Five WordPress Mistakes to Avoid as a Beginner
WordPress is an incredibly user-friendly platform, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still some common mistakes you need to watch out for when working with this content management system.
It’s natural for beginners to make a few mistakes when taking on a new challenge, but if you take note of these guidelines as you embark on your journey with WordPress, you’ll find that you’ve avoided the most prevalent early blunders that new users make!
So let’s go ahead and get started!
1. Not Optimizing Website for Mobile Users
There was a time when designing one flawless, functional website was all you had to worry about, but the days of desktop domination are over. Today, it’s just as important that mobile users are able to interact with your site seamlessly.
About half of all Internet traffic was served to mobile devices by 2018, and that number has only grown in the years since. This obviously means that if you aren’t catering to mobile users just as comfortably as desktop users, then you’re cutting off a huge portion (possibly even the majority) of your audience.
Fortunately, the solutions are relatively simple – you need to make sure to optimize your site with a mobile responsive design. Many WordPress themes are already responsive, but you should certainly do your due diligence and check that no elements of your site seem awkward or clunky on the mobile version. Additionally, you want to make sure to optimize the content on your site so that it fits well in a mobile perspective. This includes images, buttons, font and opt-in forms.
Because if your site isn’t mobile responsive and optimized, visitors on mobile devices are likely to just click away immediately. And Google’s algorithm prioritizes user experience, so if the search engine notices people immediately exiting your site on a regular basis, it could hurt your rankings.
So always be sure to double check that your site is optimized for mobile users before going live.
2. Having Your Website Public During Maintenance
Imagine if the pilot flying your plane attempted to take off while the crew was still working on the engine, or if you tried to move into your new home while your contracting team was still hanging the drywall – it just wouldn’t work, and it’s probably not even something you would vaguely consider, so why would you leave your site public while completing maintenance?
When you need to perform some updates to your site or you’re in the initial phases of launching it, it’s a good idea to utilize a maintenance page or plugin that tells visitors your content isn’t quite ready to view just yet.
You can customize the message that the audience sees and even brand the page, but regardless of how exactly you approach it, a thoughtful maintenance page will appear far more professional than giving visitors a behind-the-scenes view of your progress.
The last thing you want is to give first-time audiences a bad impression of your site, especially because it only takes people about .05 seconds to form an opinion about a website, and poor first impressions are infamously tough to reverse.
Rather than battling the appearance of unprofessionalism, simply take a few minutes to throw up a maintenance page when you need to do some work to your site.
3. Ignoring Search Engine Optimization
To have a truly successful WordPress site (or any website in general) you have to remember to prioritize SEO.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is important because it helps boost organic traffic by increasing your search rankings. And it’s recommended that you incorporate good SEO practices now rather than later! As the longer you wait, the further ahead your competition will be!
So follow effective SEO strategies when creating new pages and posts to increase traffic and exposure. By optimizing each page and post before publication, you increase the chances of attracting more traffic. And even if you’re not comfortable tackling the topic of search engine optimization on your own, WordPress makes it easy with simple plugins that will guide you through optimizing your pages.
By the way, here are some of the main SEO factors to remember:
- Choose a relevant target keyword
- Include your target keyword in the title, URL, and description
- Avoid stuffing your keyword in your content
- Use internal links to point visitors to related content
- Include ALT tags for every image
Keep in mind that these are just on-page SEO techniques. You should also explore off-page SEO methods. Off-page SEO includes building backlinks through guest posting, using the broken link-building strategy and attracting more attention to your site on social media. These steps involve more effort but they increase the authority of your domain, which boosts your overall SEO.
4. Not Submitting a Sitemap to Google
A sitemap is an XML file containing the URLs of all the pages and posts a website features. You can think of as a blueprint that organizes and diligently displays all the pages of your website.
Submitting your sitemap (blueprint) to Google and other search engines is important because it helps them know that your pages and posts exist, so they can rank them!
While it may sound complicated to do, submitting a sitemap is actually a very simple process!
An SEO plugin such as Yoast, can easily help you with this! So you can rest assured that an updated sitemap is being submitted each time you publish new content!
5. Having Bad Permalink Structures
A permalink is basically just another word for the URL you see above whenever you visit a website’s content – be it a page or post. It’s a combination of both the domain name and slug (which identifies the particular page of the website).
Now, it’s imperative that you make sure to get your permalink structures right from the very beginning of your website’s launch. This is because changing a URL of an already published post, can hurt and even potentially damage its web traffic and rankings.
And so ideally, you want your permalinks to be structured so simply and consistently that visitors could almost guess at the address of the content they’re looking—meaning your URLs should incorporate your main keyword.
WordPress is the most used platform for building and managing websites thanks to its user-friendly interface and thousands of plugins. While anyone can quickly build a WordPress website, beginners are likely to make a few mistakes along the way.
Poor optimization, forgetting to submit sitemaps, and other issues can keep you from growing your audience. If you want to attract more visitors and boost your search rankings, avoid these five beginner WordPress mistakes.
We hope this article was helpful. If you liked it, feel free to check out some of these articles as well!