WordPress is one of the most popular website platforms businesses use to manage their web presence. It is preferred by many professional web developers as well as beginners. It can be relatively simple for a beginner to install WordPress on their website and install a simple template, but there are many other aspects of the website that can be overlooked which could cause problems and frustrations down the road. Whether you are a professional or novice, you should avoid the following mistakes when running your website.
1. Not Creating a WordPress Backup
One of the most common mistakes people make when running their website is not creating a backup of their site. I am definitely guilty of this one. When I first started, I would spend a lot of man hours working on a website and then make one mistake and have my website completely broken. I have say that was one of the most frustrating things. All of this could have been avoided by making a simple backup of the installation.
Fortunately it is very easy to create a backup of your site. Most webhosting companies will have a daily backup of your website, but not always. I personally use Backup Buddy (paid) plugin for all of my clients sites as it comes with the most options, but you can also use BackWPup which is free and can do a great job also.
2. Not Updating WordPress and Plugins Regularly
Many times people tend to ignore or simply forget to install updates. This huge mistake as sometimes vulnerabilities are found and exploited by hackers which can cause havoc to your website or even steal your customer’s data which can really hurt your company and reputation. I know most people think it will never happen to them but believe me when I say it’s more common than you may think.
So protect your business by installing updates regularly to prevent hackers from exploiting these vulnerabilities as it is simple to do and will save you time and heartache.
3. Not Setting Permalinks For Your URLs
Have you ever been to a website and come across a url like http://www.yourwebsite.com/p=5434? For one it looks unappealing to the human eye and secondly it can slow down your website as this usually means that WordPress is calling all of its functions every time someone visits your site. This can easily be solved by turning on permalinks in the WordPress settings. You can turn your ugly URL into something like http://www.yourwebsite.com/about-our-company/ which gives your visitors a better idea of what the page is about.
4. Using A Cheap Web Hosting Company
You’ve all seen ads for “free webhosting” or hosting for $1.99/month. As you already know, you get what you pay for. I’ve had many people come to me asking me why their website is so slow. The majority of the time they simply have a cheap webhost that put thousands of other websites on the same server which leads to slowdowns as all of these sites are fighting for all the server’s resources. Don’t be cheap!
5. Not Installing A Caching Plugin
Most novices will install WordPress and then start blogging right away. Sooner or later they will notice that their site is slowing down and is not as fast as it used to be. Installing a caching plugin is perhaps one of the most important things and should not be overlooked. Out of the box, WordPress will create all of its pages on the fly when someone visits your site which is very taxing on your webhosting. Installing a caching plugin will turn these pages into static html files which can greatly improve your site’s speed.
I currently use the W3 Total Cache plugin for all of my clients’ sites and in my opinion it’s the best option out there. It can mean the difference in being able to handle 1000’s of visitors on your site at once vs 100’s without a caching plugin.
Other Mistakes to Avoid
These are just a few of the most common mistakes I’ve seen over the years and if you can avoid these big ones you will be ahead of the game. I really wish I knew about all of these when I first started. It would have saved me a ton of time and money