13 Mistakes Every WordPress Beginners Must Avoid

They say, “Practice makes a man perfect,” but do you know how? It’s experience that teaches a person to be perfect. Surpassing the boundaries of theoretical knowledge, experience teaches us to find ways to overcome the mistakes.

If you are a beginner in a field, you need to work harder than anyone else to make up for your gullibility. The same applies to the WordPress newbies.

Most WordPress users learn from the numerous mistakes they make. While some of those mistakes can be fixed immediately, some are beyond repair. If you desire to become a successful WordPress user, you should avoid these common mistakes right from the start. Below is a list of mistakes that every WordPress user should watch out for!

1. Installing Too Many Plugins

Installing Too Many Plugins

One of the most amazing features of WordPress is the availability of a wide range of plugins. In fact, a lot of people choose WordPress only because of the variety of plugins that is not provided by other platforms. However, if you think you can install almost every plugin available in the WordPress store, then you are mistaken. Even though all those features might seem tempting, you need to stop yourself from going into plugin frenzy.

You only need a handful of WordPress plugin to make your website function smoothly. Instead of installing every plugin you come across, select the ones that are absolutely essential for your WordPress project. Go for the ones which will definitely improve the functionalities of the project.

Installing too many plugins will not only affect the loading speed of the site, but also make the site incompatible with current software requirements. If your website does require a lot of plugins, you can deactivate a few of them when their functions are no longer needed.

2. Installing WordPress in a Sub-Folder Named “WordPress”

Generally, the WordPress zip file places all the files in a folder named “WordPress”. If you are new to the world of WordPress, you are most likely to make the mistake of uploading the folder to the webhost using FTP instead of uploading the files and folders contained within the directory.

As the parent folder also gets uploaded in a transfer done using FTP, your website gets directed to www.abcxyz.com/wordpress instead of just www.abcxyz.com, (abcxyz.com being your website domain).

The platform allows you to install WordPress outside of the default location. However, it is easier to install it in the default location, which is usually the root of your domain, under public_html, or perhaps in a sub-directory like “/aboutus” (if you are working on the “about us” page).

3. Not Changing the Default Admin Username

Not Changing the Default Admin Username

Another common mistake most beginners make is leaving the default admin username same on their WordPress. When you install WordPress, it automatically creates the username “admin,” giving it the administrator privileges.

While keeping the default username may not cause any technical problem to your WordPress site, not changing it to something unique may make your site vulnerable to cyber threats. If the hackers target your website, they can use the default username and try to gain control over your website.

To eliminate your worries, WordPress gives you the option to change the username during the installation process. If you skip the process, you have yourself to blame when things go south. Experts will always recommend you to change the username from the default one. In fact, it is better if you combine letters and numbers to create a new username.

4. Not Changing Permalinks

The default permalink structure for WordPress is generally “/?p=123” (123 being your post ID). If you don’t change it, your URLs are going to be displayed as “abcxyz.com/?p=51” (abcxyz.com being your domain name) rather than something more appropriate like “www.abcxyz.com/announcement“.

Most beginners don’t understand the significance of changing the permalink structure until it’s too late. A clean URL that consists a primary keyword, say for example “www.abcxyz.com/assignment-help” (assignment help being the keyword), can help boost SEO of the page. Also, it is easier for the visitors to follow.

Changing the permalinks through WordPress admin area is not very difficult. However, the .htaccess file needs to be writable (which they are in most cases). If you do not have the permission to update .htaccess through the admin area, WordPress will provide you with the code for the chosen permalink structure, so that you can update the .htaccess file manually.

5. Using Complicated Categories and Tags

WordPress is known to be the most user-friendly web developing platform. Thanks to its capability to categorize the content with tags, the website users can navigate through the pages without any difficulty. However, if the categories and tags are complex in nature, it can affect the experience of the user.

The WordPress users who are new to this WordPress development scene often use complex categories and tags, which end up making the website look repelling and difficult to navigate. In fact, it can even have a negative impact on the SEO of the page.

WP users should limit the use of tags and categories, so that they do not seem overwhelming to the users. You can take reference from experienced WP users or follow the successful websites to understand how to make better use of the tags and categories.

6. Failing to Update WordPress Regularly

Failing to Update WordPress Regularly

Developing a website on WordPress is not exactly a one-time job. You need to invest time to keep it relevant to search engine requirements. Not just WordPress, the themes and plugins you are using on WP project also require regular updates.

Many beginners think that once the website is live, their job is done. But that is where they are wrong. A web developer is not only responsible for the development of a website, but he/she is also responsible for the management of the website.

If the WordPress on which the website is built is not kept up to date, it might crash any time. In fact, if the WordPress and its plugins are outdated, they may get hacked or infected with malware.

7. Using a Weak Password

We have already talked about how not changing the username can put the WP website at risk. Similarly, if the password you have chosen for the WP account is easy to guess or if it consists of a few characters, you are only making it easier for the hackers to attack your website.

