People don’t usually mention WordPress in the same breath as platforms like Facebook or Google, probably because it operates according to a very different philosophy. But WordPress powers more than 30% of the web. Even though you may not realize it, you probably use it every single day.
Recently, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg appeared on my podcast. I’m a long time WordPress user and advocate, so I was stoked to have him on the show. We had an amazing conversation about the web in general, but he also shared some insightful tips to help website owners get the most out of the platform, which you can find below.
To dive a little deeper, you can check out our full conversation here.
Use Let’s Encrypt Instead of Paying for SSL
If you run a website where you collect information from your users (e.g. most websites), then you should absolutely be running on HTTPS (rather that HTTP). This ensures that any information submitted to you via the web will be secure, and your customers will have peace of mind.
In the past, building a secure site meant paying for an SSL certificate. Recently, WordPress signed on to Let’s Encrypt, an open source project with the goal of making site security free. “If your host is still charging you a ton of money for SSL,” says Matt, “switch to a different host.”
One of the great things about WordPress is that there’s a plugin for almost anything. The downside to this is that you can wind up with dozens of plugins, each for a very specific task. Apart from being unwieldy, some of these plugins may be incompatible with each other and cause issues on your site.
Matt and his team attempted to remedy this by bundling the best plugins for security, site performance and SEO, and social media together into a plugin called Jetpack. “I do think every WordPress site in the world should install it,” says Matt. The free version of Jetpack includes social scheduling and posting tools, lazy loading, and a built in CDN.
If you invest more than five hours a month or $500 a year, Matt recommends paying for one of the Jetpack business plans that will give you more robust security scanning, and real time back-ups and remediation.
Try Not to Use More Than 30 Plugins
Even when you install plugin bundles like Jetpack, you may notice that you start to accumulate more and more plugins over time. Large numbers of plugins can cause slow page load times and other issues, so Matt recommends keeping your plugins under 30 if you can.
If you find yourself with upwards of 30 or 40 plugins, then it’s time to conduct a review to find out how many of them are really useful. “At some level if you started to get above 30 or 40, it’s probably a good time to evaluate,” says Matt. “Are there lighter plugins or bundles like Jetpack that you might be able to replace some of these individual things with?”
For more great marketing content, check out the Marketing Speak podcast.