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WordPress is the best CMS. Although you might be tired of hearing this line, it’s true. Yet, people seem to have some problems creating and managing their WordPress websites. Why is that? Because so many of them keep making some common mistakes that can impact their website’s design, features, scalability, security, and more.
It’s very important to stay on top of mistakes, both major and minor ones. Although you may not think of them as much, there are several things that you overlook, and they can be quite critical for the welfare of your website.
Now, there are several things WordPress development services take into account when creating and launching a WordPress website. That’s what I aim to cover through this blog. I’ll tell you all about the common WordPress mistakes to avoid, along with how you need to proceed. So, let’s begin.
What Makes WordPress so Popular?
There are so many CMS platforms for building websites, like Shopify, Magento, Drupal, Joomla, Wix, and more. But as I have said so many times, WordPress is the most popularly-used CMS, with millions of websites in its portfolio. Why is that? Why is WordPress so popular? Here are a few factors that might explain:
- User-Friendly Interface: WordPress is known for its intuitive and user-friendly interface. It allows users with varying levels of technical expertise to create and manage websites without extensive coding knowledge.
- Open Source and Free: WordPress is an open-source platform, so its source code is freely available to the public. That has led to a large community of developers contributing to its improvement. Additionally, the core software is free to use, making it a cost-effective solution for many.
- Customization and Flexibility: WordPress offers a wide range of themes and plugins that allow users to customize the look and functionality of their websites. This flexibility makes it suitable for various types of sites, from blogs and business sites to eCommerce platforms.
- Large Community and Support: The WordPress community is vast and active. Users can find support through forums, online communities, and extensive documentation. This wealth of resources makes it easier for both beginners and experienced users to troubleshoot issues and seek advice.
- SEO-Friendly: Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for online visibility, and WordPress is designed with SEO in mind. There are several features and plugins with respect to WordPress SEO that help optimize the content, improving the probability of higher rankings in search results.
- Regular Updates and Security: WordPress is regularly updated with new features, improvements, and security patches. The development community is proactive in addressing vulnerabilities, making it a relatively secure platform. However, users should still take proactive measures because the importance of website security is paramount.
- Scalability: Whether you are running a small blog or a large eCommerce site, WordPress is scalable to meet the needs of your website. Its architecture allows for easy scaling as your website grows.
- Community and Ecosystem: The WordPress ecosystem includes a vast number of developers, designers, and businesses providing services related to WordPress. This thriving ecosystem contributes to the continuous growth and improvement of the platform.
Overall, there’s a perfect combination of user-friendly features, customization options, a supportive community, and more. That has contributed to WordPress’s sustained popularity as a CMS.
But despite WordPress being such an excellent web development platform, some people face issues managing their websites. That may be due to the common WordPress mistakes that we’ll discuss in the next section.
What are the Most Common WordPress Mistakes to Avoid?
There are so many things that control the success of a WordPress website, which unfortunately means there is room for people to make mistakes. Although you may take these mistakes lightly, they can result in data loss, security vulnerabilities, poor site performance, and lower search engine rankings.
So, to help you stay ahead of the curve, I’ll tell you about some of the most common WordPress mistakes and show how you can prevent them.
Not Backing Up Your Website
Backups are very important for any website, whether it’s created on WordPress or not. They help preserve your website at specific points in time. If something goes wrong, you can simply restore your site to a previous version, minimizing downtime and data loss.
Plus, knowing your website is safeguarded against unforeseen events grants you invaluable peace of mind. You can focus on creating, innovating, and growing your online presence without the constant worry of losing everything.
Moreover, backups can act as a safety net against malicious attacks. Hackers might be able to temporarily take down your site, but with a backup, you can quickly bounce back and thwart their attempts.
Here are a few important practices for WordPress backups:
- Regular Schedule: Set up a regular backup schedule, whether daily, weekly, or monthly, depending on the frequency of content updates and changes to your website.
- Off-Site Storage: Store backups in an off-site location or use cloud storage services. This safeguards your data in case of server failures or disasters that affect your hosting provider.
- Complete Backups: Ensure that your backups include all critical components, such as databases, files, themes, and plugins. A comprehensive backup allows for a complete restoration of your website.
- Automate the Process: Use backup plugins or hosting features that allow for automated backups. This reduces the likelihood of human error and ensures consistency in the backup process.
- Regular Testing: Periodically test your backups to ensure they are functional. This practice helps verify that your backup files are intact and can be successfully restored.
