Bill Quinn
Bill Quinn

Internet Consultant, Senior Copywriter, Web Developer

WordPress Beginners: 7 Little-Known Mistakes

WordPress beginners sometimes shoot themselves in the foot when setting up their sites. In this article, we’ll go over 7 mistakes beginner WordPress users make.

Inside this Article:

You will learn the following:

  • 7 little-known mistakes that WordPress Beginners often make
  • Easy fixes that anyone can handle
  • Additional mistakes you may have overlooked

Number 1: installing WordPress in a subdirectory called WordPress.

The WordPress zip file places all core files in a folder entitled “WordPress.” Logical enough, right?

Unfortunately, Some beginners make the mistake of uploading this folder rather than uploading the files and folders contained within it.

Wordpress Beginners

When you upload the parent folder, your website gets directed to yourwebsite.com/wordpress rather than just yourwebsite.com.

(Check your File Manager Section in your webhost Cpanel to view how these files are organized.)

WordPress does allow you to install in any directory you want, but it’s easier to just install it in the default location. That would be the root of your domain under public HTML.

Number 2. Not changing the permalinks setting on new websites.

When you first set up your new site, you should change the permalinks setting. (See Settings/Permalinks in the left hand column of your site’s Dashboard.)

By default, the permalink structure for WordPress is https://webnoobs.com/?p=123. Many beginners do not change this structure to a more user-friendly option using post name.

Result: long and unfriendly post links.

Instead, on the Permalinks page under Common Settings, change the default to the Post Name option. Then your links will read https://webnoobs.com/sample-post/.

Much friendlier and more readable!

Number 3: Publishing incomplete pages.

Nothing screams out “hey, I’m a newbie!” more than a website that has pages without content or otherwise not ready for visitors. Beginners frequently launch their website before it’s ready.

So when a visitor comes and clicks on a navigation link, instead of seeing your new shiny site, they just see a coming soon page or one with incomprehensible gibberish.

WordPress Beginner mistake

As a rule, you should never link to any page on your site that is not complete.

Doing so will alienate visitors and give them the impression you’re not taking your website seriously.

There may be an occasional reason to do this, however, such as a landing page for a new project where you collect emails.

But for the most part, it’s a no-no.

The best practice is to wait until your website is complete before you launch it. While building your website, you can use a maintenance mode plug-in to keep interested parties informed of your launch date.

Number 4: Not deleting unnecessary plugins.

A common WordPress Beginner mistake: too many plugins

Plugins that are not being used should be deactivated and uninstalled. Keep in mind that the more plugins in you have, the slower your site may load and the higher the risk for hacking.

For WordPress beginners and pros alike, it’s always a good practice to keep the number of plugins to a minimum.

Number 5: Failure to keep WordPress up to date.

It’s important to keep WordPress and any themes and plugins you are using up to date at all times.

Keeping your site full of out-of-date plugins significantly increases your chance of a crash. Or if it doesn’t crash, you may just get hacked or infected with malware. It’s not uncommon for this to be one of the reasons why small biz websites fail.

Fortunately, recent versions of WordPress allow for an automatic update of many plugins. Go into your Plugins page and select the “Enable Automatic Update” option next to each plugin.

Keep checking on those plugins which may not allow an automated update, and follow the manual update links when activated to keep the file updated.

Number 6: Not using a strong password.

Always use strong passwords to protect you from brute-force attacks and other bad things people do to your site.

Many WordPress beginners fail to do this and thus set up unpleasant hacks and even loss of access to their own sites.

Fortunately, WordPress gives you a built-in way to generate a strong password. Just go to the user profile you want to change, scroll to the bottom, and click “generate password.”

Update the profile and you’re good to go. Just make sure you write down the new password!

Number 7: Failure to make frequent backups.

WordPress beginners (and pretty much all website owners, for that matter) fail to recognize the importance of backing their website up often enough.

Don’t be that WordPress beginner who ignores backups and all of a sudden his websites are hacked. The data disappears and he loses all his files. It’s a horrible experience, but so easily avoidable.

It’s a shame that so many people need to experience data loss in order to learn the importance of backing up. Especially since backing up really is a piece of cake.

Check with your hosting company to see what backup options are available to you, or search for a suitable plugin that automates the process for you.

WordPress Beginners: Take action today!

If your site is new, it’s critical to make sure you’re not guilty of any of these 7 common mistakes. I’ve made them, so have countless other folks, both WordPress beginners and experienced pros. Correct any of these issues as soon as possible.

Naturally, there are more than 7 mistakes you can make in setting up WordPress, especially for WordPress beginners.

  • You could choose the wrong platform–WordPress.org vs WordPress.com. The latter is usually most suitable for bloggers and small biz websites. Both have their pros and cons.
  • You could forget to change the default admin user name.
  • You could use a theme that loads too slowly because of poor or inefficient coding.
  • You use the default tagline, “just another blog.” Shame!
  • You don’t use your own favicon.
  • Your category structure is too complex or ignores SEO.
  • You don’t have a contact form.
  • You don’t have a caching plug-in.
  • You fail to use Google Analytics
  • Your site is not mobile-friendly.
  • You don’t optimize your images.
  • You’ve got the wrong hosting company and as a result, your site is slow to load.

Lots to watch out for, right? Tackle just one problem area at a time.

At the end of the day, all you can do is learn from your mistakes.

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