Building a website with WordPress is a brilliant option but everyone out there always makes the same WordPress mistakes. There are plenty of themes, millions have done it before, and it’s easy to use for creating and managing your website. Simplicity also has its downfall: novices are so comfortable that the WordPress system is doing the right thing they forget to take steps to improve their website.
Here are 8 WordPress Mistakes You Really Don’t Want to Make:
- Using default permalink setting in WordPress
Very often we see websites with the default permalink set up: www.yourwebsite.com/?p=123/. It’s bad for SEO and it’s bad for user experience. Google and other search engines don’t know what that means so having a permalink that reads correctly is going to work a lot better for search engines and customers. Go to your WordPress Settings » Permalinks to change the format. Generally, the post name is the most widely used structure
- You must backup your site
Bad things always happen. Websites crash, they get hacked, and coding errors are made. You shouldn’t have to learn this the hard way. Losing data – especially as your website grows and gets more visitors. It’s difficult and expensive to deal with when you’re unprepared. You can export directly from WordPress or you can use an automatic back up plugin like WP-DB-Backup.
- Using free or unreliable themes and plugins
There are thousands of free themes and WordPress plugins available for users and many of them to make life easier and better. However, many free plugins have errors in them that can result in site crashes, or even worse, contain malicious code that will allow hackers access to your site. Save yourself the stress and hire a professional WordPress specialist to get something unique or buy a premium WordPress theme. For plugins make sure that you do your homework and check out everything about the plugin before installing it.
- Failing to use a responsive mobile and desktop website
Everyone has a smartphone or tablet these days and they are more likely to access your website using one of them than a desktop or laptop computer. Mobile-friendly sites are the only way to go if you want to keep users on your page. There are two ways to do this: One, use a plugin or theme that is responsive. That means the page size adapts to the screen it’s being viewed on. Alternatively, some sites choose to create a mobile version of their site which is specifically built for use on mobile devices. To stay up to date you must do one of these things to keep customers and people on your site. 93% of people click straight off a site if it doesn’t look and feel mobile friendly.
- Forgetting to use a cache plugin
This is a big one that a lot of websites forget about and some don’t really understand. Caching increases the efficiency of your website by creating static pages that shown to your visitors rather than loading PHP files one by one. So in simple terms, it remembers what your site looked like and saves it so when you click on it, it doesn’t have to load everything every time. This will increase your page speed, which has an effect on Google rankings. Try WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache.
- Not updating WordPress and your plugins
Since the dawn of WordPress, there have been about 40 updates. Many people’s fear is that updating WordPress will result in a loss of their changes and coding. What’s worse is opening your site up to security issues. When an update is released it is generally to fix problems or improve the experience. Back up your files and hit update when it arises. You should always update your plugins as most of them offer upgraded features that you should be making the most of.
- Not having an XML Sitemap
Not using a sitemap is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. The sitemap helps Google and other search engines crawl your site to index pages and images by providing a breakdown of the page and a ping when the content changes. The XML sitemap includes all the pages on your site that you want Google to index. There are plugins or it can be custom built for your site. The easiest way to create an XML Sitemap is by downloading Yoast or Google XML Sitemap plugins
- Changing URLs without redirecting them
You can’t just go changing URLs all of a sudden. This can result in a lot of 404 page not found errors, which doesn’t really affect your SEO too much, but it does negatively impact the user experience and how customers navigate your site. 60% of customers click off the site if they are given a 404 page. If you want to change your URL (such as moving to self-hosted WordPress) be sure to perform a 301 redirection. If you’re just changing permalinks, use the .htaccess file to ensure that the old links know what the new ones look like so WordPress will do it automatically. Youst is a great SEO plugin that will automatically redirect all your 404 pages.