WordPress is an incredibly popular and well-loved content management system that had its roots in the online blogging world. Since then, however, WordPress has expended rapidly and is now being used for all kinds of applications, from group blogging sites to news sites to even e-commerce sites. With so many uses and applications, there are a few “do’s and don’ts” when it comes to the best practices of using such a powerful system.
Below is a listing of some of the top WordPress mistakes made by newbies, along with the best way to avoid and correct these mistakes:
Using the username ‘admin’
All WordPress installations set up the username “admin” by default, but it is the most insecure username possible since everyone knows that it is the default. Since this is such a common username, sites using the “admin” username are more likely to be victim of brute force attacks in which they attempt to gain access to the WordPress admin site by sending thousands of passwords per minute.
Not taking regular WP backups
Nothing is worse than seeing a website devastated because someone failed to take a backup. While a good web host should be taking emergency backups, these do not replace the backups that you should take weekly. There are great backup plugins (even ones where you can back your site up to Dropbox), and you can easily create full website backups through cPanel, so there is no reason not to be taking backups.
Using too many plugins
WordPress plugins are great because they can help extend the functionality of WordPress, but newbies sometimes see all of the options for plugins and are like a kid in a candy store, trying to enable every possible plugin. The problem is that WordPress plugins can slow down your website and offer another potential attack vector for your website in the event that they are not updated consistently.
Setting it and forgetting it
Running a blog is not an entirely passive business. While it is great to schedule posts weeks in advance, setting up a post and not checking back, or not posting at all, is a sure-fire way to miss out on potential engagement opportunities with your readers.
Forgetting to update plugins and themes
It is paramount to update themes and plugins because updates often contain software improvements that make your site less likely to be attacked. Many hackers use outdated themes, plugins, and WordPress instances as an attack vector, so don’t be one of those people who is hacked simply for not clicking the ‘update’ button.
Forgetting to use statistics software
There is no feeling more annoying than when you wonder, “How many views did my blog get yesterday?”, only to realize that you forgot to enable statistics software to allow you to view this information. Using statistics software like Google Analytics of Piwik is a great way to understand what your readers like and what they don’t like.
Not using any images (or not attributing images)
Readers love images, and a study showed that photos on Facebook make up 93% of the most engaging content on their site. Including original images in your website is paramount to user engagement and it an easy way to gain views and backlinks.
If you are using someone else’s images, make sure to provide a backlink to them or the attribution that they request. This is not just common courtesy but a matter of law in many countries.
Making content that isn’t share-able
Good content is mean to be shared, so make it easy for your readers to share it with others. Including a Twitter or Facebook share button is certainly a good start, but there are plenty of other ways to drive social engagement.
Using a bad web host
Many articles have been dedicated to exposing a list of poor web hosting brands run by EIG. However, finding a good web host isn’t always easy. It is always a good idea to find a web host that specializes in WordPress. Making sure to vet your potential web hosts by asking them questions before ordering and checking reviews is also a good idea to ensure a quality experience.
Not using a contact form
Every website should use a contact form to make it easier for any visitors to easily get in contact with the webmaster. Setting up a contact form using Contact Form 7 is easy and can help users contact you in case of any errors on the site, potential collaboration, and even guest posting opportunities. A contact form is easier to use than a plain email, and a good contact form can protect against spammers, since your email address is hidden.
These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to common WordPress mistakes, so keep reading to find other ways to learn more about managing WordPress.