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​These are the biggest WordPress website mistakes and here's how to fix them

WordPress website
(Image credit: Unsplash)

WordPress is a fantastic tool for creating websites, but its expansive nature can lead to configuration mistakes. The content management tool has evolved over the past 18 years and even seasoned WordPress users can be caught out by changes in the software or overlook a new feature. 

A poorly configured WordPress installation can cause security leaks, performance issues, or simply make the day-to-day management of your website more of a chore. Some mistakes people seem to make time and time again, and it's these common issues we’ve highlighted in this article.

Below are some of the biggest and most common WordPress website mistakes we notice people make and the steps to take to fix them.

1. Not providing team members, contractors, or vendors the right level of access to your WordPress site 

WordPress has a robust access permission system you can use to give all the people who work on your website appropriate access to the site. In the rush to get a website live, these user permissions are often overlooked. It’s easier to share your username and password with members of your team, SEO specialists you employ, your web host, or your virtual assistant rather than set up different user accounts for them. But sharing passwords or giving people too high a level of access to your website is a big security concern that leaves your website more vulnerable to attack.

Instead, give people a WordPress account with the appropriate user level. WordPress has five user permission levels. A Subscriber can only read the content on your site. A Contributor can edit, read, and delete their own posts, but they can’t publish them. Anyone with Author permissions can also view comments, but they can’t moderate or delete comments. An Editor can create, edit, publish, and delete all pages and posts, manage comments, and alter the links in menus. They can’t install or edit themes or add new users. Finally, an Administrator has complete authority over the WordPress installation and can do everything from installing new plugins to deleting old user accounts.

Give every person working on your WordPress site their own user account with the lowest permission level they need to complete their job. Very few people should have Administrator access, and no one should be sharing passwords. When someone leaves your company or no longer needs access to your WordPress website, disable their user account.

2. Not completing the most basic yet critical search engine optimization tactics for every page and post on your site 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing web pages to make them perform better on search engines. With a well-optimized website, your web pages will appear higher in the search results for important searches. If your website is displayed before your competitor’s site, you can beat them to the punch and bag more customers.

Search engines consider many factors when deciding which websites to list in search results and in which order. Many people assume that all they need to do is post content on their WordPress website and it’ll be optimized, but there are many things you can do to improve your website’s rankings. 

Optimize all of the images on your pages so that your site loads quickly. Use subheadings and internal links that contain natural keyword phrases so search engines can accurately gauge what your site is about. At the very least, write a compelling HTML title that clearly states the topic of the page and includes a key phrase people will search for. It should be around 50-55 characters long. Fill in the 160-character meta description, too. It is displayed in the search engine results and entices people to visit your page.

3. Not creating redirects when a URL is changed or a blog post or page is deleted 

Whenever you move a web page to a new URL, there could still be thousands of links to the old page. URLs get changed all the time when you optimize for SEO, change tags, or alter your site categories. Instead of showing visitors a 404 page, redirect the old pages to the new pages automatically.

There are quite a number of ways to perform these redirects, each with pros and cons. With a WordPress site, the easiest and most comprehensive way to make sure all your pages are redirected when the URL changes is to use a plugin. Redirection plugins for WordPress such as Safe Redirect Manager take care of the process automatically so you never lose out on business because of a changed URL.