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10+ Handy Beginner WordPress Hacks (2024)

beginner wordpress hacks

Here are my top handy beginner WordPress hacks after 10+ years of being in the industry.

If you are starting your journey with WordPress and feeling a tad overwhelmed, worry not. I’ve got some practical hacks for you that are perfect for beginners.

These aren’t your typical “hacks” in the sense of coding miracles but rather clever tips and tricks to make your WordPress experience smoother, more efficient, and much more fun.

Use these as shortcuts or insights that can help you navigate the vast world of WordPress with ease.

They’re about making your website look professional, run faster, and be more user-friendly, all without needing to be a tech wizard.

So, let’s dive in and transform your WordPress experience from “HUH?” to “WOW!”

This post covers:

11 Handy Beginner WordPress Hacks

Hack 1: Customize Your WordPress Theme

customize your wordpress theme

Ready to make your website truly YOURS?

1: Choose The Right Theme

Before tweaking, let’s pick a WordPress theme that matches your vision.

Explore the WordPress repository or marketplaces, like ThemeForest.

Look for themes that align with your website’s purpose – is it a blog, a portfolio, or online store? Check out the theme’s ratings and reviews.

They’re like a treasure map, leading you to the best choices.

Don’t forget to preview! Click that “Preview” button to see how it looks with your content.

Further reading:

2: Dive Into Customization

Once you’ve found your theme, it’s time to customize! Go to your WordPress dashboard, navigate to “Appearance,” and then “Customize.”

This is your control room. Start with the basics, like changing colors, fonts, and upload your logo. These small changes make a huge impact.

Play around with the layout. Adjust your headers, footers, and sidebar positions.

Remember, there’s no “right” way to do this – it’s all about what feels right for you.

Further reading:

3: Add Your Personal Touch

Add custom WP widgets. These are little blocks of content that can add functionality and personality to your site.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with background images or patterns. They can really make your site pop!

Bonus Tips For Beginners

  • Keep it simple. When starting, less is often more. A clean, uncluttered design goes a long way.
  • Ensure your theme is responsive. This means it’ll look great on both desktop and mobile devices.
  • Remember, your theme is like your website’s outfit. It should represent you but also be comfortable and functional.

Hack 2: Optimize Website Speed

optimize wordpress website speed

It’s not just about making your site zippy; it’s about creating a delightful experience for your visitors and getting some love from search engines like Google.

A fast-loading website is like a fast-moving checkout line – everyone loves it!

Why Speed Matters

First impressions count, and a slow website can be a deal-breaker. Fast-loading sites keep visitors happy and engaged.

Search engines are like your picky friends; they prefer websites that load quickly, too.

Better speed means better SEO rankings.

Simple Ways To Improve Loading Times

1. Optimize your images:

Big, heavy images are the number one speed-killer. Opt for formats like JPEG or PNG and compress them without losing quality.

Tools like TinyPNG are great for this. But you can also use Imagify to automate image optimization.

Further reading:

2. Use a caching plugin:

Think of caching like your website’s short-term memory. It helps load your site faster for repeat visitors.

WordPress plugins like WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache can do wonders but there are many other excellent WordPress caching plugins available.

3. Keep your WordPress clean:

Regularly update your WordPress, themes and plugins. Old, outdated ones can slow down your site.

Further reading:

4. Trim down your plugins:

Having too many plugins is like having too many apps open on your phone – it slows things down.

Keep only the ones you really need. You may also be interested in reading how many WordPress plugins are too many.

5. Choose a quality hosting provider:

Your hosting service is like your website’s home. Make sure it’s a good one

Sometimes, investing a bit more in better WordPress hosting can dramatically improve your site’s speed.

6. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN):

CDNs are like a network of expressways that deliver your site’s content faster to people around the world.

7. Minimize & compress code:

Tools like WP-Optimize can help reduce the size of your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files.

Remember, every second counts when it comes to website speed. Zoom, zoom!

Hack 3: Enhance Website Security

enhance wordpress website security

In the digital world, your WordPress site is your kingdom, and it’s essential to keep it safe and secure.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a cybersecurity expert to protect your site.

I’ll guide you through some basic yet powerful steps to fortify your WordPress fortress.

Why Security Is A Big Deal

Securing your website protects it from unwanted intruders (hackers, spammers, etc.). A secure site builds trust with your visitors.

They’ll feel safe browsing and sharing their info with you.

