Someone said it right “to err is human” and it’s flawlessly true. Everybody makes mistakes, whether it be in real life or on WordPress. In this article, I’m going to share 14 most common WordPress Mistakes people make while setting up a site with WordPress and I’ve experienced it too.
Making a mistake is not a crime but not fixing the mistake definitely is. I’m not writing this because I have read these mistakes on other blogs or forums. Most of the mistakes mentioned below are made by me and the bloggers whom I know personally. And most probably you might be making few or all of the WordPress mistakes listed below.
It’s not denying that everybody learns from their mistake, however, learning from the mistakes made by others is always a good way to learn.
So, without taking much of your time let’s check out WordPress mistake #1
Not Setting Up The Permalink
So, the first mistake is forgetting to setup permalink. That’s a terrible mistake.
It really is!
Sometimes it happens that we are too busy in customizing our themes and adding new plugins to make our website look more professional that we forget to setup up the permalink. I noticed that mistake when I had already written 4-5 blog posts on my first blog. But lucky me, it wasn’t too late. I wasn’t getting much traffic then, so I quickly set my permalink to example.com/post-name. But my advice to you is “get it right from the start“.
Permalink literally means permanent link, the link your blog post will use forever. WordPress lets you set the permalink structure for all posts to use. The way that it usually comes is the plain one which is like example.com/?p=123.
The reason WordPress default to ugly format is because it’s what most hosting environments support.
With that being said, there are two issues with leaving permalink set to Plain:
First of all, it just looks ugly because you have this weird code in there. It used to serve a purpose, years ago. As I said earlier, it’s what most hosting environments used to support and it was the fastest, but today most hosting environments support rewrites to the pretty looking permalink.
And the other thing is it hurts your SEO because it’s just a long URL and you can’t get those keywords in the URL. So what we recommend is to just go with the post name.
Being said that let’s now learn how to set up the permalink step-by-step [See the screenshot below]
How To Setup The Permalink
It’s very simple to set up the permalink in WordPress. You just need to go into Settings -> Permalinks and change to post name, making it example.com/name-of-the-post.
So very simple but do it now!
If you wait to do it later what’s gonna happen is it’ll break all your legs. Later you’re gonna go in and be like oh shoot you know what? I want all the links to have my title name in them. Well, any link anywhere that linked to one of those pages on your website, now those links are broken.
If you have visitors coming in from another site like Pinterest or another platform then they’re not gonna end up on the right page. They’re just gonna end up getting a 404-page error. So yeah, do it now at the beginning of your website if you haven’t done it yet.
Remember, broken links effect very badly on your site SEO.
Yeah, you really do want to get that right and I wish they would fix that by default.
Being said that let’s dive directly into WordPress Mistakes #2
Forgetting to Backup Your Site
Look, your WordPress site is going to get messed up at some point especially when you’re new at WordPress and you’re making mistakes. You’ve got to have to have back up. I promise you, you’ll cry like a baby when you lose six months of work because it wasn’t backed up. Just because it’s on a hosting company doesn’t mean it’s backed up. Always keep a local backup on top of the backup your host takes.
Now, having said that, a good hosting company like Wurpe is going to keep good backups. You can email our tech support and say: “Hey, I messed up my website, can you just roll it back to what it looked like yesterday” and it’s fixed in a few minutes of a phone call but you also need to keep a local back up.
One backup solution that I’ve used in the past is called VaultPress. It’s just a plugin you can install that will do this. Now, I’m using it a little bit more of an advanced way but this will definitely do the job. It’s one that I would recommend to start out with.
So don’t forget to back up your website.
With that let’s check out the WordPress mistake #3
Using Bloated Themes
Most new bloggers make mistakes of using big WordPress themes and having a bad hosting company. What this does is makes your website really slow and a slow site is never good for SEO, Google has emphasized this so many times that we’ve put together a whole article on it.
Make sure to use lightweight themes on your website. If your sole purpose is blogging I would recommend using Schemalite. It’s really fast and free themes.
Schemalite has various inbuilt SEO features that help search engines identify all parts of your website and rank them higher in search results. However, if you’re blogging for the business purpose, I’d recommend using some premium theme.
Now, it’s time for WordPress mistake #4
Customizing your theme is awesome and this is WordPress mistake number 4. The problem is you can spend 6 months customizing your theme. Especially if you’ve got one that wasn’t very good and it makes it hard to customize. Even if it’s possible it’s hard.
Now when I talk about customizing a theme like Schemalite or any other theme out there, they have lots of really cool things you can do but it’s using features that are built into the theme.
And I’m saying this because I’ve made this mistake a lot back in the days and I still do it. I like to experiment, but if you are just starting off you should avoid it and concentrate more on writing good content than customizing the look of your website.
