Essential Ingredients of a WordPress Site

In September I spoke at the International Food Bloggers Conference. It was a conference I had longed to go to for years (since I’ve also been writing about food & travel for more than 10 years) and I was excited to give a talk about Essential Ingredients of a WordPress Website.


I started off wanting to focus on tools and plugins that a food blogger or site owner might need for their site, but over the years when speaking with friends and professionals using WordPress at events or via email, one of the popular refrains is “Someone told me I need this plugin for my WordPress site.” Often these conversations are panicked and the person is visibly worried that their entire site’s success is dependent on being able to install or understand X plugin.

So I wanted to take some time in this presentation to talk about two things which I think are incredibly essential for any website, including WordPress ones: Voice and Purpose.

I think one of the biggest misconceptions with Voice is:


“Voice is not what comes out of your mouth, it’s what comes out of your passion.” -Sara Rosso @rosso

With regards to Voice: Why are you doing this site? What will keep you coming back to it every day, every week, every month? Voice is what’s authentic about what you’re writing, and it’s the engine beneath everything you’re doing. It’s your purpose.

And secondly, what about the Purpose of the site? Is it to make money through pageviews (I went into why this isn’t a great idea in the presentation), get consulting offers, work with brands on projects, or have someone sign up for your newsletter or your products?

Knowing the answer to these questions will greatly help you design your website and know what kinds of content, call-to-actions, and other tools you actually need on the site to consider it successful, according to you! Often I find site owners haven’t answered these two questions, and no plugin in the world will help your site if you don’t focus on those first. I also touched upon this in my presentation, “Tools for Entrepreneurs: Create, Collaborate, Communicate,” which is still valid today.

After tackling these two sensitive but highly important ingredients for your website, I delved into organizing and presenting your content, choosing and modifying a theme even if you’re not a developer, and even further into having a mobile-ready site, integrating Pinterest, security and backup, and some non-plugin SEO tips!

I highlight the Jetpack plugin throughout the presentation as a way to easily integrate some of these features— it’s made by people I know, I love it myself, and I use it— but I also share some insight into evaluating and choosing any WordPress plugin in the Plugin Repository (40,000 plugins and growing)!

Unfortunately the presentation wasn’t recorded, and I spoke for a full 50 minutes around these slides, but if you have questions, feel free to leave them in the comments!

Categories: Presentations, Website & Blog

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Director of Product Marketing @ HubSpot. Early hire @ Automattic / Founder World Nutella Day. MBA Alumni Advisory Board @ Santa Clara University.

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