8 Tips to Make Your WordPress Website Much More Functional

In this article, we will cover various ways with which you can make your use of WordPress much more functional. Some features can be quite annoying in it by default, so we will outline a few that we find most important when it comes to upgrading your experience. We will cover various plugins and show you a few tips on how to make working with WordPress much more fun, functional and safe.

Making WordPress Plugins Update Automatically

If you are using the best WordPress plugins available, you probably get updates for them all the time. But logging in and starting your work session by installing updates can be quite annoying and distracting, so it is best that you enable automatic updates for them. You can also exclude some plugins from getting automatic updates.

Every minor release that comes out installs itself but you have to initiate the installation for all the bigger releases. Keeping your WordPress updated at all times is very important both from functionality and a security point of view. You should always install updates to ensure that your WordPress site is stable and safe at all times. So, to make it easier, we will show you how you can set these updates to automatic.

Setting up WordPress to automatically install every plugin update is pretty simple. All you have to do is add this line of code to your functions.php file.

add_filter( ‘auto_update_plugin’, ‘__return_true);

This is a filter that makes the WordPress automatic updater install new plugins on its own.

You can also apply this to updating your themes like so:

add_filter( ‘auto_update_theme’, ‘__return_true’ );

Turning off All WordPress Plugins

If you have a problem, troubleshooting usually starts with deactivating off all of your WordPress plugins. You can do that on the plugins page by clicking deactivate in the “All” dropdown menu.

But if you do not have access to your WordPress admin area, you can deactivate all your plugins by using FTP.

To do this, you have to:

Connect to your website with your FTP client or by using File Manager.

When connected, locate the /wp-content/ folder.

Go inside and find the /plugins/ folder.

Rename the plugins folder to anything else, such as “deactivated plugins”.

Upgrading WordPress Search

If the search bar on your site is an important feature, you should probably replace the built-in one that WordPress has, because it’s not too good. There are a lot of great search plugins and services that can be used to upgrade your search, so we will outline a few:

  • SearchWP – Is a powerful and easy to use search plugin that has more accurate search results.
  • Switype Search – Is a search service that will index your documents and work faster than the original WordPress search feature. It will also store what users have searched for once you replace your default search with Switype search.
  • Using Google Custom Search in WordPress – When it’s time to make a search, Google is the best option. A custom Google search engine that you have created can be integrated into your WordPress site.

WordPress Excerpts Customization

In its default setting WordPress shows complete posts, category pages and archives on your homepage. This creates a lot of duplicates and makes users not want to view the full posts or interact much more with your site, so using a summary is a much better way to help your users in finding what they are looking for.

Excerpts are short samples of your posts. By using excerpts you can bring a bit of simplicity to your site, increase your page views and make your users want to interact more.  It also makes your page load faster, prevents penalties for duplicate content, reduces bounce rate and so on. Using excerpts is highly recommended and we are going to tell you how you can do it.

Inserting custom excerpts in WordPress is pretty easy. Just open a new post or click edit on an existing one.

On the top right of your editing screen you will see the options tab.

Click Excerpt.

This will open the excerpt box under your editor and you can type a text into it. Voila! You have made an excerpt for your post!

Creating a WordPress Backup

Constantly creating backups of your WordPress site is a good way to prevent frustration when something unexpected happens to your site. WordPress does not have its own back-up system and you can’t always rely on your hosting company, so it’s time to take things in your own hands. There are many solutions you can use to make backups for WordPress.

Here are some free and paid WordPress backup plugins:

  • VaultPress – A paid backup solution that offers constant, real-time backups starting at the price of $5/month. You can set up VaultPress and start restoring from your backups with a few clicks.
  • BackupBuddy -The most well-known paid backup solution for WordPress. You can make daily backups if you want to, thanks to its schedule system. You can choose to store your backups in Dropbox, FTP, and Amazon S3 or in their own cloud service, Stash. It is highly reliable and recommended by most users.
  • BackUpWordpress – A WordPress plugin that has free and paid features. It allows you to schedule your automatic backups with ease, but it does not allow free users to store on cloud storage services.
  • UpdraftPlus – Is also a WordPress plugin which allows you to create full backups of your site and store it on the cloud. You can use it to schedule your backup frequency and many more. You can also use a premium version with extra features.
  • BackWPup – A free backup plugin that lets you create full backups of your WordPress. You can store the backups on cloud systems, FTP servers or your own computer. It’s easy to use and it lets you schedule your backups the way you want it.

Stretching the Formatting Options of the Post Editor

There are two writing fields available in the WordPress post editor. They are the Visual Editor and the Text Editor. Switching between these two as you are formatting your post can be pretty annoying and it can ruin your formatting altogether. You can solve this problem by using HTML formatting but that might be difficult for some, so the best solution is downloading a plugin called TinyMCE. It is an advanced plugin that extends what the Visual editor can do with various formatting options.

Displaying Excerpts in RSS Feeds

WordPress shows complete articles in RSS Feed too. So if someone is readying your posts through a feed reader than he doesn’t have a reason to go to your website, which could hurt your traffic. Luckily you can turn it off pretty easily.

You just have to go into your WordPress admin area, click Settings ->Reading and scroll until you see the text and in the “For each article in the feed, show” click Summary. Click on save and it’s done!

Changing an Username

As you install WordPress, you will be asked to choose a username for your account, which is how it should go, right? But there is a bit of a problem, you can’t change the username later, which can be really frustrating. There are ways to deal with this. The easiest one is creating a new one and deleting the old one. What you have to do is:

Create a new user with the desired username and with administrator privileges (you will have to do it with a different email address)

Log out with your old account and log in with your new user.

Go back to the users section and click the delete button beside your previous username.

When you delete the user, you will have to deal with the previous user’s content, so just click on “Attribute all content to:” and choose your newly created username.

Summary

We have talked about various steps you can take in order to help you get better at using WordPress. Like most things, WordPress also has its advantages and disadvantages and it comes with its fair share of problems as well, but thankfully to its large user base, these problems get solved more quickly than you know it and you get to have a pretty compact solution once they do. The steps we provided will help you along the way and set you on the right track.

We highly recommend that you use the above mentioned plugins, because they can bring great value to the way you conduct your website. Writing this article has been a lot of fun and we are glad to be able to share this info with you guys! Be sure to check for updates and read our next article on what you need to know about various security flaws in WordPress and what you can do to make your site safe.

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