“A smart man makes a mistake, learns from it, and never makes that mistake again. But a wise man finds a smart man and learns from him how to avoid the mistake altogether.” – ~Roy H. Williams
True indeed! A wise man would rather learn how to avoid mistakes from a smart man than make the mistakes and waste his time and efforts. Same goes for WordPress website development! A smart developer focuses on getting his WordPress site up and running first and gradually learns from the mistakes to become better. A wise developer, on the other hand, throws unwavering attention on the common mistakes made by the smart developers to avoid them altogether and gain a competitive edge.
There are some common things developers unknowingly do during WordPress development that turns in mistake and be the reason for poor performance and functionality of site. These mistakes can make the site vulnerable to security threats, offer slow loading time, and even make it baffling for the visitors. Knowing these mistakes in advance can be a boon to the developers in securing their site while also offering a seamless user experience. Although there are hundreds of mistakes pointed out by the smart developers so far, here we are discussing the seven common mistakes that every WordPress developer must avoid at all costs.
- Not Backing Up The Site
One of the most common mistake WordPress developers and site owners can make is to forget backing up the site at regular intervals. The years of hard work can flush down the drain during updates, upgrades, and other crashes if a backup of the site is not created. Both files and database of the site should be backed up manually or automatically to avoid any nightmarish circumstances. Any site on WordPress.com platform can be easily backed up by going to Tools, and then choosing “Export” in the dashboard. Plugins like BackupBuddy and BackWPup can be installed on self-hosted sites for secure back-up.
- Using The Default ‘Admin’ Username
As you set-up your website on WordPress, it automatically gives all the administrative privileges to the ‘admin’. This username is very predictive to the hackers who are always looking for opportunities to breach and hack your website. Using the default ‘admin username, is, therefore, one of the most common yet biggest mistakes WordPress site owners or WordPress web development service providers can make. Do not stick with the default username and make your site vulnerable to the hackers. Input SQL query in phpMyAdmin to make the necessary changes in the username and set a strong and unique username and password for security purposes.
- Ignoring The Updates
WordPress is known for its constant updates to fix errors and bugs, improve speed, user-interface, and efficiency, and offer seamless user- experience. Ignoring these WordPress updates can make the site vulnerable to various security threats. Many site owners tend to ignore the updates thinking that their site may break down while performing an update. However, that’s nothing but a myth! If the theme and plugins are properly coded then nothing will happen to the site. In fact, it will work even more efficiently after the update. The themes and plugins should also be updated regularly to fix bugs and get new features with a new version.
- Installing Broken & Outdated Plugins
Installing a number of plugins without checking their status just because they are available in the store is a common mistake made by a number of WordPress site owners. The broken and outdated plugins may not only waste your time and energy but also make your site lag and leave it exposed to security threats. Checking the status of the plugins and their star review by the user is important before installing them on the site. In fact, visiting the developer site to check the status of the plugin is advisable as well. Make sure to check every plugin before installing it.
- Not Setting Up A Clean Permalink Structure
While setting up a site, a default permalink structure might be set up which might look something like ‘/?p=123’. These default permalink structures are bad for the user experience as well as for the search engine optimization and SERP ranking. Never use the default permalink structure and baffle your visitor with coded numbers and signs. Instead, set up a clean permalink structure which explains and describes the site properly and has the required keyword in it. Set up a descriptive and clean permalink structure by going to Settings>Permalinks.
- Overlooking The Favicon
Favicons are the small icons that appear next to the page title when the site is opened in another tab on the browser or next to the site name in the bookmark or history option. Many WordPress developers and site owners tend to overlook the favicon and so it sets to the page icon sign by default. In order to boost the brand image, increase brand recognition, and make the site look professionals, it is indispensable to create a unique favicon for the site. A number of online favicon generator tools like ‘favicon generator’, ‘dynamic drive’, ‘favicomatic’ etc., are available on the web which can be used to create a favicon and updated on the WordPress site.
- Adding Contact Page Instead Of Contact Form
Another mistake most of the website owners at WordPress make is to create a contact page instead of using the engaging contact form. Just adding a contact page with the contact information would fill your inbox and make your site slow with time. Instead, add simple yet interactive contact forms with the required query fields. Animated multi-step, minimal, full-screen, footer etc., are some design-oriented approaches that can be kept in mind while designing a contact form. You can also install plugins like Gravity Forms and Gravity Form 7 etc., to create great contact forms that compel users to fill the fields.
Wrapping It Up
There’s no doubt that these mistakes are a common practice among the novice and mature developers alike and can significantly hamper the working of the WordPress site. Now that you’ve read the seven WordPress mistakes, I hope you would analyze your site right away. This would help you find any mistakes and correct them. Moreover, this read would help you to refrain from such common mistake further in the life of your WordPress site.
Anurag Gupta is a budding entrepreneur with stakes in WeblinkIndia.net an acclaimed Web Designing & Development Company, headquartered in India. He also happens to be a keen writer, sharing insights, tips, and tutorials on subjects related to the ever evolving landscape of Web Designing and Development.