20 WordPress Hacks Every Blogger Should Know
Your blog is key to connecting with your audience. So today, we’re giving you some WordPress hacks that will help you achieve precisely that.
As a blogger, you want to ensure your site is functional, attractive, easy to navigate, and easy to maintain.
So, let’s take a look at 20 WordPress Hacks to help you have a great website that stands out against the competition.
1 – Customize Your Homepage
WordPress is designed to display your latest posts on your homepage.
Since you are a blogger and want to use your blog to connect with your audience and market to them, this is not ideal for your website.
But the great news is that you can change that.
Remove the latest posts from showing on your website’s homepage and create a ‘Home’ page instead.
After that, add a new page and call it ‘Blog.’
This is where all your blog posts will go.
This makes it easy for visitors to easily access your content, navigate your site, and find the information they need.
After creating your pages, go to your WordPress admin and click on ‘Settings’ then ‘Reading.’
Navigate to ‘Frontpage displays’ and choose ‘A static page.’ Select ‘Home’ for the front page and ‘Blog’ for the posts page.
Customize your posts page and control the number of posts that your page displays.
Go back to your dashboard and click on ‘Posts’ then select your post to make any additional changes.
For example, you can change the author name, add multiple authors, and so on.
2 – Password Protect the Admin Directory
Add an extra layer of security to your site to prevent unauthorized access and keep your website safe.
Go to your WordPress admin directory and enable password protection.
Login to your cPanel and scroll down to the ‘Security’ section.
Select ‘Password protect directories.’
When prompted to choose the directories to protect select the /wp-admin/ folder.
Next, add a username and a strong password.
Save the changes.
Go to your wp-admin and try to access it to check if your changes have been implemented.
You should be prompted for a username and password.
Note: if any of your installed plugins are using the Ajax functionality on your website’s front-end, adding a security layer to your admin directory will break the Ajax functionality and you will receive errors.
3 – Install a Security Plugin
Your blog is vulnerable to malicious attacks the minute it’s launched.
The more success you have the greater the attempts by hackers to gain administrative access and this is why over 20,000 websites are hacked daily.
So, install the best security plugin to secure your blog and keep it safe from hackers.
Install Wordfence Security which offers all-around protection.
Wordfence is a free WordPress plugin that protects your WordPress site from hacking attempts.
What’s more, if your site does get hacked and the hacker manages to install malware, then Wordfence helps you to remove the malware from your site and get it working normally again.
The Wordfence plugin itself is free and has many great features and you can still meet your goals without upgrading to the paid plan.
But you can opt to pay $99 per year for a premium Wordfence subscription with more advanced features if needed.
4 – Limit Login Attempts
By default, WordPress has an unlimited number of login attempts. Meaning a user can try to log into your site multiple times without having your login details and end up getting it right without being blocked.
This is one of the most common cyber-attacks that hackers use to get into your site, and it is called Brute Force.
Use your Wordfence Security program to prevent it from happening.
Go to your Wordfence Security tab and click on Firewall.
Enable Brute Force Protection, and under Lock out after how many login failures, change that to 10.
This limits the number of retries and protect your blog from hackers.
Specify allowed entries and set the number of failed attempts that a user is allowed to make before their IP gets blocked.
Determine how long users are allowed to wait before trying to log in again and more.
5 – Add Two-Factor Authentication
Wordfence offers two-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security and keep hackers out of your site.
“Two-factor authentication” is an additional login security feature that is used by banks, government agencies, and the military worldwide.
It is one of the most secure forms of remote system authentication.
This method of logging in to your site relies on something you know and something in your possession.
That is why it is referred to as “two-factor” because two factors are involved in authenticating you.
In this case, you know your password and you are in possession of your cell phone or another authenticator device.
Two-factor authentication was previously a Premium feature but is now also available to users running the free version of Wordfence.
6 – Use Custom Permalinks
By default, WordPress permalinks are set to ‘plain’, and this is not ideal for SEO because they often include dates or numbers at the end.
So, customize your permalinks or use post names as your links instead.
