The world's most widely used site builder, WordPress is as versatile as it is user-friendly. It lets us do anything: add a Theme, change it for another, install a plugin or a thousand, deactivate two or three, run tests and a long etcetera. Of course, in so much freedom we can harm its performance. For this reason, in this note we tell you ten mistakes that WordPress Admins typically make.
Making mistakes, in life and in WordPress too, is inevitable. They say that mistakes are the real masters. When everything goes well nobody learns anything, but when something fails we become experts. In the WordPress world, mistakes and omissions are often easily corrected, but not always. Sometimes mistakes can cost us, and they are even capable of putting our business in danger if we overlook them or they are not corrected in a timely manner.
Let's look at a list of typical mistakes that average WordPress admins make. Note: it is not presented in a priority order, since the ten points are complementary.
1. Misunderstanding the difference between Posts and Pages
This is a typical confusion that all of us who step into the water of web development for the first time go through. And it is an error that later brings headaches, frustrations, and even involves too much time and effort to order our content accordingly.
WordPress Pages can be considered “static”: Should be used to post content that generally doesn't change. “About us”, “Contact”, “Services”, “Privacy Policies”, etc. It is very different information from what we consider “notes”, “articles”; they are something that is NOT part of the typical publications of an online newspaper or magazine. In other words, Pages are not organized chronologically or by Categories or Tags. Pages usually appear in our menu, arranged hierarchically, or are sub-Pages linked from other Pages.
For its part, Entries make up blog posts, articles, news and any other content that may need to be updated more frequently to stay current (although this may not always be the case). Entries can be categorized by content and by Tags, which is also recommended.
Posts and Pages work differently from an SEO perspective, so it would be a serious mistake to ignore this aspect. For example, if we publish news, something of the moment, Google/Bing will give more importance to our content when it is an Entry; Otherwise, if we talk about something imperishable, we must use Pages. Pages rank better for certain keywords. We analyze an SEO plugin to have more control over this here.
If we discover Pages on our site that should be converted to Posts or vice versa, we recommend using the plugin Post Type Switcher to solve it without going crazy.
2. Using a Theme that stopped updating a long time ago
A Theme is the clothing that our site is dressed in. Many times we fall in love with an aesthetic, or we have worked long and hard to customize everything the way we like it best. And all is well as long as the Theme developers we employ they continue to improve and optimize it, allowing us to download new versions.
But what happens when time passes and our Theme stops being updated? In the short term, little or nothing; in the long term, it is both a danger and a drawback in terms of performance and technologies. In the world of software, nothing is certain forever; nor efficient. Operating systems are updated, they change generation. WordPress recently inaugurated its sixth generation. The applications are modernized, they become more secure and efficient (at least for the most part).
Using a Theme that has abandoned support, development and enhancements is an invitation to security issues (and, secondly, in terms of speed). Hackers spend all day looking for holes in the internet and ways to take control of our site, especially when it has a lot of traffic or is well known. The rule is to have a modern Theme, optimized for security, and updated at least twice a year. If this is not the case with our Theme, we should seriously consider replacing it. It is the usual recommendation to our customers at Duplika.
3. Using a Component that stopped updating long ago
Everything said above applies to the plugins used by our website. A component that no longer has development is a huge inconvenience in terms of security, especially in the long term. Let's remember that versions of PHP improve all the time, they become more secure and efficient. A plugin written in an old version is synonymous with problems of all kinds.
Also, there is no reason to get stuck with one component. Nowadays the community of WordPress developers is so big that in general we find three (or ten) different plugins that do “just” what we need. Let's find the one with the best feedback, the lightest, and the one that receives the most updates: overall,these three points coincide!
4. Not equipping our content with good “calls to action”
The best content is useless without a corresponding action from our visit or client. In a way it is a feedback, a human response to what we present online, even the way to achieve trust/loyalty/sales.
Without the right call to action, giving the audience some instruction on what to do next, most visitors will leave your website without doing anything.. This results in poor conversion rates/bounces that even end up affecting the SEO ranking of our site.