- Disaster Recovery Plan: Develop a clear disaster recovery plan that outlines the steps to take if your website experiences a significant issue. This plan should include the process for restoring backups and getting your site back online.
When it comes to backing up WordPress websites, there are two approaches: you can either install a WordPress plugin or back up the website manually. The common WordPress plugins for backing up websites are UpdraftPlus and Jetpack.
Not Updating WordPress and Plugins
It is crucial to regularly update WordPress and plugins to maintain website security, performance, and compatibility. These updates patch security vulnerabilities, protecting the site from cyber threats and potential breaches. Additionally, updates often include new features, bug fixes, and improved performance, enhancing the user experience.
Neglecting to update plugins and WordPress versions can pose significant security risks, leaving the website vulnerable to cyber-attacks, malware, and data breaches. Outdated software can also cause compatibility issues with newer technologies and browsers, potentially impacting the website’s functionality and accessibility for users. Therefore, it is essential to stay current with updates to ensure a secure, efficient, and resilient website.
Best practices for effortless updates include:
- Enable automatic updates: This is the most convenient way to ensure your site stays current without manual intervention.
- Regularly check for updates: If you prefer manual updates, make it a habit to check for available updates frequently.
- Test updates on a staging site: Before applying updates to your live site, test them in a staging environment to ensure compatibility and avoid surprises.
- Backup your site before updating: Always have a recent backup as a safety net in case something goes wrong during the update process.
Remember, keeping your WordPress site and plugins updated is not just a good practice—it’s essential for security, stability, and optimal performance. That’s why WordPress developers make it a priority to keep the website safe and rich.
Using Too Many Plugins
As you already know, plugins can be a great way to integrate advanced features and functionalities into your website. However, excessive use of plugins can have a significant impact on the performance and security of your WordPress site. It not only slows down your website but also increases the risk of compatibility issues and security vulnerabilities.
Plugins aren’t always designed to work seamlessly together. Clashes between plugins can cause unexpected errors, broken features, or even complete site crashes.
So, you should limit the number of plugins to only those that are necessary in order to maintain a well-functioning and secure website. And because outdated or poorly coded plugins can introduce security vulnerabilities, you need to choose the best WordPress plugins for the particular objective on your website, wisely.
Here are a few best practices for plugin minimalism:
- Choose wisely: Select plugins that offer essential functionality and are from reputable developers with a history of security and updates.
- Deactivate unused plugins: Regularly audit your plugins and deactivate those that are no longer needed.
- Seek alternatives: Explore alternative methods to achieve desired features, such as using code snippets or custom functions, to reduce plugin reliance.
- Focus on quality over quantity: Choose multi-functional plugins or those with lightweight code to minimize the impact on performance.
Essentially, keep only those plugins that serve a clear purpose, and you’ll enjoy a faster, more secure, and more manageable website experience.
Not Optimizing Images
Images are what give life to your website. They make your website more creative and attractive to the users. But it’s not enough to just post the images on the website. You also need to optimize the images for your website. Otherwise, it will lead to painfully slow loading times, wasted bandwidth, unresponsiveness on mobile devices and some browsers, and even have a negative impact on SEO.
Unoptimized images can significantly slow down your website’s loading time, resulting in a poor user experience and potentially higher bounce rates. Moreover, large image files can have a negative impact on your website’s SEO by affecting its performance and ranking on search engine results pages.
Plus, if non-optimized images cause issues on mobile devices, they can cause less responsive and visually appealing websites.
But don’t worry. Here are a few ways to optimize images in WordPress:
- Choose the right file format: Opt for JPEG for photographs or images with lots of color and PNG for images with transparency or text.
- Compress images: Use image compression tools like TinyPNG or JPEGmini to reduce file size without compromising quality.
- Resize images: Scale images to the correct dimensions before uploading them to your WordPress site to ensure optimal loading speed.
- Add descriptive filenames: Rename image files with relevant keywords to improve SEO and make them more accessible to users and search engines.
- Utilize alt text: Use image titles and alt texts to improve accessibility for visually impaired users and enhance SEO.
You can also opt for image compression tools and formats like WebP. They help reduce file sizes without compromising quality, thus enhancing website performance and improving user experience.
Not Having a Mobile-friendly Website
Nowadays, as you may already know, more than half the web traffic comes from mobile devices. So, having a mobile-friendly website is crucial for maintaining a strong online presence. Neglecting to do so can lead to a negative user experience, high bounce rates, and a decrease in search engine rankings.
