23 WordPress Mistakes to Avoid as a New Blogger
WordPress is a powerful Content Management System (CMS) for blogging and if you have just started your new site with this software, you made a good choice. You should also know that there are many key mistakes that most of new bloggers make, and they can be easy to avoid.
Read this article and get to know the 23 WordPress mistakes to avoid, so you can make your life easier and your blog more successful.
#1 Don’t use WordPress.com
WordPress.com is a service of Automattic and it offers a simple WordPress instance for blogging. The basic service is free, but the company asks money for value-added services, like bigger storage, backups, advanced theme customization and more.
When you choose WordPress.com as your free host, you will get only limited access to your site, for example, you will be able to use only few in-built themes and nothing more. Even you find a very good WordPress template on the Internet, or you buy it from a professional developer, you won’t add it to your WordPress.com blog; unless you upgrade your plan and pay a yearly fee.
So, never choose WordPress.com for blogging, only for testing. You can start your blog there, but once you want to add a better theme or a plugin, you should pay money, or move your site outside of WordPress.com. It is much easier to start your blog on a self-hosted environment.
#2 Don’t use unreliable web hosting
There are literally ten thousand web hosting providers on the Internet that sell hosting packages. It can be a good idea to select the cheapest one, but in the long run you will have many problems with such companies.
Internet companies have many costs. They should buy the hardware components and pay the utilities and the employees’ salary. The better hardware they choose and the more professional people they hire the more money it costs monthly. So, when you choose a cheap hosting solution, you agree that you don’t need good hardware and professional employees for help.
This becomes vital when your website crashes and you need help. Professional web hosting companies often offer help in few minutes, while cheap hosting providers may take a break on weekends, holidays or hire employees with no skills. Choose always those web hosts, which have great reputation and many feedbacks in the industry!
#3 Don’t use admin as primary administrator
When you install WordPress, you will be asked to set a primary administrator username and password. People often use ‘admin’ as administrator username and hackers also know this. By selecting ‘admin’ as your username, your will be one step closer to hacked.
There are many spam robots surfing on the net and they look for WordPress powered websites. When they find one, they try the ‘admin’ username and start to fetch the password as well. If you don’t use a different username, the bots will have a much easier task, since the username should not be found out easily.
#4 Don’t use weak passwords
If we have covered the username, we should cover the passwords as well. WordPress has a powerful in-built password generator which generates strong passwords. You can use the suggested password or create your own one. It is vital to choose a character sequence with small and big cap letters, special characters and numbers. Never use simple passwords, like ‘password’ or ‘123456’.
There are password strength calculators on the Internet, which can calculate how soon a robot can hack your password. For example, a character sequence like ‘apple’ can be hacked instantly. If you add few numbers, like ‘app1le5’ then it takes 2 seconds for a bot to break it. With special characters and big cap letters you can add more strength, for example password ‘aP!p1l#e5’ needs 4 weeks for a bot to be hacked.
If you allow your users to register an account on your blog – for example commenting requires it – then you should take care of their password strength too. Logically, if you close your doors before the hackers, you should not let your users to make leaks on your website security. There are many WordPress plugins to force your users to choose strong passwords; Force Strong Passwords is one of the best ones.
#5 Don’t forget to move your default login page
You can add an extra layer to your website security if you move the default WordPress login page to a hidden location only you know. The CMS uses the yoursiteurl/wp-login.php file for login, and hackers also know this. So, the only thing they need to do is to try as many user name + password combination as possible. Sooner or later the spam robot will be successful in breaking into your backend.
You can change your login URL with programmers, but there are many plugins for this task, too. For example, WPS Hide Login is a good choice.
Once you installed and active WPS Hide Login, /wp-login.php and /wp-admin URLs won’t be available, the login will be moved to the location you set in the plugin.
#6 Don’t use the default WordPress permalinks
The WordPress software uses this kind of permalink structure: yoursiteurl/?p=N where N means the ID number of your post. There are two main problems with this kind of structures. First, Google does not support it; second, it is not easy to remember for your readers. It is not magic to understand, your readers won’t like the ID number related URLs and they will never know if the article they read was the 42nd or 43rd one.To avoid the misunderstandings, use user-friendly URLs. They are often called SEO-friendly URLs, since Google supports those tech solutions which are the best for readers. To set these kinds of URLs, open your WordPress dashboard and choose Setting, and choose Permalinks under it. There are many options to choose, one of the most commons is ‘Post name’. By selecting it, your URLs will contain the post name, like yoursiteurl/my-first-post.
