WordPress Blog Configured For Success

As promised in my previous post, I got with my good friend Devin Walker, Co-Founder and Creative Technologist at ThoughtHouse, and picked his brain on what I should be doing do get this WordPress blog configured for success. Not surprisingly, Devin had some great insight for me on what I should be taking into account. Here is what I came away with…

Theme

WordPress was originally designed as a blogging engine but has now grown into an extremely versatile CMS. As a result, themes are now being developed to really focused on the type of content that is going to be published. A blog should definitely be using a WP theme that is more “blog focused” opposed to a theme perhaps designed for portfolio showcasing or business marketing.

After some deliberation, I decided to go with a totally free theme called Edin. It appealed to me for a number of reasons but ultimately won out for the following reasons:

  • Content Focused: This theme is visually simplistic in a good way. There is very little to distract readers.
  • Responsive Design: Yes, “responsive design” it probably the most overhyped tech term of 2014, but it is important to serve your content up to a diverse context of consumers.
  • Menu Options: In short, the menu options are easily configurable and feature rich. Very cool.

Plugins

The WordPress community is big… really big. As a result there is an overwhelming number of free and premium plugins available to enhance the out of the box features WordPress provides. Luckily, some of the best plugins available today are free and well supported. Currently I’m utilizing an arsenal that is focused on web performance, SEO, and code sharing. The two listed below are my current favorites.

  • WP Super Cache: I’m big into web performance and this simple plugin is a perfect (and in my eyes crucial)  solution to handling the dynamic nature WordPress. In short, instead of making round trips to the database and dynamically rendering html on the server then sending to the client on every request, this plugin caches static html on the server and serves up the cached content. Pretty rad.
  • WordPress SEO: Holly SEO Batman! This plugin by Yoast provides immediate analysis on your content, even before you publish. I’m still digging into what the full extent of this plugins capabilities are, but it has already had an impact on how I am writing and structuring content.