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20 WordPress Mistakes You Could Be Making

Posted 13th November, 2013 by Aliysa

There’s a lot to consider when managing a WordPress site, which makes it easy for some of the basics to slip through the net. We’ve compiled a list of 20 mistakes that could be damaging your site, many of which our support team encounter and provide expert advice on every day.

1. Thinking One More Plugin Won't Hurt

We know it’s tempting but avoid using more plugins than you actually need. Installing an excessive amount of plugins and holding on to deactivated plugins wastes space, poses potential security threats and can also slow your site down. If you must install more plugins ensure they are well supported and of high quality.

2. Hoarding Unused Themes

Yep, just like deactivated plugins, unused themes provide another potential gateway for hackers.

3. Ignoring WordPress Updates

Updates deliver usability and performance improvements, and also essential security upgrades and bug fixes. Failing to update WordPress when prompted can leave you vulnerable to hackers. There’s no need to fear an update - it’s rare for it to cause any problems. Our Cloud hosting packages automatically take daily backups of your site for you to fall back on, just incase.

4. Too Much Info!

Even if you do actively update to the latest version of WordPress as recommended, it’s a good idea to remove the meta data that reveals the WP version you're using, to cover the time it takes you to update once a new version becomes available. A publicly visible WP version means malicious users can see if you’re using a past version and if you are they can then exploit known security flaws. The guys at WPbeginner posted an effective method to remove this meta data.

5. Keeping the /readme.html File

This file also shows the WP version you're running, so again I suggest you remove it from your root directory. Don’t forget: each time you update your WP version this file is re-added, so you’ll need to delete it everytime you update WordPress.

6. An Absent About Page

Upon visiting your site, the first page many will look for is an About page, to get some background info on you. Without it, visitors may not be clear as to what your site is and who you are. Granted leaving out an About page is not a WordPress specific mistake, but if your site is a blog, an About page is especially important because readers often want to get to know the author.

7. Neglecting A Favicon

A favicon is the little icon that appears next to a website or page title in your browser. A lot of users forget or neglect to change their favicon from the default, which is a missed opportunity to enhance your sites identity. It’s really simple to add one, find out how with this article.

8. Being Too Organised

It sounds odd but using a whole bunch of categories to organise your posts can actually make it more difficult to navigate through your content. Poor site architecture is also known to have an adverse affect on SEO. Use categories sparingly and make use of tags to organise your posts. This article clarifies the difference between tags and categories.

9. Not Installing A Caching Plugin

A caching plugin stops visitors requesting information from your database every time they access your site, which in turn improves your sites efficiency by notably improving page load speeds. There are a few really good free caching plugins available, such as WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache

10. The Bog-Standard ‘Admin’ Username

The default ‘Admin’ name is the first port-of-call for would-be hackers, so rename your account straight away if you haven’t already. Couple a predictable username with a poor password and you really are at risk. Use a combination of upper and lower case characters, as well as numbers to strengthen your sites defense.

11. Messy Permalinks

A permalink structure full of random characters (like the WordPress default) looks messy, and is also bad for SEO. Change your permalink structure (through Settings > Permalinks) so your keywords are included, making it more user and search engine friendly.

12. An Endless Archive

An archive is a neat feature to look back at all your past posts since your sites inception. However, if you’ve had your site for a while it can be an annoying eyesore in your sidebar. Consider removing the archive widget or adding a custom one.

13. Discounting Mobile Users

Think about the number of people who have smartphones and access the web on mobile devices, and you’ll realise the huge audience you’re neglecting if you site isn’t mobile friendly. There’s loads of responsive themes out there, plus plugins such as WPtouch, which displays a customisable responsive theme when a mobile user is detected.

14. The /wordpress Subdirectory

If you’re using WordPress to add a blog to a non-WordPress site then, whatever you do, don’t call the directory where you store WordPress ‘WordPress.’ It looks amateur and to be honest it doesn’t really make sense! Call it ‘blog,’ ‘opinion’ or something else that’s relevant.

15. Being A Stranger

A Gravatar (globally recognised avatar) is a tool for creating an image which accompanies your blog and forum comments, giving your site a real sense of identity rather than remaining a mysterious, shadowy character on WordPress. You can create a Gravatar for free within minutes on the official site.

16. Slaving Against Spam Comments

WordPress is plagued by spammers and without protection you’ll end up with an unmanageable amount of spam comments. Akismet, which comes automatically pre-installed with WordPress, filters out spam comments, saving your precious time when moderating comments. Activate it!

17. Storing Post Revisions

As mentioned in our previous post about speeding up WordPress, the Better Delete Revisions plugin removes unnecessary post revisions which can clog your database and ultimately slow your site down.

18. Not Making The Most Of Robots.txt


You might not want search engine crawlers to access certain parts of your site, e.g. your plugins directory. Indexing rules to crawlers can be defined using robots.txt. WordPress automatically provides you with a virtual robots.txt file, but if you want to set some rules you’ll need to add your own. Our robots.txt guide covers how to do this.

19. Failing To Optimise Images

This includes failing to use tools such as Ranking Easy Image Optimiser to reduce file sizes and not adding alternative text to help search engines understand image content.

20. Leaving The ‘Just Another WordPress Blog’ Tagline

This is a really simple one, but if you somehow fail to change the tagline of your site to something other than the default you’ll instantly lose credibility!

Are there any other WordPress mistakes that you think should be included?


Categories: WordPress, Tips

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