#7 Don’t use boring free themes
If you spend many times to write amazing content, don’t scare away your readers by using cheap and ugly themes! WordPress has many premium themes written by professionals around the World, available for a few bucks.These themes contain many special parts, like extra carousel, image galleries, in-built layouts, tuned designs and more. Choose a premium theme that serves your topic the most and you will fascinate your readers for sure!
#8 Don’t hack your theme’s code
Once you purchased a good theme, you can start to work on its customization. WordPress is built up from files that can be physically found on your host’s storage. You can edit those files too, but you can destroy your website with this, so it is not recommended. The PHP language behind WordPress is not fault tolerant, so if you accidentally delete a semicolon or an apostrophe character, your website won’t work anymore.
The premium themes always come with advanced theme customization, so you can make changes on your site on the fly, by using the Theme customization. Just edit all available parts in the backend and it will never ruin your site.
And there is another advantage to use the Theme customization over manual code editing. If you edit the files directly and update the theme later, the update will overwrite your changes. They will disappear, and you will have to start over the whole customization process. In opposite to this, by using the Theme customization option your changes will remain, even if you update the WordPress core or the theme itself.
#9 Don’t forget regular backups
Having backups is essential for a blogger, thus essential for you, too. WordPress plugins can conflict each other and, in some cases, they can destroy the site by rewriting the code. The same is true for hacks: if a spam robot injects your site with attacker code, the easiest way to remove it is to use a backup to restore the site.
You should make backups of your database and files as well. These actions can be performed manually, but there are many WordPress plugins to automatize the process. One of the best plugins for making backups is BackWPUp.
#10 Don’t use weak images
Your content should have images, but this doesn’t mean you can add any types of pictures. If you use blurry or weak images, you will totally kill the user experience. There are many free image sources on the Internet, so you just need to make few searches and use the best images from there.
Pixabay is a good image source and you can use its images even for commercial usage too.
#11 Don’t forget to optimize your images
Images are often big data files, and this is even truer if we are talking about Full HD or 4K images. You should also know which data types are suitable for websites, for example BMP files are totally wrong if you need an image in your article. JPG files are often smaller than PNG files, and the latter one is usually a good choice only if you need a transparent background on the image.
But having a good dimension and file type is just the start; the image data should be also optimized. The human eye is not perfect and is not able to see the difference between not optimized and well-optimized images. By using special software products, you can reduce the image data and show the same quality to your readers.
There are many image optimization tools on the Internet; they can optimize both JPG and PNG images. If you don’t want to handle all images one-by-one, then there are WordPress plugins to work instead of you.
One of the best-known ones is Smush Image Compression and Optimization, or as it is often mentioned, WP Smush. It is a powerful asset that optimizes the images upon uploading. You can also use it for your already uploaded images, even the plugin’s free version can be used well.
#12 Don’t write short posts
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to write short posts. If you don’t spend enough time on your content, it won’t be good, and the readers also won’t like it. Short articles also perform very badly in Google’s eyes, so you will never get free traffic from search engines.
Take your time and write longer and good articles. It can takes only a second to find long posts on the Internet, they mean the key to nowadays’ content marketing. Write amazing content, get reputation from your readers, and build up a loyal fan base behind your project!
#13 Don’t disable comments
Some bloggers disable comments below their articles, this way eliminating the criticism. You should not do this, since commenters will be the primary source of quality measurement. Your readers will quickly tell you if you did anything wrong, and you will also get many positive feedbacks too. As a plus, many readers will write long and related replies to your topics, adding extra info pieces and interesting add-ons to them.
Google and other major search engines also check the number of comments, because they are a sign of quality. The more comments your articles (and website) have, the more visitors your will get from search engines.
#14 Don’t forget to add meta parts
When you use Google for searching for a term, you will get result pages with many links. These pages are called search result pages (SERP) and you can tell Google which info it should show there. You can add meta title and description for your website and all your posts and they will be showed on SERPs.
Meta elements also have dual effect, SEO and eye-catchy ones. If you use relevant keywords in meta elements, it will give you a SEO-plus, while your interesting meta titles and descriptions will be viewed by human readers who will click on them to arrive to your site. The better meta elements your write, the more people will click on them on Google SERPs.
#15 Don’t forget to add links
No content is good enough without links; people are interested to read more relevant information about the topics your cover. The best way to connect your article with additional info pieces is to add links to it.
