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5 Mistakes WordPress Site Owners Make

Many site owners focus on the aesthetics of their new site, but overlook important “under the hood” basics. Here are the five most common mistakes I uncover while working with website + branding clients AND how you can solve them yourself.

5 common WordPress website mistakes and beginner tips for how to fix them. Learn about security, updates, plugins, image optimization, and more.

Disclosure: Some of the links on my site are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase from one.

1 – Writing Content Outside of WordPress

Let’s start with a simple one. Where do you actually write your blog posts? If it’s not directly into WordPress, you’re missing out… especially with the new Gutenberg block editor!

If you’re still writing your blog posts in your word processing program {think Word}, then it’s time to make the jump straight into your WordPress dash. This will prevent formatting issues and let you take advantage of Headings, Quotes, Lists, and other special features. As a bonus, it also automatically saves your work as you go.

2 – Skipping Security

Your WordPress security should keep your site safe from spam and false logins alike. Thankfully there are plugs like Antispam Bee to reduce spam comments and Wordfence to handle malicious attempts.

You can add an additional layer of protection by NOT using “admin” as your default login username. The majority of my false login attempts are always bots trying to login with this default username, which doesn’t even exist on my site. Also make sure you’re using a strong password that’s unique to each site you run.

Finally, are you using an SSL certificate? This is a FREE option with most hosts that upgrades your URL to https:// instead of http://.

3 – Ignoring Updates

This is a big one. WordPress is not a “once and done” install. WordPress itself, your theme(s), and plugins will all require maintenance. Fortunately, these are usually simple to do.

WordPress can do “automatic” updates, but I personally recommend manual updates instead so you have more control. Sometimes an update is glitchy and needs an immediate update to the update because it causes conflict. For this reason, I’ll typically wait a few dates before making updates to let other people discover the problems first and give them time to be corrected.

IMPORTANT! You should be running some kind of backups on your website. Your host may do this for you, and I personally run UpDraftPlus as an additional layer. These backups will be invaluable should your site crash due to maintenance, so always make sure you have one that’s up-to-date before any changes.

Not sure if you need updates? If you’re using Wordfence, you’ll receive daily emails with notifications that let you know when your site needs updates. Or when you log into your WordPress dash, pay attention to the left sidebar which will notify you with little icons beside any needed updates.

Typically the update is very simple. You can click to view the specifics of the update and then click “update now” and WordPress will do the rest.

However sometimes there are MAJOR updates that you need to be more cautious about. For an update like this, I always do my due diligence before hitting update.

4 – Slowing It Down

I don’t know anyone who likes sitting in traffic. Is your site slowing you down? Speed matters! There are two big ways to speed up your site– cache and compress.

Website caching means that some of your content is stored as-is for returning users so that your site loads faster for them in the future. WP Super Cache is a good free option.

Compressing means you should load the smallest version of an image necessary to look good on your site. In addition to uploading your images that way to begin with, you can take it a step further by compressing them on your site. Smush Image Compression is a good option.

5 – Installing Too Many Plugins

If you listen to nothing else, listen to this. Do not go overboard on plugins. There are plugins for just about everything, each one shinier and more impressive than the last.

However each plugin adds extra bulk to your site (speed) and opens the door to needing extra updates and security.

Your goal should be to use as few plugins as possible to get the job done. Before installing a new plugin, ask yourself if you really need it.

If you opt to discontinue using a plugin, be sure to deactivate and delete it.

Need More WordPress Help?

I am always here to help with your WordPress needs. Whether you need design, installation, or maintenance help… I’m here! Browse popular services in my shop, or contact me for custom needs.

You can also find more free DIY WordPress guides on my blog.

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client love

Working with Christi was an absolute dream. She was prompt, responsive, and incredibly helpful for a client who is largely uncomfortable with web and graphic design. She made me feel comfortable asking questions, and handled suggested revisions with welcome input and ease.

Design by Christi Fultz // Website Design + Branding for Entrepreneurs
2019-12-24T15:50:30-05:00
Working with Christi was an absolute dream. She was prompt, responsive, and incredibly helpful for a client who is largely uncomfortable with web and graphic design. She made me feel comfortable asking questions, and handled suggested revisions with welcome input and ease.
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Design by Christi Fultz // Website Design + Branding for Entrepreneurs
2019-12-24T15:50:53-05:00
I have hired Christi, over a number of years, to design various projects, from rebranding to blog design. She truly is my go-to designer. She knows what questions to ask, always communicates promptly and professionally and is infinitely patient throughout the process.
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Design by Christi Fultz // Website Design + Branding for Entrepreneurs
2019-12-24T15:52:08-05:00
Working with Christi has saved me so much time and frustration. If you are debating if it’s worth the money like I was, I’m in the other side of it to say it was worth every penny. I highly recommend her and plan to use her services again.
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Design by Christi Fultz // Website Design + Branding for Entrepreneurs
2019-12-24T15:52:50-05:00
It was an absolute pleasure to have Christi give my website a new, improved look. She took what seemed like an overwhelming process and broke it down into easy to understand steps. Her communication skills were flawless. She consistently responded quickly and professionally, while also remaining friendly and personable.
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2019-12-24T15:53:14-05:00
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Design by Christi Fultz // Website Design + Branding for Entrepreneurs
2019-12-24T15:53:53-05:00
From the very first email, she was professional and thorough. Christi was patient and helped us to understand all of the critical steps in getting the end website that we dreamed of. She went above and beyond to make sure that she worked quickly and diligently.
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Design by Christi Fultz // Website Design + Branding for Entrepreneurs
2020-03-12T14:03:10-04:00
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Design by Christi Fultz // Website Design + Branding for Entrepreneurs
2020-05-19T21:06:24-04:00
Working with Christi was an absolute dream as she took my ideas and made them reality, one patient step at a time. She interpreted my ideas and helped me create a website that I absolutely love! I could not recommend working with her enough!
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Design by Christi Fultz // Website Design + Branding for Entrepreneurs
2019-12-24T15:46:19-05:00
I really don’t know if I can put into words how grateful I am! When I was a brand new blogger trying to get my business off the ground, she delivered! She is insanely easy to work with, highly-talented, and a true professional. I cannot recommend her enough.
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Design by Christi Fultz // Website Design + Branding for Entrepreneurs
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