Maybe you are just starting your own blog, or maybe you are trying to build a website for your business by yourself. Either way, if you have a little experience and you found out about WordPress, you will make some mistakes. Everybody in your situation does them.
Mistakes are common for beginners, but also for more experienced users, or to put it in larger scale, for humans in general. Although the fact is that everybody prefers to avoid them (for obvious reasons). Since WordPress is already used by millions of users around the world, there are some common mistakes to learn from. Viktor from WebCreate.Me shared with us some of them:
1. WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com
Choosing the wrong platform is number one mistake by a wide margin. WordPress.com is more suitable for the personal website. It’s free and easy to create. You don’t have to worry about server setup, backups, updates and other such things. On the other hand, WordPress.org requires to buy your own WordPress hosting and install WordPress on it. It gives you a full control over your website with an almost unlimited number of themes, WP plugins, and customization, but you have to download it and manage it yourself. If you start your blog with WordPress.org it saves you transfers down the road and it allows you to make money off your blog immediately. But you can read more about all the pros and cons in our WordPress.org vs WordPress.com guide.
2. Relying on unknown developers
You can find thousands of premium and free themes or plugins online. No matter how good some of them look, you should always go with an established, WordPress-approved developer. Some of them may cost you a few dollars, but you’re paying for security, support, usability and search engine rankings among other things. Going all out on free things from unknown developers may cost you not just your time, but also money later.
3. Spending money left and right
Although it’s not always the best for you to go with free things, you should have a vision what you really need for your website. All the options out there might be overwhelming, but all you need to get you started is the domain name and web hosting. You might want to invest into your design, but things like branded emails, 5 years’ worth of registration and SSL among others might be a little bit too much to invest in right from a get-go. If you need to pay for some plugins, make sure you really need them. Having unnecessary plugins will have an effect not just on your wallet, but also clutter up your WordPress installation.
4. Not having a backup
Most hosting companies are doing automatic backups for you and might even restore your site for free, but nothing in the world of technology is 100%, so you should always keep your own copy. It’s not even that complicated. All you have to do is to set up a schedule for a backup and you will be set. There is a whole list of free & premium backup plugins available for you, though our personal favorite is VaultPress. Installing a good backup platform is crucial for you, so pick one accordingly.
5. Using default URL structure
Neither users nor search engines are thrilled about seeing web pages, which look something like yourpage.com/?p=23. Users will less likely click on it because they see nothing behind that link and search engines are looking for keywords also inside the URLs. That’s why you should go to your WordPress dashboard and under Settings > Permalinks change your permalinks settings from “Plain” to “Post name.” You will be still able to change your link in the editor, but it will look better for users and you will boost your search engine rankings as well by default.
6. Not updating default Favicon
A favicon might seem just like a little icon of your blog in a browser window, but it’s also how your visitors recognize you among other tabs they have opened. It’s your identity card and you should pay attention to building your brand. You will look more professional and there are many free favicon generators online, which can generate it for you. If you want to go with something more advanced, think about using marketplaces like Fiverr to get a cheap design.
Here is a simple guide how to change your favicon, if you already have one ready to use.
7. Forgetting about your security
Some of you might be laughing right now, but this is one of the most common mistakes. Using login with both username and password “Admin” is very dangerous since it will be the first try for anybody trying to get to your website and that makes you an easy target. You should absolutely avoid “admin” as a login or password. You are always given the option to change your password during installation and you should do it right then because you might forget about it later. A strong password doesn’t guarantee absolute security, but it builds the first line of defense against unwanted guests.
But don’t stop with just a strong password, there are many other easy security steps you can take to keep your WordPress website extra secure. You can add Malware scanning, brute force protection, hidden wp files an more. For even more tips have a look at all of our WordPress security articles.
8. Ignoring updates
If you are using .org version of WordPress, you will need to manage updates by yourself. WordPress notifies users when their site is up for and update, but we all know that feeling when we are updating our systems and hoping for the best. Although if your site is coded properly, it will take only one click in most cases and there will be nothing to be afraid of. You should still back up all your content before an update.
JetPack plugin is free and offers many great features and setting automatic updates is one of them.
9. Forgetting about SEO
WordPress offers you to stop search engine bots from indexing your sites, which is a good thing to do, while you are still developing your website. Although many bloggers forgot to change that setting once their blog was live and their site never got indexed by search engines.
If you think that installing default WordPress SEO plugin will sort you out, you are doing another beginner mistake. You should still update your meta settings. SEO is one of the most powerful ways to drive traffic to your website. Yoast SEO is a very effective plugin that will help you get more visitors from search engines.
10. Not having contact form
This might seem like a minor issue in the beginning, but as your site grows, your readers will try to encounter with you. You can often get valuable questions, suggestions or just encouraging words. Again, just like many other things, JetPack can sort that out for you as well. It comes with a free and easy to user contact form. Or you could give Contact Form 7 a try. There is also a GravityForms, which is used by almost every professional building custom websites (including WPExplorer!).
There you have it – 10 very common missteps most WordPress beginners make. Now that you’re aware of theme, hopefully you can keep from making them when starting up your WordPress blog. But don’t stop learning now – checkout our blog for even more WordPress tips and tricks that you can use to become a WordPress guru!
Have any other questions? Or more tips for beginners? Leave us a note below!