A majority of people choose WordPress because it is simple to set up and a versatile content management system. In a few simple clicks, you’ll get a fully functional website or e-commerce store as opposed to paying thousands to a developer to create something from scratch. While WordPress sounds like the ideal choice for your online presence, it’s not foolproof. In other words, there is plenty that could go wrong with a WordPress blog or site, and you are faced with a variety of choices from start to finish.
Now that the internet is so saturated with information, and there are more threats possible, it’s vital that you make deliberate choices that will give you the most robust and secure blog for your efforts. Here just seven of the most common mistakes that bloggers make when setting up their first WordPress site and some tips to avoid them.
Avoid When Creating Your WordPress Blog
1. Choosing a Theme That’s “Pretty” But Not Functional
It might be tempting to download a “free WordPress theme” that you find online because it looks cool or has some elements that you want. The problem with these themes is that they might have links that you can’t remove or even contain some malicious code.
While there are plenty of free WordPress themes available from reputable sources, it’s essential that you find a WordPress theme that is functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. If you do plan to purchase a theme, read reviews and do some research on the designer first so that you don’t waste money and make a poor choice.
Ideally, you want to find a theme that is customizable to your needs. Can you match it to your brand? Is it compatible with the plugins that you want to use?
When talking about function, every theme today should also be responsive, meaning it works across all types of devices. Run the theme on Google’s mobile-friendly testing site to confirm this.
2. Failing to Use a Security Plugin
Your WordPress site’s security is something you’ll want to take seriously. No thinks that their site is going to get hacked, but WordPress is the CMS that is the most common target of hackers. Fortunately, you can protect your site with a few simple proactive steps. We already mentioned one when we discussed your username and password strength.
The other is to use a feature-rich WordPress security plugin. There are free and paid versions of these plugins, but a reputable hosting company such as that offered by InMotion hosting will give you access to Jetpack, which gets the job done admirably.
Some of the security features offered by Jetpack plugin include:
- Secure Sign On
- Downtime Monitoring
- Plugin Updates
- Spam Protection
- Security Scanning
3. Keeping the Default Permalink Structure
Your site’s permalinks are the structure of the URL that will appear in the user’s search bar of their web browser. They are an important element of your site because permalinks can be random numbers or they can be descriptive. The latter is more SEO-friendly.
Unfortunately, the default permalink structure with WordPress isn’t what you want.
While this will work, it tells the visitor and the search engines nothing about what is on that page. A better choice is to use the post name (/%postname%/) as your default setting so that your URL will look like this: http://www.yoursite.com/sample-post/
4. Using “Admin” as Your Username
By default, WordPress will assign “Admin” as your username when your site is first created. Unfortunately, too many users either like the sound of this or just don’t bother to change it. The problem is that hackers target WordPress blog and sites that have this particular username because then they need only get past the password instead of two login elements.
You can greatly reduce the risk of your site being hacked, and make your username more relevant, by choosing something else during the setup process. If you’ve already created your site with the “Admin” option, this guide explains how to make the change.
Along with the same token, you should be paying particular attention to the strength of your password when you create your site. Choose a strong password that isn’t something you normally use for other websites. WordPress even tells you the strength of your selection or will auto-generate one for you if you wish.
5. Not Using a Caching Plugin
If you’re new to WordPress, you probably don’t understand the concept of caching, but this is vital. In today’s online landscape, page load speed matters, and a caching plugin can seriously help with your site’s page load time.
One of the best ways to improve the user experience, and please Google, is to install a caching plugin. Some of the top choices include:
While another recommendation is to sign up with a CDN, some hosting platforms include a free CDN as part of their packages.
6. Not Setting Up Regular Backups
Few things are more frustrating than losing all of your hard work. Maybe you make a change to your WordPress site, and it didn’t go as planned. Or you accidentally delete content you realize you need or, worse, find that you’ve been hacked and everything is changed or missing.
If you’ve set up regular backups on your site, it will be much easier to restore it to an earlier state. Without this service, you’ll have to manually re-create what has been destroyed or is missing.
7. Activating Unnecessary Plugins On Your WordPress Blog
Plugins are great, but too many will slow down your site and can even make it vulnerable to hackers. You might be tempted to install a lot of plugins and then only use a few of them. If you’re not using them or decide that they are unnecessary, it’s best to deactivate and uninstall them.
We’ve already discussed some plugins that you might want to have on board (backup, security, caching), but some of the others include SEO and image optimization. Before downloading other plugins, consider the cost in terms of website speed and performance.
Creating a website can be compared to building a house. Your foundation is your hosting plan, and then you will create a WordPress site that also includes the features necessary to provide a positive search engine and user experience. Avoiding some of these common mistakes on your WordPress blog is an excellent start.