No one is perfect and to build a truly great website it takes time and dedication. When you are building your first website, mistakes are going to happen. The important thing is to learn from them, and alternatively, you can also learn from other people’s failures too. With that in mind, let’s go through some of the most common mistakes people make on WordPress so you can start building your website the right way from the start.
Buying More than You Need
Getting your self-hosted WordPress blog up and running only takes a domain name and web hosting. Still, most domain registrars will try to upsell you on features that you may not need. People new to the game are easily persuaded into buying some of these products, whether or not they actually need it for their site. Things like SSL, private registration, and branded emails are all useless for your average blogger. Keep in mind too that you can purchase these features at any point farther down the line, should you end up needing them. Think big, but buy small.
Forgetting to Backup Your Files
This can be extended to computer use in general, but especially for your website, back up your files! You never know when you might end up needing a backup to rescue you. There are plugins like VaultPress (paid) and BackWPup (free) that will automatically back all your files. You don’t want to have a great website go down and then not be able to restore it to its former glory. Back up your files.
Small problems become big the longer you ignore them. The same goes for updates, the longer you wait to update, the more of a problem it becomes. You can put your website at risk at well as newer updates are more likely the cover security vulnerabilities. If you stay up to date on updating WordPress, most likely, each individual update will only take a few clicks. Always remember to embrace the updates!
Not Properly Securing Your Site
Unfortunately, too many people wait until their site is hacked to care about security. You wouldn’t buy a home or a car without a lock on it, and you shouldn’t run a website without security. Having a secure WordPress site isn’t even very hard. Having simple safety features like a login attempt limit, two-factor authentication, and a web application firewall is standard operating procedures for all well-run websites.
Not Tracking Data
If you don’t have an analytics software installed on your website, you are missing out on real insight into who is visiting your site and how often. Judging the success of your website by the number of people following you on Instagram probably isn’t the most accurate picture. Analytics will give you an in-depth look at your sites traffic, highlighting the areas where you are doing well and where you might need to do better.
Using a Default Favicon
Favicons are the icons that appear next to your page title in the browser window. Think of the favicon as the identity card of your website. You want something that is unique and in the theme of your site. Often the default favicons are lacking in both of those qualities. They are easy to change and will give your site a little bit more of an authentic feel.
Losing Traffic After Changing URLs
Similar to the photos of you in middle school, it is almost a guarantee that at some point you will look back at your original domain names for your website and feel a mixture of shame and disgust. The natural reaction is to run out and try to change it as quickly as possible. However, if you do this improperly, you could lose a good portion of your traffic and income. Creating a full back up, permanent 301 redirects, and notifying your users are all going to come in handy when you want to change your URL.
No Cache Plugin
A cache plugin will help speed up your site as well as prevent downtime when you experience periods of heavy traffic. Most people new to creating websites on WordPress are familiar with the term cache, which is why they are so infrequently used. Still, having a cache plugin can greatly improve the experience of your site’s visitors.
Not Creating a Custom Archive Page
The archive widget is very appealing to beginners because it allows you to look back on all the time that your site has been up and running. However, after about a year the sheer amount of content that will be in your archives will be overwhelming and akin to a disorganized, clutter-filled garage. Having your own Custom Archive Page will let you control how your archives are organized, and remove the clutter from your website.
Assuming You Know It All
Generally, it’s not the beginners who think they know everything they need to know. Still, a bit of success can go to anyone’s head, and next thing you know your website can be in the dark ages. Trends move quickly these days. Keep your eyes, ears, and mind open and let your website grow right alongside yourself.