Let’s Boost Your Website’s Security

  • Keep everything updated: Regularly update your WordPress, themes, and plugins. These updates often include security fixes.
  • Use strong passwords: Use complex, unique passwords for your WordPress admin area. Avoid easy guesses like “password123” (seriously, don’t!).
  • Install a security plugin: Plugins like Wordfence or Sucuri are like having a guard dog for your site. They monitor and protect your site from various threats.
  • Set up a Web Application Firewall (WAF): This acts like a bouncer at the door, blocking malicious traffic before it reaches your site.
  • Regular backups: Use plugins like UpdraftPlus or Jetpack to regularly backup your site. If anything goes wrong, you’ve got a safety net.
  • Limit login attempts: Plugins that limit login attempts can deter hackers from trying to guess your password.
  • Use SSL for data encryption: An SSL certificate (https padlock) encrypts data between your site and visitors. Many hosting providers offer this for free.
  • Be cautious with user roles: Only give administrative access to people you trust. Limiting access can significantly reduce security risks.
  • Disable file editing: In your WordPress dashboard, you can edit your theme and plugin code. Disable this feature to prevent any unauthorized changes.
  • Stay informed: The WordPress world is always evolving. Keep an eye on the latest security trends and updates.

Hack 4: SEO Optimization Basics

wordpress website seo basics

Search Engine Optimization might sound like techy jargon, but it’s actually super fun and incredibly rewarding.

Think of SEO as the secret sauce that makes your WordPress site more visible and attractive to search engines like Google.

And the best part? You don’t have to be an expert to start optimizing your site.

What’s SEO and Why It’s Cool

SEO is all about making your website more “findable” by search engines. It’s like a treasure map that leads Google right to your site.

Why is it cool (& a must)?

Because good SEO means more visitors, and more visitors mean more opportunities to share your awesome content, products, or services!

Simple SEO Tactics For Beginners

  • Use an SEO-Friendly plugin: Start with a plugin like Yoast SEO or All in One SEO (I prefer Yoast). They are like friendly guides that help you systematically optimize your site.
  • Keywords are key: Consider what words people might use to search for your content. Use these keywords in your titles, headings, and content.
  • Optimize your titles & descriptions: Write catchy titles and descriptions for your posts and pages. They should be intriguing and include your main keywords.
  • Linking: Link to other relevant content on your site (internal linking) and to trustworthy sites (external linking). It’s like creating a web that search engines love to crawl.
  • Speed it up: Fast-loading sites (we talked about it earlier) are favored by search engines. Optimize your images and use caching to speed things up (remember hack 2?).
  • Mobile-friendly is a must: Ensure your site looks good and works well on mobile devices. Most searches happen on phones these days!
  • Content is king: Regularly update your site with fresh, relevant, and high-quality content. Blogs are a great way to do this.
  • Use social media: Share your content on social media platforms. It increases visibility and brings more traffic to your site.
  • Alt text for images: Describe your images with alt text. It helps search engines understand what your images are about. (Many SEO experts say alt text doesn’t matter, but I disagree.)
  • Clean & structured URLs: Use URLs that are easy to read and include keywords. For example, use “” instead of “”

Hack 5: Create A Child Theme

wordpress website hacks create a child theme

If you’re scratching your head wondering what a child theme is, no worries! It’s a concept that sounds more complex than it actually is.

What’s A Child Theme & Why It’s Awesome

A WordPress child theme is like a mini-theme that inherits styles and functions from another theme, known as the parent theme.

The beauty of a child theme is that you can make changes and customizations without affecting the parent theme.

This means when the parent theme updates, you don’t lose your customizations.

Pretty neat, right?

In short, it’s a safe way to make customizations without losing them. And you can update your parent theme without worrying about overwriting your custom work.

Create Your First Child Theme

1. Set Up A New Theme Directory

Go to your WordPress hosting file manager or use an FTP client.

Navigate to “wp-content/themes” and create a new folder for your child theme.

Name it something like “parenttheme-child” to keep things clear and organized.

2. Create A Style Sheet

In your child theme folder, create a file named “style.css.”

At the top of this file, add the following information (replace “parenttheme” with the actual name of your parent theme):

     Theme Name: Parent Theme Child
     Template: parenttheme
3. Enqueue The Parent & Child Theme Stylesheets

Create a file named “functions.php” in your child theme folder.

Add the following code to ensure your child theme correctly loads the parent and child stylesheets: enqueue the parent and child theme stylesheets

4. Activate Your Child Theme
  • Go back to your WordPress dashboard.
  • Navigate to Appearance > Themes.
  • You’ll see your child theme listed there. Click Activate.
5. Start Customizing
  • Now, you can start making changes to your child theme.
  • Any CSS changes can go directly into your child theme’s “style.css” file.
  • If you want to modify PHP files, copy them from the parent theme into your child theme folder and edit them there.