Links can point to your already written articles and to other people’s articles. Some people do not link others’ articles to not give them SEO-power, but Google confirms, articles with links to other people’s work considered better in Google’s eyes.
Just don’t be lazy, do find related links to your articles and link them.
#16 Don’t spend all your time on design issues
Bloggers often want to have a perfect design, however the work on the site never ends, and thus your design will never be perfect. You will find newer and newer issues or missing parts that can be fixed, so it is not worth to work only on design.
Your primary goal is to write content, because you are a blogger. Write your articles and sometimes work on design as well. Never forget your main task and you will have all benefits that content creation can deliver to you!
#17 Don’t add dozens of plugins
WordPress has an amazingly number of plugins; there are literally tens of thousands of plugins available to download. It can be enticing to have as many plugins as possible, for all smaller tasks, but you should be careful with them.
Plugins are code pieces, so they use the same resources as your site does. The more plugins you use, the more resources will be needed. At the same time, your website will run out of processor power or memory and it will collapse. Additionally, some plugins use the same website parts at the same time and can conflict with each other. Therefore you should use only those ones that are really a must have for your site.
#18 Don’t try to hack your SEO
There are still many “ultimate” SEO guides on the Internet which recommend you link building. They are totally out-of-date and the method of adding your site links to cheap link directories is not valid at least since 2012.
If you add your site links to link directories and catalogues, you will waste your time. Even worst, if you pay someone for this, then you will lose your money too. In the worst case, Google will consider your site as a spam site and block its links from Google search. It goes without saying that the latter case means zero visitors from search engines.
The best SEO method is to write amazing content that will spread on the net and social media platforms.
#19 Don’t forget to A/B test your sharing buttons
You can manually add the social media platforms’ sharing buttons to your site; it just requires the platforms’ API documentation and coding knowledge. Of course, there are many WordPress plugins on the market to do the same.
You can choose any of them, but don’t forget to test them on regular basis. Facebook changes its code base regularly to avoid the malicious usage, thus some plugins can be quickly outdated. In this case the sharing function won’t work and your visitors won’t be able to share your content on the social media platforms.
Do test the sharing function on your site on regular basis, so you can quickly know if something doesn’t work well. Also, do A/B (split) tests to determine which plugin works on your site the best.
#20 Don’t add dozens of sharing buttons
It can be a good idea to show as many sharing buttons at the top or bottom of your posts, some plugins let you to add more than a dozen buttons. But too many options can confuse your readers and you also won’t be able to focus on more than 2-3 social networks.
Think about it a bit; which networks suit the best your content type? If you are a photo blogger, then Instagram and Pinterest are vital platforms. If you post video content, then you should be there on YouTube and Facebook as well. LinkedIn is the best network to build up reputation, and you should also spread your audio content on SoundCloud.
In other hand, Facebook itself is important for almost all type of bloggers, so you should use it too. Choose the best platforms and only add their sharing buttons to your content!
#22 Don’t forget to add a spam blocker
If you already used the Internet, then you saw spam. Spammers are everywhere and they will attack your blog as well. You should protect your site and your readers from them, and the easiest way to do it is to use a spam blocker plugin.
Akismet is the most known anti-spam plugin, it can be downloaded here. It automatically filters your comments in real time and closes the spam into quarantine. You will have 30 days to check the automatically filtered comments in the backend before they are auto-deleted by Akismet.
#22 Don’t forget to use caching
Your website uses two kinds of assets: static and dynamic ones. Dynamic content is rendered dynamically at every page load, most often using the database. Static elements rarely change and they are always the same.
WordPress uses dynamical content display, and this requires some time. The site speed can be boosted by jumping the dynamical creation part and this is what modern cache plugins do. One of the best caching WordPress plugins is W3 Total Cache.
W3 Total Cache makes a static “image” of WordPress site and serves it to readers. This way it speeds up the website and uses significantly less server resources. Websites with big traffic would be stopped without caching; no resources could serve such big amount of load. Of course, when you post a new post or something else is changed on your blog, W3 Total Cache refreshes the “image” and serves the new one to your visitors.
#23 Don’t miss to apply for an Amazon Affiliates account
Amazon Affiliates is a good source to monetize your website, there is literally no content that can’t be connected to an Amazon product somehow. The application to Affiliates is super easy and the company gives you many tools to create affiliate links or widgets.
Sign up for an Amazon Affiliate account and start earning money with your content!