In this article (originally from InstantShift), Tom Jager has outlined 10 of the most common WordPress mistakes that you should avoid. Tom is professional blogger. He works at A-writer. Tom has written numerous articles/online journals. InstantShift is leading design and inspiration related community for web designers and developers daily resource, inspiration and premium web design and development. Image courtesy of Yastremska via Bigstockphoto.
WordPress is a relatively easy platform to learn but if you are a starter, there are a number of traps that you can fall into without educating yourself before using it.
In many cases, easiness and intuitive interface of the platform are what makes people commit mistakes because beginners think that they will figure everything out during the working process.
However, many people who initially perceived WordPress training as optional have encountered a number of problems, especially in the beginning because there are some things that should be done. While most of these problems are not critical, some of them may lead to horrible consequences, such as losing the site. Besides, failing to perform even simple things can be frustrating, so it is certainly better to prepare yourself.
One good way to prepare yourself for using WordPress and avoid committing mistakes is to learn from experiences of others. To do that, in this article we will review top ten most common mistakes that both beginners and experienced users make in WordPress.
Sounds good? Let’s begin.
Mistake #1: Creating a Weak Password and Admin Name
Millions of people around the world use WordPress as content management system for their sites. This means that hackers target the platform very often because of its popularity, so you need to make sure that your security is as reliable as you can make it. Many people before you did not pay much attention to it and ended up losing the control over their sites to hackers. For example, they used a very simple password to protect the site, such as “1234567890” or “password,” which is very easy for hackers to guess.
The next security aspect is admin name. By default, the platform uses “admin” as login to the site. This login is an invitation for hackers because it is much easier for them to break the security and take control over the site. As the result, the work you have been doing will be lost because you did not care much to take action to protect it. To make sure the protection is adequate, create a super strong password and a username that will be difficult to guess.
Mistake #2: Installing Tons of Plugins
There are thousands of plugins available for WordPress today. The directory of plugins is so rich that one can easily get carried away by their functionality. It is a completely natural thing to think that the more plugins you have, the more functionality the site has. However, in this case, enough is enough, because if you install many plugins, some of them may severely bring down the performance of your site.
Before you decide to install every WordPress known to man, it is important to check the information about the ones you want to have and ask yourself whether you really need it. Next, you might want to check if the plugin receives support from the developers in order to meet all safety and functionality requirements. Last but not least, see if the plugin is compatible with your version of WordPress and does exactly what you need it to do. It is probably a good idea to avoid installing the ones that do not meet these requirements.
Plus, remember how much time you will spend on maintaining them instead of doing more important things.
Mistake #3: Ignoring WordPress Updates
Updates are important for each piece of software because they bring improvements and fix bugs. In the case of WordPress, they are critically important. Security threats are growing and WordPress can be vulnerable if the updates are not installed. The platform’s developers are working hard to ensure that everything is working correctly regardless of the circumstances.
On the other hand, outdated version of WordPress may be vulnerable because of old protection technologies and more sophisticated security threats. What is the point of developing updates if they are not important, right? Even if the update is rumored to be capable of breaking something on your platform, it is easy and recommended to back up the data. In the end, you will receive more security with the updates, so make sure you check them regularly. Many people before you have exposed their sites to serious security risks because they did not install updates.
Mistake #4: Selecting the Wrong Platform
One of the most common mistakes made with WordPress, especially among beginners, is the choice of the wrong platform. To understand what we are talking about here, it is necessary to know the differences between the two choices, WordPress.org and WordPress.com. The first respective option is the one that is downloaded from the site and installed on your own server, so it is a self-hosted version of the platform. It is the best option if you wish to have a complete control over your website because it provides these possibilities.
On the other hand, the second option, WordPress.com, is a hosted version of the platform, tailored for use by persons who do not wish to worry about the technical aspects, such as updates, setup, and backups. It is designed to be run by the WordPress server but you can create your blog and worry about the content rather than administration and updating.
Clearly, the two options are different, so make sure your selection meets the requirements of your site.
