WordPress is a content management system that can be used to create and manage your websites. Whether you want a personal website, business website, or simple blog, WordPress can manage all of these tasks and more. Knowing tips and tricks behind WordPress development can help you achieve business goals.
Getting familiar with a new tool such as WordPress (or any platform) can take time. There are a lot of widgets and tricks to get the hang of, and sometimes it can be frustrating. Trial and error, time, and patience are vital when you’re creating a new page.
Why use WordPress?
To begin, a lot of big companies use WordPress. According to the website Quick Sprout, UPS, CNN, TED, and TechCrunch all use the platform. In total, WordPress powers 34% of all websites worldwide. These numbers tell us that WordPress is reliable.
Another reason that Quick Sprout points out WordPress as a good platform is their SEO friendliness. For a website to be successful, SEO is very important. WordPress has built-in tools to tell you whether your content is doing well, in terms of SEO.
Some people want more out of WordPress than others. If you want your site to be simple, or if you want your site to be fully functional and complex, WordPress can help you achieve your goals. There are a lot of tutorials available, so you do not have to be overly tech savvy to get your website where you want it to go.
The website 000webhost has great tips about how to start developing, and what knowledge you may need to become a successful WordPress developer.
Webhost recommends reading the Core Contributor Handbook. The handbook can help you with the procedures necessary to add codes, solve bugs, test new features, report security issues, or anything else that piques your interest.
After conducting all the necessary research and getting comfortable with WordPress, you can decide on what theme to make public. This part is all based on what you think is best or your client’s preference. You can make your site as intricate or simple as you want, and play around with features until you find something that suits your unique tastes. After testing your theme and submitting it, you can analyze feedback to make any necessary changes.
Before creating a plugin, finding the proper niche for your work will be advantageous. There are many plugins out there already, so maybe don’t waste time adding to an area that’s already highly saturated. If you have an idea for a plugin that will be profitable, and have created a copyrighted plus secure version, Webhost recommends submitting it to WordPress to develop it further.
What to know
So, how do you get there? What is the basic knowledge necessary to begin the WordPress development journey? There are four main factors to be familiar with.
First of all, there are languages that Webhost says you should be familiar with:
- HTML (Hypertext Markup Language: This language consists of markup codes that will dictate how different aspects of a page will be displayed. Codes such as page titles, headings, paragraph text, data tables, and more are included here.
Example: <title>Learning HTML</title> will set “Learning HTML” as the title of the page.
- CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): CSS is used for dictating how the codes look, meaning font types, colours, page layouts and other stylistic elements.
- PHP (Personal Home Page): Webhost says this stands for Hypertext Preprocessor as it’s applicable to all areas of the site, and not just the home page. This can auto-generate files, access databases, encrypt data and more.
- MySQL (My Sequel): Lastly, MySQL is “an open source relational database management system.” WordPress uses PHP to get and store data from MySQL databases. Administrative features, including user roles, are possible due to MySQL. A developer will benefit with even slight knowledge of MySQL’s capabilities.
While knowing these languages will certainly help you and any clients you may be developing a website for, you don’t have to know all of them.
Learn the site
Webhost recommends setting up a WordPress sandbox so you can play around with the platform securely. Using sandbox is an easy way to follow along with tutorials that are provided in many of the online courses.
Most of the courses do cost money, but will help you learn the program in an in-depth manner. There are many different options available. Webhost recommends the WordPress Codex as it’s a good resource for searching terms and having proper explanations.
Just as anything else, WordPress has some issues. Knowing how to fix these errors is important for you, your possible business, and your potential clients. Putting off attending to repairs can make them worse, and take much longer than necessary.
System bugs are a recurring issue, causing everything from minor formatting problems to full on system crashes. Thankfully, there are debugging methods you can adhere to that can help. There are plugins that can help you find and resolve bugs. Webhost recommends DebugThis.
Another important possible issue to keep in mind are potential security issues. WordPress is known for being secure, but making sure the installation you use for development is safe is always a good idea. Having familiarity with WordPress developer security practices can help you have confidence in your site’s safety.
Lastly, constantly backing up your projects can save you from the headache of starting from scratch. It’s happened to the best of us, and there is nothing more frustrating than losing hours of progress.
Local development environment
When focusing on theme or development, conducting your work locally is best. Webhost says developing locally will ensure any testing and troubleshooting you conduct is confined to your system. Working in a live environment can have harsh repercussions, especially for your client’s sites.
A server stack will be necessary. A server stack is a software that will form the operational infrastructure for development on your computer. There are stacks you can download and use with little experience, so no need to stress! You can use MAMP for Mac and XAMPP for Windows and Mac.
Having an area for code work is also necessary. You can use basically any editor, but using more advanced systems can help you share your workplace with other developers. Collaboration will be smoother, and you can split your work into multiple viewing panes.
What to avoid
Lastly, another important topic to cover are common mistakes that people make when working with WordPress. The website WPbeginner outlines what many people have issues with.
- Choosing the wrong platform
There is WordPress.com which is a blog hosting service, and WordPress.org which is the self-hosted WordPress platform. WPbeginner suggests starting with WordPress.org because it gives access to all the features you’ll need.
- Not setting up automated backups
As discussed earlier, data loss is a big problem. Recovering data after an accident, theft, hacking attempts, or whatever else can be impossible. Thankfully, there are WordPress backup plugins that can ensure you’re covered.
- Not setting up Google Analytics
Google Analytics will show you how people find and use your website.
- Make sure you have a contact form
People who visit your website need to know how to get in touch with you. This is a simple mistake to make, but also an easy one to fix.
- Not optimizing your website for SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) will help you rank higher in search engines and bring more traffic to your website. There are a lot of tips for SEO, including WordPress’s SEO guide for beginners.
While the 5 mistakes listed above are important, WPbeginner has a list of 26 total errors that individuals are prone to make with WordPress Development.
We have gone over the benefits of WordPress, how to start your WordPress development, what you have to know in order to begin, and what mistakes to avoid.
You now have the knowledge to begin developing. Remember to be patient with yourself as you learn the program. Watch and read as many tutorials and blogs as you can, and don’t shy away from taking classes.