Go to your WordPress admin dashboard and click on ‘Settings’ then ‘Permalinks.’
You will have several options to choose from. However, we recommend you choose ‘Post name’ and save your changes.
This allows browsers to rank your posts on the top of search engine results pages and is great for search engine optimization.
7 – Compress All Images
Compress your images to save storage space, improve your website speed, and give users the best experience.
Remember, keeping visitors on your blog and retaining them is difficult if your site is slow and it takes minutes to load images, videos, and other related content.
So, speed up your page load times to retain blog readers and ensure your website loads faster.
Always check your image sizes before uploading them to your site.
I use the Imagify plugin in my blogs because I love how easy the plugin works and how my images look great.
You can also use TinyPNG, JPEG Optimizer, or Online Image Optimizer to compress images and ensure faster loading times.
These image compression tools are free and easy to use.
Simply search for the one you want on your favorite browser, upload your image, and hit ‘compress.’
Using the compression tools doesn’t affect the quality of your picture. You also get to set the preferred quality for your compressed image before reducing the size.
8 – Add an Email Subscription Form
If you use an email program such as Aweber, you can create a form to be installed on your website so people can subscribe to your email list.
I put my form in my sidebar, but it can also be installed on each page or post if you choose.
Also, the MailMunch Plugin allows you to create forms that connect with most email providers. I use that at the top of my blog, as well as for a pop up that comes out when you start to leave the page.
9 – Manage Comments
Allow users to leave comments on your posts to boost engagement and get them to interact better with your content.
Manage comments and control which ones appear on posts to avoid having inappropriate comments on your pages.
Go to ‘Settings’ then ‘Discussions’ to set your preferences.
Display the number of comments, likes, and shares that each post receives to attract attention and boost engagement.
Use ReCAPTCHA to avoid spam. Use Google reCAPTCHA by BestWebSoft or set up and use reCAPTCHA in WPForms.
10 – Install an SEO Plugin
Search engine optimization is key to growing your readership and ensuring your content ranks high on search engines.
You can either hire an SEO expert or web designer on freelancing sites like Fiverr and Upwork or install an SEO plugin.
SEO plugins analyze your content and help you rank for certain keywords and appear on the SERPs.
They greatly speed up the entire process and ensure your blog ranks high on searches.
Use Yoast SEO to ensure the best results.
The plugin has over 20 000 5-star reviews and 5 million+ active installations.
The best part is that it comes with a free plan plus you gain access to countless features with the free plan. This is plenty for my needs.
Upgrade to the premium plan for additional features.
Other great SEO plugins to look into are All-In-One SEO, SEOPress, and WP Rocket.
11 – Install Google Analytics
Track site performance and study user behavior with Google Analytics.
Know where most of your traffic is coming from, how long people stay on your blog and your most visited pages.
Use the information you gather to improve your content strategy, grow your audience, and retain readers.
Install the Site Kit by Google plugin and use it to install Google Analytics. This is the easiest and most effective way to install Google Analytics on your site.
Measure your blog’s performance, analyze your audience, and gain access to important data straight from your WordPress dashboard.
The Site Kit by Google plugin is free and has a user-friendly interface.
12 – Limit Your Plugins
Plugins add more functionality to your blog and help you add unique and must-have features like contact forms and live chat to your site with little or no effort.
However, installing too many plugins can slow down your site and make it vulnerable to attacks.
So, limit your plugins and only install the most important and necessary ones.
For example, install ones that will help with your search engine rankings, add extra security to your blog, and ones that will benefit both your website and users.
Read user reviews and check ratings plus the number of active installations before installing your plugins to ensure you choose the best plugins that will not give you headaches down the line.
13 – Use Alt Text
Add alternative text to your images to make it easy for search engines to understand your images and ensure people with disabilities understand the purpose of the image.
Make sure every image has a title and description.
Write short and clear descriptions to improve the user experience.
Title tags and alt text are great for SEO and ensure your content appears on searches. So, don’t skip this part.
Simply go to ‘Media’ then ‘Library.’ Select the image you want to use and add a title and alt text.
