WordPress Development Essentials: Best Practices for Web Designers and Developers

Building a WordPress website can seem overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the world of web development. To take the stress out of creating your site, we’ve compiled some handy best practices for WordPress development. 

Join us as we chat about all things WordPress development, from creating a development workflow to securing your site.

 

Creating a WordPress development workflow

A WordPress development workflow refers to the process of creating, building and maintaining a WordPress website. Web development usually flows in one direction: local → staging → production. This means all core, theme, and plugin updates are done locally, then tested in a staging environment, and finally, deployed to production.

A couple of ways you can improve your WordPress development workflow are:

 

  • Choose a good hosting provider 
  • Utilise a staging site 
  • Implement version control
  • Schedule automatic backups of your site 

 

How can I customise my WordPress theme?

If you can’t find the perfect WordPress theme, you can create a perfectly tailored site through customisation. To make things easier, start with a theme close to what you’re looking for. For example, if you’re a corporate business, you might want to consider choosing a corporate WordPress theme. 

Since this theme will be closer to what you need than another style of theme, there will be less editing required on your end. Keep in mind that some themes are also more customisable than others.

The main ways to customise a theme are through the Customizer, page builders, or editing the theme code in HTML and PHP. The Customizer is a tool native to WordPress and is the easiest way to change the basic styling of a theme without touching the code. 

You can access the Customizer by going to Appearance > Customizer in your WordPress dashboard. You’ll then be able to see all the aspects of your site you can change on the left-hand side with a real-time preview. At the bottom of the left-side panel, you’ll also be able to see a preview of your page on different screen sizes.

A page builder is a WordPress plugin that enhances the WordPress page and post interface and makes it easier to change the layout of your site. Some of the most popular page builders include Elementor, WPBakery, and Themify Builder. 

Most of these editors allow you to drag and drop elements onto the page and preview how it looks for visitors. They also automatically update the underlying code so you can modify the page elements by simply dragging and dropping.

The option that gives you the most control over your theme’s appearance is editing the theme code. Since beginners may risk breaking their site when editing the theme code, this approach best suits experienced users. You can add your own CSS code through the Customizer by choosing ‘Additional CSS’ and pasting in your CSS.

 

How can I develop custom plugins?

The first step to creating your own plugin is to do your research to make sure that the plugin you want to create doesn’t already exist. Once you’ve done your research, you can set up a testing environment. From there, you’ll be able to create your plugin

Don’t forget to save your work regularly and test your changes. This is where your staging site comes in handy as it allows you to test your plugin and identify any security issues before you publish it. 

Once you’re confident that your plugin is free from security issues or vulnerabilities, you can test it on a live site. And once you’re finished, you can begin to distribute it. One of the best ways to gain exposure is to submit it to the WordPress Plugin Directory. 

This will allow you to take advantage of WordPress’ massive user base and attract new clients. You might also want to share your plugin on your own website where you can include more details about it. Developers often use their websites to promote their premium plugins while providing a free or lite version in the WordPress directory.

 

How can I optimise the performance of my WordPress site?

One of the best ways you can optimise the performance of your WordPress site is by choosing a good hosting provider that offers fast speeds and a high-uptime guarantee. You’ll also want to ensure that they offer reliable customer support if something goes wrong. 

Optimising your images can also help improve the performance of your site as large images contribute to slow loading times. Reducing the file size of your images before you add them to the site will help improve your site’s loading speed. There are also WordPress plugins available that optimise your images when you upload them, such as Smush and Jetpack. 

 

Don’t forget security!

Although WordPress is generally considered a safe CMS, it can be vulnerable to attacks and it’s always a good idea to keep up with the best security practices. A secure website also protects you and your visitors and helps boost your search engine rankings. 

One effective way to secure your site is to use strong passwords. Although a password like ‘Password123’ might be easy to remember, it’s not going to offer great security. Password managers can help generate strong passwords and keep your passwords organised in one place. 

Ensuring that you regularly check for and install WordPress plugins will help you eliminate security vulnerabilities that come along with outdated software. Before you update, don’t forget to back up your site and check that your plugins are compatible with the latest version of WordPress.

Installing security plugins is another effective way to secure your website. All-in-one plugins such as SiteGround security are the most efficient way to protect your site. These plugins take care of most of the manual work such as scanning your website for infiltration attempts and preventing content theft such as hotlinking.

 

Looking for a hand in creating a WordPress website that elevates your digital presence? Get in contact with us at hello@omdigigroup.com to find out how we can turn your dream site into a reality.

 

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