Over the years, we have helped thousands of WordPress users start their websites and blogs. In setting up our own websites as well as helping others, we have learned to avoid some common WordPress mistakes.
It has helped us save time, money, and grow our business more effectively.
In this article, we will share those experiences with you, so you can avoid these common WordPress mistakes.
The goal is to help you learn from other people’s mistakes when making your own websites.
1. Choosing The Wrong Platform
The biggest mistake people make when starting out is choosing the wrong blogging platform. Basically, there are two types of WordPress. First, there is WordPress.com which is a blog hosting service, and then there is WordPress.org also which is the famous self-hosted WordPress platform that everyone loves.
You need to start with self-hosted WordPress.org because it gives you access to all the features you need out of the box.
Each year billions of dollars worth of damages are caused by data loss. Almost every website on the internet is prone to accidents, theft, hacking attempts, and other disasters.
Your most powerful line of defense against these threats is automated backups. Without a backup, you could lose all your WordPress data, and it would be very difficult to recover it (sometimes even impossible).
We have seen many people lose their entire websites just because they didn’t have an up to date backup.
Setting up backups is extremely easy, and there are excellent WordPress backup plugins available in the market. Once you set up one of these backup plugins, they would automatically create backups for you.
The second part of this mistake is not storing backup files on a remote location. A lot of folks store their WordPress backups on their web hosting server. If they lose their website data, then they also lose the backups.
Make sure that you store your backups on cloud storage service like Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. Backup plugins like UpdraftPlus can automatically do that for you.
4. Not Setting up Google Analytics
If you want to grow your business with confidence, then you need to know how people find and use your website. That’s where Google Analytics can help.
We recommend using MonsterInsights, the most popular Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It saves you time during setup, and shows you the stats that matter, right inside your WordPress dashboard.
Not setting up a contact form is another easily avoidable mistake that many beginners make. Without a contact form, your website visitors will not be able to contact you, and this can cause you to lose significant opportunities.
You will see a contact page on almost every popular website. It is one of the most important pages every website need to have.
Did you know that more than 70% of people who visit your website will never come back again?
If you are not building your email list, then you are basically losing money with every website visitor that leaves your site. Converting website visitors into email subscribers allows you to bring back those users to your website.
You will need an email marketing service to set up your email list. We recommend using Constant Contact because they are one of the best email marketing companies on the market with a very beginner friendly platform.
One of the biggest challenges WordPress beginners face is choosing the right design for their website.
With thousands of WordPress themes out there, an average beginner tries multiple themes before settling for the right one, and this process can even lead the user to rebuild their website multiple times.
This allows your website visitors to become familiar with your website, your brand, and its unique style. Consistency and continuity of your design makes a big impact on brand recognition and awareness.
We are often asked by readers, how to choose a theme that just works?
Well, when it comes to design we prefer simplicity over glitter. It has worked really well not just for us, but many successful online businesses.
You need to choose a great looking but simple WordPress theme that pays attention to the following items:
It must look equally good on all devices (desktop, mobile, and tablets).
It should be easy to customize and flexible to adapt to your needs.
12. Not Choosing The Right URL Structure (Permalinks)
Selecting the right URL settings (permalink structure) for your website is really important. Changing your URL structure later is not easy, and it can have a significant impact on your website traffic.
We recommend going to the Settings » Permalinks page in your WordPress admin area and choosing a URL structure with that shows your post name in the URL.
13. Ignoring Website Speed and Performance
Human attention span is dropping rapidly, and users want instant gratification. With faster internet connections, your users would find a few extra seconds of page load time to be extremely slow.
And it’s not just users, even search engines rank faster websites higher in their results. By ignoring website speed and performance you risk user experience as well as search rankings.
Which is why you need to make sure that your website loads fast. We have a step by step guide that will help you improve WordPress speed and performance without going too deep into the technical stuff.
14. Not Choosing The Right Plugins
The real power of WordPress comes with its plugins. There are thousands of free WordPress plugins that you can install with a few clicks.
However, not all plugins are good. In fact, some plugins are bad and could affect your website’s performance and security. Often users end up downloading plugins from unreliable sources that distribute hidden malware.
Here are a few things you need to keep in mind when choosing plugins:
A lot of people don’t delete the default demo content added by a new WordPress install. This includes a sample page, a post titled ‘Hello World’, and a default comment.
Not removing this content allows search engines to crawl and index them. Now if you search for the text in demo content on Google, you’ll find hundreds of thousands of pages. That’s duplicate content and search engines penalize duplicate content as low-quality pages.
Similarly, many people don’t change the default WordPress tag line that says ‘Just another WordPress site’.
You need to delete all default content and the tag line, as they look unprofessional and create a bad impression.
18. Not Setting up Comment Moderation
Comment spam is annoying and can make your brand look bad. Many beginners have their blogs set up to automatically publish all new comments without moderation.
This means spam comments with links to malware and low-quality sites can go live on your website without your knowledge. This could damage your search rankings and your website’s reputation.
You need to always keep comment moderation turned on for all your WordPress sites. Simply go to Settings » Discussion page and check the box next to ‘A comment must be manually approved’ option.
20. Saving Unnecessary Code in Theme’s Functions File
Another common mistake that we often come across is when folks add too many code snippets in their theme’s functions.php file.
Functions file is designed to behave like a plugin, but it is not the ideal place for all types of code snippets. You will lose these modifications when you switch the theme. You may even forget that you added some code in there after a while.
We recommend only adding code in your theme’s functions file if the code is related to changing something with that particular theme.
A lot of folks leave Uncategorized as their default category. WordPress requires all posts to be filed under a category and when no category is selected, it automatically adds the post under default category.
Many times users forget to select a category for their post and hit the publish button which publishes that post in Uncategorized.
People often leave under construction websites publicly accessible. This is not very professional and can harm your business.
A publicly accessible website can be automatically crawled and indexed by search engines anytime. Your competitors can find it and steal your ideas. Your customers can find it and see the unfinished website.
You can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel where we regularly share video tutorials to help you learn WordPress.
We hope this article helped you learn about common WordPress mistakes and how to easily avoid them. You may also want to see our tips on effective ways to increase your website traffic without spending too much money.