10 WordPress Mistakes to Avoid

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WordPress is a strong program that gives you a lot of possibilities. But these can be cause for blunders, too. You may learn more about them here.

WordPress is an incredibly strong and adaptable platform. Howeverwhichmany as with any tool, its extensive capabilities make it simple to make mistakes when using it.

While all of these errors will have a negative impact on your website, some of them might be disastrous. That is why it is critical to understand what they are and how to prevent them. If you are running your WordPress website on your own, you can double-check these points to make sure your website is working properly. If you are working with a Web development company, make sure they keep all these points in mind.

This article will go through ten typical WordPress blunders and how to avoid them.

Using Poorly-Coded Themes

This is the first and most crucial element to consider because it lays the groundwork for your SEO efforts, and most themes fail miserably in this area.

Whether your theme is custom-built, purchased from a theme vendor, or freely downloaded from the WordPress repository, there are a few key aspects to consider to ensure it won’t put you at a disadvantage, including:

HTML Validation

This is important because improper HTML can result in rendering issues that affect both users and search engines.

When this happens, you risk losing visitors because your website does not appear and/or function properly for them, and you risk ranking poorly because search engines are unable to render and interpret your page’s content.

W3C’s Markup Validation Service is a simple and free tool for verifying HTML validation, but I’d want to add a caveat: while I believe proper HTML is vital, I’m not an HTML validation purist.

That is to say, there are times when some errors are not worth repairing in terms of ROI (Return on Investment).

It’s also worth noting that you might not be able to resolve some mistakes since they’re caused by something you can’t change, like essential functionality in some themes or plugins.

If you’re dealing with serious mistakes that are causing rendering issues, it might be better to start again and rebuild from the ground up.

HTTP Requests

Many themes load an exorbitant amount of scripts, graphics, fonts, and other types of resources, slowing down your pages.

The worst thing is that many themes unintentionally load these files. Many themes just load files on every page, rather than loading them only on sites where they are used, resulting in a much slower load speed.

Page speed is important for both users and SEO.

There is no magic number to aim for, but less is always better in terms of performance, especially if your website is slow to load.

Excessive DOM Size

This may appear to be a difficult task, but it is rather simple. It simply means that we must make our WordPress site’s HTML as efficient as feasible.

While this may appear insignificant, efficient HTML code can significantly impact a site’s performance because each element affects memory use, style computations, and layout reflows.

Many themes employ many HTML elements, which are often buried several levels deep, which degrades speed quickly. This may be seen with page builders, but it can also be seen at the theme level because most developers are more concerned with the visual appeal than with code efficiency.

Using Page Builders

Although others may disagree, I believe that employing page builders is a big mistake.

I can see their benefits — they make it easy for users to contribute and alter designed material.

However, they generate a lot of bloated code, make superfluous HTTP requests, and frequently introduce HTML problems that are impossible to remedy.

I’ve never encountered a page builder that generates code that is tidy and efficient. Many of the concerns that apply to website builders also apply to WordPress page builders, as I wrote an in-depth piece about them a while back.

Installing Excessive Plugins

One of the things that makes WordPress so strong is the ease with which one or more WordPress plugins may be installed to add functionality. Gone are the days when adding a new feature required hiring a developer and spending thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.

However, this can lead to serious issues.

The first issue is that the development quality of these plugins varies greatly. Many plugins, like themes, are badly designed, slowing download times and introducing HTML issues into your website.

These plugins frequently load a slew of scripts, CSS files, images, and fonts, further slowing down the site and degrading the user experience.

Another issue is that many individuals make the error of installing too many plugins because it’s so simple.

This causes your websites to load more slowly, regardless of how efficiently they are coded because the functionality they provide and any external files they load still require processing power.

Not Optimizing Media

We all have a high-powered camera in our pockets these days, which allows us to quickly submit new photographs to our WordPress websites, but it also leads to a common and serious error.

When you take a photo using your iPhone or Android device, the image will be much larger than it has to be for your website.

These high-resolution photos are ideal for printing or cutting a smaller part to display at full size without sacrificing image quality. However, if you upload them straight to your WordPress media library, they’ll almost always be stored as full-size, non-optimized photos.

To help avoid this problem, some themes will automatically resize uploads depending on a set of dimension pairings. However, many do not.

If your WordPress site is already up and running and you’re just getting started with this problem, the good news is that you don’t have to re-upload everything in your media library because several plugins can handle it for you.

I’d like to emphasize the need of backing up your website before using these tools because if they remove or alter something you didn’t intend, you’ll need a way to undo it.

Omitting an XML Sitemap

While having an XML sitemap is beneficial to everyone, it is especially vital for larger websites because it aids search engines in finding and crawling all of your pages. Especially those that may be hidden deep within the site with few links going to them.

