WordPress is a great system for building websites for your business to show off your products or services.
Over the years we have been asked to help many businesses with their WordPress websites because they were not working or something was just not as it should be.
Part of the problem is that Web designers are not marketers and tend to just want it to look nice and not worried about if it works.
In this post I want to share 10 of the most common mistakes we have found when fixing or updating customers WordPress websites.
Mistake 1 – Badly Coded WordPress Themes.
Lots of customers have ordered WordPress from suppliers who code everything in WordPress making it very difficult to make changes or add new features you may want as your business grows.
Today with sites like Themeforest that provide high quality themes that are usually built on industry standards, you can be assured you will be able to find anyone to update your site. And this leads to Mistake 2.
Mistake 2 – Non Responsive WordPress Themes
With todays online market being highly mobile it is important that your WordPress site is fully responsive. This means that whatever device your visitors use to visit your website it will look good.
The benefit of a responsive website is, that it automatically adapts its layout to fit almost any screen resolution and looks fantastic on mobile devices, like smartphones or tablets. So there is no need anymore to build a separate website for mobile. With responsive webdesign you have only one website with a single domain, which is suitable for almost any device out there. This leads to a massive increase in usability and it is more seach-engine friendly too.
Mistake 3 – Large Image Size And No Name
There are two things we find with images which are size and name.
When we take photos etc the camera tends to name them dc1234 or something like that. We need to change this to represent what the photo is about. Also never leave spaces but use dashes in the name eg: type-3-BMW-tw0-door-coupe.jpg
The second part is the size and cameras and phones today take very high quality photos. A standard photo may be over 3 mb in size and a couple of thousand pixels. We should adjust the size to help the page load quickly.
Below are 4 images showing you how different sizes look in the page.
Surfer 400 pixels wide saved at 80% 22 kb
Surfer 300 pixels wide saved at 80% 14 kb
Surfer 200 pixels wide saved at 80% 9 kb
Surfer 100 pixels wide saved at 80% 6 kb
When you’re uploading pictures to your website, be sure that they’re optimized for the web.
There are a lot of tools to do this, but a really simple one is available at picmonkey.com. You want your images to be ‘shrunk’ to about the right dimensions for your purposes, and saved in a format like jpg (if there’s no transparency around the image) or png (creates larger file sizes, but allows for transparent backgrounds) for the web. Picmonkey.com will allow you to choose the file size when you save your final file. Super handy.
Mistake 4 – Lack of Content
Search engines now rely on sites providing a constant stream of new content so if your site is not being updated on a regular basis there is a good chance that sites like google will not give you any relevance.
WordPress is especially good for this as it has a blogging section which allows you to add new content quickly and efficiently.
If you write your content in a program like Microsoft Word first, then copy and paste it directly into your WordPress post, it will come with a lot of extra ‘code’ in the background that will make your formatting all goofy. Specifically, it will challenge your ability to use your theme’s built in styles to make your posts and pages look great.
Paste using the text icon in the toolbar or add to notebook first then copy and paste.
Mistake 5 – Not Updating Your WordPress Version and Plugins.
One of the reasons most WordPress sites get into trouble is that the WordPress software and plugins are not kept up to date.
If you do not have control of your site then get control and make sure it is always up to date as it is an important asset for your business.
Mistake 6 – No Keywords in your page or content.
Google likes to see that whatever keywords you are targeting you have the keywords within the page name.
This is not essential but it’s an extra tick mark from Google when the keywords are in the page name.
I’d like to rank for wordpress seo tips on this post. So the page name will be:
This is better than:
Action: Check your ‘permalinks’ section in wordpress. If it’s a brand new site not launched yet change it so that by default you don’t have lots of numbers in your address. If it’s an existing site talk to your developer!
Mistake 7 – No XML Sitemap
An XML sitemap is like a table of contents in a book.
It provides a breakdown of the pages of your website and lets Google know how often this content is likely to change.
If you don’t have an XML sitemap Google will still crawl through your site to index your pages but it may miss some. For example, imagine if you had a page on your website that is not linked to from any other page on your website. This is a page that Google might miss.
If you build an XML sitemap this will include all the pages on your website that you want to index and it will provide additional information to Google such as how often you want Google to re-index the page. If it’s a static page that’s not going to change very often then maybe you only want to re-index it every couple of months!
Just add a plugin that will add a xml sitemap to your WordPress site.
Mistake 8 – Not Useing a SEO Plugin
There are a range of WordPress plugins that will help you to optimize your content and it’s really essential that you use one.
You could use Scribe, WordPress SEO, Inbound Writer, All in one SEO or a range of other plugins but you should have at least one installed.
The one we currently use is WordPress SEO by Yoast.
When you create a post you specify ‘focus keywords’. These are keywords you want to rank on.
When you write your content this plugin does an analysis of your content to see if it’s optimized correctly. It will then tell you the areas that you need to resolve.
Mistake 9 – Not Using Email Form
Another common mistake made by many beginners is not adding a contact form on their blogs. Instead, they create a contact page and simply mention their email there. That’s not the right way to get your audience in touch with you, as after a few months you’ll notice that your inbox is getting flooded with insane amount of SPAM.
The best solution to this problem and way to allow your audiences directly interact with you is adding a simple contact form to your site. For this purpose, you can install Contact Form 7 or Gravity Forms plug-in. We recommend you to try Gravity Forms plug-in, because it allows you to create any type of form using a simple drag-drop interface.
Mistake 10 – Not Backing Up
One of the big mistakes that we all usually make is not creating a backup of our WordPress site. We realize the importance of WordPress backups, only when we lose our years of hard work within a few seconds, and then need a backup to restore things back to normal at that time. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to have a manual/automatic backup of your WordPress site, especially when you’re going to perform an update.
Having a proper backup of your WordPress site is a must, as crashes may happen any time. As nothing is 100% foolproof in the world of technology, make sure you’re prepared to avoid that painful situation – loss of your valuable data. If you’re using WordPress.com platform, you can easily backup your blog by going to Tools, and then “Export” in dashboard. For self-hosted WordPress.org, you can use phpMyAdmin tool, or an online service such as VaultPress, or a backup plug-in such as BackupBuddy and BackWPup.
Bonus – Not using Google Analytics
Would you like to drive a car that doesn’t have headlights? Absolutely not! Then why would you run your blog without using an analytics program like Google Analytics. As WordPress dashboard is not enough to get detailed insights about your site, you should use one of the best web analytics services: Google Analytics.
Google Analytics offers you a wide range of free services that you can use to monitor your website traffic, keep track of visitor’s behavior on your site and know about the keywords that can generate more traffic to your site. Apart from this, we also recommend you to sign-up with Google Webmaster Tools to keep track of your website health.
If this all seems to much for you then contact us and we can do it all for you or show you how to do it.