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7 WordPress Best Practices for Developers – 2021 Guide

WordPress is one of the top content management systems and has splendid features. It provides over 50,000 plugins and themes to users and helps them build websites even if they do not have any programming knowledge.

Developers, however, must know all the intricacies of WordPress. These 7 basic rules and practices will make you a better WordPress developer, whether you are a promising new plugin developer or a time-tested veteran:

1. Work According to the Coding Standards:

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The WordPress Coding standards were put together by the rich WordPress based on their own experiences, to make sure the code is readable, sector and easy to modify. Since the core value of WordPress is collaborative, it has an environment where any section of code can be comprehended and modified by any developer, irrespective of who or when it was written. For instance, if you wish to develop a theme or plugin using PHP you can look at the PHP WordPress coding standards. This practice will help you enhance your WordPress skills and set your website up for success.

2. Keep Upgrading Regularly:

WordPress usually realizes many times within a year including maintenance and security updates. It is important to audit your WordPress plugins and themes at least monthly, to ensure they are updated and functioning well. Though it may feel tedious to check all your websites and regularly update the system, these updates are vital for website security and load speed. Outdated versions of WordPress have certain vulnerabilities putting your data at risk and susceptible to malware attacks. If you want to play safer, you can consider testing these updates to check for issues.

3. Choose the Right Plug-ins:

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A great way to improve your workflow and to be productive while building client websites is to keep the WordPress themes, add-ons, extensions, and apps you use simple and less in number. Just like the updated audit, you need to check which plug-ins are useful and uninstall those plug-ins and extensions that overlap with others. Spend some time researching plug-ins and identify the ones that work well with your website’s unique requirements. Use extensions and add-ons that are updated regularly are feature-rich and a good rating from users.

4. Make it Mobile Friendly:

There are over 5.22 billion unique mobile/smartphone users in the world according to GSMA Intelligence. This data conveys the importance of a responsive and most importantly a mobile-friendly website. If you follow the above tips and update your WordPress as well as the plugins and themes on a regular basis, chances are your website is already compatible with mobile screens. If you are working on a custom website design, you need to be more deliberate to make the website mobile-friendly. Make sure you identify the modifications needed, test them and implement them on time to ensure end-user satisfaction.

5. Be Careful with Security:

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Developers must take preventative security measures on the website as there are many bots, services, or even users who may try to access sensitive information. Security attacks could mean spam comments, spam login attempts, or bots trying to take down your website by generating a lot of traffic. You must add a Captcha on every form page on your website to filter out spammers and bots. Add plugins like iThemes Security, Jetpack Security, WordFence, and BulletProof Security as they are quite comprehensive and allow blacklisting.

6. Structure Your Code:

Code structuring is important as it makes the code consistent, easy to find, and readable. Make sure that you only add a single PHP class to each file for a better file structure and organization. Make use of spaces and separators, add spaces before starting and after closing parenthesis, and add spaces only when the array items are variable. You can find a comprehensive guide on spacing within the WordPress PHP Coding Standards. As a developer, you should also be familiar with the PHP software design patterns.

7. Thoroughly Test Your Code:

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Many WordPress developers skip on debugging and testing their code, which is not good for the website in the long run. WordPress’ developers must try tools like Xdebug and rely on IDE’s such as PHPStorm. While developing plugins and themes it is important to test your code in as many environments as possible.

Codeception is one of the best tools for WordPress testing. It offers practical WordPress checks, integration testing, and user acceptance testing. You can test your code against WordPress requirements using this tool, for improving the user experience of your website.

What Type of Websites Can You Develop Using WordPress?

Here are the most popular types of websites developed on WordPress:

1. Business Website: WordPress has a huge collection of themes that can suit the needs of different businesses and provides scalability. Developing a business website on WordPress is not just for small enterprises, global brands like Walt Disney and Renault depend on WordPress for hosting their website. It is easy to develop professional-looking websites on WordPress and a better website helps businesses look credible and appealing to their potential customers.

2. E-Commerce Website: Nowadays, WordPress has become the go-to platform whenever businesses want to start an online store because of its innovative plugins such as WPE Commerce, Woo Commerce, and Easy Digital Downloads. These plugins can help you convert the website into a full-fledged E-commerce platform where you can accept payments, manage shipping, inventory, and user simultaneously.

3. Portfolio Website: Whether you are a photographer, artist, content writer, graphic designer, or web designer, the best platform to display your work on is WordPress as it gives your portfolio a sleek and elegant look and helps impress your audience.

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Knowing these best practices for WordPress development will give you more space to impress and attract potential clients, bid for better projects, and boost your overall expertise as a developer. With this Content Management System, it is important that you follow good practices right from the beginning of your journey. As you expand on this CMS and further improve your WordPress development skills, this will be of great benefit to your career.

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