It will come as no surprise that WordPress powers 33.6% of all websites around the world!
Chances are, that you too are using WordPress to manage your website. As one of the world’s most dominant CMS platforms, WordPress makes building a website easy.
Of course, regardless of how experienced you are, mistakes are going to be made. However, many WordPress mistakes are avoidable when you know what to look out for.
This list of common WordPress mistakes to avoid will help you identify potential mistakes. It will also guide you through the best fixes if you encounter them.
As the old adage goes… “prevention is better than cure” and this is definitely true when it comes to your WordPress website.
1- Failing to backup your WordPress site
There is nothing more heartbreaking than waking up to find that all of your vital data is damaged or gone missing.
Servers crash and sites get hacked… and yours is not immune!
If this happens to you and you haven’t backed up your WordPress data, your only option is to start from the very beginning again.
This is where WordPress automated backups come into play with our first WordPress mistakes tip.
One of the best plug-ins to use for backing up your WordPress website is Duplicator.
Duplicator will back up all of your website information into a zip file. This makes downloading and uploading your entire site a cinch.
When it comes to storing your backed up data, cloud storage is the way forward. Keeping an offline copy helps protect your website against server compromisation and any server crashes.
2- Using the wrong theme
Website design is not easy for beginners. Therefore, it makes total sense to want to use a theme.
However, theme templates are not always your best friend.
Yes, they may eliminate much of the design elements.
But certain themes can make your site difficult to navigate and incredibly slow.
One thing that is extremely important is to choose a theme that is mobile-friendly. Websites that are not adaptable to mobiles are penalised by Google.
You also need to ensure that any theme you choose is compatible with the plugins that you need.
Don’t simply pick the first theme you like the look of and hope for the best. Spend some time comparing different themes, checking compatibility, and previewing its features.
Another thing to note is that the simpler a theme is, the faster it will tend to be.
3- Not using SEO
We have said it before, and we will say it again… a website without SEO is a website without potential.
You can create a website with all the bells and whistles. It can be visually stunning and loaded with useful content. But without SEO, it is invisible.
SEO drives traffic to your website and helps you rank higher in the search engines. This is why you need to know the latest SEO techniques.
And luckily for you, we have plenty of useful SEO guide on our blog.
It is all too easy to think that SEO is just about keywords… it’s not.
In fact, keywords don’t even make it into the top five most important SEO techniques to use.
And with voice search beginning to dominate the way that people perform searches online, using question phrases and a conversational tone has never been more important!
That’s not to say that key words aren’t important. They absolutely are! But what is more important are question phrases, backlinks, detailed answers, internal links, content with value and visuals.
A plug-in such as yoast SEO can help you work on your SEO techniques while you work on publishing your content.
4- Publishing posts in place of pages
Many beginners on WordPress don’t know the difference between posts and pages. Using the correct type for the correct content is important.
But here’s the thing:
When it comes to your website architecture, pages and posts behave differently. And pages definitely have a leading edge for important content.
So how do you know what needs to be a page of what needs to be a post?
The easiest way is to look at the type of information you will be creating.
If the information doesn’t need to be updated or changed often, then you definitely want to publish it as a page and not a post.
Think along the lines of:
- About us
- Terms and conditions
However, whenever you need to post time-based content to your site, you should always use the post format.
Posts are perfect for how to guides, articles, news updates, general updates and blog posts.
5- Ignoring site speed
How fast your website loads determines how high you can rank in the search results.
In the past, slow loading websites could easily take the top spot on page one of Google. Today, you can find yourself being penalised if your website is too slow.
But what exactly makes a website slow?
Those ever useful WordPress plugins can seriously reduce your site’s performance!
As does having too many videos, images and audio files.
Basically, the faster your website loads, the more likely people are to stick around.
Avoid installing hundreds of WordPress plugins and stick with just the basics.
If you are using shared hosting, this can also result in a slow loading website.
Focus on optimising and reducing your image files with a plug-in such as ShortPixel. Pagespeed ninja can also make speeding up your WordPress website quick and easy.
6- No or Low Security
Every day, over 90,000 websites are hacked. Of these 90,000 websites, 83% use WordPress as their CMS.
Therefore, security is of vital importance. Protecting yourself from malware, brute force attacks and hackers leaves your site vulnerable.
Luckily, there are many WordPress plugins that provide optimal security for your website. Wordfence is the best of the best and offers up impressive security features for free.
You should also be aware that updating your theme and plugins is just as important. Hackers can find their way into your website through out-of-date plugins and themes.
You should also avoid publicly displaying your email address anywhere on your website. Instead, use contact forms that act as a middleman between you and your customer.
7- Remove Theme Stock
Whenever you download a WordPress theme to use for your website, it will store templates, photos, videos, plug-ins, etc.
Run through your media section on your WordPress dashboard and delete any files that you don’t need.
Then run through your plugins to remove any that you don’t need for your website.
Finally, delete any pages that are of no use. It is best to create a page from scratch rather than use a template.
As we mentioned earlier, any images that you upload should be optimised and reduced in size.
You should also try to serve any visuals on your website as WEBP files instead of JPG or PNG. These files are not only smaller, but our next generation and designed to load faster.
Basically, what we are saying is strip your theme down to its bare bones and build from the ground up.
And as a final note, avoid publishing your website until it is ready to go live. A partially completed website is of no use to anyone.
If you are a WordPress beginner and WordPress isn’t doing it for you, take a look at our best CMS options for 2019.
Ultimately, WordPress is filled with many pitfalls and potential mistakes for those not familiar with the platform.
However, these seven mistakes to avoid can help you on your way to mastering your website building skills.