January 26, 2022

7 Tips You Can Use Right Now to Make Your WordPress Site More Professional

Give yourself a round of applause — because you did it!

You installed a WordPress website and managed to get it up and running. You’ve even published a few blog posts. And while you’re proud of your accomplishment, you’re not yet in love with the site.

Something is off. It feels sloppy and unprofessional.

Don’t stress. It’s a common occurrence. And thankfully, there are seven simple things you can do to elevate your WordPress website from “meh” to marvelous!

1. Create and Upload a Favicon

If you’re new to website design, you’re likely thinking: What’s a favicon? So let’s tackle that first.

Open a website and look at the upper left-hand corner of the browser tab. That positional icon is known as a favicon. Typically, it’s a 32 x 32 pixel .ico file, and they’re usually modified versions of a brand’s logo.

How To Make a Favicon

Due to the responsive nature of today’s Internet, it’s important to create favicons that size well. Depending on screen dimensions, favicons can be as large as 195 x 195 or as small as 16 x 16.

Don’t know how to make an .ico file? Don’t worry; favicon generators are a dime a dozen. Do a search, and dozens will pop up. Plus, there are loads of favicon plugins for WordPress, including the All in One Favicon plugin.

How To Add a Favicon to a WordPress Site

Adding a favicon to a WordPress site is easy. Simply:

  • Login to your WordPress Dashboard.
  • Navigate to Appearance and click on Customize.
  • Chose Site Identity from the submenu.
  • Upload your favicon in the Site Icon section, and voila, you’re done!

select favicon in WordPress

2. Don’t Skimp on a Theme

As children, we’re taught never to judge a book by its cover. Yet, as adults, we ruthlessly assess websites by their designs! According to studies, it takes about half a second for people to make up their minds about your website. If it doesn’t meet their aesthetic standards, they’ll immediately click away and find a more palatable option.

In the world of WordPress websites, designs are defined by themes, which are categorized into four tiers.

Free Premade Themes

There are millions of free WordPress themes on the market. Several options come preinstalled, but you can also download them at:

Free themes are an excellent option for people on a tight budget. However, there are often downsides.

For starters, anyone can download a free WordPress theme, rendering your website’s design generic — which isn’t always ideal if you’re trying to build a brand. Moreover, free themes are often poorly coded, which can negatively impact your SEO efforts and bury your site in the search rankings.

And, in the worst-case scenarios, free themes can be loaded with bugs and viruses that can wreak havoc on your computer.

Paid Non-Exclusive Premade Themes

The next tier of WordPress themes is non-exclusive premade options that cost money. Options range from as little as $9.99 or as much as a few hundred bucks. Ones with a higher price tag are usually better. But generally speaking, options in this category are typically a step above free options. However, exclusivity is not an option. You may still come across someone with the same exact website as you.

Paid Exclusive Premade Themes

The third tier is premade themes that go off the market once someone purchases them. This option is great for people who want a unique design but don’t quite have the budget — or perhaps the time — to hire a professional developer. Sure, they may cost a bit more than a non-exclusive premade theme, but it also allows you to have a design singular to your business.

Custom Themes

Custom themes are the best option. Not only can you dictate what you want to the letter, but the expertise of a professional designer can be invaluable.

Don’t Forget About Technical Factors

It’s also essential to consider technical factors when picking a WordPress theme. Why? Well, did you know that 90% of people click away from websites that don’t load within five seconds! In fact, John Mueller, a Google search advocate, recommends a load time of less than three seconds.

Poorly coded WordPress themes take longer to load, so make sure whatever you pick has a lightning-fast load time before committing to it. Accessibility and responsiveness are also important backend elements to weigh when choosing a theme.

3. Don’t Neglect the Footer

Have you ever noticed that footers on professional websites look different from DIY ones? There isn’t a set formula, but good-looking ones usually have short text or pictogram links to valuable information, including:

  • Social media accounts
  • Links to important pages
  • Call to Action buttons
  • Terms of service, privacy policies, disclaimers, and other legal notices

Addresses, phone numbers, and award badges can also add a touch of professionalism.