Hack 6: Utilize WordPress Shortcodes

wordpress website hacks utilize shortcodes

If you’ve ever wished for a way to add cool features to your site with just a few keystrokes, then WordPress shortcodes are about to become your new best friend!

What Are Shortcodes and Why They’re Super Cool

In the simplest terms, shortcodes are little bits of code that let you do big things with very little effort.

Think of them as shortcuts (hence the name!) to add various functionalities to your posts, pages, or widgets without writing complex code.

They’re magical – a few special words, and poof – you have a new feature on your site!

Getting Started With Shortcodes

WordPress comes with a bunch of built-in shortcodes that you can start using right away.

To use a shortcode, just type it into your post or page editor, usually enclosed in square brackets. For example, [shortcode_here].

Some Handy Shortcodes For Beginners

  • [gallery]: Want to display a beautiful image gallery? Just upload your images to the post, and then use [gallery] to display them in a sleek gallery format.
  • [audio]: Have a podcast or a music file you’d like to share? Use [audio src="your-audio-link.mp3"] to embed it directly into your post.
  • [video]: Similar to the audio shortcode, you can embed videos with [video src="your-video-link.mp4"].
  • [caption]: Add professional-looking captions to your images with [caption]Your caption text here[/caption].
  • [embed]: Perfect for embedding content from popular platforms. Just put the link (from YouTube, Twitter, etc.) in the shortcode, and WordPress will do the rest.
  • [button]: Need a call-to-action button? Some themes offer a button shortcode to insert a clickable button easily.
  • Custom shortcodes: Many plugins offer their own shortcodes to add specific functionalities. For instance, a contact form plugin might have a shortcode to insert forms into your pages.

Why Use Shortcodes?

  • They save time and effort, especially if you’re unfamiliar with coding.
  • They keep your site looking clean and professional.
  • They allow you to easily add and update content.

Hack 7: Effective Use Of Widgets & Menus

effective use of wordpress widgets and menus

Widgets and menus in WordPress are two incredibly powerful tools that can seriously level up your website’s functionality and user-friendliness.

What Are Widgets & Menus

  • Widgets are like little blocks of functionality. You can add them to your site’s sidebars, footers, or other widget-ready areas. They’re super versatile – from simple text widgets to complex features like recent posts, search bars, and custom menus.
  • Menus, on the other hand, are your site’s navigation helpers. They guide your visitors through your site, like a map that shows the way to your content treasures.

Maximizing The Power Of Widgets

  • Choose widgets wisely: Pick widgets that add value to your site. For example, a “Recent Posts” widget is great for a blog, and a “Contact Info” widget suits a business site perfectly.
  • Customize your widgets: Many widgets come with customization options. Play with titles, content, and settings to see what works best for your layout.
  • Keep it organized: Too many widgets can clutter your site. Keep it clean and simple. Only use what’s necessary for functionality and user experience.
  • Test different widgets: Experiment with different widgets to see which ones your visitors engage with the most.

Mastering Menus For Maximum Impact

  • Keep it intuitive: Your menu should be easy to navigate. Arrange items logically – like placing “About Us” near the beginning and “Contact” towards the end.
  • Less is more: Avoid overloading your menu. Too many items can be overwhelming. Stick to essential pages, and use drop-down menus if needed. But you can also take it to the next level with a mega menu.
  • Responsive & mobile-friendly: Test your menu on different devices to ensure it’s easy to use on mobiles and tablets.
  • Custom menus for different sections: WordPress allows you to create custom menus for different parts of your site. For instance, you might have a main menu at the top and a social media menu in the footer.

Hack 8: Automate Backups

wordpress hack automatic updates

Imagine spending hours, days, or even weeks perfecting your site, only to lose it all due to a technical glitch or a security breach.

Scary thought, right?

That’s where regular backups come in as your digital safety net.

Why Regular Backups Are Important

They’re like a time machine; if anything goes wrong (like a hacking attack or a clumsy mistake), you can restore your site to its former glory in no time.

Think of backups as insurance for your website. You hope you’ll never need it, but it’s a lifesaver when you do.

