Last week, we talked about a few common mistakes people make when dealing with WordPress security. Today we’ll talk about some of the most common mistakes when it comes to branding your WordPress site. These factors pay a major role in your site’s user experience and should be avoided at best or rectified at all costs! Let’s get started:
16. Not Optimizing Images
Image optimization is one of the fundamental factors that plays a role in a website’s speed, performance and user experience. The first thing that someone sees on a blog post is the header image. The effect is more profound when the header image is used as a background to the text – for instance, check out the posts on Medium.
The outcome is most significant when you strike the perfect balance between quality and quantity.
Quality refers to the contextual use of images. The header images for your blog post should be relevant, current and should be able to connect with the reader. Choosing the right stock image requires a lot of brain storming. Check out Carly’s presentation on how to select a good stock image for some cool practical tips.
Quantity refers to the technical aspects of the image – such as dimension, size, responsive property, format, etc. There are a lot of factors to consider and I’ve discussed them at length in the article WordPress Image Optimization Techniques.
17. Using the Default or No Favicon
A favicon is the little image that’s displayed on the left corner of a web browser’s title bar. It is an important branding factor when it comes to your website. You might wonder why I’m stressing on the importance of branding. Here’s why.
The branding of a website evolves over time. We must focus on the product first, rather than spend time and money on fancy logos and banners to share on social media. But this does not mean that branding can be neglected.
Even if you have a great product, no one’s going to take a second look, if your branding is ordinary. In other words –
Branding is how you hook attention
Once you have a decent amount of content ready, work on your branding. Spend time and money on it. If budget allows, don’t go for a 5$ graphic designer – most of them are amateurs looking to make a quick buck (no offence). Once you have a logo for your product/website, you can use it as your social media profiles. It is recommended to use the same logo as your site’s favicon. This further improves your site’s brand awareness! If you’re working on a small project and need a quick fix, you can find a lot of free favicons from sites like IconFinder and IconsPedia.
18. Not Removing Default Posts
One of the cornerstone ideas behind WordPress is to make publishing to the web an intuitive process. Following those footsteps, WordPress generates couple of sample things, immediately after the installation completes. These samples are meant to help you get started with WordPress – to give you a feel of what everything looks like. They include:
- A post entitled “Hello World”
- A page called “Sample Page”
- A comment on the “Hello World” post
- A default category called “Uncategorized” for the “Hello World” post
You’re supposed to delete these samples before you index/submit your website to search engines. Unfortunately, thousands of websites forget to delete the sample post and page. Thus there are thousands of copies of the same data in all these websites.
That’s bad. Can you guess why? Well, it’s mainly due to two reasons:
- Because you’re (unintentionally) hosting duplicate content, your SEO scores are adversely affected. In some cases, they are even considered as spam,
- It looks really unprofessional and you appear to be careless to your visitors.
If you haven’t deleted the sample posts, you should do so immediately. Visit Google Webmaster Central, find the sample pages form the list of indexed pages, and hand submit a de-index request. This will accelerate the process of removing the page from your site’s index.
19. Publishing Incomplete Posts
Yes, some people do that. If you’re one of them, I highly recommend against it. Here’s why:
- Once you publish a post, WordPress automatically pings a number of search engines which eventually start to index your page. Once they’ve indexed a page, the next iteration to index the same page usually happens after a long It also depends on how popular your website is. During this interval, you might update your post with new content, but the results won’t be reflected, until much later. This basically harms your SEO campaigns to a significant extent.
- When people visit your site through social media channels, and find out that your posts are half complete, they are going to leave your site – and even actively start avoiding it.
Sometimes it is not possible to publish all your content in one go. There can simply be a lot of content and/or not enough time, or just too much content to publish in one post. The solution is simple –
Divide and conquer – break it up into smaller posts
This technique works really well. At WPExplorer, we use a mix of two things:
- We split up (really long) posts into two parts, for example
- Marketing Tips for WordPress Themes – Part 1
- Marketing Tips for WordPress Themes – Part 2
- Create a new post-series. Take this post series for example. Every week I share new content on WordPress beginner’s mistakes. This keeps the audience engaged and I don’t have to worry about writing it all down in one go.
Case Study – MacRumors
A really cool and slightly different implementation of the post series idea is done by MacRumors. They cover the latest tech from Apple – before Apple officially launches them. For example, check out their coverage on the iPhone 6S. There is a master page dedicated to it which covers all the information at a glance. It then simply links to all the previously related content under a “Timeline”.
TIP: You can always experiment with various publishing techniques and schedules and use the one that works best with your site’s niche.
20. Not Using Responsive Design
Google has started to rank sites better depending on how well they work on mobile devices. Very soon, they are going to penalize sites that aren’t mobile responsive. Almost every free WordPress theme (forget premium) released nowadays is mobile responsive.
Its 2015. And there’s no excuse for this.
By some cosmic miracle, if you site is not mobile responsive, please go ahead and get it updated. Here are a few tips to help you with that –
- If you’re an agency with a lot of branding issues involved, hire a professional designer to shift your current WordPress theme to a framework such as the Genesis or the Total framework. This will be immensely beneficial in the future.
- If your theme does not have a responsive version and you don’t want to change your theme, then you can use Jetpack’s mobile module, which simply creates a mobile/tablet optimized version of your site.
However in such a case, the design of your site won’t be consistent (different design and colour schemes across different devices). This could adversely affect your branding efforts due to inconsistency. Therefore it is highly recommended that you get a standard WordPress theme which is HTML5 based (i.e. essentially futureproof) and has a proper responsive version.
This covers some of the common mistakes when it comes to branding a website. The path to a successful online business can be generalized into two major categories – content and marketing. The branding aspect belongs to both these categories.
Consistency is the key
Under content, the structure and “voice” of your writing plays a major role. Marketing tactics such as post frequency, type of posts, and interaction with users – all accumulate to play a major role in your site’s brand.
Next week, we’ll take a final look at a few other topics and conclude our series.