Since WordPress offers us with thousands of free plugins to experiment with, the word ‘hack’ here would mostly mean downloading the plugin and making considerable use of it. Still, here are few useful things that might help you while you’re using WordPress for your website.
Let’s start with SEO, and how to do search engine optimization for your business, it keeps changing over time but the basic principle remains same i.e. putting great content all the time, optimize that content using WordPress SEO plugin called Yoast (download this) and lastly create an XML sitemap using the plugin and send it to search engines (XML sitemap is a file that helps Google to understand your website structure more effectively and makes it more searchable to search engine).
On the topic of SEO let’s talk about canonical URL, now every time you create a post or page WordPress sets a permalink (web address of that particular page), when you add categories or tags to that post or page, WordPress creates a whole bunch of other web addresses, and you don’t want that. Why? Because you’ll be going to the same page via different URLs, and google ‘sees’ it as duplicate content on the same website and they devalue both of it. Here is where canonical URL comes to the rescue, it makes those two different URL’s appear as one in the web browser. To do so, go to the backend of your posts and in the Yoast section, click on Advanced section and just put your canonical website there. That’s it! You just eliminated the duplicate content of your web page and also enabled people to find the post on the same page, eventually making the SEO value of that page higher.
Have you heard about shortcode? They allow you to add codes without actually coding, ok so basically they are special tags you can insert in the body of your post, which acts as a kind of shorthand for more complicated coding. Whenever WordPress “sees” one of these tags in a post, it automatically replaces it with the corresponding HTML. They are used inside “[these]” brackets, here are some built in shortcodes.
Often times you notice that in your comments section on the backend of your WordPress, you see pingbacks let’s see how we can take advantage of that. According to WordPress, pingbacks are a comment that’s created when you link to another blog post, where pingbacks are enabled. So let’s say that I post a blog post on my WordPress site and you post a blog post on yours and in your blog, you post a link to my blog, what happens is I get a pingback so it’s like WordPress letting me know that I have someone mentioning me on their website. But we can do some moderation, go to Settings>Discussions and you can allow or disallow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new articles. Pingbacks can be annoying because you might get lots of spammy stuff, but it’s good cause it notifies you about who’s talking about you. So keeping your pingbacks enabled and installing plugins to help cut off spams would be a good idea.
You can customize how you want your WordPress dashboard to look like by digging some files and putting your hands in the code, and its always a better option if you can fulfill your needs by changing the code itself, even if it’s easier to install plugin anytime you want, plugins can quickly pile up and make your website clunky and interfere with other features in the future for many reasons. So you might want to install just those that are crucial to your website or business.
Lastly, play around with your visual and text editor that WordPress offers, it has lots of useful tools such as blockquotes, read more tags, lots of special characters and distraction free writing. Hope this helped you understand some WordPress features.