Any business or organization that aims to reach a broader audience and provide a seamless browsing experience should prioritize optimizing their website for mobile devices. Here’s how you can ensure your website is mobile-friendly:
- Mobile-friendly Testing: Regularly test your website’s mobile-friendliness. This helps identify and address any issues affecting the mobile experience.
- Optimized Content: Ensure that text is readable without zooming, buttons are easily tappable, and images are appropriately sized for smaller screens.
- Touch-friendly Elements: Design touch-friendly navigation and interactive elements to accommodate touchscreen gestures commonly used on mobile devices.
- Fast Loading Times: Optimize your WordPress website for speed and performance on mobile devices by compressing images, minimizing scripts, and leveraging browser caching.
- Avoid Flash and Pop-ups: Avoid using technologies like Flash that may not be supported on every mobile device. Similarly, minimize the use of pop-ups that can be intrusive on smaller screens.
- User-friendly Forms: If your site includes forms, ensure they are easy to fill out on mobile devices with appropriately sized fields and well-designed input elements.
Make sure you regularly monitor your website’s mobile performance and make adjustments as needed to address any emerging issues or changes in technology. Or you can opt for dedicated WordPress website development services. They ensure your website looks good on every device and every browser popular among the target audience.
Not Utilizing SEO Techniques
When creating a WordPress website, it is crucial to incorporate SEO techniques to ensure optimal visibility and traffic, better credibility and trust, and a good user experience. Neglecting these techniques, such as optimizing meta descriptions, title tags, and utilizing relevant keywords, can significantly impact the website’s ranking in search engine results.
Furthermore, overlooking image alt text, creating non-SEO friendly permalinks, and neglecting mobile optimization can hinder the website’s overall performance. There are so many more WordPress SEO tactics that you need to be aware of and utilize in your website and content.
Here are a few of the crucial best practices for WordPress SEO:
- Keyword Research: Identify relevant keywords that align with your content and target audience. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner to find keywords with search volume and low competition.
- On-Page Optimization: Optimize title tags, meta descriptions, headers, and content to include target keywords naturally. Ensure that your content is well-structured and provides value to users.
- Quality Content: Create high-quality, valuable, and engaging content that addresses the needs and interests of your target audience. Regularly update and add new content to keep your site fresh and relevant.
- Link Building: Develop a strong backlink profile by acquiring quality inbound links from reputable websites. This helps improve your site’s authority and credibility.
- Mobile Optimization: Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly, as mobile optimization is a significant factor in search engine rankings.
- Page Speed Optimization: Improve your website’s loading speed to provide a better user experience and satisfy search engine algorithms, which consider page speed as a ranking factor.
- User Experience: Enhance user experience by creating intuitive navigation, clear calls-to-action, and a well-designed site structure.
- Regular Monitoring and Analysis: Use analytics tools to monitor your website’s performance, track user behavior, and assess the effectiveness of your SEO strategies. Make data-driven adjustments as needed.
To maximize the potential of your website, it’s essential to invest in SEO to improve visibility, attract quality traffic, and build a strong online presence in your industry or niche. Additionally, utilizing SEO plugins like Yoast SEO or All in One SEO can streamline the process and improve the website’s SEO performance.
Not Regularly Checking for Broken Links
This one is a common oversight that can have negative consequences for your website’s user experience, search engine rankings, and overall credibility. Broken links lead to dead ends. So, users who encounter broken links may become discouraged, lose trust in your site, and leave without finding the info they were seeking.
Basically, not checking for broken links regularly can result in poor user retention, decreased search engine rankings, missed opportunities (and conversions), and damage to the reputation.
So follow these practices for checking and managing broken links:
- Regular Link Audits: Conduct regular link audits using tools like Google Search Console, broken link checkers, or website crawlers to identify broken links on your site.
- Internal Link Checks: Ensure that internal links, such as navigation menus, footer links, and contextual links within content, are regularly checked for functionality.
- External Link Monitoring: Monitor external links pointing to your site, as changes on external websites can result in broken backlinks. Consider using tools to track and manage these external links.
- 301 Redirects for Permanently Moved Content: If you’ve moved or renamed content, implement 301 redirects to ensure that users and search engines are directed to the new location. This helps maintain SEO value and prevents broken links.
- Custom 404 Error Pages: Resolve 404 error and create custom error pages with helpful information and navigation options to guide users back to relevant content when they encounter a broken link.