Surprisingly, WordPress does not currently have this essential function, therefore you’ll have to rely on a plugin.

Although I like Yoast because it includes numerous other functions that we require, there are a variety of plugins that can dynamically construct your XML sitemap when you add, change, or delete pages, articles, and media.

Skipping Updates

Because of what I do for a career, I get to visit the backends of a lot of websites, and I’m often astonished at how out of date some people allow their plugins, themes, and even WordPress core get.

But, after decades of seeing it, I shouldn’t be surprised.

This common blunder can be costly because these upgrades address not only performance, design, and usability concerns, but also security flaws that could allow hackers to get access to your website.

Once inside, they can do everything from the obvious – such as removing or defacing a website – to the subtle – such as capturing credit card information or establishing outbound links.

If you know you won’t have time to update WordPress core regularly, I recommend that you enable automatic updates.

Overlooking Security

We’ve already discussed the risks of not keeping your plugins, themes, and WordPress core up to date, but keeping your website secure goes much farther.

It’s vital to note that there’s no way to completely secure your website. However, most hackers will be deterred by taking steps to enhance your security, with the exception of those who are expressly targeting you.

This is because hacking is primarily a numbers game in which hackers scour thousands, if not millions, of websites for readily exploited flaws.

Don’t Use a Default Username

The first username in a WordPress installation is typical “admin,” which should be changed because this is the log-in that hackers will try first. If you’re creating a new website, this is easy to do: simply modify it during the installation process.

There is no method to change usernames within the admin area of an existing website; however, you can log into your hosting account’s phpMyAdmin and directly adjust the WordPress database.

You should also modify your user profile’s display name so that your username isn’t broadcasted to the public with each post.

Lockdown your admin area

There are multiple ways to limit access to your admin area to a particular IP, which will prevent most hacking attempts.

Linux Server (Most Web Servers)

Creating a.htaccess file with the correct text and uploading it to your wp-admin folder is an easy process.

Simply open a text editor, create a new file, and put the following code into it. Replace xx.xx.xx.xx with your IP address, which you can discover by searching for “what is my IP” on Google.

# ALLOW USER BY IP

<Limit GET POST>

order deny, allow

deny from all

# Replace with your IP address

allow from xx.xx.xx.xx

</Limit>

Windows Server

I’ve never hosted anything on a Windows server, and the process here is unfamiliar to me, so if you’re on one, I recommend searching Microsoft’s support resources for the suitable procedure for your version of Windows.

Plugins

I consider this a last resort because it is an inefficient method of restricting access to a specific IP address. It also creates a problem in that you won’t be able to update the plug-in to your new IP if your IP changes.

At that point, the only way to get into your admin area is to go in via FTP and uninstall the plugin. You’re better off just using .htaccess in the first place if you’re going to go through all of that.

Enable TFA (Two Factor Authentication)

Because it delivers a code to your mobile device that you must enter before signing in, two-factor authentication is a strong tool for protecting your website. Someone else won’t be able to access your admin area unless they have physical access to your device.

This necessitates the use of a plugin, and there are a variety of free and commercial plugins available to accomplish this.

Not Implementing Backups

Backups should be automated for everyone. This is an important aspect of owning a website.

It may also help you fast recover from a hack by restoring a prior version of your website, in addition to allowing you to simply roll back changes.

Your backup frequency will vary depending on how frequently you edit your website, but it should run at least once a week. I like to retain backups for several months in case a hack occurs and goes unreported for a time – this allows us to go back far enough to find a clean backup to restore from.

Omitting Schema

We need every edge we can get in the world of SEO, and while schema may not have a direct impact on ranking, it can have a favorable impact on clickthrough rates due to the added visual signals.

This means that simply because your listing in the search results drew more attention, your website may receive hits that would have otherwise gone to other higher-ranking pages.

Schema is a means to tell search engines what your content is about and how the elements in your content are related to one another.

You should use JSON, which is a kind of JavaScript, rather than microdata, which is HTML markup, to implement your schema.

There are a lot of free and commercial plugins available to assist with this, but I prefer to write the JSON and insert it into the code myself because it allows me more control without the need for another plugin. We have to do this sometimes since plugins can’t handle some of the more sophisticated instances we encounter.

Let’s imagine you’re dealing with a national brand that has a number of franchise sites. Some pages may require schema for the parent firm, while others may require schema for both the parent and the local franchise. This necessitates a unique strategy.

Not Properly Configuring Permalinks

We’ll want to tweak the default permalinks that WordPress generates because they’re not optimal for search.

This is a very simple modification, but it’s critical because a proper URL structure aids search engines in understanding your website’s hierarchy.

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