20 WordPress Hacks And Tricks You’ve Probably Never Tried

20 WordPress Hacks And Tricks You’ve Probably Never Tried - MediaOne Marketing Singapore

Launching your WordPress site successfully on the web is only the first step. From there, you want to ensure it’s optimized for search engines, loads faster, and is secure against the ever-growing threats it’s exposed to.

And that’s just the beginning. To truly take your WordPress site to the next level, you’ll need to dig into some of the lesser-known features, hacks, and techniques.

To help you get started, here are 12 mind-blowing WordPress hacks that you probably haven’t tried yet:

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1:  Declutter Your Dashboard

If your WordPress dashboard looks cluttered, you can clean it up by removing unnecessary widgets and menus. That will help you focus on the tasks that need to be done and make it easier to find what you’re looking for.

Before reading this hack, you’ve probably been collapsing these widgets and menus one by one or ignoring them altogether. But did you know WordPress has an easy way to hide them all at once?

Go to “Screen Options” in the top right corner of your dashboard and uncheck all the boxes you don’t need.

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For instance, you can uncheck “PHP Update Required,” “Welcome to WordPress,” “404 Error Log,” and “Quick Draft” to free up some space.

So you end up with a dashboard that looks like this:

We suggest you only allow Google Analytics, SEO, and other analytics tools on your dashboard.

2:  Creating a New Menu and Pages:

Creating a New Menu and Pages

Done developing a new website, and now you want to add new menu items and pages?

Here’s what you probably would have done: 

You could have begun by creating all the menu items and pages manually, one by one. You go to your dashboard and click on Pages and then “Add New” for each page you want to add. 

It’s a tedious process that most people still use today. 

But did you know there’s an easier way to create these pages and menus in WordPress?

Now, here’s the hack: 

Go to your WordPress dashboard and click on Appearance > “Customize”> “Menus.”

From there, you can create your menu and easily add new menu items and pages. 

Simply select the “Create New Menu” option and type in the name of your new menu. Choose whether you want it to be your main menu, second navigation menu, footer menu, or mobile menu. 

Once you’ve done that, click “Next” > “Add Items,” and then you can add pages, categories, and custom links to your new menu. 

It’s an easy way to create a custom menu without writing any code or manually adding each page and item one by one.

3:   Using Inspect Element to Customize Your WordPress Themes:

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Do you want to make quick changes to your WordPress theme? WordPress has a custom CSS feature that you’re probably already aware of. 

But do you know how to use it, let alone which CSS classes to edit? 

No problem — here’s the hack. 

You can use Inspect Element to quickly find out which CSS classes you need to edit to customize your theme.

Right-click on the element you want to customize and select “Inspect” or “Inspect Element”, depending on your browser. 

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That will open up a window with all the HTML and CSS code for that particular element. 

From there, you can easily find out which class or ID to edit to tweak your theme.

Inspect element is a helpful tool for quickly finding the right CSS elements without digging through your entire WordPress theme files.

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That will automatically split your browser window into two parts. The top part will show the HTML code, and the bottom will show the CSS code. 

Any change you make in the CSS code will be immediately visible on the website on the right side. 

However, note that these changes only happen in the browser, not in the WordPress files. So, you’re not actually editing the page but experimenting with how it looks. 

Once you find the right CSS class, you can copy and paste the code into your WordPress custom CSS file and save it. That will ensure that your changes are applied to your actual website.

4: Create a Local WordPress Site on Your Local Computer

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Do you want to play around with your WordPress website without making any changes to the live version?

You can create a local WordPress site on your computer using XAMPP (for Windows) or (MAMP for macOS)

XAMPP is an open-source, cross-platform web server solution that allows you to create a local development environment.

How to Install Xampp on your Windows Computer: 

  1. Go to the XAMPP download page and Download the installer for your computer (32-bit or 64-bit) 
  2. Double-click on the downloaded file to start the installation process 
  3. Follow the instructions to install XAMPP
  4. Once installed, open XAMPP Control Panel and start the Apache and MySQL modules 
  5. Go to http://localhost/ on your browser, and you’ll see the XAMPP dashboard 
  6. Download the latest version of WordPress from wordpress.org and extract the ZIP file to C:\xampp\htdocs\ folder 
  7. Open http://localhost/wordpress/ on your browser, and you’ll be taken to the WordPress install page 
  8. Follow the instructions to complete the installation process 

And that’s it! Now, you have a local copy of WordPress running on your computer. You can make any changes or test plugins without affecting your live website.

5. Deactivate All Plugins When You Can’t Access WP-Admin

Deactivate All Plugins When You Can’t Access WP-Admin - MediaOne Marketing

Have you ever encountered a situation where your WordPress website suddenly stops working, and you can’t access the WP-Admin? 

A faulty plugin or theme could cause this. The best way to troubleshoot such a problem is to deactivate all plugins. 

