33% of all the websites you can find on the Internet are WordPress. This is: 60% of all websites that use a content manager (CMS) are WordPress (data extracted from W3Techs).
WordPress is popular because it’s easy to use, you have a lot of themes and plugins that allow you to create a web as attractive and complex as you want, it’s safe, it’s in your language, and it has a large support community willing to help you in whatever you need.
But watch out, although this ease of learning will earn you confidence, our experience has shown us that many WordPress users don’t take the necessary precautions to not get more than a displeasure and that their websites stop working. So here is our basic list of what NOT to do in WordPress to sleep easier and, little by little, gain many more visits.
#1 Hiring An Inadequate Hosting Service
We tirelessly repeat that hiring an adequate hosting service is one of the best investments you can make when you create a website. This will make you not have to worry about many of the points that I tell you below, because your hosting service will already take care of them.
With a good hosting service you make sure you have a support and quality service for any problem that may arise, you’ll know that you use current technologies on your website, which means more security, and you’ll appreciate that it’s easier to manage your website.
#2 Forgetting to update your PHP
PHP is the language code used by WordPress, as well as its plugins and themes. And as it happens in all existing code and software, it gets better over time, new optimized versions are released and support is no longer available for the most obsolete ones. If you look at the support dates for each version of PHP, you can see that as of February 2019, the only two versions that are supported are 7.2and 7.3.
Our recommendation is that you ideally have version 7.3 or version 7.2 installed. Any version prior to 7.1 can cause security problems. Although surely if you have already contracted a good hosting service, you can forget this point.
#3 Ignoring Core Updates, Plugins and Themes
For security and to make sure you have the latest features of your WordPress, theme, and plugins you have installed, make sure you have their latest versions. But remember, as I told you recently, perform the update process safely. And precisely the two following errors that you shouldn’t commit are directly related to security updates.
#4 Not Backing Up Regularly And Before Any Update
I think the title itself is explanatory enough. No software is 100% secure. All contain some vulnerability and can be hacked or for reasons of incompatibility you may come across updates that break your site.
Make sure that if you find yourself in a situation where everything breaks down, you have the peace of mind that you’ll be able to recover the previous version before the misfortune occurred. This point is usually already covered with a good hosting company.
#5 Not Having a Staging Server For Testing
Surely if you do a minor update of a plugin you can do it directly on your website without problems. But leave your passion for risk for other tasks, not for your website. Do any change in your website in a staging server, where you can try it safely, as I told you in how to update your WordPress securely. With a good hosting provider, this is extremely easy!
#6 Installing Plugins Without Knowing Why and Without Warranties
When we buy any device or software, it seems that the more functionalities and the more capabilities it has, the better it’s going to be. And then you only end up using a small percentage of all the possibilities included in that product includes, but it does no harm, does it?
For example, why do you buy a washing machine with 15 special programs, if you only use two? Surely, the worst thing that can happen to you in this case is that you’ll pay an unnecessary extra cost… But with plugins the consequences can be much worse. For example, don’t forget to read the dangers that you can find if you install multiple SEO plugins in your WordPress.
WordPress plugins can save you a lot of work but install only those that will be essential to you. The more plugins you have, the more risk of lowering the performance on your website, as well as encountering more compatibility and security problems.
#7 Installing A Theme Just Because It’s Nice
When we talk about themes we are already entering the world of design, and this means you’re looking for something sexy and appealing. Obviously, it doesn’t make sense to install a theme whose aesthetics you don’t like.
A theme not only has to be beautiful, you have to make sure that it includes the latest design trends, is responsive, and, more importantly, meets the objectives you have set for your website. So before making such a critical decision as choosing the theme of your website, learn everything you need to know about WordPress themes.
#8 Using admin As Username
When you create a website, often for convenience, you create a single user with admin permissions to manage everything (updates, install plugins, etc) and name it (how else?) admin.
To avoid taking risks, I recommend you to create a new admin user who is not called admin and eliminate the original admin. Leaving this user with this name is a way to compromise by 50% the security of the username/password combination!
#9 Not Creating At Least One User Other Than The Admin
I’d like to remind you that, even if you are the only person who manages and writes on your website, you should also create a new user for yourself with the Editor or Author role. This user is the one that you should use to manage the contents of your website. And in fact, it should be the user that you use every day.
Limit yourself to using the user with admin privileges when you need to perform tasks that are exclusively administrative and thus reduce the chances of making unwanted mistakes.
#10 Ignoring The Comments Of Your Posts
One of the objectives of your website should be to interact with your visitors and readers. How many times do you leave a comment on a website? Surely only when you are grateful for the value that the published information has given you or when you think that you can contribute something of value to the information in question.
To comment, on the part of the reader, requires a much greater effort than simply reading. Appreciate it and answer properly.
#11 Maintaining The Structure Of Permanent Links By Default
The permanent links define the structure that the URLs that we use to access the different contents of our website. By default, the structure of WordPress is the “Name of the post” (which you can see selected in the following screenshot), but you can change it to what you like.
The problem with maintaining this default structure is that your blog posts and pages are not distinguishable. So, for example, we’d have that the price page of your products could be
https://example.com/pricing/ and any post could be
https://example.com/how-to-install-wordpress/. As you can see, there is no way of knowing that one thing is a page and another part of the blog.
One way to fix this problem is to use the structure
/blog/%postname%/ and your posts will now look like this:
https://example.com/blog/how-to-install-wordpress/. Remember, permanent links are key to SEO.
#12 Inserting Images Without Rights
It is a lack of professionalism and honesty to insert images without having the copyright to publish them. We have already commented more than once there are a lot of image banks from which you can extract free images to use on your website. Many of them with very attractive, high-quality images that might not even require you to mention the author if you do not want to.
We personally like to mention the authors of the images we use, even though their licenses don’t require us to. It’s the least we can do as a thank you and give them the credit they deserve.
#13 Not Considering Performance
Surely you’d like to be the first on the results page of any search engine, am I right? In this case, don’t forget that search engines take into account the performance of your website. So make sure your website:
- loads quickly,
- includes images with reasonable sizes and properly compressed,
- does not contain too many scripts that slow it down, and
- is accessible to all users.
And if you want to know more about this topic, don’t miss: How to be the first in Google in 5 steps.
#14 Ignoring Mobile Users
We’re getting more and more access to the web with our smartphones and tablets, so you should also make sure that your website is optimized for them. Sure, your website has to be responsive and the forms should be adapted for mobile devices. But there’s more!
Mobile data connections are, in many cases, worse than what we can have at home. So the loading speed of your website is important not only for Google but for all your readers, as we do not like to wait. And it is for this reason that Google is promoting the use of the AMP project (Accelerated Mobile Pages, accelerated mobile pages) or Facebook has designed a platform called Instant Articles for content publishers. You can read a short introduction to AMP and Instant Articles for more details.
#15 Not Using The Tools Provided By Google
Thanks to Google Analytics you can know very curious data about your website that will help you to know who your readers are and to improve your content. If you don’t have Google Analytics installed on your website you are totally lost about what is happening on your site.
But Google Analytics is not the only tool you should use, Google Search Console are a set of tools also free to help you optimize, analyze and check the status of your website in your search results as explained by Google in the following video.
Creating a website in WordPress takes some time, but it’s not that complicated. Avoid making any of the mistakes mentioned here if you don’t want all your work to be in vain. Follow these recommendations and you’ll see how your readers will appreciate it!