5 Common WordPress Mistakes You Can Avoid

With all the options available to you with WordPress it’s easy to make mistakes that can have effects ranging from minor to catastrophic. Here are 5 of the most common WordPress mistakes and how you can avoid them:

 

1. Not Updating WordPress
You may not like to be an early-adopter, but with WordPress it’s important to update when new releases are published. There were 7 releases of WordPress in 2013, 4 of these releases were security and/or maintenance releases. What  this means is that a bug or security vulnerability was identified and WordPress released a fix for it.  Unless there is some compelling reason for you not to update (such as plugins which aren’t yet compatible) then it’s always best to update to the latest release especially when they include security or bug fixes.

With WordPress version 3.7 came Updates while you sleep so if you’re running that version or higher you shouldn’t have to worry about updating WordPress, it should update automatically.

We strongly recommend you back up your site before applying any updates.  See point 3 below.

 

2. Not Updating Plugins
Developers update their plugins to release new features, to stay up to date with the latest version of WordPress, and to fix bugs or patch security problems. If you aren’t updating your plugins when you see the update notice (on the Updates page under Dashboard), you are setting yourself up for potential problems and frustrations. It’s a good idea to update your plugins one at a time and check your site between each update since occasionally there can be conflicts between plugins.

We strongly recommend you back up your site before applying any updates.  See point 3 below.

 

3. Not Backing Up Your Site

This goes hand in hand with points #1 & 2, and goes far beyond simply backing up your database. Before you update to the next version of WordPress, or start updating plugins, it’s a smart idea to run a full backup of your site. The easiest, most efficient way of doing this is using BackupBuddy, a premium WordPress plugin from iThemes.

We recommend BackupBuddy because it doesn’t just back up your WordPress database, it backs up your entire WordPress installation – plugins, themes, settings, widgets, etc. It also includes a super-easy restoration feature, so if the unthinkable happens – your entire site goes down or gets hacked – you can have your site up and running again within minutes using your latest backup. And it’s completely in your control.

The other reason we like to use BackupBuddy is because it’s virtually idiot-proof. We can set it to backup to an off-site storage solution automatically, at specified intervals, so we don’t have to depend on ourselves to remember to get the job done. Regardless of what backup solution or strategy you use, you want to: 1. perform full backups; 2. perform them on a consistent, frequent basis; 3. store your backups some place safe, other than on your own server; and 4. make sure you know how to restore from a backup.

Want to start protecting your site with regular backups?  Use coupon code SEMPERFI25 to save 25% off the regular price of BackupBuddy.

 

4. Not Using SEO Effectively
Most site owners never bother with search engine optimization, instead utilizing the “I hope it works” approach. In today’s online world, getting noticed is critical. One of the best ways to get noticed is to have your site pop up in search engine results.

There’s a lot to know about SEO – far more than we could teach in a short article – but you want to make sure you at least cover the basics. Set your site title and description, and configure the SEO settings for the primary pages you want to drive traffic to. If you want more details on critical SEO settings to configure, visit SemperPlugins.com and sign up for our free ebook: SEO Tips: 5 Things Every WordPress Owner Must Know.

If all the SEO information out there seems overwhelming – which it can since it changes constantly – our All in One SEO Pack Pro plugin makes it easier. All in One SEO Pack Pro is a simple to use SEO plugin for your WordPress site or blog.  You can set site-wide defaults as well as customize the search engine settings for each individual page and post – controlling exactly what appears in the search engine results. All of this without having to touch a line of code! Because it’s easy to use right out of the box you can start improving your search engine results right away.

 

5. Not Having an XML Sitemap
Sitemaps were originally created for the users of a website so that they could see an index of that site for easier navigation to the pages they wanted to visit.  However, in 2005 Google released an XML format for sitemaps that was designed for search engines, allowing them to index a site easily and navigate the site faster and more efficiently.  These  XML sitemaps are more important now than ever because of their ability to identify new content and how it is structured.

We recently published A Comprehensive Guide to XML Sitemaps as part of our commitment to helping you get on – and stay on – the best SEO track.

And the big news is that All in One SEO Pack Pro includes an XML Sitemap generator module which makes it easy for you to create, update and manage your XML Sitemap.

 

These are just 5 of the most common mistakes people make when using WordPress.

What other mistakes have you seen? Please share your comments below.

Article written by Nina Gerrero

Nina joined Semper Fi after she moved down to North Carolina from Pittsburgh, PA two years ago. Her previous experiences in customer service and business administration, as well as her passion for professional excellence are the essence of her success. At Semper Fi, Nina provides administrative and sales support to the management staff and valued customers. Nina loves to bake and cook---one more reason to love her! She also loves to hang out with her beloved doggy Optimus Prime!

37 responses to “5 Common WordPress Mistakes You Can Avoid”

  1. Adolphus Hawkes

    Hi! Thanks for sharing this excellent information on the various components of a WordPress website. There seems to be ongoing changes to the SEO package, Plug-ins, Site-maps, etc. It’s is confusing and very difficult to keep all the functions up-to-date. I was informed by WP Support that all updates should be reviewed by the Support team prior to processing the update. However, I find waiting for WP to be very slow and takes the Support staff a week or more to process, return calls or update/fix related issues. I’m not sure if the WP Support staff is that sharp or they are shorthanded. Bottom line….”Should I update the particular function or continue to wait for WP?

