Building a website using WordPress is exciting, but it can also come with some apprehension because there are some things to know before getting started. While the platform and themes are there to help you build amazing websites, there are some mistakes that beginners make that may result in the ingestion of a few antacids or a Tylenol or two.
If you want to relieve yourself of the stress, it is good to know what mistakes beginners make so you can avoid them. By knowing what you should and shouldn’t do, you can save a lot of time during the website building process and also save yourself from a lot of aggravation.

Common Mistakes Made by WordPress Beginners

There is no doubt that you are going to have moments of trial and error as you’re making your theme look and function the way you want it to. However, you can avoid some of that trial and error by looking below at the six most common WordPress mistakes beginners should avoid.

1. Not regularly Backing up the Website

Backing up the website on a regular database is everything, especially if the website is hacked and the data is lost. Many beginner WordPress users learn about the need to backup after they have experienced devastating data loss. There are some backup pay options available on the web, but the “WordPress Backup to Dropbox” plugin is free and will save your sanity if your website data is lost for one reason or another.

If you want to secure your website from data loss due to hackers, you can opt for two-step authentication. This security feature reduces the vulnerability of your admin panel to people who have less than savory intentions with your website.

2. Installing Unnecessary or Broken Plugins and not Removing Them

Now you may be saying, “I have no idea whether or not a plugin works until after I install it.” The truth is that there are many faulty plugins out there. You can usually tell by the star rating in the Plugin library whether or not a plugin works. However, a plugin that once worked may not work anymore and you may not know it until you try it. Regardless of star rating, you can Google the plugin name to find the developer’s website and get an idea of the Plugin’s status. This can save you from having to install and activate, toying with the plugin as you try to make it work, and then having to deactivate and delete.

If you do have to try multiple plugins, either because they are not working the way you need them to or because you simply want to try different ones, make sure you deactivate and delete those you are not using. Having too many active plugins that are not being used slows down the website because more resources are consumed. The last thing a visitor wants when they come to your website is a slow load time. If it’s too slow, they will leave before they give the site a chance.

3. Using the Wrong Platform

When using WordPress to build your web presence, there are two platforms. You can use WordPress.org or you can go the self-hosted route. There are many companies that allow you to self-host your WordPress site. Choosing the right one depends on your needs, so make sure you compare what each is offering to those needing WordPress hosting. WordPress.org works well for those simply wanting blogs, but it may not offer some of the perks and security as self-hosting.

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4. Not Using Google Analytics and Obsessive Stat Checks

Google Analytics will be one of your best friends when running your WordPress website. You can see a lot of insights about your site’s traffic and how users interact with your content. If users aren’t interacting with your content the way you want them to, Google Analytics will help you determine what you need to change so you can improve the performance.

Also, you don’t have to obsessively check your stats. Even with real-time stat updates, they may not be 100% accurate. Nonetheless, the primary reason for not doing this is so you don’t drive yourself crazy with checking the stats. It can take some time for a new website to receive acceptable traffic, depending on how well you market the site and the amount of competition you’re up against. Check periodically so that you don’t discourage yourself if your stats are not where you want them to be.

5. Not Choosing a Responsive Theme

Responsive web design is everything because it means your website displays well on all screens regardless of their size. In order to win in the area of responsive web design, you need a responsive WordPress theme. With a responsive WordPress theme, a person using a mobile phone or tablet is going to be presented with a visually acceptable and easy-to-navigate website. You can use a WordPress website builder like TemplateToaster to design a responsive theme for your WordPress site.

If a theme is not responsive, the mobile phone or tablet user is going to see something that doesn’t look very inviting. They may have to zoom out or move the site around on their screen to find the navigation. What you want is for the visitor to come to the site, regardless of the device they are using, and find exactly what they are looking for as quickly as possible.

6. Ignoring SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is everything when you want to make sure your site is seen by your target audience. Everything from using the appropriate keywords and how you use those keywords to specific bits of coding can have an influence on how your website ranks. Good themes are made with SEO elements built in, but you control the optimization of your content.

One very useful plugin for SEO is Yoast SEO. When you install the plugin, a form rests at the bottom of each page and post. You fill out that form with your focus keyword and you will be told if you are using it correctly. This is a great tool for you and anyone writing for your website. You can also edit the snippet that appears under your website’s name on the Google Search Engine Results (SERP) page.

If you need to generate an XML sitemap, which is very important to search engines so they can properly map your site, Yoast SEO will allow you to do that as well. It’s a killer SEO tool that keeps you in the SEO loop.
You Can Be Successful

So now that you know some of the most common mistakes made by WordPress beginners, you can avoid them. Just know that your skill level doesn’t have to bring you down. As you learn, you will get better and will find that every site you build will be better than the previous one in some way. Even when mistakes are made, experience is a great teacher.

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