Examples of calls to action They are “Read more”, “Write us for more details”, “Sign up for a free sample”, “Leave us your message in the comments section”, “Call now”, “Open chat window”, “Add to Cart”, “ Contact us”, “Related Articles/Content”, and much more.
Our content should articulate clear “marketing funnels” that lead to an empathic, coherent, appropriate call to action. In a way, these buttons/links are beacons that guide our visitors through our web content..
If we have reason to believe that our bounce rate is high and we can't quite track why, we recommend using a professional online marketing company. Either way, don't stop usability testing your sites; friends and family are also good for this. Measure the experience someone who knows nothing about the internet has with your site.
5. Not working conscientiously on SEO
SEO are the technical and content development efforts, resources, and strategies we employ to make our site appear in Google/Bing/Yahoo search results. As far as possible, with good positions against certain keywords, overshadowing the competition.
Technical strategies to achieve it are located in programming; the Theme we use and the plugins, but, above all, the tool to generate cache, that is, the content pre-served to the user that is much, much faster than browsing a site if it were not there. It is a long theme and full of edges; To make it short and get to the point, we recommend the complementary reading of SEOPress and of MeowApps. In addition, we will be able to better understand what content rewards Google and its reasons in our note on RankBrain.
With respect to SEO for content, plain and simple, is the improvement of the narrative, images, composition, titling, linking of each of our Pages and Entries, in addition to the correct integration of their Goals. For this specific section, we recommend our notes Social Meta Tags (to improve our presence on the networks) and Google Site Kit (to better communicate with Google Measurements). Pay special attention to our complete SEO Guide. Do not miss it because we put a lot of useful, varied and quality information.
On the other hand, if they have a Online store, this guide is a compendium of SEO tips to sell more.
6. Not conscientiously working on the speed of our site
If a website takes more than three seconds to load, 40% visitors close the window or go to another result. Most of the audience, so unconscious or knowingly expect a site to load in two seconds or less. If we have an online store, this is critical. The speed of our site affects our sales.
On the other hand, although nothing minor, the performance of our website also has an impact on Google/Bing/Yahoo search results. It is critical to ensure that the content we publish online loads quickly and does not present display problems (they are many and very common).
The first thing is to take advantage of the online speed tests such as Google PageSpeed Insights. This will give us a complete analysis of what is going wrong on our website, and notes to improve it.
At the same time, we cannot ignore the operation of the Theme and all the components that we install. Luckily, WordPress has its own diagnostic tool and "site health" tips that we analyze in our note Performance Lab Plugin.
Finally, when it comes to speed, be sure to read our recent article on the excellent component PerfMatters: performance matters. It's a great way to solve a huge number of typical (and not so typical) problems with just a few clicks.
7. Not considering Accessibility
Web accessibility implies that we take every care to ensure that our content is accessible to all people regardless of their technical barriers or special abilities.. The WHO tells us that at least 2.2 billion people on the planet suffer from some visual impairment, mild, moderate or severe. Therefore, and to begin with, the size of our texts and buttons must be correctly visible on each device, be it Desktop, Tablet or Cell Phone.
Guarantee that all people can access the information and/or services on our site it is also a legal requirement in many countries. On the website of W3.org we find a list of legislated web accessibility measures that are implemented in various regions (remember that the World Wide Web Consortium is the international community that strives to develop, agree on and insert web standards on a global scale).
Between the steps we can take to make our content accessible to everyone it includes the possibility of facilitating the keyboard to navigate (instead of the mouse, for example to close a pop-up window), the use of descriptions to avoid that the impossibility of detecting colors (or blindness) results in a navigation obstacle, the provision of HTML alternatives to documents such as PDF, PowerPoint, Flash, etc. and guarantee the correct reading of all our content, in order, composition and sizes suitable for each display. Note: This list is an approximation of a much larger number of plausible accessibility measures.
