Everyone makes mistakes. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or a veteran; it is inevitable. However, there are some mistakes that can be easily avoided if you know about them. In this article, we are going to learn some of the most common mistakes that beginner and even veteran WordPress publishers make.
There are two versions of WordPress. One is the self-hosted version and the other is the free WordPress.com version. Although their core features remain the same, they have major differences.
If you plan to make money on your website or if want to have total control over it, etc., then you’ll want the self-hosted version found in WordPress.org. On the other hand, if you just want to write personal blogs, online diaries, journals, etc. then the free WordPress version from WordPress.com is what you need.
The good news is that you can easily migrate WordPress.com to WordPress.org using a built-in tool in the event that you opted in the free version but decided to take it to the next level further down the road.
Ignoring updates is a serious matter. Most of the time updates not only contain new features and enhancements, but also bug fixes and vulnerability patches. By neglecting to install these updates as soon as they become available, you are leaving your site open to potential security holes.
It’s not entirely a bad thing, however. Some people choose to not install updates immediately because there are instances when a WordPress site suddenly stops working properly after updating its themes and/or plugins to the newest version. There are also scenarios where even WordPress updates itself can break a site. This is mostly due to the incompatibilities and/or coding errors and bugs introduced by the developers.
One way to efficiently avoid the risk of an update breaking your site while at the same time not leaving it outdated for long is to watch the WordPress forums (or the forum of your particular theme or plugin) after an update notification was issued. Check if people start experiencing and reporting problems after the update. If there aren’t any, install the update immediately. Otherwise, it’s best to delay the update until a proper fix is issued.
Updates and backups go hand in hand. If you want to keep your site up-to-date while minimizing the risk of getting into a “the-update-broke-my-site” situation, you need to keep regular backups. It’s generally advised to perform a backup of your website before performing an update or an upgrade. That way, in case something goes wrong, you can easily revert your site back to the last working state.
Backups also prevent the risk of losing your site content due to unexpected events. There are instances when a site crashes and its database gets corrupted, resulting in lost content. If this happens to you and you don’t have backup, you run the risk of losing the entirety of your website. Your years of hard work, the product of your tears, sweat, and your blood – all gone. Don’t let that happen. Start backing up now!
Updates, backups, security – these are three of the most important things to keep in check when you are running a website. So far, we’ve covered the first two. This time, we’ll cover security.
No matter how big or small, all websites are equal to the eyes of a malicious hacker. Don’t think for a second that you have a small site and hackers are not willing to waste their time hacking yours. Wrong. They can use your site to practice their skills or just to show off their skills. They can also hijack your hosting service or your web server and use it to install their malicious software like botnets and perform malicious acts.
Thankfully, there are many security plugins available in the WordPress repository such as Wordfence, All in One WordPress Security, and iThemes Security. Aside from installing these plugins, you can also help improve your site security by not using weak passwords and making sure that your web host is capable of keeping their servers secured and backed up (though your host can do backups themselves, theirs can’t restore the entirety of your site in the event that your host got hacked, so you should never ever not think of creating backups of your own at all).
This is another common beginner mistake that anyone should avoid. Go to Settings > Permalinks and make sure that you are using anything other than Plain. This makes your URLs look something like this: www.examplesite.com/?p=123. It’s bad for SEO and for your users. Imagine if someone shared this link; people would be a bit skeptical to click it.
A good permalink should look like this: www.example.com/how-to-tie-a-knot. See the difference? It looks better and users can easily see what the webpage is about. It looks professional and it’s better for SEO. People can also easily see what the link is about if someone shares it.
WordPress gives us a fair warning against using insecure or weak passwords. In fact, you’ll even have to confirm the use of one during installation. However, some “secure” passwords aren’t as secure as you think, especially if you just used common words, phrases, or numbers just to meet the “criteria of a strong password.” More info about that can be found here. Basically, don’t trust password meters. Always make sure that you use hard-to-guess and uncommon passwords! If possible, use unintelligible words.
No one likes a slow loading website. One of the ways to avoid it is by having your images optimized for the web before you upload them. Photoshop, Gimp, and other popular image manipulation software have an option to save an image for the web. You’ll be surprised at how much file size reduction you can get with minimal to no quality loss.
When you install WordPress, it comes with sample a sample page and sample blog post. If you do a quick google search of the phrase “this is an example page” (including the quotes), you’ll see that there are more than 1.2 million results. That’s how many websites or perhaps website owners forget to remove their sample page. Make sure that you delete them as they can make your website look unprofessional and unfinished.
It can be enticing to enhance WordPress with the use of plugins. In fact, most veteran users even have their own list of plugins that they can’t live without. It’s true that plugins can be very helpful, but installing too many of them can have a negative effect. The more plugins are installed and activated, the more resource your server will need to run your website. In addition to that, the risk of plugin and theme conflict increases, which can impair your website’s functionalities.
Try to minimize your plugin list. Only use the absolutely necessary ones – those which you think are vital to your site’s success.
This is probably one of the most common mistakes of a beginner WordPress publisher. Most of the time, first timers or beginners are not inclined to spend some cash for a premium theme and/or plugin. What they do is pirate it by either downloading it from torrents or from malicious sites and forums to “test it out” or perhaps even to “use it for the time being.” No matter what your purpose is, it’s really dangerous to use nulled themes and plugins.
These nulled themes and plugins have malicious codes injected into them that can hack and exploit your website and/or your server. They can use it to insert malicious ads and pounders to your website, inject cryptocurrency miners, or even take over your website and your server/hosting service.
These are the most common mistakes that WordPress publishers make. Although you can learn from your own mistakes, it’s better to learn from others so that you don’t have to undergo the same frustration as they have. If you happen to come across a mistake not listed here, feel free to share them to others. Sharing is what makes the WordPress community so great!