WordPress is a powerful and extendable platform that can help you with search engine optimization (SEO), supports custom application development, and can be used for responsive mobile-friendly web design.
During the web development process, there are some common mistakes that you may make – and want to avoid at all costs. In this article, we’ll discuss 5 of the top WordPress mistakes that you may be making while creating your own website – as well as how to avoid them. Read on, and learn how you can make a better WordPress website today!
1. Starting With The Wrong Theme
The theme of your website is what determines an enormous number of things, including:
- Overall design and mobile friendliness
- Customization and extensibility
- Search engine optimization (SEO) friendliness
- Customer experience and conversion rate
- Web page loading times
- Navigation features like breadcrumbs and webpage architecture
- Support for plugins and other extensions
- How customers interact with media like video, audio, and images,
And much more. Because of the importance of your theme, you should not rush into this decision lightly – particularly if you are creating a website for your business.
If you’re making a website for your business, you may be looking at commercial (or premium) themes which you can customize to fit your needs.Take your time if you’re choosing a commercial theme. You may have to pay a fee upfront, or pay monthly to use it, so you want to make sure you’re partnering with a well-known and reputable WordPress developer.
2. Overusing Tags And Categories
Tags and categories are two powerful features of WordPress, particularly when you’re pumping out SEO-optimized website content. Browsing by tag or category allows users to quickly find the information they want on your blog or website.
But don’t overuse this feature. It’s tempting to create dozens of content categories and tags – because this will make it easier for users, right?
Well, the opposite is true. Excessive use of tags and categories makes your website unsightly, and can make it harder to navigate.
Try to reduce the number of tags and categories used on your website, and only use 2-4 tags and categories for each post. This helps users navigate more effectively, and minimizes wasted website resources.
3. Failing To Backup Your Website Regularly (And Update WordPress)
When was the right time to backup your website? The answer is “five minutes ago!”
Okay, you probably don’t need to backup your website every five minutes. However, regular backups are still incredibly important for the overall performance of your website, and to ensure that it doesn’t get broken by theme updates, or impacted by security vulnerabilities.
You should have your WordPress site backed up automatically every day, and also perform regular manual backups before installing major updates or new features. This ensures you can restore your website if something breaks.
A related common mistake is failing to update WordPress regularly. As a rule, you should update WordPress as soon as a security update is released. You may be worried about your plugins or themes breaking – but if they are properly designed, they shouldn’t.
Every WordPress update is important – bugs are fixed, security flaws are patched, and performance is enhanced – so you can’t afford to skip updates.
4. Using Too Many Plugins (Or Failing To Update Them)
When you’re first building your website, you may be tempted to simply add plugins indiscriminately. After all, they add more functionality to your site – and that’s always a good thing for users, right?
Well, that’s not always true. While there are many great and useful plugins that can help streamline your website and add additional functionality, many will cause performance issues, and slow down your site.
Before adding any plugin to your site, take a look at some basic information about the plugin, and ask yourself the following questions:
- Does it work with the current version of WordPress?
- Will this functionality add to my website?
- What kind of performance hit will this plugin cause to my website and loading times?
- Is the plugin updated regularly?
- Does it solve any kind of problem that I have?
By asking yourself these kinds of questions, you can identify when you’ll really need a plugin – and which ones can be skipped.
A related mistake is failing to update your plugins. As we mentioned in the above section, regular updates are critical for your website. You need to update your themes, plugins, and WordPress installation ASAP.
Updates are critical for security purposes. And, the more plugins you have, the more likely it is that a security flaw is present – and needs to be patched.
So keep your plugins to a minimum and update them frequently to ensure your website is safe and secure.
5. Failing To Optimize Images
Image optimization is often overlooked, even by more experienced WordPress users and developers. It’s a good idea to use a WordPress plugin to automatically optimize your images.
Images have one of the biggest impacts on the loading time of your pages. When they’re not optimized, your page could be 10Mb or larger – but when properly optimized, even a page with multiple images can be reduced to a 1Mb footprint, which speeds up loading time.
Don’t Make These Common WordPress Mistakes!
Now that you understand these common mistakes that new WordPress users make, it will be easier for you to create a better WordPress website. And, if you’re ever stuck or don’t know what to do next, you can always find more resources on our blog, or find a web development partner who can help you with your WordPress project!