In the end, Google ranks you based on your content and not how you design your website.
Even if you want to customize your website the way you want, don’t forget to use a Child theme. This way, after a theme update you won’t lose your customizations or another simple way is to buy a premium theme of your choice.
Let’s move on to WordPress mistake #5
Writing Short Posts
The next mistake is writing too short of posts. The general perception of people is that the way to get more traffic is to write short, quickly, consumable tips that people can read real quick and get the information and that from my experience at least is completely the wrong approach to it.
The most popular posts on all of my blog are the big, fat and meaty ones that are really close to being turned into an e-book and they’re almost always getting the best traffic.
Google tends to rank longer post better than short posts. When I analyzed several thousand Google search result I found that post that contains more than 2000 words rank best on Google.
Let’s move on to WordPress mistake #6
Using Huge Images
When you put an image into your post it’s going to make it smaller on the go so it’ll look small. It’ll look good on your site but it’s not actually reducing the size of that image, the number of pixels in that image and so the file is still really big.
And when that happens your site is just gonna load really slow. I usually prefer to resize the image in Photoshop to the dimension I want and then upload it to the media gallery.
So if you don’t use Photoshop just take your image and before you upload it to your website, you can resize your image online with resizeimage.net or on your computer in MSPaint, if you’re using windows.
You have got to do this or else your websites gonna be running slow. Just because it’s showing the right size doesn’t mean it’s been cropped to the right size. It just means it’s taking in a big picture and displaying it smaller. It stills gonna take just as long to load.
You can also use the LSCache plugin, something automatically installed on all Wurpe WordPress instances which has an image optimization feature. LSCache will optimize your images to be smaller and load faster.
Let’s jump into WordPress mistake #7
I have a hard rule that I can never ever have more than 10 plugins on a website and every time I try to get fancy by adding just a couple more plugins that I really wanted because they’re really cool. It always causes a problem and there’s nothing worse than coming to your website. It’s down…you say Oh, what’s wrong!
And now you have to go through each plugin and figure out what happened. I would say for your first whole year of blogging, no more than five plugins period.
So you know, if you want to do something fancy for one post and you want this cool feature for one post. Skip it, just don’t do it because now you have added another plugin and you know hopefully we’re playing the long game you just can’t do that for one post. Only add a plugin if you really have a need for it. Plugins are what cause the most problems in WordPress. So only buy reputable ones and use as few as humanly possible.
Now its time for WordPress mistake #8
Never Use A Password That’s Too Easy To Guess.
Using a password that’s easy to guess is probably the worst mistake that we make very often. In this day there are computers out there that are just running a script trying to guess your password to get into your WordPress site and they’re just gonna do that over and over and over again every day.
WordPress is also the most widely used CMS, which makes it no surprise that it’s the most targetted by hackers.
When you have a small site you might not have any issues with hackers but over time you’re gonna start to get a lot of failed password attempts so use a unique password that you don’t use anywhere else.
I recommend using a password manager tool like LastPass. Just go to lastpass.com, where you can create a password vault that you can have across your devices that’s all encrypted and it’s totally free. Then you can generate passwords that are twelve or sixteen characters long and have special characters and you don’t have to worry about remembering it.
They’re never gonna guess those passwords. Yeah, my WordPress website is getting hundreds of attacks a week to crack the password. You really do have to be careful. If you have a password of sixteen random characters that uses alphabet, numeric, and special characters you have literally over a trillion password combination. It will take hackers so long that by the time they crack your password they’ll already be dead.
But for now, let’s dive into WordPress mistake #9
I spent five times as much as I did with my good host and my website still couldn’t stay online. It was just not managed the way my site was implemented and the server was just not handling the amount of traffic I had.
Well, you have to get a good host. There are a lot of good ones. Most, in fact, are going to be pretty decent but there are lots of bad ones and if you make the wrong call you are definitely going to regret it.
A good hosting company like Wurpe will use LiteSpeed enterprise web server and be optimized specifically for WordPress. Wurpe offers a managed service which is great for anyone that’s starting out and not sure what to do if something goes wrong. With managed hosting you get all of the benefits of hiring your own technician to run your site for a very low price.
You just need to focus on the good content and let the visitors roll in as much as they can. However, there are also several other hosting companies out there which provide pretty awesome services. You can try that if you have lots of money for experiments. The choice is yours 🙂
With that being said, let’s move onto WordPress mistake #10
Spending Too Much Time Trying To SEO Your Website
We have a philosophy i.e “Rather than trying to use all of the SEO tricks and trying to basically trick Google into thinking that your site has the content that people want. We just write really good content“.
