It’s easy to make mistakes in any area of business. The key, really, is to avoid as many of them as we can and to make corrections along the way.
When someone gets started with WordPress, they typically are enticed by the simplicity and speed of the CMS (content management system). You really want to slow yourself down a bit if you are racing to get the site online. You don’t want it to be vulnerable to hackers, not have the right plug-ins, or suffer from poorly organized content.
If you set up the CMS well, on the other hand, you can make the best use of the technology and grow your business smartly and efficiently. Here are 9 common mistakes that there is no need for you to make:
#1 – Not paying attention to page load times.
Being conscientious about minimizing page load times will give you much better traffic and a significantly lower bounce rate.
Keep in mind that speed is not just about compressing images, according to business consultant Richie Contartesi. “If you choose a WordPress theme that fails to take speed into consideration,” he says, “you’ll end up installing too many plugins and graphics or video, killing your load time.”
There are various tools to help you lower load times. Two of the most prominent ones are Google Analytics and Google PageSpeed Insights.
#2 – Failing to switch the admin username.
By default when you install WordPress, the CMS creates an account with administrator rights that is called “admin.” You want to change the name right away so that hackers won’t have a field day attacking your site with brute force.
You can actually change the username right as you are installing. Just pay attention as you are working your way through the install. You want both the password and the username to contain a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters.
#3 – Using overly complex tagging and categorization.
Being able to organize your content with tags is a great feature of the CMS, and many website owners mistakenly think that more is better when creating them.
A large number of tags, though, is not actually in your best interest, according to marketer Jeff Bullas. “Too much and complex categories not only make your site ugly and difficult to navigate,” he warns, “but also influence users to leave your website and affect everything from SEO to load time of your site.”
Keeping your tags concise and limited will make it likelier that people stay and look around.
#4 – Letting comments go up unmoderated.
The amount of spam that typically hits the comment section of a WordPress site borders on the ridiculous. Allowing that to occur for any amount of time, even if it’s just a couple days, can have a terrible impact on your search engine results. You might even end up blacklisted by Google if you don’t filter your comments.
Make sure that your settings require approval, and it’s also a good idea to get a plug-in to get rid of the bulk of the spam. One reliable way to verify the authenticity of commenters is a CAPTCHA plugin.
#5 – Keeping all the default plug-ins active.
Various plug-ins are enabled automatically when you install WordPress. You don’t want them on if you aren’t using them since they consume resources.
#6 – Neglecting to create a contact form.
You may think you just need a contact page with your email on it. “That’s not the right way to get your audience in touch with you,” says Bullas, “as after a few months you’ll notice that your inbox is getting flooded with an insane amount of SPAM.”
All you need to do is grab a contact form plug-in, such as Gravity Forms.
#7 – Forgetting to install a plug-in to cache content.
Many new users of WordPress underestimate the importance of caching, unaware how critical seemingly small variations in the speed of the site are to Google rankings. Caching will also get you better prepared for spikes in traffic.
#8 – Selecting a theme with bad design.
It isn’t as easy as you might think to find a theme that is truly designed well. Your template may look good but be terrible in terms of SEO, notes Contartesi. “Some themes, for example, have a ton of small links in the footer, and you might assume those links are nofollow links,” he says. “Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, so it’s usually better to select a theme that does not include any credit links at all.”
You also want to make sure that the theme is responsive so that it is coming through with correct formatting for mobile devices, another important Google ranking factor (especially as of the April 2015 “Mobilegeddon” update).
#9 – Getting low-quality web hosting.
It’s easy to just go out and grab the lowest priced hosting company you can find, especially if you are a startup and on a tight budget. That is a very questionable idea. Think about how much speed will be impacted by the quality of your hardware and Cloud Hosting networks – a fundamental aspect of your UX (user experience) and SEO.
At Atlantic.Net, our one-click WordPress Cloud Servers is up in 30 seconds, backed entirely by 100% solid-state drives (offering significantly better performance than hard disk drives) that are distributed internationally.