14 – Add Featured Images
Featured images appear as thumbnail images on your posts and are a great way to command attention and boost engagement.
So, add a featured image on all your posts for interactive content and to attract your users to your blog.
Go to ‘Posts’ then ‘Add new post’ or click on your existing posts and navigate to ‘Add featured image’ on your right.
Upload the image you want and save changes.
Choose an image that goes well with your content and one that makes it easy for users to understand what the post is about.
15 – Display Related Posts
One of the most effective ways to keep readers on your blog and keep them engaging with your content is by displaying related posts after each post and suggesting related articles.
This is the most effective way to pique interest and get users to click on your articles.
So, display related posts below every article or on your sidebar with the Contextual Related Posts plugin.
Install and activate it. Customize your settings and choose your preferred options.
If you want to display random posts instead, use the Advanced Random Posts Widget plugin.
After successfully installing and activating it go to ‘Appearance’ then ‘Widgets.’ Add the widget to your preferred sidebar and set its location and position.
16 – Add Social Media Buttons
Social media buttons make it easy for users to share your posts with their friends and are a great way to increase blog traffic.
They help you build social proof, generate leads, and increase your social media following.
I prefer the Grow Plugin, because it also does a great job with Pinterest.
But you could also use the JetPack plugin, the Shared Counts plugin, or whichever you prefer.
After installing and activating the plugin go to ‘Settings’ then select the installed plugin.
If you choose Shared Counts, scroll down to the ‘Display’ section and add your share buttons.
Go through all the options and set your preferences. Click on ‘Save Changes’ once you are done.
17 – Hide WP Content
Hide directory browsing to deny users access to your themes and plugins or ensure site visitors don’t see which theme or plugins you are using on your website.
This is standard security practice and a great way to ensure attackers don’t exploit your site or hack into it using the displayed information.
So, hide wp-content, wp-includes, and wp-uploads.
Edit your .htaccess file via your website’s root directory. Add Options –Indexes at the bottom of your .htaccess file and save changes.
Go to ‘yourwebsite/wp-includes/js/jquery/.’ to check if changes were implemented. You should receive a 403 or forbidden error message.
18 – Add Your Gravatar Image
Set up your Gravatar to make it easy for people to identify you and give your blog a professional touch.
WordPress uses a default image as your gravatar if you don’t set one and that image is called ‘Mystery Person’.
So, add your image to ensure the right picture appears next to your comments and author bio.
Go to ‘Media’ then ‘Add new image.’ Choose the image you want to use as your gravatar image and add it to your WordPress library.
Go to your profile and navigate to your profile picture. Click on ‘Gravatar.’
You will be redirected to the gravatar website.
Upload your image and set it as your gravatar image.
Don’t forget to link the image to the email address you registered your account with to ensure it gets uploaded to your WordPress account.
19 – Back Up Your Website Regularly
In general, you should not rely on your hosting company to back up your WordPress site.
While most web hosts do take some type of backup, there are no guarantees when it comes to the frequency and completeness of those backups.
For your protection, you should treat them as if they basically don’t exist.
At most hosts, the only way to guarantee that you have a full, recent backup of your site is to do it yourself.
No matter the size of your WordPress website, finding a way to keep it safe from issues such as updates gone wrong, hacking, user error and crashes should be of the utmost importance.
If you’ve not set-up regular backups of your site yet, now’s the time to get it done, and it couldn’t be easier with the world’s most trusted WordPress backup plugin, UpdraftPlus.
20 – Keep Your Site Updated
Last but not least, keep your site updated and always make sure it’s running on the latest WordPress version.
Constantly check for updates and keep your theme and plugins up-to-date to improve website security and protect your blog from vulnerabilities.
Turn on auto-updates for your themes and plugins or update them manually by selecting the plugin and clicking on ‘Update.’
The great thing about WordPress is that it notifies you when your theme or plugins are outdated and there are new updates available.
So, you never have to worry about missing an update.
All you have to do is go to ‘Updates’ on your dashboard and update your theme and plugins to the latest and recommended versions.
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