And the reason for that is you know, we’ve tried it. We’ve done the SEO stuff. We’ve done the link building. All the tricks that are supposed to work and really they do nothing for you.
Even if it does, they do very very little for you and in the end, all you’re trying to do is trick Google. And Google has thousands of employees and an advanced algorithm to find people who are trying to use “black hat” SEO tactis or trick Google. What Google does is penalize your site for bad practices which actually hurts your ranking.
So we’d say: “Just write good content. Having those big beefy media articles that I talked about is gonna do more for you than any SEO link building stuff”
Speaking of the host, it’s time to move into WordPress mistake #11
Avoid Using Junky Images
Now three things about this one. You really should get a subscription to graphics stock. Buying stock photos for all of your articles can get really pricey so I use unsplash.com and it provides lots of high-quality free images that you can use on your website for free. You don’t need to pay seven bucks for an image to get a full-width image. You can just download like crazy for the whole year.
And another thing I would say about the images is to not get images that are too cheesy. If you’re writing a business blog people always like to have this cliche images of two corporate workers shaking hands. It just looks so cheesy, fake and forces your website to look ingenuine. I suggest you choose photos that look professional as well as real.
And the third one is that you can create your own images at Canva.com for free. You can select from thousands of templates available and upload your own images and design the way you like. It’s just that simple.
Ok, here’s our next WordPress mistake #12
Forgetting to Block Spam Comments
This is a big one. Spam goes crazy on WordPress that’s why we recommend a plugin like Akismet which is free for personal blogs and helps block spam. If you have a commercial blog then you will need to purchase a plan from Akismet. There are some other anti-spam plugins you can checkout, but Akismet is one of the best out there.
If you don’t do anything to block spam you’re going to get inundated in just the first few weeks. Especially once your site starts ranking on Google, you will be getting spam comments, and contact form requests.
Alright, next up, we have WordPress Mistakes #13 i.e failing to test social media buttons.
Not Testing The Social Media Buttons
You may download a social media plugin because you want people to share your post and in the bottom of the post it’s gonna say share on facebook or you just have a sticky social share button. You need to make sure that they actually work properly.
We’ve seen in the past that sometimes it looks like the plugins working well and you don’t realize that it’s not working. I was using a social share plugin back in the days that used to show some extra social share counts than actual shares.
We have also witnessed some weird plugins that share the content but when you’ll check out your social media feeds you won’t actually find that. So do check it if you’re using any social share plugins.
Most people will setup a social media sharing plugin as one of the first when they start their blog. When you’re blog is still new, chances are you aren’t getting the type of traffic that will be clicking on the share icon. And if they like your content so much that they want to share it on Facebook they can always copy the URL. Plus the social media icons slow down your page load time and take up space.
So the next WordPress mistake in line is overdoing it on social media.
Spending More Time On Social Media
When I used to do a consultations with clients which was almost every day I was getting people submitting consultation requests for me. I really had to sit people down and walk them through because most people when they imagine starting a blog, they immediately go start a Facebook page, and a Twitter account and Instagram and they think that’s the way to get traffic.
And I’m saying this because I’ve personally had a lot of my precious time wasted on these social media platforms, increasing Twitter followers and Facebook fans. I’ve had very insignificant results from my efforts before. I focused more on sharing the articles than writing onse. It certainly can happen you also, but it won’t always.
When I started my first blog I wasted a lot of money and time on buying Facebook ads, then I realized that Facebook changed their algorithm. It became harder to attract your target audience and the cost of ad campaigns went up. Now Facebook wants you to “boost” every post in order to reach your target audience.
Times have changed. It was a time when it used to work but it doesn’t work now. And to very few clients did I recommend any social media whatsoever until they were getting lots and lots of traffics.
It’s a massive time waste and what I’m seeing over time is Facebook and other social media platforms are just not sending that traffic we all want anymore. So you’re spending all your time, and you’re not getting the return that you would get by just sitting down and writing good content.
Making your website look good is not a bad thing but trying to make your blog too nice and when I talk about nice I talk about making it like every other blog out there can be a waste of time and actually hurt your blog.
Okay, you’re writing good content, you’re coming up with good articles, good topics but in the end, it’s just another repository of articles for most of your readers. Just like when you drive down the streets and you see all these businesses out there. They all keep the front of their stores looking nice but the ones that stand out or the ones that do a little bit different you stay there, right?
The same applies to a blog post. If you try to do something unique, have something on your sites that makes it stand out, whether it be a weekly article or podcast or YouTube video. Just do something weird and different or maybe it’s a series of articles that come out once a week.
Try to experiment a little bit. That’s gonna make people more interested in your site. It’s gonna make it more memorable so people will come back as opposed to just seeing it is another repository of information.