Using WordPress as a CMS if perfect for anyone who is just starting their first website, or for more advanced users. It doesn’t require writing code but is easy enough to write code for if you choose. It’s SEO friendly and simple to manage and you can create a simple yet stunning website in minutes rather than days.
Even with the simplicity of managing a WordPress site, there are still mistakes that many beginners and experts alike make when setting up their shiny new WordPress powered website. So here are 6 of the most common WordPress mistakes.
1. Not Deleting Default WordPress Content
It probably sounds so silly, but you’d be amazed how often this get’s overlooked. If you don’t believe me, just Google this:
This is an example page. It’s different from a blog post because it will stay in one place and will show up in your site navigation
When you first install WordPress, it’ll create a sample page and a sample blog post enthusiastically titled ‘Hello World’. Leaving these pages active is a sure way of making your site look less than professional.
2. Not Sorting Your Permalinks
The name ‘Permalinks‘ really tells you all you need to know about these settings. They are designed to be permanent, and changing them once your site is set up and producing content isn’t smart. So it’s good to think about your permalinks before you actually start adding content to your site.
If you do decide to change your permalinks after you’ve already built and published your site, all the URLs to your posts and pages are going to change! Imagine how confusing that’s going to be for Google the next time it crawls your site? Everything it thought was real is gone, and it might just not stick around to find the updated content. Not only have you potentially destroyed Googles little world, but you’re also probably going to find people visiting your infamous 404 error page a lot more often as the click on links from search results that lead to pages which are no longer there. I’d recommend avoiding this at all costs.
There are plenty of options to choose from when deciding on your permalink structure. A simple, basic and SEO friendly URL could just use /%postname%/ and trust me, this is better than changing in a years time.
3. Not Using Child Themes
You’ve installed WordPress and decided to ditch the out of the box theme in favor of something a little more you. You’ve got everything set up and working just fine and you’ve achieved that nice polished look by making some custom theme modifications. Without trying to sound dramatic, you’re stood in the road and a bus is hurtling towards you.
Using a child theme puts you firmly on the pavement (or sidewalk depending on which side of the Atlantic you’re on). Any changes you make to core themes will magically disappear the moment you hit that update button. However, if you’ve used a child theme, you can rest assured that all your custom changes that you’ve made (in the child theme) will still be there after you update.
If you’re not sure how to make a child theme, you’re in luck. As with most things in WordPress, there’s a plugin that’ll take care of it for you. There’s also a big chance that you will only need to actually do some CSS changes. In that case, the built-in customizer should suffice, and it’s a future proof way to change the look and feel of your theme.
4. Not Updating
It can be hard to keep track of all the updates your WordPress site needs. You’ve got plugins, themes, core WordPress updates and that’s before you even think about updating your content. If everything is working smoothly, it can be easy to forget that updates need to happen. It can also be difficult to see the immediate value in taking the time to process those updates.
Keeping plugins, themes and WordPress itself updated is one of the most important tasks you have as a WordPress site owner. These updates don’t just bring you new features, they also frequently fix bugs, improve performance and patch security issues. No one wants a hacked site!
5. Too Many WordPress Plugins
With over fifty thousand plugins available for WordPress, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking ‘there’s a plugin for that’. There are a lot of options to pick from, and it’s easy just to install a new plugin to solve whatever problem you’re faced with. But these plugins come at a cost.
Not only are you going to have to keep all these plugins updated, there are also other issues you might face too. Too many plugins doing fancy things can slow your site down, maybe a little, maybe a lot. The more plugins you install, the slower your site is probably going to run. On top of this with each new plugin you install, you adding to the possible things that can go wrong and cause vulnerabilities in your site.
It’s not dramatic to say that a single plugin can mess up your entire site. Choose plugins wisely, look for high-quality plugins that are regularly updated and keep the number you have installed as low as possible.
6. Deleting Content (the wrong way)
Your site is up, running nicely and everything is going just fine. At some point in the future, you might want to delete a post or page. This content may no longer serve a purpose or might be so obsolete it doesn’t make sense to update it. It makes sense to remove this content.
Before you hit that delete button though, stop and think for a second. Search engines have probably indexed your site, and simply hitting the delete button will probably give you a boost in traffic to your infamous 404 not found page (jeez…. I hope you have a nice 404). So make sure you delete pages on your site the right way! Any page or post on your site will have a permalink associated with it (we spoke about these earlier remember?). You’re going to want to make sure you redirect that link to somewhere else on your site using the right redirect method.
Don’t Fall Victim To These Mistakes
These are some of the most common mistakes in WordPress, made by beginners and experts alike. Don’t fall victim to them. they can be so easily overlooked but are so easy to avoid. Of course, if you want to take the hassle out of managing your WordPress site and avoid these mistakes, you need to check out my WordPress Care service and rest easy knowing it’s all taken care of for you.