Here’s how: 

  1. Connect to your WordPress website using cPanel or an FTP client like FileZilla 
  2. Go to the wp-content/plugins folder 
  3. Rename the folder containing all the plugins. For example, add “old” at the end of the name
  4. Now, try accessing your website and the WP-Admin area again 

If you can access the site now, it means one of the plugins was causing a problem. You can go ahead and delete all plugins from the “plugins-old” folder and then reinstall them one by one until you find the problematic one. 

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Or delete the last one you installed because chances are it’s causing the problem. 

It’s a quick and easy way to troubleshoot any plugin-related issue without manually deactivating each one.

6. Display WP Login With Email Instead of Username

By default, WordPress allows users to log in with either their username or email address. 

However, to add an extra layer of security, you can restrict login to username only. That way, when someone tries to log in using an email address they saw on your website or contact page, it won’t work. 

All you have to do is add this code to your theme’s functions.php file:

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// Disable Login with Email

remove_filter(‘authenticate’, ‘wp_authenticate_email_password’, 20);

Some people do this because if a hacker gets hold of your email and password, they’d still need your username to log into your WordPress website. 

So, if you’re looking for an extra layer of security, disable login with an email and require users to log in with their usernames only.

7. Hide WP Login Errors

When someone tries to log into a WordPress site with the wrong credentials, WordPress, by default, returns an error message. 

That’s a security risk because it gives hackers clues as to whether they’ve guessed the correct username or not. 

You can hide this error message by adding this code to your theme’s functions.php file: 

Now, no matter how many times someone tries to log in with incorrect details, they won’t get any hint as to whether they’ve guessed the correct username or not. 

That’s a great way to secure your WordPress site and make it harder for hackers to break into it.

8. Customize Your Menu Items with CSS

You can easily add custom CSS classes to your menu items using the WordPress Customizer. 

For example, let’s say you have a menu item called “About Us” and want to give it a different background colour. 

Simply go to Appearance > Menus in your WordPress dashboard. In the upper-right corner, click on the “Screen Options” tab and check the “CSS Classes” box.

Now you can add a custom CSS class to any menu item. Just give it a name like “about-us” or “home-menu-item” (as shown below). 

Next, write your CSS code for that menu item and add it to your theme’s style.css file or custom CSS editor. 

For example:

.home-menu-item { background-color: #f2f2f2; } 

Save the changes, and now the “home” menu item will have a different background color.

Here’s code for adding a background colour that’s bordered and has a specified border-radius

.home-menu-item {

  background-color: #f2f2f2;

  border: 1px solid black;

  border-radius: 4px;

}

So, if you ever want to customize your navigation menu with custom CSS styles, this is a great way to do it quickly and easily.

Save the changes; now the “Home” menu item will have a different background colour, bordered and with a specified radius. 

That is a great way to make your WordPress menus more unique and visually appealing. 

You can apply the same CSS classes to any other menu item, so give it a try and see what you can come up with.

Here are more CSS properties and their respective CSS codes you can use for further customizing your menus: 

  • To add padding to the menu item: 

.home-menu-item { padding: 10px; }

  • To change the font size and colour of the item text : 

.home-menu-item { font-size: 18px; color: red; } 

  • To add a hover effect with a drop shadow: 

.home-menu-item:hover { box-shadow: 0 10px 20px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.2); }

9. Add Descriptions to Your Navigation Menu or Specific Men Items

You can add descriptions to your navigation menus or specific menu items with the same approach as above.

That’s great for SEO purposes, but it also helps users understand better what’s behind each link. 

Again, go to Appearance > Menus and check the “Description” box from the “Screen Options” tab (in the upper-right corner of the screen). Now you can add descriptions to your menu items. 

You can also use the WordPress Customizer or CSS styling to customize the look of your descriptions further.

For example, you can add a background color or border to the menu item descriptions. 

Here’s the CSS code you can use: 

.menu-item-description { background-color: #f2f2f2; border: 1px solid black; } 

Save the changes, and now your menus will have descriptions with a different background colour and a border around them.

10. Make Your Navigation Menu Link Open in New Window 

By default, when a user clicks on a link in the WordPress navigation menu, it will open the page in the same window. But if you want them to open in a new window, you can easily do so again with the WordPress Customizer. 

Go to Appearance > Menus and click on “Screen Options” (in the upper-right corner). Check the “Link Target” box. Now you can select which links will open in a new window. 

This is great if you want to keep your visitors engaged on your site and simultaneously link to other pages or websites.

11. Display Dynamic Copyright Date in WordPress Footer

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Here’s what you have been doing:

Every time we usher in a new year, you must manually update the copyright date in your WordPress footer.

You go to your template settings, try to find the footer, and manually change the date. 

Well, there’s an easier way to do this with a bit of code. 

Just add the following code snippet in your theme’s footer.php file: 

&copy; 2009 – <?php echo date(‘Y’); ?> YourSite.com 

This code will automatically display the current year in your WordPress footer. 

And you don’t need to update it manually every year! 

