11 WordPress Mistakes to Avoid in 2021

How you optimize your WordPress website directly affects your success as a digital marketer. It is important to make conscious choices to improve your website to offer your audience the best user experience. It is equally important to secure your website and make use of the latest SEO practices to help your website reach its potential. But getting everything right at the same time can be difficult and here are the 11 biggest WordPress mistakes that you should avoid.

Ignoring website backup

No matter how good your web development team is, there is always a chance of things going wrong when pushing updates. Backing up your website can save you a lot of hassle and it also allows you to quickly restore to an older version of your website in case something goes wrong.

If you develop your website without any regular backups, you should start backing up your site regularly for security purposes as well. There are services that automate the process for you and you will not have to manually save your site every time. You can potentially lose years of progress in seconds if your website is not backed up at all times. Backups are easy to perform on self-hosted WordPress websites using plugins and services. If you have a hosting provider, ensure that you invest in one that offers regular backup support as part of your hosting plan.

Using the Default (Admin) Username

Using a default username is not recommended as it makes it easier for malicious attacks to take place. If you want to avoid brute force cyberattacks from stealing your data, it is important to choose a secure username that is unpredictable for hackers. You can consider setting up usernames that are equivalent to strong passwords instead of using simple words as your username.

The downside of using “admin” as your username is that hackers can perform a simple brute force attack on your site and they will be able to break into your site and take control. You will lose access to your website and also sensitive user information which can even lead to legal repercussions for privacy violations. Using a combination of numbers, letters and special characters is recommended for not just your password but also your WordPress username. If you are using the default username, it is essential that you change it immediately to secure your website.

Complex Categories and Tags

One of the best things about WordPress is its simplicity as a content platform. You can categorize all of your content with tags and it is important to take advantage of this feature by using simple tags and categories for all of your content. It makes it easier for your users to navigate your website and it also makes content management easy as an admin.

If you create too many complex categories and tags, your SEO is negatively affected as well. A little-known fact is that complicated tags can also slow down the load time of your website and by limiting the number of tags to include only important ones you can potentially speed up your website. By using appropriate tags, your audience can find similar content that may be of interest to them using the tags. It also becomes easier to setup your navigation pages by topic if you restrict your content to specific relevant tags.

Ignoring WP Updates

WordPress has received countless major updates over the years since its release and the developers behind the platform are continuously pushing out important patches. These updates are designed to improve the UI, speed and efficiency of the platform and it is in your best interests to be on the latest version.

A number of updates that are released by the WordPress developers are meant to patch security vulnerabilities and if you are not on the latest version of WordPress at all times, you may risk yourself to cyberattacks. Leaving your website exposed can lead to your data being hijacked. Many WordPress updates can potentially break your site but it is far from true. As long as you use trusted themes and plugins that are regularly updated to work with the latest version of WordPress at all times, you will not face any issues when updating your site.

Choosing The Wrong Theme

Your theme is very important to your site not just for the user experience, but also for SEO. Website performance plays a major role in search rankings and if your load times are not reasonably low, you may be losing out on traffic due to poor SERP rankings.

There are three factors that determine what makes a great WordPress theme – pricing, ease of use and reliability. There are premium themes that are overpriced and are not financially viable to get for most website owners. You can instead opt for competitively priced themes that are trusted by popular websites. The ease of use is also a major contributor to making your website’s user experience great. Always opt for commercial themes from trusted developers only that offer updates and work towards keeping their themes updated for the latest WordPress versions.

Your Website Is Not Mobile Responsive

Almost half the web traffic is generated on mobile devices and if you are not taking advantage of responsive pages, you can lose out on not just revenue but also hurt your SEO. Google has adopted a mobile-first approach for its search result rankings and it prefers pages that are optimized for all devices and platforms.

Investing in a responsive WordPress theme is one of the best decisions you will make if you want to improve your SEO. These themes automatically adjust the layout and formatting of your content whether a user is on a smartphone, tablet, PC or even a TV. You should either take a mobile-friendly approach or adopt a fully responsive theme. There are other plugins that optimize your website for touch controls as well which can help your website’s user experience even further.

Not Optimizing Your Images

If you have been adding images to your content without using alt tags and adding descriptions, you are losing the SEO race against your competitors. It is important to optimize your images to ensure they load fast and also add important tags to your images.

Adding alt tags enables images in your content to show up on image search results. And optimizing the size and format of your images also helps pages load faster. Page speed is one of the factors that affects SEO and if you have not been optimizing your images to ensure your pages load faster, you are losing out on page ranks. You can use plugins to automate the image optimization process or manually edit your images before uploading them. It is also important to avoid copyrighted images as they getting flagged for violating copyrights can affect your website negatively.

Using A Default Favicon

The Favicon is just another term for the “id card” of any website. It is nothing but a simple icon that is associated with any website and it shows up on browsers and in bookmarks. While it might look like a minor thing to bother changing, you should be using a custom Favicon to create a brand identity of your website.

Most websites usually have the default WordPress Favicon or one that is provided by the web hosting provider or theme company. If you want your page to look more professional, you should change your favicon and use a custom one. There are favicon generators available online which you can take advantage of, or you can design one of your own. It is recommended to use your company logo as it helps you create a brand identity for yourself. Favicons can be uploaded directly to the theme under the images section.

Not Using Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the most powerful tools on the internet for website owners. If you are not already taking advantage of the platform to monitor your website’s performance, you are doing it wrong. You should be taking advantage of all the information on your web content that Google Analytics has to offer ranging from geo-data, demographics data, pageview count, revenue and more.

Google Analytics allows you to identify what is working for your website and what isn’t. You can also compare content on your website and also see the amount of revenue generated. Analytics also picks up information from social media and lets you know how much of your traffic is generated from platforms like Facebook. The service is free and you can keep track of your visitors in real time. You should pair Analytics with Google Webmaster Tools to monitor your overall website health.

Not Setting Up Permalinks

If you are using default URL structure of the default static hyperlink to your content, it can potentially look unprofessional and is not recommended. Making use of user-friendly hyperlinks that are easy to understand for your audience is strongly recommended.

Not having permalinks not only worsens the user experience for your audience, it also reduces your SEO rankings. You should always present your content in a professional manner. Making changes to your permalink settings is as simple as going to your WordPress settings and heading to the Permalinks options. In the menu you will be ale to use appropriate keywords for all of your URLs.

Installing Too Many Plugins

Installing too many plugins on your website can negatively affect your website’s page speeds. One of the best tools to monitor your website’s page speeds is the Google Pagespeed Insights tool. According to a survey by Kissmetrics, 40% of internet users are likely to leave a website if it takes too long to load.

You should always install important plugins to ensure your website is optimized, secure, and offers the best user experience possible. However, you should not be installing unnecessary plugins as it can negatively affect your website. You should also not install too many plugins of the same type as they can conflict with each other and cause issues. You should also make it a point to uninstall any outdated plugins as they can lead to unwanted security vulnerabilities. Updating plugins regularly is strongly recommended to ensure your website is secure at all times.

Conclusion

You are likely to make mistakes as a new website owner but if you follow the points listed above and are thorough with your SEO, you will make it big. While technicalities are important, creating good content that your audience will want to engage with is equally important. Avoiding these mistakes and staying in touch with the latest SEO practices will help you stay on top of your game. Analytics and proper keyword research are also important and it might be difficult to tackle as a new website owner. Learning from your competitors and familiarizing yourself with the best WordPress practices is strongly recommended.

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