- Automated Monitoring Tools: Utilize automated link monitoring tools that can regularly scan your website for broken links and provide alerts when issues are detected.
- Regular Content Updates: As you update and add new content, ensure that internal and external links remain functional. Regularly review and update your website’s content to prevent the accumulation of broken links.
You can also encourage the users to provide feedback on broken links they encounter. Implementing a user-friendly way for visitors to report broken links can help you address issues promptly. That will enhance the user experience, maintain search engine rankings, and uphold the credibility of your website.
Not Using a Secure Password
Using a weak password poses significant security risks, such as unauthorized access, data breaches, and compromised website integrity. Hackers can easily guess or crack weak passwords, resulting in unauthorized entry into the website’s backend. That leads to a possibility of data theft, alteration of website content, or even complete shutdown.
Using a strong password is one of the basic, yet crucial practices in the WordPress security guide. Here’s how you can create a strong password:
- Complexity: Use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters to create a complex and strong password.
- Length: Aim for a password that is at least 12 characters long. Longer passwords are generally more secure.
- Avoid Common Words: Avoid using easily guessable words, names, or phrases. This includes common words, birthdays, and easily accessible personal information.
- Unique Passwords: Use different passwords for different accounts to prevent a security breach on one platform from affecting multiple accounts.
- Password Managers: Consider using a reputable password manager to generate and store complex passwords securely. This helps you manage multiple strong passwords without the need to remember them all.
- Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification in addition to the password.
- Avoid Password Sharing: Refrain from sharing passwords with others, and be cautious about entering passwords on shared or public computers.
Make sure you change your passwords regularly, especially for critical accounts. Regular updates help minimize the risk associated with prolonged use of the same password.
Not Utilizing Analytics
After creating the website comes its maintenance, and one of the crucial undertakings with that respect is analytics. It plays a crucial role in understanding how visitors interact with your website. So you can make more informed decisions to improve user experience, optimize content, and achieve your online goals.
Analytics can help you identify and analyze user behavior, enhance content strategy, improve SEO, refine marketing efforts, and enhance the user experience.
So implement these practices and utilize analytics efficiently:
- Choose the Right Analytics Tools: Select analytics tools that align with your goals and provide the necessary insights. Popular options include Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, and various CMS-integrated analytics solutions.
- Set Up Goals and Conversions: Define goals and conversions in your analytics tool to track specific actions or milestones on your website, such as form submissions, purchases, or sign-ups.
- Regular Review Reports: Schedule regular reviews of your analytics reports. This allows you to stay informed about changes in user behavior, traffic patterns, and the performance of different website elements.
- Implement A/B Testing: Use A/B testing to experiment with different variations of your website, landing pages, or marketing campaigns. Analyze the results to make data-driven decisions on what resonates best with your audience.
- Monitor Website Health: Regularly check for technical issues using analytics data. Look for error reports, broken links, and other issues that may impact user experience and SEO.
- Create Custom Dashboards: Tailor your analytics dashboard to display the metrics most relevant to your goals. Custom dashboards can simplify data interpretation and focus on key performance indicators.
- Combine Analytics with User Feedback: Integrate user feedback mechanisms, such as surveys and customer support insights, with analytics data. This holistic approach provides a more comprehensive understanding of user needs and challenges.
- Stay Informed About Updates: Keep abreast of updates and new features in your chosen analytics tools. New functionalities may enhance your ability to extract meaningful insights and improve website performance.
By actively leveraging analytics, you can make informed decisions, optimize your online presence, and continually improve the user experience.
You can also opt for WordPress website maintenance packages as they help analyze your website regularly and implement (or suggest) the necessary changes accordingly.
As I said before these mistakes are quite common among the beginners, and sometimes, even the veterans. So, if you want the best results, you can also hire a WordPress development service partner. They will ensure your website is created, updated, and managed as effectively as possible.
FAQs on Common WordPress Mistakes
WordPress, as a versatile and powerful platform, offers countless opportunities for customization and growth. However, it’s essential to navigate its functionalities with care and attention to detail.
Some common WordPress mistakes to avoid, include,
- Not Backing Up Your Website
- Failing to Update WordPress and Plugins
- Using Too Many Plugins
- Not Optimizing Images
- Ignoring Mobile Responsiveness
- Neglecting SEO Practices
- Not Checking for Broken Links
- Using Weak Passwords
- Not Utilizing Analytics
If you need help navigating these pitfalls, let’s have a chat.