The great thing about WordPress is that it allows people who are a wordpress beginner and don’t have technical knowledge of website development to manage their own websites with ease. This very fact can be a bad thing too though, with people often ignoring basic things and then paying the price of it. WordPress is great but if you do not do the required WordPress maintenance you are going to end up with a slow and unsecure website. Here are 5 of the most common egregious mistakes we see with WordPress projects:
1. Not Creating a Backup
This is the biggest mistake made by new users. New users haven’t experienced issues with website maintenance and thus do not realize the importance of backups. People tend to realize the need for a backup AFTER they need it. Here’s a basic tip: No matter how bad you mess up your website, it can be quickly fixed by restoring a previous WordPress backup most of the times. If you do not have a backup then you will have no way to revert changes which have irreparably damaged your website.
It is easy to create WordPress backups. You can simply use the internally available WordPress feature by going to the dashboard, then tools, and then export. The available plugins will also make things much easier. You can use plugins like UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration or Duplicator to simply create backups with just a few clicks. Create an automatic backup mechanism to make sure your website faces the minimum possible downtime.
2. Getting the Theme From An Untrustworthy Source
This is one of those things which we keep seeing in personal and small business websites. If any developer is creating a website then this will not be an issue. However, if the website is being made by a non-technical person or by some young relative of the business owner, then we are very likely to see this issue. This typically happens when people do not want to pay for themes, instead downloading the premium theme for free from a torrent or from some untrustworthy website and uploading it to their WordPress website.
Here’s the thing; the theme they uploaded and started using is essentially a bunch of code. The person who shared the theme could have easily injected malicious code somewhere in the theme and now that code is running on your website. This is a horrible mistake and we are surprised to see how common it is.
If you want a theme for free, then feel free to download free themes available on the official website. If you want a premium theme, pay for it at the original website of the theme. Do not risk your whole website for a theme.
3. Not Changing Defaults
WordPress comes fully configured so you can test everything. A common mistake is to leave the defaults as is. This will result in a bad image of the website but it can also sometimes result in your website’s security being compromised. Some people never change the default WordPress security password. This isn’t something seen in professionally made websites.
Other defaults when left unchanged can make the website look unprofessional. Many people don’t change the tagline “just another blog“. Not changing the tagline is really bad when it is that particular tagline. Imagine creating a blog and wanting to make it stand out but the tagline says it’s just another blog. The same goes for the default favicon; customize it so it represents your brand.
Leaving the default page structure intact is another big mistake. By default, WordPress will name your pages like p=325 and this is really bad for SEO. Change it to something more attractive.
4. Not Maintaining WordPress Updates
WordPress updates are vital for your website. There are two different types of mistakes we usually see when it comes to updates.
The first is that many people don’t update their website at all. They just completely ignore the updates and keep using an older version. The problem with this is that the updates contain fixes for security risks. If an issue is discovered WordPress will create an update as quickly as possible and publish it. If you do not update then you are leaving your website vulnerable.
The other type of issue is that people don’t do maintenance for their WordPress updates. They don’t manage the plugins properly and sometimes some plugins stop working. You have to make sure your plugins are compatible with the latest updates to make sure your website will work properly. WordPress makes it easy to do and you can see which plugins might be having issues directly from your dashboard on the plugins page.
5. Not Thinking About WordPress Security
New users usually do not worry about security until after they have been hacked. The worst part is that WordPress makes it very easy to make your website secure. All you need to cover are a few basics and you will be good to go.
We already talked about backups, but you NEED to have a backup in case of a security breach.
You need to make sure you have limited login attempts. This keeps you safe from brute force attacks. The lesser number of allowed login attempts, the lesser the variations that can be tried on your website.
You also need to use two factor authentication wherever possible. Using two factor authentication keeps you safe from people stealing your passwords through key-loggers.
Once you have done these few basic things your WordPress security will be much better. There are also some WordPress services available which continuously monitor your website for attacks.
So if you’re working on WordPress maintenance make sure that you do not make these common mistakes. Once you have backups, you will also feel much more confident when it comes to tinkering with your website. Once you start tinkering with the website, you will truly begin to learn how website building works.