When creating a WordPress website, everyone makes mistakes, and it is not a big issue. However, every mistake is a learning opportunity that helps you grow. By creating our websites and also helping others, we have learned to avoid some common WordPress mistakes. It has enabled us to save time, money and grow our business more effectively.
In this article, we’ll share those experiences with you, so you can avoid these common WordPress mistakes. So let’s talk about them:
1- Use Posts as Pages
Again, we see WordPress sites where the difference between pages and posts is unclear (more often), or the theme used does not make a difference between these two types of content (less often). It is pretty simple: A page is naturally more static, or let’s say permanently valid. A home, contact, about us, etc., are typical representatives of this type of content. It does not make sense that you can submit comments or a creation date can be seen in this type of content. Information about the author is also relatively unimportant.
All of this is (meta) information, which can be very useful in the case of naturally dynamic (or short-lived) content such as a post. When a post is written, this information is essential. It may also be necessary to put the information of who wrote the post, which category it was written, and the like. And you might want to be able to comment on a contribution. Posts have more of a news character. Pages contain general (and usually permanent) information. It just looks completely unprofessional when you have the opportunity to comment on the homepage of a website.
2- Paragraphs vs Line Breaks
If you write a text in the WordPress editor and click on “Enter”, there is a line break. Or is it not? And why is there often so much “air” between our lines? Because it is not a line break, a paragraph is usually different from the previous content (hence the name) and thus structures the content more readable. From a technical point of view, a section in HTML (and that always comes out at the front) is enclosed by “p” tags, while a “br” tag marks a line break. Line breaks should be avoided at the latest responsive designs because they can lead to undesirable effects with different screen resolutions. But if you want to have a line break, hold down the “Shift” key when you click “Enter”.
There are a few other effects where it is important not to break a line. Formatted headings, lists, etc. do not work immediately after a line break.
3- Insert Text Using Copy & Paste
Do you ever hear about common WordPress mistakes based on copy & paste issues? For example, we have a nicely formatted Word document, and we copy the text out and then paste it 1: 1 into our WordPress site. But why doesn’t it look like a Word document? Because HTML is not Word. And just because it seems to work similarly is far from being the case. In the best case, the Word document itself has so little formatting that it works on the WordPress site. In the worst case, it has so much arrangement that it shoots up the page and bloats it with unnecessary code junk.
Even if WordPress can now handle text from Word documents quite well, you should at least use the editor function “Insert as text” or the entire text beforehand in a pure text editor copy from there into WordPress. Then, all formatting is reliably lost, and the text can be formatted again in a decent and web-friendly manner.
The same applies, of course, to text from other sources, such as Powerpoint, PDF, etc.
4- Too Big Pictures
Every smartphone today can shoot several megapixel images. With “real” cameras, we quickly reach the double-digit megapixel range. In any case, even with high bandwidths, such photos are not suitable for being used unprocessed on the web because they can dramatically slow down a website due to the file size.
Yes, WordPress generates various small formats when uploading, and many themes force WordPress to create additional designs. But the giant picture still ends up on the server. It has to be saved and processed. And it is not uncommon for the original image with a smooth 6,000 × 4,000 pixels and 4.8 MB file size to be used. And because the image is automatically displayed smaller using CSS, you often don’t notice it immediately. Only when you see on the page that the image is being built up very slowly and line by line while you become aware.
So please have a look at the pictures on your computer beforehand and reduce them to a usable size before uploading them. Tools like Optimus also help save a lot of data without compromising image quality.
5- Too Small Pictures
Of course, pictures can also be too small to be professional enough. For example, if a preview image should be 300 × 200 pixels, but it is now only 100×75 pixels in size, it can quickly happen that the theme tries to display the image in the correct size anyway. The effect is the picture is distorted, pixelated, and blurred.
