5 Common WordPress Mistakes & How To Fix Them
Sean McGowanApril 27th, 20174 minute read
Sean is a technical researcher & writer at Codal, authoring blog posts on topics ranging from UX design to the Internet of Things. Working alongside developers, designers, and marketers, Sean helps support the writing team to ensure Codal produces engaging web content of the highest quality. When not writing about the latest innovations in app design, Sean can be found cooking, watching old movies, or complaining about the shortcomings of his favorite Philadelphia sports teams.
If you own and operate a website, there’s a fairly good chance it’s powered by WordPress. A 26.4% chance to be exact, though it’s even higher now (that statistic is from March of last year). 500 sites are launched through WordPress daily, and it is by far the most popular CMS.
There’s many factors you could attribute WordPress’ ubiquity to: its pricing, its functionality, its countless customization features. But perhaps its most renowned quality is its ease of use. Without any prior coding experience, users can easily operate and maintain their website.
But WordPress’ usability is not perfect, and neither are we. In fact, often times WordPress’ more complex functionalities and versions can confuse novice users—and at one point, we were all novices.
To avoid these pitfalls, here are just a few common mistakes WordPress newcomers make, and the most effective methods for correcting them.
1) Selecting An Improper Platform
Between WordPress.com, Wordpress.org, and the multitude of packages in between them, it’s tough to discern which platform suits your website’s specific needs. Often times, beginners choose incorrectly, and find themselves paying for features they don’t need, or frustrated with the limited functionality of the version they selected.
As a quick reference, WordPress.com is the more general, versatile version. It works well for just about everyone, from artists to bloggers. On the other hand, Wordpress.org suits those who need more customization and control of their site.
Of course, the foolproof fix to this blunder is to consult a WordPress expert—instead of wading through the prices, functions, and features of every package, you can simply state your needs, and have a web design agency do the rest.
2) Not Investing In Security
Often times site owners don’t prioritize the security of their website until it’s too late. It doesn’t matter if you’re site handles customers personal or financial information or not—every website is susceptible to hackers, and just one cyberattack can crash your website for good.
There are a few preventive measures you can take, from creating a backup of your website, to employing limited login attempts or two-factor authentication. But again, for a more robust security solution, consider enlisting the services of a web development company.
3) Going Overboard With Categories & Tags
Yes, there is a difference between a category and a tag. Categories are broader, more general groupings of your posts and content, and tags describe more specific details. What they both have in common is that they’re easy to create and implement, meaning often times users take them to an extreme.
In short, having an overwhelming amount of categories is poor UX design practice. With too many, users have a difficult time sorting through your content, and finding the posts they’re most interested in. Try limiting your categories to about 5 or 6 to provide a better user experience.
4) Using An Unsuitable Or Unbecoming Theme
It’s a no-brainer that your website’s theme is the cornerstone of its user interface, and thus it’s UX as well. As the foundation of your website’s design, it’s important to consider a variety of factors before selecting a theme, instead of just impulsively picking one that looks nice.
Some of these factors include your desired layout for the site, the usability for both you and your site’s visitors, the price, and it’s level of customization. You can choose from any one of WordPress’ theme providers, or hire a UX design agency to tailor a solution specifically for you.
5) Ignoring Mobile Users
It shouldn’t come as a shock that a sizable portion of your users will be accessing your site from a smartphone. In 2014, one study reported that a third of all online traffic is from smartphones. If you’re website isn’t optimized for mobile, it is already a relic of the past.
Mobile Traffic Statistics - (Source)
Luckily, WordPress provides their clients with a few tools to make their websites a bit more mobile-friendly. WPtouch and WPTap are both examples of plugins that offer mobile compatibility, but the websites that offer the best mobile experiences have used a mobile app development team.
The One Takeaway
We’ve only scratched the surface of common mistakes WordPress newcomers make, though I hope we’ve covered at least one flaw your current WP website may have.
If not, there is one panacea, one magic piece of advice I can offer that remedies any WordPress errors you may make.
No matter what issue you’re having with your WordPress site, the cure-all is always hiring a design and development agency that has mastered the art of WordPress. Many of these agencies are reliable, well-trusted, and can tailor to any business, no matter the size or budget.