The online world can be a daunting place when you’re trying to get a website up and running. This is especially true when if your website is critical to your business. Even if you’re getting your WordPress site launched as a side gig or just for personal pleasure you want it to be the best it can be.
My goal for Social Bawse is to provide you the reader with the best information I can to help you avoid some of the mistakes and pitfalls I had to learn from the hard way over many years. I’ve been building WordPress sites for 10+ years now and if I can make things easier for the folks just starting out then I will consider this website a success.
There is a lot of experimentation that goes into building a great WordPress website. Whether it’s finding the right plugins or obsessing over the perfect theme that has exactly the functionality you’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to try new things and make mistakes, because you’ll learn a ton along the way.
What I want to share with you in this post are the 6 most common WordPress mistakes that you can’t afford on your website.
1. Choosing The Wrong Hosting Platform
Nobody wants to spend more money than they have to on anything. Why would you? When it comes to hosting the temptation is to go with those offers you see on TV and online for $2.95 a month web hosting. I can speak to this myself because when I first got started I went with cheap hosting. It may seem at first that the cheap shared hosting works for you just fine and it probably does. But you need to take the long view on this. The non-existent or lackluster security features, poor performance, and terrible technical support are only a few of the things you will be facing. In the same way you want your house to be built on a solid foundation you should also want that for your WordPress site.
Paying a little more every month for a strong managed hosting provider is the way to go. A few I recommend are Flywheel, SiteGround, and WP Engine. This site is hosted on WP Engine. The bottom line is if you want the most secure and best performing website possible then go with a quality hosting provider.
2. Choosing The Wrong Theme
There are literally tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of WordPress themes to choose from. Finding the right one for your website can be a job unto itself. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to change themes later if you end up not liking the one you’re using. It can still be a headache if you have a lot of unique functionality and it may cause some plugins not to work. If you go with the wrong theme you will just have to fix it down the road.
When choosing a WordPress theme you need to figure out what the purpose of your site is and choose a theme meant for that. Meaning if you’re starting a site to showcase your photography then choose a theme built for that purpose. Your site will look better, perform better, and have a better overall user experience. Some themes can be configured to do anything from business and photography to e-commerce and more. I recommend buying a theme from ThemeForest. They have an incredible collection of high quality premium themes to fit any niche imaginable.
3. Not Setting Automatic Backups
I can’t stress enough how important this one is. Once you’ve lost your entire website to a hacker you’ll understand and never make this mistake again. I say that as someone who has lost everything to hackers a couple of times over the years. One of the first things you should do on your WordPress site is install a plugin for creating automatic backups of your entire site. Once it’s set up your site will be automatically backed up once a day (or more) and stored on a server. Should something go wrong you can quickly restore your site from the backup.
If you go with a good managed hosting company like the ones mentioned in mistake #1 this is taken care of for you. WP Engine automatically backs up this site every day for me. No plugin needed.
4. Not Installing Google Analytics
How can you monitor what’s happening with your WordPress site if you don’t have tracking installed? Google Analytics is free and will provide valuable insights about your website visitors. You can see where they are coming from, what they are clicking on, what device they are using, how long they stay, etc. You won’t know if your website efforts are a success unless you track that stuff.
5. Not Updating WordPress
WordPress regularly releases software updates to its core platform. Inside your WordPress dashboard it will alert you when a new version has been released. You should always update. The hosting companies I mentioned in mistake #1 automatically keep WordPress updated for you. When you don’t update WordPress it leaves your site open to security vulnerabilities and makes it easier to hack. You will also want to take advantage of improvements and new features that are in some of the updates.
6. Not Optimizing For SEO
You need to start off on the right foot with your new WordPress site by making sure it’s optimized properly for SEO from day one. What’s the point of putting all the time and effort into making a great WordPress site if nobody can find you on Google. I recommend installing the Yoast SEO plugin to set you up for success and keep all your posts and pages correctly optimized. I wrote a post earlier this week called 6 SEO Tips For Bloggers that goes into much greater detail on this subject.
This is by no means the most comprehensive list of WordPress mistakes, but these 6 WordPress mistakes are the most common and the most easily avoidable. You’re going to make your fair share of mistakes along the way building your site so if you can avoid these simple and costly ones you’ll be ahead of the game.
Feel free to share some mistakes you’ve learned from in the comments below. If you would like to contact me directly with any questions use the contact form.