8. Stick hands where we shouldn't
In principle, we choose a Theme for its web design; we need something according to our content/service/products. In the same way, we look for plugins to add functionality that neither WordPress nor our Theme have. This is the “transparent” path.
The “shady” way is when we admins add code to add features (or alter them) directly in the Theme files. When not, we copy and paste some PHP lines found in Google inside the famous file functions.php.
Yes, sometimes this solves a complexity right away, or adds something we didn't have but needed. It's easy, and we leave everything running without breaking anything. or so we thought. The possibilities of generating a problem that we do not see right away, or that we will never become aware of, are enormous. On top of that, when we pass the problem on to a developer who does know, it's going to take a lot for him to realize where we messed up, especially when the changes we were making over time multiplied.
The matter is serious also because these intrusive changes are often incompatible with new updates, or they become obsolete as orphan code, garbage. At best, our modifications are stepped on (overwritten by a new, updated file). In the worst case, our site goes offline. It is clear that this type of practice is highly discouraged.
So, when choosing a Theme, let's think long term; And if an installed Theme stops satisfying us, let's look for a better, more modern one, with more features and frequent updates. Same for components. There are infinities so let's investigate well, and if we have to pay for a professional one, let's not hesitate.
If all these practices overwhelm us, Better to find a company that manages the site for us and forget about the problems completely. In this scenario, we invite you to evaluate our service Managed WordPress.
9. Not taking security measures (and not being verbose!)
The security of our site is perhaps the most important of all. WordPress is safe, at least freshly installed, but over time we add and remove Themes, leave old Plugins active, install unnecessary ones… Sometimes, we give access to third parties, such as developers, network managers, content creators, people who He manages social networks, support technicians and a great etcetera.
That's why, We recommend keeping a clear log of everything we do from day zero. What did we install, why, and why did we remove it? What customizations have we modified? And to which people do we give access to the WordPress Dashboard? Have we entrusted them with our own username and password (big mistake) or have we created limited user profiles by role, as WordPress favors? Are there users created that should no longer have access? Do we regenerate the keys regularly? Are we up to date with our version of WordPress, the Theme and the Plugins used?
Any omission or lack of care is a bridge that we leave free for a problem or an attack. Let's prevent our website from being an easy target for hackers.
10. Hire a poor hosting service
Being a good student in all the above points is useless if our site is slow, crashes frequently or suffers from errors due to poor maintenance and/or poor resources on our server.
The hosting o web hosting is both the hardware of the computer where all the files of our site are located as well as the systems and technologies (software, patents) that it uses in terms of security and speed. Fast computer + connectivity + cutting-edge software technologies are the three main legs of every website on the planet. To this you can add the technical support, that is, the knowledge and human efforts of the people who manage, proactively detect, solve and improve a web hosting service every day.
to have one complete notion of this type of services and their scope, we recommend reading what is hosting.
An extraordinary site, running on mediocre hosting, is like the best captain in a pool deck riding an inflatable boat.
Most hosting customers consider that all web hosts use a similar technology and network platform.. In addition to this being opposite of reality, leads to unwise choices when defining the company, since site owners compare prices of the services offered instead of the quality actual accommodation.
For this reason, we recommend that you advise yourself very well when choosing a web hosting company: economic plans usually have fine print and big problems. In this note we already talked about the lie of unlimited hosting plans.
Without a doubt, we trust that more than one will have felt identified in this list of 10 typical errors of WordPress admins. There is no harm that does not come for good: this tries to be a review, a slap on the wrist for pay more attention, take advantage of all the guides and recommendations that we have been doing lately, and, of course, make our site a five-star hotel where visitors do not want to leave.
We repeat: the true masters are the mistakes, precisely because knowledge hits us where it hurts the most. And let's not forget that it's better to prevent than to cure. Both conceptions are a slide to reach the wise experience.
Wishing that the note has been very useful to you, we invite you to leave suggestions, doubts and experiences in the comments section. Good luck, and thanks for reading.
We are Duplika
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