How to Avoid These Top 8 Mistakes When Getting Started With WordPress

With WordPress’ famous five minute install, it’s tempting to rush in and start your website straight away without a second thought; but without a little bit of planning, you may find yourself subject to some costly mistakes as you get up and running.

Since the technical barrier to installing your website is so low, you’re free to spend more time learning about why and how to run your website to avoid paying dearly down the line.

In this post, you’ll learn the eight top mistakes and how to avoid them before you click Install on your new WordPress site.

Mistake 1: Ignoring Free Educational Resources

One of the reasons WordPress has maintained its popularity is due to the sheer amount of free and widely available support on any variety of topics from ‘beginner blogger’ to ‘advanced developer’.

And while the WordPress community is home to an incredible support network, it’s arguably better to avoid trouble in the first place by getting your technical knowledge of the platform up to an elementary standard at minimum.

How to Avoid This Mistake

It’s simple – take advantage of the educational resources available to you! Here are a few of our favorites:

The above list is a mere scratching of the surface – you can go much further.

Mistake 2: Using Insecure Login Credentials

While there are many WordPress security plugins to help you make doubly ensure that your dashboard is safe, the true guardians are your username and password.

WordPress login screenshot.

Using the default admin username coupled with a weak password could spell disaster; enabling hacker bots to gain access to your site and wreak havoc.

How to Avoid This Mistake

First, try a username other than admin. Choose something you’ll easily remember, but that may not come so naturally to a bot trying to hack in.

Secondly, feel free to take advantage of the password generator that comes installed with WordPress. Not comfortable using a password that you have to store somewhere? Check out XKCD’s post on simple, secure passwords.

Mistake 3: Keeping the Default Permalink Structure

The default permalinks provided by WordPress won’t necessarily be right for you. And because permalinks can impact your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) rankings and the usability of your site, they’re worth thinking about!

Permalinks, when structured well, don’t simply provide useful information about what information can be found in the post (therefore helping SEO) – they can be used as easy to memorize bookmarks later.

What’s easier to remember later? This…

…or…

Furthermore, permalinks displayed within the search results and in the browser address bar can give the reader a clue as to what they will read before your site even loads.

The worst part is, once Google has indexed your site with a certain permalink structure, it can really hurt your rankings to change it after the fact – no matter how careful you are through the process of switching to a new structure.

How to Avoid This Mistake

Do your homework!

Research the best permalink structure for your needs and set them according before you hit Publish on even a single page.

Mistake 4: Failing to Install Traffic Analytics

Analytics provide insights on your site, its audience, and how they interact with your content.

Google Analytics screenshot

When you can see which articles are drawing your audience in and what content makes them leave, you can provide more experiences they love (and less of what they don’t). Analytics can also be used to determine how your users are browsing through your site, and help you figure out which are the best pages to focus conversion optimization on.

How to Avoid This Mistake

Install Google Analytics as soon as your site launches! Avada makes doing so simple by providing a dedicated field in the Theme Options to which you can add your Google tracking code.

Mistake 5: Using Poor Quality Themes

A poorly written theme can impact your site’s performance and usability. Even a theme with a beautiful demo may not have the options you need, or may include unnecessary scripts or unoptimized code and images.

In other words, don’t just throw the first pretty theme you find onto your site!

How to Avoid This Mistake

Do your research for any theme that catches your interest. You can follow these steps to do your own background check:

  1. Search for more information about the author of the theme. Are they experienced? Have they developed other themes?
  2. Read through reviews about the theme itself. Do people enjoy using it? What kind of websites does it work best for?
  3. Look at the history of updates. Does it get updated to stay current with WordPress releases? How often are updates published? What kinds of features are added over time?
  4. Check support capabilities. What kind of support does the developer offer? Do reviews mention top quality or poor quality support?

Check out a more detailed guide here. Naturally, we think pretty highly of Avada 😉

Mistake 6: Not Setting Up Automated Backups

Back in the good ol’ days, did you ever write a document in Microsoft Word, only for the program to crash? That doc was gone forever and you were forced to started again.

Multiply the frustration you felt tenfold and you might start getting close to understanding how terrible it is to lose your website to a technical hosting glitch or a hacker.

How to Avoid This Mistake

Set up a backup system immediately! Here’s our tutorial to show you how.

Mistake 7: Never Updating WordPress

It’s easy to ignore the update notifications for WordPress, or even fear them due to a misunderstanding of what might happen when you update.

WordPress Updates Screenshot

You must learn to face your fears and keep WordPress updated! Keeping your WordPress installation up to date is important for a few reasons:

  1. WordPress develops updates to fix security bugs.
  2. WordPress updates include better features.
  3. Keeping all of your plugins and themes up to date with WordPress helps ensure that everything will continue to run smoothly and safely.

A great example of this is Avada. We continually send updates to bring you stronger and better tools with Avada, but some of those features can only be used with the current version of WordPress!

How to Avoid This Mistake

Squish those notifications by using the automatic updater for WordPress through the Updates page. Alternatively, you can setup automatic updates for 3rd party plugins and for the Avada theme, register your purchase to enable theme auto updates.

Mistake 8: Uploading Unoptimized Images

Poorly optimized images can put more of a strain on your site’s load speed than anything else, and you only have to consider your own browsing habits to know that a slow loading site can cause great frustration. I’m willing to bet that you’ve hit the Back button on a slow website on more than one occasion. Do you want visitors to do the same to your site?

How to Avoid This Mistake

Optimize all of your images! It’s far easier than you think, and you’ll be able to reduce image file size dramatically, without noticeably affecting quality.

You can run all your existing images through an optimization process and set up automatic optimization for newly uploaded images. Here’s our tutorial to show you how.

Conclusion

It may be super easy to install WordPress and get your site up and running, but don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security. You’d do well to educate yourself a little – at least enough to avoid the above eight common mistakes.

Just to review, here’s how to avoid these mistakes:

  1. Take advantage of free educational resources.
  2. Use strong login credentials.
  3. Use the appropriate settings for your permalinks.
  4. Install Google Analytics.
  5. Choose a high-quality theme.
  6. Set up an automatic backup system.
  7. Keep your WordPress up to date.
  8. Optimize all of your images.

By following all of the above, you’re already ahead of the game!

Have you made any mistakes with WordPress that you’d like to share so that others can avoid them? Let us know in the comments section below!

Image Credit: Kevin Phillips

26 Likes
5 Comments.
  1. Ter747474

    I do agree with you, but number seven is debatable. Automating some tasks is advisable, but updating WP/plugings is not one of them. If you are a noob, waking up to a updated site that has turned into mess can be a nightmare. The latest WP 4.6 is a good example:

    Not a Bug

    The following features changed behavior.

    Words from my theme/plugins have changed: Some plugins and themes still include their own translations, with WordPress 4.6 we made changes to how translations are prioritized. This means translations submitted by the community now get prioritized over ones submitted by the authors themselves, and may in some cases mean that words have seen some changes.

    WP 4.6 Master List

     

    Tero

    • Tero, as with everything WordPress related, you have to weigh up the pros and cons of any decision before you act. You’d be surprised on how many WordPress sites are not updated regularly, leaving them open to security vulnerabilities.

      Of course, ultimately the choice lies with you.

      Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  2. Peter

    Hi

    I really like this comment box. There is a visual and text editor plus the rich field editor. Does this come with Avada theme? or Do I have to buy a separate comment plugin? I want to replace the WordPress default comment layout.

    • Luke

      This is a custom form box and not with Avada, although there may be plugins out there that can give that to you.

  3. Great Post , very informative post with best and easy description, thank you sir.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Proudly Serving Over 370000 Satisfied Users!