Setting Up Automatic Backups

  • Choose a backup plugin: There are fantastic WordPress backup plugins that make automating backups super simple. Pick one that suits your needs and budget.
  • Install & activate the plugin: Head over to your WordPress dashboard, go to “Plugins,” then “Add New.” Search for your chosen backup plugin, install it, and activate it. (Refer to this guide on how to install a WordPress plugin if you need additional help.)
  • Configure backup settings: Once activated, you’ll find the settings for your backup plugin. Here’s where you can decide how often your site is backed up and what parts of your site (like databases, files, emails) you want to include. Tip: If you update your site frequently, you might want to schedule daily backups. If not, weekly backups might be enough.
  • Choose a backup location: Store your backups somewhere safe. This could be in the cloud (like Dropbox, Google Drive, or Amazon S3) or your computer. But remember, storing backups only on your hosting server is not the best idea.
  • Run a test backup: After setting everything up, do a test backup to ensure everything works smoothly. Better safe than sorry!
  • Regularly check your backup files: Every now and then, check if your backups are being created as expected. A backup you can’t restore is no backup at all!

Hack 9: Manage Comments & Spam

wordpress hack managing comments and spam

Let’s chat about something that can really enhance the interaction on your site but can also be a bit of a headache if not managed well – comments and spam.

We all love getting comments on our posts; it’s like a virtual high-five, showing us that what we share resonates with others.

But then there’s spam – the unwanted, often irrelevant comments that can clutter your site and frustrate your visitors.

Why Comment Moderation Rocks

It keeps the conversation on your site healthy and relevant.

Good moderation can prevent spam and offensive content, ensuring a positive experience for your readers.

Top Tips For Managing Comments

  • Set comment guidelines: Let your visitors know what kind of comments are appreciated and what’s not okay. This can be a simple note above the comment box.
  • Use WordPress’s built-in settings: Dive into your WordPress discussion settings. You can configure things like comment approval, requiring a name and email, or automatically closing comments on older posts.
  • Moderate comments: Stay on top of comment moderation. Approve, reply, delete, or mark as spam as needed. It’s like tending to your garden; regular care keeps it thriving.

Battling Spam

  • Akismet anti-spam plugin: This is your front-line defense against spam. Akismet checks comments against its global database of spam to prevent your site from publishing malicious content.
  • CAPTCHA: Adding a CAPTCHA to your comment form can deter spammers. It’s like a little puzzle that’s easy for humans but tricky for spam bots.
  • Comment blacklist: WordPress allows you to blacklist specific words, IP addresses, or email addresses. It’s a handy tool if you notice recurring spammy trends.
  • Limit links in comments: You can configure WordPress to hold a comment in moderation if it contains a certain number of links, a common spam tactic.
  • Disable comments on older posts: Often, spammers target older posts. Disabling comments on these can significantly reduce spam.

We also have a more in-depth guide on how to stop spam comments in WordPress. Pro tip: More and more website owners are deciding to ditch comments altogether.

Hack 10: Integrate Social Media

wordpress hack integrating social media

Integrating social media into your site is about making connections, boosting engagement, and spreading the word about your awesome content.

Why Social Media Integration Rocks

  • It amplifies your reach, helping more people discover your site.
  • It encourages sharing, which can increase traffic and engagement.
  • It creates a community around your brand or blog, fostering loyalty and interaction.

Top Tips For Integrating Social Media

  • Social media buttons: Make it easy for visitors to find you on social media. Add follow buttons to your header, footer, or sidebar.
  • Social share buttons: Encourage visitors to share your content by adding social share buttons to your posts and pages. (See how to add social share buttons in WordPress.)
  • Automatically post to social media: Save time by automatically sharing your new posts to social media. Plugins like Jetpack or Revive Old Post can do this for you.
  • Embed social media feeds: Show off your latest social posts right on your site. You can embed feeds from platforms like Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. (Plugins like Smash Balloon Social Photo Feed for Instagram or Custom Facebook Feed make integration a breeze.)
  • Social media comments: Spice up your comment section by integrating social media comments. Plugins like Disqus let visitors comment using their social profiles.
  • Social login: Make it easier for visitors to sign up or log in to your site using their social media accounts. Plugins like Nextend Social Login are great for this.
  • Track social media analytics: Understand how your content performs on social media. Tools like Google Analytics can show you which platforms are driving traffic to your site.

You can find more social media WordPress plugins here, and add any social feature you want.

wordpress hack customize permalinks for better seo

Permalinks might sound like a fancy term, but they’re actually quite straightforward and super important for making your site more search engine friendly.

Permalinks 101: What Are They?

Permalinks are the permanent URLs to your individual webpage, blog post, or other pieces of content on your site.

