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Common WordPress Mistakes And Why You Should Avoid Them

mistake-04Originally released in May 2003 by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little, WordPress has quickly grown into the world’s most popular content management system (CMS). It offers a unique combination of simplicity and versatility, making it appeal to both newcomers and seasoned webmasters alike. According to some estimates, WordPress is used by over 20% of the tip 10 million websites (based on Alexa traffic rating).

Default Permalinks

One of the first things you should do upon launching a WordPress site is change the permalink structure. Under the default permalink settings, all new pages (and posts) created will have a numeric URL structure, such as “http://www.yourwebsite.com/?p=123.” A smarter method is to set up your site to set up your site to create new URLs containing the title of the respective page, such as “http://www.yourwebsite.com/name-of-post/.” This promotes a more positive user experience, and it helps search engines identify your site’s content.

To change the permalinks, log into your WordPres site and select Settings > Permalinks > Post name.

‘Just Another WordPress Site’ Tagline

All new WordPress sites are given the “Just Another WordPress Site” tagline. Unfortunately, many users forget to remove or change the default tagline, as a Google search for “Just Another WordPress Site” yields over 140 million results. Unless you want this generic tagline showing up on your site and search engine listings, you should change it to something more relevant.

To change the tagline on a WordPress site, log in as the administrator and select Settings > General > and edit the field next to “Tagline.” Choose a tagline that describes your site’s overall niche/theme.

Using The ‘Admin’ Username

Setting up a WordPress site with the “admin” username is a serious security vulnerability that increases the risk of a malicious attack. Hackers often target WordPress sites because so many of them are set up with the “admin” username. With the username already known, hackers must only crack the password to gain access to the site.

There are several plugins available which allow you to change your username, but another way to solve this problem is by adding a new user with the “Administrator” role and deleting the old “admin” user. It’s important to note that you must first add a user with administrator privileges before WordPress will allow you to delete the old user.

When deleting the old admin user, you’ll be asked what you want to do with the old posts. You’ll have the option to either delete all posts or attribute posts to the new user. Assuming you want to keep all of your posts, choose the latter before clicking “Confirm Deletion.”

Not Performing Backups

Hope for the best but prepare for the worst is a good rule for webmasters to follow. Failing to back up your WordPress site could have disastrous consequences in the event of a server failure. There’s nothing more discouraging than seeing all of your time and hard work go right down the drain, so make sure you back up your site regularly.

Backups can be performed through either server controls, such as cPanel, or directly through the admin panel. To perform a backup from the admin panel, access Tools > Export > All content > and click “Download Export File.” This will save your entire site in a neatly compressed zip file that can be uploaded in the event of a critical server failure of crash.

Using The Default Favicon

Ever notice the small images located in your web browser’s tabs? These are known as favicons, and they can be customized to fit your site’s niche/theme. If you run a WordPress site about dogs, for instance, then perhaps you should change the favicon to a paw print.

So, how do you change the favicon? Using a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) program, log into your server and navigate through the images folder on your current theme until you find the default favicon (usually 16 x 16 pixels). Next, create a new image in Photoshop or your preferred image editing tool. Once your new favicon is complete, replace it with the default favicon.

Using WordPress’ Built-In Image Resize Tool

WordPress has a nifty little image editing tool that allows you to resize images on the fly. While this may seem harmless enough, it can increase your site’s load times by forcing visitors to load the original image before the resized image. It only takes a couple of minutes to resize your images in Photoshop, but doing so can make a noticeable difference in your site’s load times.

Wrong Platform

There are two different versions of WordPress: the hosted version, which is found at WordPress.com, and the self-hosted version, which is found at WordPress.org. While each version has its own advantages and disadvantages, the self-hosted version offers a greater amount of control. If you’re serious about building a website, stick with the self-hosted version.