So it makes sense first to deal with the required image formats to avoid one of these WordPress mistakes. For example, we use 1030 × 360 pixels for the article images of our posts here in the blog. We always bring the pictures to this format beforehand and have Optimus optimize them again when uploading them. It is, of course, a bit more work, but it produces professional results with low loading times and server loads.
You May Also Read: How to earn money with WordPress plugins
6- Wrong Picture Formats
It is not infrequently seen, but it is also one of the significant WordPress mistakes. Pretty landscape photos are saved as GIF graphics or logos as JPG. Or someone tries his luck with uploading a TIFF format. You notice the latter pretty quickly because the image is not displayed in the browser.
As a simple rule of thumb, one can say that photos (portraits, landscapes, etc.) should always be saved as JPG. Illustrations or logos are more likely in PNG format. It can be essential, especially with logos, because PNG enables transparent backgrounds, and JPG does not. With a JPG, there is always a background, even if it is possibly white. It can look pretty stupid if you have a slightly transparent header in which the logo is placed.
7- Image Orientation
When placing images in a WordPress post (or page), you have the option of aligning the image left, right, centered, or not at all. Depending on the theme’s CSS, this is handled a little differently, but the basic features are always the same.
Alignment to the left is done using the CSS property float: left. This property tells the element that it should be aligned to the left so that subsequent parts (the text, for example) “flow” past the picture to the right. So far, that’s wonderful, as long as enough text flows around the concept. It becomes problematic when the text does not flow entirely around the image and the next image (also aligned to the left) follows directly. Then this image also tries to sail around the first one. The same thing happens with a subheading, a list, and each additional element until the following aspects have flowed past the picture. It can be done with pages/posts in which several images are built-in at short intervals.
So you have to be aware of the “float” property and try out whether images and texts also fit together in individual cases. In particular, responsive designs are essential to reduce the browser window’s size to see how the display changes and how it may look on tablets or smartphones.
There is actually little to say about that. The WordPress standard permalink structure is nonsensical and should be changed immediately after installing WordPress. Only “readable” permalinks make sense.
www.domain.com/?p=4711 = nonsense
www.domain.com/a-page = sensible
9- Too Many Plugins
Can someone tell us why you need a plugin for the one-time process of storing a Google Analytics code? Apart from the fact that many themes already have such functions, it is quicker to change the header.php (in most cases) than install the plugin. But that’s just a small example that is probably also very harmless. We have seen installations with 50 or more plugins more than once, half of which were not up to date, and when we asked, the website operator could not even tell us what many of the plugins are needed for.
Plugins are an excellent way to expand the functionality of WordPress, but you should approach the matter with brains and senses and think twice about whether you need Plugin XY. Unnecessary plugins should be deactivated and then deleted. Too many plugins burden the system unnecessarily and are always a source of problems. It is not for nothing that the first advice in support forums is often “deactivate all plugins and see if the problem persists.”
10- Apparent Security
We’ll install the security plugin XY. That does all the important work for us and we’re sure. You can do it, but it’s mostly nonsense. Fake collateral is “sold” to you and you feel well protected. The scope of some such plugins is really monstrous and the “security measures” are often more than dubious. Of course, these plugins don’t really do any harm, but they don’t make the site any more secure than a clever password and possibly additional .htaccess protection.
We have also had good experiences with the Limit Login Attempts plugin. It protects (of course not 100%) against so-called brute force attacks on the WordPress login. So the attempt to automatically try out typical username/password combinations using a script until one fits. The plugin blocks the login after three attempts for 24 hours. It also logs the attack attempts and shows you very clearly how often you are attacked.
In addition to passwords, which are more likely to be described as door openers, malicious code smuggled in through themes or plugins is a frequent cause of hacked websites. So never install themes or plugins from obscure sources. The WordPress plugin or themes repository are safe sources. Likewise, the professional theme or plugin providers. But, of course, there is no such thing as 100% security.
So that was our little top 10 list of common WordPress mistakes. We hope it will help WordPress users to make their WordPress website a little better. If you have any difficulties, please join our Theme Rally Community to ask your questions.