups you will begin to learn a lot and also have the ability to teach a little bit about what you have learned.

Wrapping Up My 9 Best WordPress Tips For Beginners

I started utilizing WordPress over 7 years ago. when writing this blog post I asked myself, “what would I tell my past self to learn that I know now”. I answered that question and came up with 9 tips for you. These are my 9 WordPress tips for beginners. Follow these tips and keep learning to avoid mistake I have made in the past and you will become successful using WordPress.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a free, open-source content management system that allows designers and developers to build websites with ease. WordPress puts all the tools necessary to build a website into your hands, without needing to know any coding languages. WordPress is know for giving you the ability to choose between different website themes, add extensions called plugins, and create amazing blog entries easily.

How can I add WordPress to my website?

You can download WordPress from https://wordpress.org and install it onto your server OR you can launch a server with WordPress pre-installed from server hosts like Digital Ocean or Bluehost. Sometimes when you are just learning how to launch a server it might be best to do reasearch, ask a friend, or watch a complete video before jumping in.

What does open-source mean?

WordPress is open-source. This means the source code (foundation) of WordPress can be edited by anyone and everyone. The perks of WordPress being open-source include being able to completely customize WordPress so it works exactly how you want it to. These customizations cannot be completed on other content management systems (CMS) that are not open-source.

Is building a website with WordPress easy?

For someone jumping into WordPress for the first time, it can be a bit intimidating. That’s why I made this blog post explaining 9 awesome WordPress tips that will help you grow as a WordPress developer.

Take your time and learn WordPress. Even if you just learn the basics, understanding WordPress will help push you ahead in business.

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1 Comment

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    Your way of explaining all in this article is genuinely good, every one be able to easily
    understand it, Thanks a lot.

    Reply

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