WordPress has a built-in that allows you to generate a strong password. It is advisable to make your password as complex as possible, so that the hackers cannot crack it easily. You can combine alphabets (by mixing the uppercase and lowercase), digits and symbols to create a difficult password that may take hundreds of years to be hacked.

You can simply go into your profile on the WP account and navigate to the user profile to find the “Generate Password” button. You can change the password from there. However, you should make sure to add that new password to LastPass, so that you eliminate the chances of further complications.

8. Not Having a Caching Plug-in

With experience, you may learn to make great use of the WordPress plugins and build a feature-rich website. But before that, there are a lot of things that you need to learn. For instance, most beginners don’t understand the significance of the caching plugins. So, they simply don’t install a caching plugin on their WP website.

Caching plugin happens to be one of the essential WP plugins that improve the functionality of the website. Caching is generally used by the websites to reduce the load time of the site, thereby significantly preventing downtime.

There are a few free plugins that you can use to accelerate the website loading speed. W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache are the most popular ones. However, there are a plenty of options which you can check out before choosing the final caching plugin.

9. Not Using Google Analytics

Not Using Google Analytics

If you are in the web development business for quite some time now, you may have a pretty good idea about Google Analytics. If you don’t, you are probably too new to the world of WordPress. Google Analytics is a free web analytics service that offers the user with statistics and insights about a particular website.

Many beginners are not familiar with the functions of Google Analytics. For that reason, they often create and manage websites without making the most of an incredible tool. Whether you realize or not, WordPress can only provide a limited amount of insights about the website. If you need a detailed analysis of your site, Google Analytics is your best bet.

With the help of Google Analytics, you can monitor the website traffic, track the behavior of the visitors and learn which keywords are performing better in a given period. There is another tool named Google Webmaster tools which can help you keep track of the website’s health.

10. Not Optimizing the Website for Mobile Users

According to a report by Statista, mobile devices account for 49.7 percent of web page views worldwide. This report was published in February 2017, and the number has only gone up since then. As a web developer, you can understand how important it is to optimize the WP website for mobiles.

While most of the experienced web developers are optimizing their websites for better user experience on mobile, a lot of beginners in the field of web development still publish their websites without optimizing them for mobile browsing. This not only makes the website incompatible for mobiles, but also reduces the traffic coming from mobile users.

First of all, you need to use a responsive WP theme that automatically adapts to whatever the screen size or device is being used to access it. Besides, there are a few mobile plugins including WPtouch and WPTap, which can make your site mobile compatible. You can check out both the options and choose the one that best fits your need.

11. Choosing an Inappropriate Theme

The theme you choose for your WP website can have a strong influence on the website traffic. It is needless to say that if a website theme is not attractive, it can increase the bounce rate of the website. Besides, the WP theme also plays a pivotal role in the search engine rankings of the website.

As a beginner, you may not have a better understanding of the themes and the implications that each of the themes carries. This is one of the reasons why a majority of the new users of WordPress fail to choose an efficient theme from the WP gallery. The free themes are not always bad.

While choosing a theme for your website, you should keep three major things in mind. Firstly, you should check out whether the theme offers ease of use to both developer and users. Then you should see the price, and finally, you should ensure that the theme is from a reputed company.

12. Not Optimizing the Images

Not Optimizing the Images

The visual elements in a webpage often determine what kind of response the website is going to receive from the visitors. To ensure your website gets enough appreciation from the visitors, it becomes important for the developers to upload a lot of visual elements (especially images on the website.) However, all of this may go in vain if you forget to optimize the images.

Needless to say, beginners don’t care about the optimization of the images on the websites. However, ignoring image optimization can influence the loading speed of the website, affecting the overall performance of the site. If you do not optimize the images on your website, it might reflect negatively on your search engine ranking.

There are a number of ways to optimize the images on your website. You can install an image compression plugin which will help you make the HD images more compatible for the website. Also, there are other image optimization plugins which can take care of issues related to image optimization and image compression.

13. Skipping the Contact Form

Most beginners create a website without a contact form. If you think that mentioning the email address on the contact page is going to be enough for the WP website you are building, think again.

If you are communicating with the website users solely through email, you may see a massive increase in the SPAM messages. A beginner may not be aware of that, which explains why most of them skip the contact form.

The contact form is perhaps the most effective way to interact directly with the audience. There are a great number of plugins which can help you build contact forms for your WP website. Gravity Forms plugin allows you to create any type of form using a simple drag-drop interface.

 

These were some of the common mistakes that beginners make while working on a WordPress project. However, the list of WordPress mistakes does not end here. If you are starting out your career as a WP web developer, you should definitely avoid making these rookie mistakes. Over time, you will learn to identify the pitfalls. For now, just make sure you follow the prime highlights of this post.

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One Comment

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