WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system (CMS), providing your business an invaluable tool for delivering content to the masses and boosting your online exposure and marketing strategy immensely. It’s the ideal platform for businesses and individuals alike, but while the learning curve is minimal and getting a blog or any other dynamic website published is a quick and simple task nowadays, there are many common mistakes which novices make. This guide takes a look at some of the most common issues that people have with WordPress in order to help you make the most out of the platform.
1 – Slow Loading Times
Given their frequently short attention spans, few things irritate Web users more than a website which takes too long to load up. Unfortunately, loading times are a problem with all CMSs, and it is often necessary to take some extra steps to speed up your website. You can optimize your website’s performance by caching your content using a cache plug-in and by choosing a WordPress hosting package. It is also important to optimize your images and any other multimedia content.
2 – The ‘White Screen of Death’
When WordPress encounters an error which prevents a website from loading up, the infamous ‘white screen of death’ will appear in the browser, and this is enough to turn even the most patient visitors off completely. Such problems can happen for the simplest of reasons, such as a minor coding error in your WordPress PHP files, and for this reason, WordPress users should be sure to thoroughly test their sites and back up their content, particularly when modifying any code behind their websites.
3 – Database Connection Issues
If you choose a decent WordPress hosting packaging which is specifically tailored to that platform, then you generally shouldn’t have to worry about database connection issues. If there is a problem with the connection to the server-side database, WordPress will be completely unable to deliver your content, and visitors will be faced with nothing more than an irritating and unhelpful error message whenever they navigate to your website.
4 – Using the Default Tagline
A new WordPress blog comes with the plain default theme as well as the default tagline ‘Just another WordPress Blog’. The tagline appears on your homepage and in search engine results, so using the default one gives to indication as to the content of your website, and it just looks plain tedious and unimaginative. Fortunately, changing your tagline is simply a matter of entering a new one in the Settings page of your administrator dashboard.
5 – Running an Outdated Version
WordPress has undergone a large number of core revisions, and new versions are released on a regular basis to address a whole range of issues which tend to arise after release. Keeping your WordPress platform up-to-date is absolutely critical for the security and reliability of your website. There is no excuse for not updating WordPress, as well as your plug-ins and themes, whenever updates are available. The updates are simply a click away.
6 – Keeping Unused Plug-Ins
With the vast repository of plug-ins available for WordPress comes the inevitable risk of security holes, particularly with regards to outdated plug-ins and those which are no longer supported by their developers. Not only should you keep all of your active plug-ins up-to-date – you should also delete any plug-ins which you no longer need. Keeping inactive plug-ins installed can, in some cases, allow hackers to infiltrate your website and cause havoc for both you and your visitors.
7 – Spamming the Front Page
WordPress provides a range of useful customization options in the Settings section of the administrator dashboard which allow you to determine what is displayed on the homepage of your blog or website. Keep your homepage looking organized by displaying a limited number of posts or excerpts from recent posts. Having your entire front page cluttered with an endless wall of text and images will slow down your website and hinder user experience.
8 – The /wordpress Subdirectory
When installing WordPress, it typically ends up in a subdirectory of your website which by default is /wordpress. If your WordPress site is a part of your main website, then having your blog in a subdirectory is absolutely fine, although you’ll probably be better off renaming it to /blog or something similar when installing the CMS. However, if your website is your WordPress blog, you should always install WordPress into your root directory rather than using yourwebsite.com/wordpress/.
9 – Lack of Backups
Backing up your WordPress database, along with all of your customizations and content couldn’t be easier, and there are plenty of plug-ins available for additional backup functionality too. There is no excuse for not keeping a backup of the website and content that you have strived so hard to publish. Things can always go wrong, either on your end or on your hosting company’s end, and to minimize the impact of such issues, you should enable automatic backups.
10 – Untidy Admin Sections
One of the greatest advantages of the WordPress platform is that it is exceptionally easy to use, but if you have installed a whole raft of plug-ins that you don’t really need and failed to keep everything updated, your administrator dashboard can quickly start to look like an unnavigable mess. Keep it tidy, up-to-date and get rid of the plug-ins you don’t absolutely need in order to minimize the amount of clutter in your administrator page.