The Most Common Mistakes That Beginners Make With WordPress

Let’s face it: you’re going to make some mistakes when you’re just getting started making a blog with WordPress.

This is a good article, as far as it goes. It does leave out some key issues that can get overlooked. I think the author muddied the main points about the differences between the two types of WordPress platforms when he describes blogging for business. Most businesses need to have a web presence that has more to it than a blog when doing specialized sales and services–blogging will only take a realtor so far, for example.

Responsive themes

For a self-hosted site (using the flavor of platform), it is absolutely key that you get a responsive theme. Among the free themes available, there are a few that are still not ready for mobile viewers, which Google cites as being approximately 40% of users as of this writing (March 2016). So be sure to look for the word responsive when picking a theme or you will find that you cannot be found on the web.

Getting real about maintenance

I would add greater emphasis on the maintenance side of going with WordPress. Let’s just say it is more than most small business owners anticipate and yet it is not horribly overwhelming. You can head off quite a bit of woe by shopping for a hosting service that offers a slightly higher costing WordPress hosting service because it will save you time. These packages often include WordPress specialists in the support service and the ability to do testing on a “sandbox” copy of your live site without messing with that site. In many cases, there is added backup and restore features that are quick and easy to use, although it is best to duplicate the effort using a plugin like Updraft Plus which allows you to make copies that load onto a cloud storage service like Dropbox (the backups are encrypted as well). WordPress packages often have security suites like SiteLock that scan daily and alert you if there is a suspicious file turning up in your installation.

Jetpack?  Meh

Jetpack is a handy plugin, but it has been observed to have had issues in the past with sluggish performance due to what software engineers will call “bloat” (yeah, it sounds pretty ugly). If you are not in need of a lot of the tools it has, you can probably find really highly rated plugins that just do what you need. Page speed loading is now a component of Google’s page ranking system so the leaner you can be, the better.

Special editing features are a double-edged sword

Finally, it might be tempting to buy a premium theme that has a fancy, easy editing system built in (the so-called “drag and drop” interfaces) but do realize that there is a price to pay for this ease, and it affects speed. I have seen this first-hand. After the initial design, updating the textual content should be pretty straight-forward, so save yourself some money–this goes along with the author’s admonition to avoid paying for things you really won’t need.

Getting free help

I would recommend looking for a group in your vicinity that draws people interested in WordPress website development. WordPress Camp sponsors several so-called “WordPress Meetups” based on geographic locations. The WordPress Camps are not free, and only held periodically but a good local WordPress Meetup group will meet monthly and possibly more frequently if based in a larger city. The level of expertise varies widely and it is a great place for novices to learn some of the tips and tricks those of us who have been in the trenches have learned (including our mistakes and moments of panic!)