One of the best things about WordPress is the flexibility it affords users who wish to create a website or a blog. But with this flexibility comes choices, and to optimize your site you need to ensure that you are making the right choices.
These are some of the most common mistakes that website owners make when using the WordPress platform.
WordPress.org vs WordPress.com
Websites or blogs can be self hosted using WordPress.org, or they can use the Free WordPress.com setup using a WordPress domain. This is often a source of confusion for someone starting out with a WordPress website.
For people who want to create a simple personal blog, the free option may be more appropriate. There is no charge to use the platform, and while there is not so much flexibility for creating something custom in terms of design, a simple blog may not need this.
For somebody who wants to create a customised business website with design they can alter, and the potential to monetize their web presence, a self hosted WordPress.org installation option would be better.
To learn more about the pro’s and con’s have a look a the WordPress.org vs WordPress.com infographic by WP Beginner.
Not Having Website Hosting Access
If you’ve had a professional build your website, your web designer, or website design company may recommend a hosting company or offer their own hosting. Going with a recommended hosting company is a good idea, since you will control the account. Website design companies offering their own hosting are mainly using dedicated servers, rented from large hosting companies and then on-sold to you and other clients.
This arrangement can be beneficial having one point of contact for hosting and website support. However, you must have access to a hosting control panel and backup system. This is extremely important. Should anything happen to the hosting account or if you need to restore a backup, you are completely dependant on the website company if you don’t have access.
Not creating regular backups
At one time or another, we have all lost important documents or files because we haven’t taken the precaution of creating a backup. This becomes an even greater issue when you lose a whole website, which can happen if you do not backup your WordPress site. Fortunately, there are plugins that can automate this process so you never have to experience the anguish of losing all your content. BackWPup is a great free option for first time WordPress users.
Don’t rely completely on a backup plugin, ensure you also have hosting control panel access (usually CPanel) to create and restore a WordPress backup, should there be an issue restoring via WordPress.
Not Monitoring Website Health
Does your website have broken links? Is there malware on your website? Periodically check your website health by scanning for broken links and avoid lost sales finding out there are issues after your website traffic drops. Malware scanning, and reviewing Google Webmaster Tools can also help keep your website in top shape.
Not updating WordPress
WordPress is constantly changing and evolving to improve the user experience for its customers. This means that you will often be prompted to update to the latest version of WordPress within the CMS. Ignoring these updates could leave your website vulnerable to security threats. It is also advisable to back up your site before updating WordPress incase issues arise during the upgrade process.
Not changing Permalinks
Every page on your WordPress website has its own url. This url should be populated with the relevant keywords that you are trying to rank for, and it should explain what is to come within the content. If you choose not to adjust the settings of your permalinks, your urls will have a default structure that will not be meaningful to your readers. Ensure that you change this by heading to Settings > Permalinks within the WordPress CMS.
Downloading a bad theme
There are so many WordPress themes on the internet, but not all of them are equal in value. In fact, some of them are plain dangerous. Be especially vigilant when you are downloading free themes from unknown sources as these could potentially contain malicious or spammy links hidden throughout your site.
Make sure that you only use trustworthy sites when downloading WordPress themes and look out for positive and negative user reviews in order to make an informed decision.
Ignoring security issues
It’s so easy to ignore security issues when creating a website because focusing on security and maintenance just isn’t the fun part. The fun part is creating your content and engaging with customers and readers – but if your site gets hacked that party is going to stop immediately. This is why WordPress security should be a focus for every blog owner.
Website backups will help after the fact, but prevention is far better than cure so review these 11 WordPress Security tips to lock down your website.
Follow these rules and you should avoid the pitfalls that other WordPress users commonly make, enabling you to create an optimized WordPress website that is a hit with customers and readers.