While WordPress is really easy to use, there are some things that WordPress users tend to avoid which lates causes them to panic. Although there are a lot of guides that stress upon the best practices to follow while running a WordPress website, users still tend to overlook some of the most important set of activities. Today, we will shed light on some of the crucial things that no WordPress user should avoid.
Ignoring Mobile Compatibility
As more and more people use their smartphones and tablets to browse the web, having a functioning website on smaller screens is important. If a visitor can’t read your content or navigate through your site on their mobile device, they’re more likely to leave your site and visit one of many similar websites on the internet to get answers.
If you have google analytics incorporated on your site, you can view the number of mobile & desktop visitors on your website. If you have a high rate of mobile visitors visiting your site, you need to do the same from your end in order to see what others experience from a clearer perspective.
So, the best practice would be to start with a responsive WordPress theme that really works and offers better design options for all smartphone screen sizes.
Upgrade Your PHP Version
PHP 7+ offers one of the biggest jumps in performance we’ve seen so far from this particular software. If your web server is still running a previous version of it, (5.6 os or less) and if those versions are outdated since 2014, you will not be able to run any plugins on the newest versions of WordPress. It is an important factor to keep your PHP updated to the latest version in order to receive the latest security patches and plugin compatibility.
To update your PHP, you just need to access your website’s cPanel and click on ‘PHP config’ or something like this (it changes according to the host), and it will let you select the section that you want. In addition, you can also contact your host’s support team and ask for more assistance.
Bad Hosting Services
Most smart business owners utilize websites and blogs to engage with existing clients and reach potential customers. While most business owners see the value of creating awesome content, the importance of selecting a good web host often takes a back seat. In my experience, most small businesses end up making the wrong choice in the beginning because they do not properly evaluate their needs and use a simple and cheap host plan, without a good response time, SSL or compatible with the latest versions of PHP. By no means does this mean you need the most expensive web host, just understand your site’s purpose and the traffic that you can attract, after that, do some research and try to read reviews about the service you intend on using through social networks.
Backups, Backups, Backups
When should you backup? If you don’t have a plugin or a hosting platform running backups for you automatically, you will need one. Always backup before you make any substantial changes to your sites, like WordPress itself, themes or plugins updates for example. If you do update part of your site and it breaks the whole thing, you’ll need either a) the ability to quickly fix the error or b) a backup of your site to roll back to, but all you will have to put up with is that you might end up facing some downtime. You can find a lot of amazing free WordPress plugins for this purpose, some good ones can be downloaded here.
Remove Useless Plugins
Every single plugin you upload and activate into your WordPress site, consumes resources and can slow down your site, it also serves as a possible back-door that can compromise your site’s security, so, always check your plugins section, delete anything that it’s not really important for your site, and make sure that the remaining ones are updated regularly so you can avoid this common WordPress issue.
A good practice would be only to keep the best WordPress plugins on your site.
Upload Images In Any Size
Images are crucial for your website. They provide visual cues for users and strengthen your brand’s identity — and photos are an integral part of an online experience too.
Plus, when your images are optimized for SEO (with descriptions and keywords on it), they can drive lots of new traffic (and boost sales!) Particularly, if you have an online store or photography portfolio, images are the defining reason users visit your site in the first place, right? Poor images are simply not an option.
However, if you’re uploading images onto your site that is too large in size, they could affect page loading time and, in turn, contribute to a higher bounce rate and lost conversions. If you’ve ever reduced the size of an image, you’re likely aware of the risk of damaging the quality. So always optimize your images to keep loading times optimal.
Not Using a Testing Domain
As WordPress users progress in their career, their site grows as well. When running stable and professional websites, editing everything live is not the best option. To work on a WordPress site, we recommend our users to install WordPress locally on their Windows or Mac computers first. Once you are done and satisfied with your website, you can upload it from localhost to live server.
There is one problem with this method. What if something that worked on your localhost does not work on the live server? This would cause errors which can be a problem for established sites because it can affect search engine rankings, sales, first impression on users, etc. Instead of uploading your changes to the live site, you can upload them to a staging site on the same server. A staging site is a separate development area on your site (usually a sub-domain) with restricted access. This is where you can test your changes or use it for all your development. Once you have thoroughly tested your site, you can then upload it to your live server.
Ignoring Search Engine Optimizations
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site’s user experience and performance in organic search results. You’re likely already familiar with many of the topics in this guide because they’re essential ingredients for any web page, but you may not be making the most out of them. WordPress has a lot of SEO plugins for free to help you out.
The above mentioned list of things is often ignored by WordPress users as I have experienced through my 8 years as a WordPress themes developer and support professional for a lot of users. If you invest more time and take your work seriously, you will be able to avoid these mistakes easily.