Blogging is one of the most effective and influential ways to communicate with a large audience via the world wide web. Whether you are a self-proclaimed foodie who wants to share your culinary adventures with like-minded individuals, or you are the owner of a medium-sized business who is looking to connect with customers on a deeper level, a WordPress blog is always a beneficial tool.
In fact, companies who blog get 97 percent more links to their website in comparison to those who don’t blog. And 61 percent of online consumers in the United States have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog.
With statistics like these, it’s no wonder blogging is such a compelling marketing tool!
Unfortunately, it can be a challenge to find straightforward, step-by-step instructions to creating and establishing a dynamic, well-designed blog. The internet is saturated with information, and it can be overwhelming for a person who is new to blogging, but who is interested and invested in the idea of starting a blog.
This article covers the most common mistakes bloggers make when setting up a WordPress blog, and shares some inside tips for ensuring your blog is a cut above the rest.
Let’s get started! Here are the five mistakes you should never make when creating a WordPress blog.
Forgetting to Back Up
There is perhaps nothing more frustrating than making changes to your website, only for something unexpected to happen. Maybe you’ve accidentally deleted a portion of text that you really need, or maybe you made an adjustment to your theme but it caused other issues on your page. If you backed up your website, you’ll be able to restore your site to its last cached state, making your life a whole lot easier.
Without a backup, you’ll be left to do the repairs manually, which is not only risky, but incredibly time-consuming.
We recommend reading this easy-to-follow instructional article to familiarize yourself with the steps of backing up a WordPress site.
Bonus tip: Many people use WordPress plugins to automatically backup their sites. While this can be a great additional method of protecting your site, plugins can crash and fail. For the utmost peace of mind, it’s recommended that websites always be backed up manually first, with plugins being used as an added strategy.
Using “Admin” as Your Login Name
When a new WordPress site is created, the default username is always “admin,” and far too often users keep this username. The issue? Hackers are aware that hundreds of thousands of WordPress accounts have this username, meaning they only have to manipulate their way past the password.
Why only put one obstacle in a potential hacker’s way, when you could put two?
If you want to reduce the risk of your account being accessed by someone with ill intentions, always change your username when prompted during the setup process.
Have you already completed the setup process? Don’t worry. This handy step-by-step guide shows bloggers how to change their username at any time to increase security.
Bonus tip: Worried that your username isn’t strong enough? Follow these username and password best practices when creating your accounts. By following these simple guidelines, you decrease your likelihood of being hacked significantly.
Keeping the Default Permalink Structure
Permalinks are the addresses that appear in the search bar of your web browser when you are visiting a specific web page on the internet. They are the links that users share when directing others to your blog post or other areas of your site. In a nutshell? They’re important. Real important.
By default, WordPress will set your permalinks to look something like this:
While functional, these links are not ideal and do nothing to support the SEO of your site. Not to mention the fact that the numbers at the end of the link offer no explanation to users with regards to what they may be clicking, making them less likely to click the link and follow it to your website.
So, what can you do?
To start, read this comprehensive guide to changing permalinks. It contains everything you need to know about customizing your permalinks and making them more SEO-friendly.
Then, once you have an understanding of how to change your permalinks, it’s time to gain a firm grip on permalink best practices. Give this guide to the perfect permalink a read to arm yourself with all the information you need to create links that are readable, clickable, and highly optimized.
Bonus tip: Remember, in order for your URL to be most effective in search results, you want to be sure you are pleasing Google. The search engine giant recommends using three to five words in the slug of your permalink, so always aim to keep your URLs concise and to-the-point.
Choosing a Theme that Looks Nice, but Isn’t Functional
For most creative types, choosing a theme is one of the most enjoyable aspects of setting up their blogging site. With thousands of themes to choose from, there really is a style for every niche and industry you can think of.
Unfortunately, not every WordPress theme is as practical as it is pleasing to the eye.
It’s important to remember that WordPress themes are created by graphic designers, who then sell access to that theme to make a profit. While some designers make themselves available to answer questions about their theme and provide ongoing support, many do not. So it’s important to check the reviews of any theme you consider and do your research before shelling out your hard-earned cash. You don’t want to be stuck down the road when you’ve created your entire website around a specific theme, only to realize something isn’t working – especially if you are unable to get any feedback from the person who developed the theme to begin with.
Also, be sure to look into the theme license. Typically, you will have to choose between three licensing options:
- A one-time fee that includes ongoing updates and tech support
- A recurring payment (annually, monthly, bi-annually, etc.) that provides you with access to updates and support
- Paying for premium support on an “as-required” basis
Lastly, you want to make sure that your WordPress theme is highly customizable. You’ll likely want to make numerous changes to your site over time in order to create a streamlined look that matches your brand or to make your site function better for those who visit. Most theme sites will provide in-depth descriptions of the theme, and some even include reviews from others who have utilized that same theme. Do your digging before you pay!
Bonus tip: Want to be sure you are buying a high-quality WordPress theme from a reputable designer? Check out this 2018 list of top theme providers.
Your Design Isn’t Responsive
In today’s world, this is a cardinal rule that should always be met. Responsive design is what makes your website user-friendly across all devices, from cell phones to tablets to desktops. Without responsive design, you are essentially shooting yourself in the foot before you’ve even left the gate.
Not only do you make it more difficult for users to access and read your site when you opt for a non-responsive WordPress theme design, but you also penalize your site in the eyes of Google.
Oh, and did we mention mobile-responsive design also puts more money in your pocket?
In fact, in a recent study by Econsultancy, 68 percent of companies that developed a mobile-first, responsive website experienced an increase in sales after their website launched.
So, if you want to set your blog up with the best possible odds of being successful, mobile responsive design is a must.
Bonus tip: Unsure if your site is meeting Google’s needs in regards to mobile friendliness and design? Run it through Google’s mobile-friendly testing site! It only takes a second and provides you with a clear picture of what is working, and what needs improvement.
And there you have it! By avoiding these common missteps and taking advantage of the resources available to you, you can rest easy knowing that your blog is properly set up and optimized for maximum performance.
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