    1. Steve Mortiboy

      Hi Adolphus,

      We release documentation for all new features in All in One SEO Pack so check that out when you get a chance. You’ll see a Help link in the plugin in the top right corner of each options box. We’re also working on helpful screencasts as well which will be available to customers who purchase All in One SEO Pack Pro.

      With regards to WordPress support, the the support forums you find on WordPress.org are staffed by volunteers, people like you or I who want to give back to the community and help others. There is no full time support staff for the WordPress project.

  2. Richard Darnell

    Thanks Nina for a great article. I did not see an option to copy or download. It would be helpful to have the information to remind me.

    Again, Thanks for the great article

    1. Steve Mortiboy

      Hi Richard,

      I’d recommend bookmarking this article in your browser favorites, although some browsers do have the option to print a page and you can print to a PDF.

  3. Fabrizio

    Do not agree on point 1

    I Nina I do not completely agree on point 1.
    You say “it’s important to update when new releases are published”.
    I say it’s not always true. New software release are usual full of bugs like completely new car model are not completely reliable.

    My osuggestion is to Install the lastest release of a previous version. Its ususally reliable because a lot of people have worked on the new functions to fix the errors. So if now we are on the 3.8.1 Download and install the 3.7.1 version.

    Sometimes i did dont update at all. I have a 2.2.1 version of WP in a city blog with 8.000 user a day that is really fast, works well and did not have any problem in 5 years.

    Same for point 2

    Completely agree on point from 3,4 and 5

    NOTE:
    I use your lovely plugin All in One SEO Pack starting from version from 1.4.6.15 in all the sistes I made. About 40.

    PLS sorry for my english

    1. Steve Mortiboy

      Hi Fabrizio,

      I agree with you that updating plugins and themes as soon as they are released may not be wise if you don’t know how well the developer tests their updates. However, regarding WordPress updates I believe it is extremely important to update when they release updates. The reason for this is two-fold:

      1). Take the recent releases in 2013 and 2014, there were a total of 8 releases of WordPress updates in that time, of which 3 were tagged as security releases. We have seen a huge increase in the number of sites that have been hacked in the past year by automated scripts running on botnets. These scripts crawl the Internet looking for WordPress sites that are running out of date versions of WordPress and where they know that security vulnerabilities exist in those older versions. Therefore if you don’t update when a security release is published you are potentially vulnerable and risk getting hacked.

      2). WordPress tests releases thoroughly before they ever get to us. This means that when they release an update you can be assured it has been thoroughly tested and that it should work. In the many years we’ve been working with WordPress we’ve performed thousands of updates and only a handful have ever gone wrong. The failure rate has been around 0.1 percent which is amazing. But we always recommend you back up your site before performing any updates.

      Just my two cents.

      1. Adolphus Hawkes

        Hi! This is a great forum to educate new WP users like myself. WP support staff informed me that all new updates must be approved by WP support before downloading. This is very time consuming task to wait to obtain authorization from WP Staff since they are not full time. Maybe, it would be better if WP would advise users when an update is safe to upload….Need to stay on top of the updates to avoid malware or attacks to our site.

    2. James Miller

      Hi,

      Updating Is Important for security reasons. So I believe It’s truly Important.

  4. iMedia Designs

    Thanks for sharing this excellent information.

  5. iQuinceSoft

    Hi Nina, I really appreciate you for sharing such an informative guide about WordPress. I am also using WordPress CMS for my business website as such I need to remain updated with latest changes in WP.
    I am fully agree with your 3rd point “Not Backing Up Your Site” every one should take back-up while updating WordPress. As we all know one little mistake can ruin up our entire effort in last we have nothing other poor experience.Taking regular back-up of WordPress website is really crucial for regular maintain. I have also written full guide on how to take back of WordPress website. Below is free guide for WordPress backup processes.
    http://www.iquincesoft.com/how-to-backup-wordpress-website/

  6. WPZee

    Thanks for sharing the 5 important tips on wordpress. Only updating the core is major problem due to plugin and theme compatibility.

  7. Dave Higgins

    I agree with the others on the dilemma often created by Point 1 – Not Updating WordPress and Point 2 – Not Updating Plugins.

    It is vitally important from a security point of view, but must be approached logically and step-wise to make sure your site(s) don’t ‘suffer’ from the update.

    I know one plugin update in recent times that brought mine and many other’s servers to their knees because of a simple code error in the the plugin update.

    I run a testbed version of WP, where I can test the stability of new updates, and this often saves us a number of headaches.

  8. Amani Yassin

    thank you

  9. Ramazan Recber

    I have applied the plug-in settings thank you very much for the information you give

  10. Cody

    Nina,

    This is some good info. I’m not sure if you were trying to pinpoint WordPress specific mistakes or general blog mistakes. Not implementing SEO is a mistake for any site. I suppose some other mistakes would be to not have an “about us” page providing contact information, feedback or comments. I run a blog that I just started and I’m using it to try and teach people about online marketing.

    http://www.codyschronicle.com

    With your permission I’d like to add this article to my site. I’d be happy to share this information you have created with my readers and clients. Let me know.

