20 of the Most Common WordPress Mistakes to Avoid

1. Wrong Platform Choice

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Many people who just want to run their own blogs without selling anything will end up going with WordPress’s self-hosted website, which gives complete control for recurring costs which is frustrating for someone who simply wants to run a small blog for family and friends to read. Others who are interested in writing content for revenue will get frustrated with the lack of control in WordPress’s free version. This is one of the more common WordPress mistakes, but it’s best to choose the right platform now before you start because then you won’t have to change your domain name later.

2. Falling for the Up-sell

There are only two things you need to run your self-hosted WordPress blog: domain and web-hosting. Many web-hosting sites have gimmicks they try to sell you, but these are expensive, unnecessary, and can often hinder you later down the road. Check out GreenGeeks’ WordPress hosting service.

3. Not Deleting the Sample Page

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Deleting the sample page seems like a given, but it is actually one of the more common WordPress mistakes. There are 1.1 million WordPress sites that still have their sample pages, but these pages are unnecessary and can look sloppy. It is best to either delete this page or use it for your blog posts.

4. Default Tag Lines

Like the sample page, most WordPress themes come with default tag lines like “Just another WordPress site”. These tag lines are indexed in Google, so they don’t do anything to help your search rankings, and they can look sloppy. Best to change the tag to something relevant to your site.

5. Not Creating a WordPress Backup

This is completely essential. Without a backup, all of your work can be wiped out in an hour never to be seen again for a variety of reasons, like you accidentally deleting it yourself, or being wiped out by hackers. There are several backup sites you can use to save yourself a lot of grief later, or simply use built in features within your web hosting service to backup your WordPress website, which is free.

6. Having Too Many Categories

WordPress makes it really easy to add new categories to your site. While it is good to have some categories to make your site easy to navigate, having too many can make your site confusing and can discourage readers from exploring your site. Instead just have a few broader categories and for more specific labels, take advantage of tags.

7. Changing the Site URL

Even though it can sometimes be beneficial in the long run if done right, abruptly changing the URL to your site can lead to huge drops in traffic and income while your readers and search engine bots try to figure out what happened to your site. If you must change your URL, make sure you take the proper steps to avoid significant drops.

8. Hard-Coding Everything

Many people hard code their content into their custom page templates when they’re just starting out. This can make things harder to manage if you want to move your blog posts later on, and defeats the purpose of using WordPress’s user-friendly interface.

9. Having Really Long Archives

After about a year, the Archives widget on your screen starts to look long and annoying, not to mention sloppy. If you have had your site for a year or more, you might want to consider making a custom archives widget.

10. The White Screen of Death

This is similar to Microsoft’s Blue Screen of Death. It can happen when you install a plugin or theme that exhausts your site’s memory limit. In most cases this can be fixed by increasing the memory limit.

11. Not Moderating Comments

If you don’t want comments on your site, then you can turn them off using the Disable Comments plug-in. Otherwise, make sure you moderate your comments as you go, which entail approving comments, marking them as spam, etc. Without moderating, no comments will show up on your site.

12. Writing Your Post In Microsoft Word First

To keep from losing your work easily from problems like computer crashes or from messing up the formatting from copying and pasting, it’s best to just type your work straight into WordPress.

13. Getting a theme from a bad source

There are many bad sources out there offering WordPress themes laced with viruses and other malware. Only get themes from WordPress.org

14. Not Having a Contact Form

To prevent spam, provide a contact form for people to fill out instead of providing your email address.

15. Not Installing a Cache Plug-In

When you get more traffic, you’ll want one to prevent website downtime or to keep your site from slowing down if you get a lot of traffic at once. A good plug in is WP Super Cache.

16. Ignoring SEO Settings

Many people ask WP to stop search engine bots from indexing their sites when they are just starting out. But unless the bots have access, you will not be able to get your site indexed. It’s best to actively manage your settings to stay up to date with what your site needs.

17. Not Setting Up Your Permalinks

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Even though there are default links for WordPress, these are not good for search rankings at all. You can change this by going into settings and clicking on permalinks.

18. Not Having a Custom Favicon

Favicons are the symbols that appear in your tabs, like the site’s identity card. Unless you change it, your favicon will most likely be the WP logo, which can look amateurish and make your site forgettable.

19. Ignoring Updates

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It’s tempting to ignore them, but this can leave your site vulnerable to hackers. The longer put off the harder it is to update, but if you are updating regularly, it shouldn’t take more than one click.

20. Not Learning More

One of the worst things you can do it to stop learning about your WordPress. You will miss out on a lot of new features. Without learning, your site can quickly become out of date.

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