5 Simple WordPress Tips You Are Overlooking

An incredible amount of the internet is powered by WordPress. Thankfully there are pages and pages of tips, tricks and hacks that you can use to up your content game.

However, too many of those tips are complicated and end up wasting new creator’s time. The tips in this article may be obvious to some, but are overlooked by a lot of others.

The best part? They are immediately actionable.

5 Simple WordPress Tips You Are Overlooking:

  • Background Colors on Text
  • Custom CSS to Hide Ugly Theme Elements
  • Compressing Images Yourself
  • Reusable Blocks
  • Custom Permalinks

All 5 of these tips can be implemented for free, and without plugins. So there’s nothing stopping you from finishing this post and immediately improving your own content.

1. Background Colors for Text

WordPress has long been famous for its powerful text editor. The markdown style and customization available are what set WordPress apart in the early days.

Other platforms have certainly caught up and there are more advanced text editors on the market. Yet, even as text editors and page builders get more advanced, it’s often the simplest tweaks that end up carrying the most weight.

“Yet, even as text editors and page builders get more advanced, it’s often the simplest tweaks that end up carrying the most weight.”

Small tweaks like changing the background color behind text can really make it stand out. You can add in important warnings, caveats, or clarifications that are practically unmissable.

Warning: If you overuse warnings, you may lose the trust of your audience.

If a reader was to only scan this page, chances are they stopped and read the above text. Since they stopped to read that text, they probably then jumped up to read the section headline and then down to this paragraph. To keep them hooked, we’ll start the next section…

2. Custom CSS

Choosing a WordPress theme can be difficult, especially when you have a semi-clear vision for what you want your branding to be.

You can change and customize a lot in most WordPress themes. However, chances are you’ll come across a stubborn element that seems unchangeable. In that case, you can remove or alter those elements to suit your needs without needing to create your own theme.

InTakeCreate used Custom CSS to remove a button that our theme used on each link to a post.

InTakeCreate home page with an unused element
This element was useless for our purposes.

How to Use Custom CSS to Hide Ugly Elements on Your WordPress Site

To hide or customize an element on your site, the first step needs to be finding out what the element is “called” or what CSS class it belongs to.

You can do this by opening your site in a browser, and hitting “F12” to open the developer console. After that, most browsers will open up directly to the “inspector” tool.

The inspector tool will let you learn more about your pages CSS
The inspector tool will let you learn more about your pages CSS

You can switch to the “Select Element” tool, and find the element you want to customize. For us, it was this pesky orange button. This tool let us find out the CSS Class it belonged to.

The css class is "a.blogpost-button"

To make this extra safe, we can even test some CSS directly in the browser without updating our live website – just to see what the effect would be.

After highlighting the name of the element, clicking it will bring up the settings for it in the console.

The CSS applied to the element. Including height, position, padding, color and more.

These are all CSS effects determining how it will be displayed. Click your cursor into this area, then add “Display: None” to this list, and it will hide the element.

But, as mentioned, this doesn’t actually change your site for other users. You’ll have to go to “customize” from your WordPress menu for this part.

Towards the bottom of the customization menu you should see “Custom CSS” or “Additional CSS” as an option.

Enter the element class name (don’t forget a period before it if it is a class) then add the following:

{
Display: None;
}

Viola!

There may be other developers and WordPress experts who have a better solution to this. If that’s you, then we would LOVE to hear from you on this.

3. Compress Your Own Images

It’s easy to overlook it at the beginning, but we have to be careful not to stack too much weight onto our WordPress sites.

Think of it like a Skyrim character. Depending on your sites “level” (ie; hosting), it will be encumbered with too much weight if we dump a ton of full resolution photos into it.

There are a TON of tools available to help you compress the images on your site, but nobody really mentions that you can do some of this leg work yourself.

At InTakeCreate, we started using Gimp to simply open any images and size them down.

How to Compress Your Own Images Using Gimp

  1. Open the file in Gimp
  2. Go to “Image” in the top menu, and select “Scale Image”
  3. Choose a size that will fit your post nicely. (The easiest option is in the neighborhood of 1500 x 500 for horizontal images)
  4. Go to “File” in the top menu, and select “Export As..”
  5. Give the new file a name with the extension “.jpg” and click “Export”
  6. In the window that opens, click the checkbox that says “Show Preview in Image Window”
  7. Slide the slider to the left as far as you can without making the image too low quality.

You’ll see the estimated file size, and be able to play around with the possibilities. Different images have different tolerance levels for this, but some will let you make them quite small.

Or Get Someone Else to Do It

If you don’t want to compress your own images, then getting them sized down by a service that does it for you is a great option. Many users turn to WP Rocket (affiliate link) and others for solutions like this.

4. Reusable Blocks

Reusable blocks are fairly new to WordPress, but we can already seem them saving us a LOT of time in the future.

With reusable blocks, you can save any block to be re-used on any post or page. You can even group a handful of blocks to be used together.

Here’s a few use cases for reusable blocks:

  • Social Media Links
  • Newsletter Signup
  • Affiliate Notice
  • An About the Author Section

How to Create Reusable Blocks

Creating a reusable block in WordPress is beautifully simple.

You create the block. For example, this very block of text. Next, with your mouse on the block, click the 3 dots on the far right of your floating toolbar.

A screenshot of the above text, with the toolbar visible.

From the menu that opens, choose the obvious answer – “Add to Reusable Blocks”, then give it a name.

A screenshot of the pop-up box that allows you to name your reusable blocks.

Now you can add that block any time you need it. Simply by typing a “/” and the name of the block.

5. Custom Permalinks

Make it easy to send people to your posts.

When creating new posts, the default URL is usually a long string of the title, separated by dashes. Depending on your site’s settings, it may even include the posting date.

How you like your URL structure is your choice, but there is also SEO considerations. For example, the title of this post contains a helpful keyword, but is quite long for a URL, but it is much nicer as “/simple-wordpress-tips”.

A nicer URL is easier to direct traffic to, and looks trustworthy in the browser.

Warning: If you change your permalink structure in your settings, you will break any existing links out in the wild. This is not a fun time.

Take These WordPress Tips and Go Make Something

Our goal with these tips was not to give you plugin options to weigh against your wallet. It wasn’t designed to send you tinkering with your WordPress settings. Instead, these tips were compiled so you can click open another tab and start creating.

These are the simple WordPress Tips we’ve overlooked for too long:

  • Background Colors on Text
  • Custom CSS to Hide Ugly Theme Elements
  • Compressing Images Yourself
  • Reusable Blocks
  • Custom Permalinks

If you create a post and use these WordPress tips in your writing process, let us know on Twitter!

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