WordPress: Common Mistakes & How to Fix Them

January 19, 2017

WordPress is an amazing tool for creating websites, especially for those who aren’t technically savvy. Yet despite its simplicity of use, common mistakes are still being made, usually with the individual not even realizing it.

Our friends at WPEngine have conveniently given us a list of these common mistakes. Have a read through them and be aware of these common mistakes, and how to fix them if you come across them.

Mistake #1: Installing Too Many Plugins

With so many awesome WordPress plugins out there, you don’t have to use every plugin known to man. If you install too many, your website can slow down and take a lot longer to load. Be selective about the plugins you install, and make sure you uninstall ones that you don’t use. Also, keep in mind that some plugins can use a lot of resources from your hosting service – causing your website to crash for users – without you even knowing!

Mistake #2: Not Focusing on SEO For Your Content

Good content is a must for your website, but ignoring the SEO aspect of it is a big mistake. To maximize the odds of your webpages getting picked up by search engines, optimizing them is critical. To make things easier, install a WordPress SEO plugin such as Yoast, which will help you maximize your SEO efforts and guide you.

Mistake #3: Not Backing Up Your Website

If you don’t regularly back up your website, you run the risk of losing everything. Certain hosting services offer monthly automatic WordPress backups so you don’t have to do it yourself. In addition, there are some backup plugins for WordPress that you can take advantage of. Our friends at WPEngine actually backup for your website daily and keep a record of 30 days of backups. If you want to create your own backup from the WordPress dashboard – Duplicator is a great plugin to create an exact duplicate copy of your website – and allows you to easily restore it through their web application.

Mistake #4: Not Changing the Default Permalinks

The permalink structure in WordPress is not optimized for SEO by default. Make sure you change your websites permalink structure to improve your rankings. In order to change the permalink structure, do the following:

  1. Login to your WordPress back-end
  2. On the sidebar – click on Settings
  3. Click on Permalinks
  4. Select “Post name” and click on save

If done correctly you should see the urls of your website change to the actual page name. For example www.youdomain.com/about.

Mistake #5: Not Taking Advantage of WordPress and Plugin Updates

Outdated versions of WordPress pose security risks since they are more traceable and can let hackers in more easily. Make sure you keep your plugins, themes, and WordPress core up-to-date.

Mistake #6: Changing the URL of a Post After Publishing it

If you change the post slug, all existing links that are out there will be broken. That means you’ll lose traffic that has already been built up and send your users to a 404 error page. Before you publish an article, make sure the post slug is just the way you want it. If you do decide to change it – don’t forget to create a 301 redirect.

Mistake #7: Using Bad Quality Images

It’s obvious your website needs images. It has been shown websites get 94% more views compared to those without or not enough images. The brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster compared to text. However, poor images are not a good choice. Consider paying for good stock photos if necessary. If not, there are some free sources of images available, such as Unsplash.com or Pexels.com. Just make sure you give proper attribution to the photographer if necessary.

Mistake #8: Not Resizing Images

Images can often be the reason for a slow-loading website. Before publishing them, prepare them for upload by reducing their size. You can do this using an editor such as Photoshop, or a plugin that resizes images so they don’t take up a lot of space and cause your website to run very slow.

Mistake #9: Customizing a Parent Theme

You’ll be causing yourself a lot of stress if you change the theme directly. The best way to edit a theme is by creating a child theme. This takes the functionality of the parent theme and allows you to make modifications without messing with the original theme’s code.

Mistake #10: Not Using a Staging Environment

Don’t make changes directly to the live website. Instead, use a staging environment to test out any modifications first before it’s public.

Mistake #11: Using the Default Admin Username

Never, never, never use the default “admin” or “administrator” as a username. You’re just asking to be hacked. Change the admin name to something unique at the point of installation.

Mistake #12: Not Having a Strong Password

A weak password is another invitation for hackers. Choose something strong that includes at least eight characters, an uppercase and lowercase letter, a number, and a special symbol. This should be nothing new right?

Mistake #13: Giving Your Admin Privileges to Just Anyone

Be careful who you give your admin rights to. Only website owners and developers should have this information. You can give specific permissions to specific people on the backend.

Mistake #14: Blocking Search Engines by Accident

Make sure that a certain box isn’t checked off in your Settings in order to ensure it can be crawled by the search engines. To double check click on Settings -> Reading. At the bottom of that page you will find the checkbox. Uncheck it, if its checked.

Mistake #15: Using Poor Web Hosting Services

A cheap hosting provider can cause your site to be slow, which won’t allow for a positive user experience. Make sure your hosting provider offers services for caching, security, great customer support, and more. Checkout our friends at WPEngine for the best WordPress Hosting Environment!

Don’t make these common mistakes in order to ensure you have a WordPress site that’s SEO-friendly and easily found by the search engines! Thanks to WPEngine for putting this list together.

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