15+ Best Web Design Communities & Discussion Spaces in 2021

Networking is an important part of almost every career, especially web design. And being part of a community related to your industry can bring many benefits. When you join a community, you’ll always have a place to turn to when you want to seek advice, get feedback on projects, find a solution to a problem,…

Full-Screen Video Backgrounds in Web Design: Pros, Cons & Tips

There’s still a debate going on in the web design community on whether video backgrounds in websites are good or bad. However, we’ve seen a rise in websites utilizing fullscreen video backgrounds in the past few months than ever before. But is it really an effective strategy? Does it help engage with an audience? Does…

Everything you need to know before you start developing with WordPress.

When I started using WordPress I was fortunate enough to have a mentor to guide me through the ins and outs. At the time I was interning at a web design agency, and part of the job was taking old client website and rebuilding them with WordPress.I want to pass down some of that knowledge to lessen the learning curve for those of you just starting out.TL;DRWordpress.org is NOT WordPress.comHaving a fast website mattersMobile friendliness is important!SecurityPremium themes are worth it (IMO)Further (optional) earningWordPress.org is NOT the same as WordPress.comWordpress is a free open source piece of software. It’s 100% free and anybody can download and install it via the wordpress.org website.Wordpress.com is a paid-for commercial service. They offer wordpress hosting and support.A lot of people confuse the two to be the same and end up hosting their website via wordpress.com without realizing there are better wordpress hosting options.Having a fast website mattersHaving a fast website isn’t just important from a user-friendliness perspective, having fast web page load times has a tangible effect on your website’s overall performance.Having a fast website will:If your website is slow, Google will penalize you in terms of search rankings. This means your competitors with faster websites will on average rank higher than you.Below I discuss some simple (yet effective) ways to improve your website speed.Web hosting effects website speedA fundamental thing you need to do to ensure your website will have fast load times is to choose a good web hosting provider.The web hosting market is flooded with different providers. As a rule of thumb, stay away from Newfold/EIG web hosting companies. Understand that cheap ≠ good.As a side note, only install plugins that are essential for your website. If you overload your website with different plugins it can reduce your website and back-end speed.Website cachingWebsite caching is storing files in a server cache, so the files can be easily accessed. Website caching improves your website speed and is highly recommended when working with WordPress.If your web hosting provider doesn’t offer web caching natively I recommend installing the plugin WP Super Cache.Something to keep in mind when you have a caching plugin installed, is sometimes when you’re making cosmetic changes to the website (updating CSS), the changes may appear fine on your computer, but are not appearing on a different computer, browser, or incognito window.This is because the server is pulling from the old server cache. To fix this purge your website cache. This can be done via your web caching plugin.Image compression/re-sizingInstead of uploading the full resolution of your image, use a combination of image compression and resizing to speed up website load times.Most of the time, it’s not necessary to upload the full resolution of an image (unless perhaps your website is based around photography). A common mistake beginners make is uploading large photos in full resolution which causes their website to load slowly. Especially if your website relies heavily on visual media.There’s number of free WordPress plugins that will take care of this process automatically for you.Mobile friendliness is important!A major mistake a lot of beginners make is completely forgetting the mobile aspect of their website. They’ll develop it on their desktop/laptop and be completely shocked and not understand why it looks so bad on their phone.When developing your website you need to also build it to be mobile-friendly. To do this, you’ll need to learn and become familiar with HTML and CSS. More specifically, CSS media queries.I’m going to be honest, the learning curve for this will be steep if you’re not tech savvy or familiar with scripting/programming languages. Just know that this stuff isn’t that complicated and there’s thousands of HTML/CSS tutorials available for free on YouTube.Not only is CSS/HTML in general just a good skill set to have (for your resume for example). But learning it will make you a more well-rounded blogger and web-master. In other words, you’ll be able to maintain your website more effectively.If learning that stuff is too daunting for you, you’ll need to look for a mobile-friendly WordPress that’ll take care of all the media queries for you. Most premium WordPress themes will do this for you.SecurityA lot of security threats regarding WordPress involve bots trying to brute force their way in. One of the simplest ways you can protect yourself against this threat is to have a strong password with letters, numbers, and symbols.You can also use free/paid plugins to monitor malicious activity on your website. One plugin that comes to mind is WordFence.Your hosting provider also plays a critical role in securing your website. In my experience, cheap web hosting providers with bad infrastructure often have security vulnerabilities. I used to have a cheap web hosting plan with ASmallOrange, and I would regularly get emails stating that my website had been compromised and I must change my password.ASmallOrange is a Newfound (previously known as EIG) web hosting company, and as a rule of thumb I recommend staying away from Newfound web hosting providers.On a final note regarding security, I’d strongly recommend using 2-Factor authentication (2FA) as the cherry on top to prevent brute force attacks.Premium themes are worth it (IMO)If you have the $$$ to drop on a premium WordPress theme, I would highly recommend it. WordPress themes offer functionality to designing your website that otherwise wouldn’t be possible without the theme.This includes but not limit to:WidgetsButtonsFontsSidebarsCSS and HTML templatesThere’s only so much you can do with the default installed WordPress themes. In my opinion, paying for a premium theme will speed up the amount of time needed to create a high quality website.I’m not going to make any suggestions because I don’t want this post to come across as me shilling a specific theme. If you just do a Google search of top premium wordpress themes and use that as a guide in tandem with YouTube tutorials to see how to use it, you’ll find everything you need to know.Further (optional) learningAside from learning CSS and HTML, PHP is a good language to familiarize yourself with since WordPress is built with PHP. Knowing it will allow you to manage the back-end side of your website more effectively as well as to create custom functions, plugins and themes.Learning Javascript also doesn’t hurtConclusionsAnyways, I hope this was useful for some of you who are just starting out! What are some things you think WordPress beginners should know before they get started?

How To Migrate From WordPress To A Headless CMS

WordPress is the most used website builder in the world; almost half of the web has used WordPress to create their website. It makes sense, because it allows you to quickly create websites and has a rich plugin’s ecosystem to help you scale your site. But technology is evolving, and there are more and more…

Core Web Vitals: New Ranking Factor and How to Improve It

In recent years, Google and other similar companies have become increasingly concerned with the user experience (UX); that’s why the UX always pops up in algorithm updates. With 88 percent of online users turning away from websites after one bad experience, it goes to show that UX is vital.  Google, being the pioneer, decided to…

Best Classified Plugins for WordPress

Do you want to create a classified ads website to publish listings and advertisements? Do you want to add a classified section on your blog or magazine?   Building a classified website from scratch is a massive undertaking that will cost you a lot of time and money. Fortunately, classified plugins exist with all the…

Reason Why Start-ups Need Professional Website Design Services

The online platform is an easy medium for businesses to approach the masses. A website plays a significant role in providing business information and marketing services and products. Thus, entrepreneurs are putting a lot of effort into developing a good website for drawing the attention of a larger group of people. Experts believe that investing…

Why Is My WordPress Site So Slow? (And How to Fix It)

So, just like millions of other website owners, you decided to use WordPress as your site’s content-management system (CMS). Launched in 2003, the open-source, free-to-use, and extremely powerful software tool dominates the internet.  You were convinced that with the right web host company and the best technology, visitors to your website would engage with your…