Easy to setup and configure, WordPress took huge strides over the last couple of years to become a full-fledged Content Management System. With WP, you don’t need to get your hands dirty with the codes, learn html, PHP or any other programming languages. This makes managing your website simple and fun. But still, are you using WordPress to its full capacity? Are you getting the most out of what it has in store for you?
Just as Thursday comes once every week, there is one universal truth we can’t argue with- we all make mistakes. And while there isn’t a lot we can do to prevent them, we can learn from our mistakes. Even better, we can learn from other people’s mistakes! Now I know that you’ve searched the Google, gone through your WordPress website with a fine-toothed comb and fixed all the most common mistakes you could find. If so, you might be feeling pretty confident. But before you relax, there might be a few more fixes that can make your site perform even better. No, I am not talking about WordPress security issues and lecturing you on tips and tricks to make your WP-hosted website safer. If that’s what you came looking or, read this post instead. Here, I’ve outlined mistakes that can make your website a clunky mess of data with no proper organization or architecture. Brush up on what other people are doing wrong so you can prevent these same blunders on your own site.
Forgetting to Back Up Your Site
Nothing works perfectly, especially in the world of technology. Crashes will happen. If you are unprepared, a very painful situation may be headed your way–loss of data. There are countless ways to restore. You can back up your site manually. Go to Tools, then Export–or to make life easier, use an automatic backup plugin like WP-DB-Backup.
Too many categories, not enough tags
This is a really common error that even proficient content publishers can make — especially once your site starts to outgrow its original purpose. Site architecture, organization and planning are very important. It affects everything from SEO to load times and visitor time on site. Whether you’re a designer, developer or blogger you can take the time to evaluate your content and really think out your site organization. It’s easy to just assign another category and dump posts into it, but that starts to create a very cluttered category structure. This is where tags can step in to do the job of tying together your posts. Think of it this way: Categories are best for segmenting your content into broad sections. Tags help further refine and filter each post into specific sub-sections. In content-heavy sites you must try to limit categories and use tags to bring things together.
Making Life Difficult for Mobile Users
Here’s another very common mistake — forgetting about the huge (and growing) segment of your market that views your content on a mobile device. These days, everyone has a smartphone. Basically, if you expect to receive any traffic at all, you had better make sure your site is mobile-user friendly.
You can go with a WordPress theme that’s mobile responsive, or you can have one that’s merely mobile-optimized. The solution you ultimately choose will depend on how large of a segment of your audience is browsing your site on a mobile device. When choosing a theme, remember the following:
Mobile Responsive (I am poor) — These designs are equally at home on a desktop or laptop computer as they are on an iPad or smart phone. They automatically respond to the size of the device your audience is reading your content from, and are generally the fastest, easiest, and most inexpensive way to ensure your site looks its best across multiple devices. By the way, this is also the approach that’s recommended by Google.
Mobile-Optimized (I am frugal)– These themes are designed specifically to work best on mobile devices. With this in mind, they may not look as put-together on a laptop or larger screen. You’ll often find that e-commerce themes have a mobile-optimized counterpart for online shopping.
The no-brainer choice? Set yourself up with an out-of-the-box mobile responsive WordPress theme, and forget it.
Ignoring WordPress updates
WordPress core developers and contributors work tirelessly to improve WordPress, its UI, efficiency and speed but when a bug or vulnerability is found it usually gets an update right away. Which means if your WordPress version is behind, it’s probably vulnerable. It’s so easy to update WordPress with a single click so you shouldn’t worry about the time it takes.
Using Only One Server
If you are a WPWebHost user, you can skip this step. If you are a Non-WPWebHost user, continue reading.
Don’t underestimate the value of a Content Delivery Network (CDN)–it can really improve your reader’s experience. Here is what you do: a) Research CDNs like MaxCDN or Cloudflare. b) Copy your content onto several mirror servers around the world.
This will make it easier for a guest to view your page, no matter where they are visiting from. It decreases the load time because not all of the requests are being sent to the main web server.
Your WordPress default setting is not search-friendly. To get the most bang for your SEO buck, make sure you use keywords in your permalink structure. Right after you set up your WordPress blog, edit your permalink structure to reflect a cleaner, more keyword-rich URL. A simple, classic way to do it is just %postname%, allowing you to create a short, simple, user-friendly URL. You can also use the %category%/%postname% structure, if you want categories to show in your URL.
Now that you’re armed with even more WordPress optimization knowledge, you can start making sure your site is functioning and performing at its best without losing that valuable traffic you’ve worked so hard to earn!
Any other tips/advice I’ve missed and are useful for WordPress publishers? Use the comments section.
Dakshesh Verma is a web analyst and free-lance writer for various web hosting platforms.