  11. Drake

    The tips are spot on. Now if only Seperfi can release that much delayed VIDEO sitemap addon!

  12. Joe Yee

    Thanks for the great sharing. Really appreciate it.

  13. Norma Huss

    I’ve been updating everything as I see it. However, my comments section no longer works, and just today I discovered my statistic records (how many hits every day) is listed as inactive and I can’t access it or make it active. I’m about ready to give up, but I have scheduled a guest for next month.

    Any ideas?

  14. Axel

    Hello! Thanks for sharing this info. Those who are starting in WP appreciate it.
    About updates, for security reasons, it is highly recommended to install them. BUT I always do with my fingers crossed just in case something goes wrong. Although I have to admit that you have never had problems, you always have the doubt

    Internet search engines, worry about All in one SEO pack plugin!

  15. Mihailo

    Hi ,I must give you the credits for creating such great product , unfortunately for me one of my competitors in my country is using it and he`s ahead of me in a few mayor keyword searches, my question is would I beat him if using your product as well or it`s just a matter of personal creativity and seo knowledge ?

    1. Steve Mortiboy

      Hi Mihailo,

      It’s partly a matter of making sure you’ve configured the settings in our plugin for optimal SEO and that there’s nothing wrong with the code on your site and partly down to good content. These days Google places more importance on well written informative content.

  16. Pittsburgh SEO company

    You made some good points there. I checked on the net for more info about the
    issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.

    1. Adolphus Hawkes

      I’m somewhat confused because the WP support staff informed us not to update the latest WP updates because WP monitors and evaluates the updates before it’s released to the public….Not sure, who’s opinion is valid when updates are made available….Confused!

      1. Steve Mortiboy

        Hi Adolphus,

        I’m extremely surprised that anyone at WordPress would tell you not to update WordPress. They are very keen that everybody updates to the latest version and they even released automatic updates while you sleep for minor releases back in version 3.8. You should never ever hear anyone at WordPress tell you not to update.

  17. Amrish

    This post is amazing and with tons of practical advice. I have started a blog without any idea, it wasn’t very successful, but it was an initiation for something bigger and better. Failing is very good way of learning, but these tips are awesome, for avoiding obstacles and time wasting .

  18. Valerie

    Didn’t see the opt-in box anywhere to sign up for the free ebook. Looked all over this site and semperfiplugins.com as well. Would like to put a link to the page with the opt-in form in a presentation I’m giving.

    1. Steve Mortiboy

      Hi Valerie,

      The opt in box is a popup that appears the first time you visit our sites. It may be that you’ve dismissed it before so it may not come back. Try visiting our site in a different browser. Alternatively, use the contact form on either of our sites to request an eBook.

  19. Silke Jager

    I usually wait a few days before I update to the newest WP and plugin versions, just in case. 🙂 It is very important to stay up to date with the information your visitors see on your site, as well as the stuff in the background only you see.

    I’ve been using the All In One SEO plugin in numerous sites now. I love how effective it is and the ease of use.

  20. AC Repair Palm Springs CA

    Hello this is somewhat of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or
    if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding know-how
    so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience. Any
    help would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Steve Mortiboy

      WordPress does have a WYSIWYG editor so you don’t need to touch any HTML code.

  21. www.profholod63.ru

    Hey I know tuis is off topic but I was wondering if yoou knew
    of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates.
    I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would hve some experience with
    something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything.
    I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new
    updates.

  22. สถาบันดนตรี

    Interesting blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it
    from somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog
    stand out. Please let me know where you got your theme.
    Thanks a lot

    1. Steve Mortiboy

      This is a custom designed, custom developed theme that we created. If you’re interested in something similar then please contact us using the contact form here – http://semperfiwebdesign.com/contact/

  23. Masu Financial

    Thanks for this post, I really loved reading it.

  24. interneurone

    I love what you guyss are usually up too. This kind of clever work and coverage!
    Keep up the fantastic works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my own blogroll.

  25. helpforstarup

    Thx in tons Nina for this beautiful piece of information ….

  26. David

    Hi Nina

    There is no doubt that almost every blogger or webmaster do these WordPress mistakes once in their life.

    & These mistakes help them to learn something new again and again with time.

    You have listed here almost all the major WordPress mistakes which bloggers do including me.

    I have also did so many mistakes in my WordPress blog. I can remember when I started my 1st blog, I never created any BackUp of my WordPress site. One day, by mistake I deleted the database of my blog from Cpanel and It created a major issue in my site.

    I didn’t knew anything about it so I started my blog again by re-installing the WordPress.

    That was the unforgettable mistake because It contained hard work of almost 2 months and I completely losed it by deleting the database.

    After that day, I always take complete BackUp of my each site.

    Thanks for covering such a nice article so that people can learn about these mistakes and also can avoid them. 😀

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