You can customize this code further by displaying a start date or years based on when your website was created. 

Just replace “2009” with the start year, and you’re good to go.

12. Split Long Posts into Pages

Ever written a lengthy post and wished you could break it into multiple pages? 

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Instead of scrolling endlessly through your long posts, you can split them into separate pages. 

WordPress makes this easy with its 

“<!–nextpage–>” quick tag. 

You can also use the Alt+Shift+P shortcut key to insert the tag.

Just place the quick tag wherever you want to split your post, and each part will be displayed on its own page. 

When you publish it, the post will be split into multiple pages. 

You’ll see a page navigation menu at the bottom when you preview the page.

This makes it easier for readers to browse through your posts and find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.

13. You Can log in to Your WP Admin Dashboard with sitename.com/admin

You don’t have to type sitename.com/wp-admin to log in to your WordPress admin, sitename.com/admin also works

For the longest time, I have been typing sitename.com/wp-admin to access the WordPress dashboard until I learned that you could also use sitename.com/admin or sitename.com/login

This is a much faster way to access the admin panel and can be very handy when you need quick access.

14. You Can Deploy WordPress Via Git

You Can Deploy WordPress Via Git

This is an advanced hack, but it’s worth mentioning. You can use Git to deploy WordPress websites. 

Git is a version control system that allows you to track changes in your code, and you can use it to keep track of all the changes in your WordPress website. 

You just need to install the VersionPress plugin and a few commands, and you’re good to go. 

It can be complicated at first, but once you get the hang of it, deploying WordPress websites with Git will become second nature.

WordPress Plugin Hacks

All the hacks above work with the WordPress core. But you can also make use of the various plugins to add more features and functions to your site. 

Here are some helpful hacks you can do with plugins: 

15. UsageDD

This plugin can help you identify which plugins are causing performance issues on your site.

By analyzing the loading times of each plugin, you can get rid of the bad offenders and optimize your site’s performance.

It’s the perfect alternative to P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler), which appears to have been abandoned and has a lot of compatibility issues.

16. WP Fastest Cache

Imagine being able to serve your pages faster without making any hardware upgrades.

WP Fastest Cache is a powerful caching plugin that can boost page loading times and reduce server resource usage.

It compresses HTML, JavaScript, and CSS files and caches them as static files. 

It also has several other features like minifying resources, GZip compression, and browser caching. 

It’s the perfect plugin for WordPress sites that get a lot of traffic.

17. WP Smush

Smush is a plugin that sits neatly in the background and automatically optimizes your images as you upload them, so they consume less space while still maintaining the same quality.

It’s an incredibly intuitive plugin that allows you to choose which image sizes should be compressed and also has a bulk smush feature that compresses all your existing images in just one click. 

It’s an absolute must-have tool for anyone who wants to reduce the size of their images without sacrificing quality.

18. IP Geo Block Plugin

This plugin helps you protect your site against malicious attackers who use IP addresses to target your website.

It allows you to block specific countries or regions. 

You can also set up white and blacklists to ensure that only specific IPs can access your site. 

This plugin is ideal for sites that are likely to be targeted by hackers and malicious bots. 

It can be your first line of defence against unwelcome visitors.

19. WP Google Analytics Events

A little more advanced but more powerful. It allows you to create event tracking without fiddling with Google tag manager. 

It also adds extra features to the tracking, like content grouping and custom dimensions, so that you can get more granular data on your site visitors. 

This plugin is perfect for anyone who wants to go beyond the basics of Google Analytics and track more detailed user behaviour.

20. Notes About Themes

In our experience working with WordPress, paid themes are a little overrated. 

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While some offer additional features, most are just made to look nice. 

  • Most of the time, you’ll be paying for “extra features,” but what these features do, is add load time to your site.
  • Most of them come with builders that are either unusable or unnecessary. 
  • Most of the extra features they offers can be replaced with plugins, so we suggest you build your own theme or get a free one.

While looking for a theme, you want to focus on getting a lightweight one, not a bloated one with many features. 

Make sure it’s optimized for speed and has a good codebase. That’s much more important than extra features you may never use. 

Here’s a technique we suggest you use:

  • Pick an excellent free theme. Make sure it’s well-reviewed, loads fast, is reliable, and has good code. 
  • Don’t look at the home page. Instead, focus on all the other things you might need in the theme. 
  • The home page should be the last thing influencing your decision.

Use “Elementor Canvas” to design the homepage anyhow you want. It’s an excellent tool for creating custom layouts. All you need to do is drag and drop the elements you want, then add your own styling. This way, you can create a fantastic home page without adding any additional bloat to the theme itself. 

We hope these tips help you get the most out of WordPress.

The Final Word

And that’s it! Those were 12 WordPress hacks and tricks you’ve probably never tried but can make a big difference in how you manage your WordPress site. 

Do you have any hacks or tricks that we haven’t mentioned here? Could you please share them in the comments? We’d love to hear from you.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.

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