Take any WordPress site owner and they will tell you there aren’t many things that can go wrong with WordPress. It’s a great platform with a plethora of options for development and marketing. And it’s only getting better and easier to manage with each year. But still, despite WordPress’s perfect, user-friendly interface and comprehensive support materials, WordPress newbies tend to make minor mistakes.
There is nothing wrong with making mistakes. Mistakes lead to great revelations and learning lessons. But some mistakes are so common in the WordPress development field, that they can easily be avoided.
Here is the list of the most common WordPress mistakes:
1. Not backing up your site
This one is not hard to guess, but still many people don’t understand the point of regular backups. Nothing is perfect, even such a long-standing technology as WordPress. Your site might never crash but you’ll have a piece of mind and confidence in the future if you backup regularly.
Creating a WordPress backup is easy as 123. You can either use a plugin such as WP-DB-Backup or simply back up your site manually, by going to Tools and clicking Export.
2. Installing plugins that aren’t used
WordPress repository contains more than 40,000 plugins, so it’s only natural to be tempted to install them all. But plugins affect your website loading speed, let alone many plugins aren’t compatible with one another.
Ask yourself “Is this plugin really necessary for the functionality of my site?”. If the answer is no, it might not be the right solution for you. Also, delete all the plugins you don’t use. Monitor how your plugins behave. Sometimes a newly installed plugin can come into conflict with previously installed plugins. Another common tip shared by developers is to avoid plugins that are not tested with your version of WordPress.
3. Ignoring image optimiZation
First, images are the core of your content marketing strategy. The human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Make sure you include images to your content and optimize them. Here are the main image attributes that should be optimized:
- Alt Text is a short description of what the image contains. Alt Text is very important for SEO since search engines pull this data for their rankings. Alt Texts is also the only thing that the users will see if the images don’t load properly.
- Title is used on a separate page that opens up when the user clicks on the image. Make sure you change the file name before you upload it to WordPress.
- Description provides additional information about the image, that is then displayed on the separate page along with the title. If you’re allowing the users to open the image on a separate attachment page, make sure you have all the descriptions written.
- Image Title Attribute is displayed when you hover over the image. Image Title Attribute can be anything – from image title to description or a separate snippet of text.
4. Not choosing a responsive theme
Mobile is everywhere. We’re now accessing websites on the go, so it’s important to give users an easy way to review the information while they’re standing in line or commuting to work. Most themes use responsive design, but once in awhile, you stumble upon a non-responsive theme.
If your website has been around for a while, there is a high chance that it isn’t responsive. Considering the overwhelming rate with which mobile is conquering the world, it might be time for an update.
5. Not installing a caching plugin
With current attention spans, people don’t want to wait for the page to load. They want to get instant access to information. When a website is loading too slow, you’re in trouble. Fortunately, there is a quick fix for your website loading speed.
Caching is the process of storing data in a cache. How does caching work? Usually, your website design doesn’t change much over a period of time. Caching allows you to create a static version of your site. When the visitor goes to your site the second time they will see a cached version.
6. Forgetting about the comments section
The comments section is meant to improve visitor engagement. Most business owners know that they need to engage their users but rarely do they take advantage of the comments section. Also, they often forget about comments completely, ignoring incoming questions and feedback.
If you want new visitors to believe that the site is a living and breathing organism and that your company is thriving, it’s important to keep comments section clean, tidy, and active. Make sure you reply to all the comments and delete spam.
7. Creating too many categories
Categories allow for an easy content organization, however business owners often create too many categories. It’s hard enough for visitors to decipher what the site is about, so a complicated category structure can turn the site experience into a confusing search quest for information.
The best way to organize your blog content is to have a limited number of top-level categories and then use tags for low-level organization.
8. Installing a malfunctioning WordPress theme
With the multitude of WordPress themes available these days, the process of choosing the right theme can turn into a nightmare. But there is one factor that can ease the doubts of excessive choice – the reputation of the company.
New theme developers may still be learning and aren’t able to produce truly high performing and visually compelling WordPress themes. On the contrary, a reputable company will have a stable product to offer as well as proofs of trustworthiness and product quality.
9. Ignoring SEO tactics
Content marketing is a complex field, but more and more experts agree that it’s not just about writing amazing blog posts. Content overload is real. There is simply too much content produced these days, and companies are competing on the quality of content as well as on its discoverability.
SEO is one of the content distribution tactics that can’t be ignored. Luckily, you can improve your SEO scores with the help of the Yoast SEO plugin. The plugin takes all the SEO recommendations and gives them to you in a simple and easy-to-follow form.
10. Blocking site from search engines
WordPress has a wonderful feature of discouraging search engines from finding your site while you’re still building and developing it. But oftentimes, people forget to uncheck the box, therefore, preventing Google from discovering your site even when the site is ready.
This mistake can easily be fixed by going to Settings >> Reading and making sure the “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” box is unchecked.
We all make mistakes. But in the highly connected social world, we have a great advantage – when many people make the same mistakes we can learn faster, accumulate knowledge and prevent future missteps. So take note of these most common WordPress mistakes and see if you made any of them. Then go to the WordPress dashboard and try to fix them. Your users will thank you for it.