We all make mistakes from time to time but when it domes to WordPress, there are certain mistakes that are so easy to make yet they can be devastating.
You know what, learning from your mistakes is important but if you can avoid some of your mistakes, you’ll save your self a lot of time and money in the long run. I have worked on thousands of big wordpress websites in last 6-7 years and I honestly love them. Obviously I have made many mistakes and learned overtime.
I have listed down some of the most common mistakes we generally make by optimizing the wordpress website. After reading this post, you’ll learn exactly which mistakes to avoid and how to fix them, without any fuss or crazy learning curve. I’ll cover key mistakes around the topic such as security, usability, SEO, technical setups and more.
1. YOU HAVEN’T BACKED UP YOUR WEBSITE:
When was the last time you backed up your website?
Generally your web hosting company is taking backup of your website but this is not the case with everyone, sometimes even web hosting companies drop the ball. There are various plugins available, both free and premium which can use to easily backup your website.
I use “BackupBuddy” to take scheduled backup of my WordPress website. The good thing about BackupBuddy is that you can choose to have backup emailed to you store in a cloud hosting solutions like dropbox.
2. USING A WEB HOST THAT BUCKLES UNDER PRESSURE
This is the most common problem that most wordpress newbies face after a certain period of time and the reason is pretty simple, we always prefer to start by searching “cheap hosting services” and that’s completely fine till your visitor skyrocket.
As soon as your website will start getting visitors, page load time will instantly skyrocket and that’s huge problem, you know why?
According to a report, just 1 second delay in load time could potentially lower your conversion rate by 7%, and that’s a huge number for such a small amount of time. In order to deal with this situation, it’s better to use CDN (content delivery network) with your web host to improve further performance. You can use MaxCDN to further speed up your website.
3. NOT USING A CACHING PLUGIN
WordPress is dynamic and database-driven: Every time a user visits your website, PHP code requests info from a database and uses to build an HTML page.
“Caching” means storing HTML pages to reduce those database requests. Pages are only rebuilt as needed when something changes, giving your site a speed boost. Some web hosts have their own catching functionality, but if yours doesn’t, you’ll need to get a plugin installed to take care of this.
There are a number of plugins you can use for this interestingly they are all free.
There are two we like in particular:
W3 Total Cache – You’ll see a noticeable difference just by activating this plugin, although to get the most of it you need to tweak the advanced settings which you should only do if you are comfortable.
WP Supercache – Requires some initial setup work but the plugin is very straight forward and offers you a list of recommended settings.
4. UPLOADING HUGE IMAGES WHEN YOU DON’T NEED TO BE
Uploading images with huge file sizes can seriously slow down your websites page load times. You need to optimize every image for the web before you upload it to WordPress. Most images can be compressed without causing a noticeable drop in quality.
We generally aim for each images file size to be below 100KB.
There are plenty of tools that can help you with this, like Photoshop for example but there are other tools you can use depending on the image file type such as:
TinyPNG – PNG Images and JPEGmini – JPEG Images
If you’ve already got a lot of large images in WordPress – don’t worry, you don’t have to optimize them one-by-one. There are plugins like WP Smush.it, which will allow you to optimize them automatically.
5. YOU ARE NOT MANAGING BROKEN LINKS AND 404 ERRORS
This is most common and overlooked mistakes by most of the word press developers. Whenever a URL changes you need to redirect the old URL to the new URL. If you don’t, users will be greeted by a 404 error and search engines will struggle to crawl on your website. This is a huge issue in terms of both usability and SEO.
There are a number of ways you can add redirects in WordPress but way is to use a free plugin called Redirection. Just by activating this plugin, it will automatically add redirects whenever you edit the permalink for a post/page but you can also add redirects manually. To find existing broken links, you can use a free tool like “Screaming Frog” to crawl your website.
6. SPAM COMMENTS ARE SLIPPING THROUGH
If you are using wordpress blogging functionality, comments are a great signal that people are reading your content but the reality is that most comments are spam. Some will be obvious and other will be disguised as well written comments for the purpose of promoting another website.
If you let too many spam comments through it can hurt your reputation and count as a negative quality signal when visitors read your comments
There are plugins that will add captcha’s but the reality is that spammers have tools to get around those so the only people you’ll eliminate will be your legitimate commenters.
7. YOU ARE STILL USING “ADMIN” AS YOUR USERNAME
One of the biggest security mistake is to have “admin” as your username. Some hackers will use both that try to access your website by guessing your login details, generally they will use the “admin” username as it’s the most common. So by changing the username you’ll stop most “brute force” hack attempts.
Most web hosts have one click installers that give you the option to setup your user account with something other than “admin” but there are still those that don’t.
8. YOU HAVEN’T DISABLED DIRECTORY BROWSING
By default most WordPress installations allow anyone to browse particular directory files – this is a big security issue. To solve this issue, all you need to do is to disable directory browsing. If you have iThemes Security installed, this can be done by going to SECURITY>SETTINGS>SYSTSTEM TWEAKS and disabling directory browsing.
You can do this manually by editing the .htaccess file which sits in your root folder.
To do this you’ll need your FTP logins (your host will provide these for you) and an FTP client (I prefer to use FileZilla). Once you are done with this, the next step is to add the following line to your. htaccess folder: Options All- Indexes
9. YOU’VE ACCIDENTALLY BLOCKED SEARCH ENGINES
If you are not familiar with WordPress yet, the discourage search engines setting can be easy to overlook. A lot of developers will select the “discourage search engine” option within the wordpress setting if they want to hide a website from Search Engines. This is usually done during the development process but some people forget to deselect the option and allow search engines to index their website.
Here is an extremely quick fix of the same: Just head over to your WordPress admin area and go to SETTINGS>READING SETTING and you’ll notice a “discourage search engine” option, Make sure this box is not ticked.
I have tried to cover some of the most common and biggest mistakes that anyone can make with WordPress and exactly what you need to do to fix them. You don’t need to be a developer to fix all these errors but the learning experience of implementing these changes in important. It will help you become more comfortable with WordPress in the future.
Start off by opening your website and working throughout this list, ticking off each point as you go along. J