Most WordPress themes allow you to customize the footer, so make sure to include all the points we mentioned above. You may also want to consider removing certain things, like the “powered by WordPress” link or other affiliate links, which may appear amateurish.

example footer in WordPress website

4. Get and Use a Custom Logo

In these marketing saturated days, one key to success is quality branding. An essential part of getting noticed is a memorable brand mark. A great example is the big-box store Target. The company emblazoned its brand on the public consciousness with its ubiquitous red and white circular icon.

You may not have a multi-billion-dollar retail conglomerate, but branding still matters — and that includes coming up with a memorable logo and mark. Thankfully, getting a custom logo is easier than ever. Not only are there more graphic designers in the world than at any other time in history, but there are dozens of services catering to all budgets.

People with limited resources can get a professional looking logo for less using services like:

5. Get a Custom Domain

Not only are domains a vital marketing tool, but they also affect your SEO efforts. Overly long domain names are rarely, if ever, a good idea. Also, ones with multiple sections — like yourdomain.wordpress.com — aren’t ideal.

Using a free WordPress domain is fine if you’re just starting out. After all, you likely want to see if you stick with your project before plunking down money. During that trial phase, free domains make the most economic sense. But once you decide to give it the old college try, it’s smart to secure a custom URL.

You can buy one through one of the thousands of URL registrars. GoDaddy is probably the most popular in North America, but there are endless options — so shop around. Once you secure the domain and hosting, simply install the latest WordPress package.

6. Post Consistently

Have you ever gone to a website, checked out its blog, and discovered that the latest post is two years old? To many people, a lack of regular content signals a lack of diligence — and that’s not a good look for any business.

Moreover, content helps SEO efforts. The more you post, the larger your digital footprint. The larger your digital footprint, the more exposure you enjoy.

However, don’t make the mistake of prioritizing quantity over quality. A website that publishes a handful of high quality posts every month that genuinely provide value to its target audience will outshine a website that posts dozens of short and useless articles every day. Today’s search engine algorithms are sophisticated and can distinguish between engaging, well-written articles and one-cent-a-word garbage.

Adding blog posts to a WordPress website is a snap. Simply navigate to the Posts section, pick Add New and you’re off to the races.

7. Curate Your Widgets Carefully

One of the best things about WordPress is the ability to add plugins easily — but the feature can quickly turn into a digital morass if you’re not careful.

The problem is that widgets can potentially slow a website down, and that’s the last thing you want. As we discussed above, the overwhelming majority of people will click away from a website if it doesn’t load within a mere three seconds. To state it another way: sluggish websites don’t feel professional, so don’t overload it with WordPress widgets.

Besides, long gone are the days of beeping and flashing websites. Today’s preferred aesthetic is clean and sleek. A sidebar packed with feed updates from five social media accounts, user comments, tags, categories, and calendars is overkill. It can also have a cheapening effect.

To add and remove widgets, do the following:

  • Login to your WordPress Dashboard.
  • Scroll down to Appearance and choose Widgets from the submenu.
  • Use the drag and drop functionality to remove widgets from your theme’s various sidebar options.

To find new plugins:

  • Login to your Dashboard.
  • Scroll down to Plugins and choose Add New from the submenu.
  • Use the search function in the upper right-hand corner to find plugins.
  • When you come across a plugin you want, click the corresponding Install Now button.
  • Once it’s installed, click the Activate button.

WordPress is a powerful website platform that’s easy to install. And by following the simple design guidelines we outlined above, you can create a lovely online home for your new business, organization, or side hustle.

If you’re in the market for some professional WordPress support, get in touch. One of our friendly WordPress experts will answer all of your questions and help develop a plan perfectly tailored to your needs.

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