They’re your content’s home address on the internet.

Why Permalinks Matter For SEO

Search engines love clarity and simplicity. A well-structured permalink tells them exactly what your page or post is about, which can improve your search rankings.

They also make your site more user-friendly. Easy-to-read permalinks are more likely to be clicked and shared.

Customizing Your Permalinks

Access Permalink Settings

Go to “Settings” in your WordPress dashboard and “Permalinks.” This is where the magic happens.

Choose a “Pretty” Permalink Structure

By default, WordPress might use a URL that includes the date or a plain ID number. But for SEO, we want something more descriptive.

Opt for a structure with the post name, like “” This is clear, concise, and great for SEO.

Include Keywords In our URLs

When creating a post, WordPress will automatically generate a permalink based on your title. You can edit this to ensure it includes your main keywords.

Keep it short and sweet. A long, cluttered URL can be off-putting to both search engines and humans.

Avoid Changing Permalinks On Published Content

Be cautious if you need to change a permalink for an existing post. Changing URLs on published content can lead to broken links.

If you must change a permalink, set up a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new one.

This tells search engines where to find the relocated content.

Be Consistent

Consistency is key. Stick to a uniform permalink structure across your site for a clean, organized approach.

Conclusion: Master WordPress Hacks!

From diving into the depths of theme customization to soaring through the skies of SEO optimization, you’ve tackled each WordPress hack with enthusiasm and curiosity.

Let’s take a quick recap:

  1. Customizing your theme: You’ve learned how to make your site look just the way you want, reflecting your unique style.
  2. Optimizing website speed: You’re now equipped to keep your site zippy and user-friendly.
  3. Enhancing website security: You’ve taken steps to safeguard your online presence like a digital superhero.
  4. SEO basics: You’ve unlocked the secrets to making your site more visible and attractive to search engines.
  5. Creating a child theme: You’ve explored the safe way to customize without losing your changes.
  6. Utilizing WordPress shortcodes: You’ve discovered the magic of adding complex functions with simple codes.
  7. Effective use of widgets & menus: You’ve learned to enhance user experience and site navigation.
  8. Automating backups: You’ve secured a safety net for your website, ensuring peace of mind.
  9. Managing comments & spam: You’re now a pro at fostering healthy discussions while keeping spam at bay.
  10. Integrating social media: You’ve bridged the gap between your site and social media platforms.
  11. Customizing permalinks for better SEO: You’ve mastered the art of creating clear, SEO-friendly URLs.

Remember, each of these hacks is a stepping stone to creating a WordPress site that looks great and performs brilliantly.

But the real adventure lies in experimenting and exploring further.

So keep playing, keep learning, and don’t be afraid to try something new.

Every great WordPress site started just where you are now – at the beginning of a thrilling journey.

FAQs About WordPress Hacks

Absolutely! Here are seven common questions about beginner WordPress hacks, along with concise answers:

How can I customize my WordPress theme?

Use the WordPress Customizer in your dashboard. You can change colors, fonts, and layouts, and preview changes in real time before publishing.

What’s the best way to optimize WordPress site speed?

Optimize images, use caching plugins like W3 Total Cache, minimize the number of plugins, and choose a quality hosting provider.

How do I improve my WordPress site’s security?

Keep WordPress and plugins updated, use strong passwords, install security plugins like Wordfence, and set up regular backups.

Can I optimize my WordPress site for SEO without expert knowledge?

Yes, start with an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO, use relevant keywords, optimize your titles and meta descriptions, and ensure your site is mobile-friendly.

What are WordPress shortcodes & how do I use them?

Shortcodes are small codes that add extra functionality to posts and pages. Use them by adding shortcode brackets [ ] in the text editor with the appropriate command inside.

How can I automate backups for my WordPress site?

Use plugins like UpdraftPlus or VaultPress to schedule and automate backups, storing them in a separate location like cloud storage.

Is it easy to integrate social media into my WordPress site?

Yes, you can easily integrate social media using plugins for social sharing buttons, automatic post sharing, and embedding social feeds directly into your site.

How do I choose the right theme for my WordPress site?

Focus on simplicity and responsiveness. Ensure the theme matches the content of your site and is mobile-friendly. Check for customization options, browser compatibility, and support for plugins you might use.

About Author

Rok decided to put his original approach and vision into action by starting ULTIDA, thanks to his extensive experience with web development and design since 2011. Working with 100s of clients made his subconscious mind think of nothing but themes, HTML, plugins, mockups, etc.