Mistake #5: Making Updates to Live Site
Many people have committed this mistake in the past because they were not warned about the consequences. You may think that making changes in the code of a live website might not be that big a deal because it is easy, but this is wrong. Even one mistake in the code could go as far as bringing your entire site down. We do not want that.
The experience shows that it is much safer to make updates to a development copy of the site because it allows to test it without serious consequences to the live version. Moreover, it is always a good idea to back up the data before doing anything there.
Mistake #6: Using WordPress Themes and Plugins from Unreliable Sources
As we mentioned above, there are tons of beautiful themes and plugins for WordPress that you can use for your site and some of them might not be as good as they look. Many people are trying to push malicious software on the Internet that only does harm. Unfortunately, WordPress users have become a regular target for these people because of the platform’s popularity.
Free themes and plugins are the most popular target. They are made with a malicious code that cannot be detected easily because they are made by untrusted sources that specifically designed them. The experience of many WordPress users before us tells that it is better to check a theme for this code before using it to avoid serious problems. The official WordPress website even developed an authenticity checker to help the users to stay safe. It therefore a good idea to download the themes and plugins only from official WordPress directories because that’s where the developers test them to make sure they are ready to be distributed. Also, you can download them from the companies with a proven record of good services.
Either way, be careful when downloading themes and plugins for WordPress or make sure you tested the products that you obtained from the third parties.
Mistake #7: Ignoring Backup Requirements
The importance of backup has been already mentioned several times in this article but it is necessary to mention it once again. Whether you want to make updates or perform some other action and save the data, a backup needs to be provided. It is sufficient to claim that lack of backup has been a problem for thousands of people because we tend to ignore it very often. For example, Brian, who has been using WordPress platform for his professional writing service business, says that failing to commit to backup needs have cost him a week of business because the site was down due to a lost data. The cases like this occur on everyday basis, so let’s make sure we are not contributing to the statistics here.
In WordPress, there are two ways to create a backup plan that will ensure that all your data is safe. The first way is to select a hosting provider that proposes good backup options, which can be useful in cases when a whole database of the site is lost. The second way is to install a backup solution for the database; this limits your saving capability to the database but nevertheless can save you in critical situations.
If you have a chance, make sure you backup the entire website.
Mistake #8: Not Making the Site Mobile-friendly
The mobile optimized websites already generate more traffic than desktop versions. It is because everyone has a smartphone and uses it for Internet purposes more frequently than desktops and laptops. What this means to you is that you have to make your WordPress platform mobile friendly because these users will find their experience on it pretty miserable without optimization. More than a half of all commercial sites in the world already have mobile-friendly versions and their number is growing.
You should always follow this trend if you wish that your visitors would have a comfortable browsing experience on your WordPress platform. To accomplish this, you need to provide customization, say, by using a plug like WPtouch or a responsive WordPress theme. These solutions ensure that your site will look stunning regardless of the device one views it. Finding these responsive themes is easy, so make sure you take time to see what they can do for you.
Mistake #9: Creating Content in Word-like Processors
Microsoft Word and other similar programs have been a part of our lives for such a long time and many people are using it today to create and edit texts. While Word, OpenOffice, and their alternatives are certainly great, their use should be limited when you work with texts on WordPress. For example, if you compose your text in Microsoft Word, you face the difficulties of formatting the text in the WordPress editor. This mistake has been done by thousands of WordPress beginners. The problem here is that formatting in Word and WordPress are different, so you will be doing the same job twice if you begin your work outside the online platform.
As the result, the content might be seriously messed up in terms of formatting because it was not originally created in WordPress. It is therefore highly recommended to type your texts inside the WordPress editor to avoid formatting issues.
Mistake #10: Using Default Settings
Your site needs to be unique because otherwise you would be “just another WordPress site.” Do not get us wrong, default settings are fine for running the site but they have some disadvantages: they cannot represent the uniqueness and lack optimization. Therefore, the site has to be optimized for SEO and design to make it look professional. Take your time and see the personalization options you have because it is critically important to stand out and create a foundation for a strong website that will be recognized in the ocean of competitors.
The Bottom Line
WordPress is a great solution used by millions. Let’s better learn from the mistakes of others and make sure we are doing everything right!