WordPress mistakes can be costly
Designing and building your own website can be a lot of fun. But if you make these WordPress mistakes, you may have to outsource to someone who can fix them for you.
I launched into my website with a lot of enthusiasm. But there’s a few things that I wish I’d done differently. Here’s some mistakes I made with my website.
Hopefully you can avoid these common WordPress mistakes too.
Common website mistakes
1. Not having your own domain name
Okay, I sat waiting for an appointment and set up a WordPress account in no time. I went with WordPress.com rather than WordPress.org as I didn’t do any research. Mistake No. 1
WordPress.com is hosted by WordPress so you end up with a URL that’s like this.
It’s free to create a website and there’s no hosting fee involved.
If you decide go with WordPress.org you need to register a domain and pay for hosting. But you get something like this
Plus you get a lot more options to customise your site style and customise for SEO.
2. Creating a mouthful of a URL
My choice of URL was based on there being another Kelly O’Donnell in the world. And one who’s also a writer, though she’s a journalist.
So I thought I’d create a URL based on my name rather than a business name. After all I was considering feature writing where you generally publish under your name.
To differentiate myself, I decided to use my middle name. Mistake 2. This means telling someone my web or email address is a lengthy process. I’m now looking at another URL and setting up a redirect page.
3. Not having a .com.au or similar
This is a no-brainer. I regularly search Google with a keyword then restrict by site:au. This applies to other countries as well. So, whatever country you’re in, I’d advise to get that country’s identifier on the end of your URL.
4. Not creating a Wordpress child theme
I have done a bit of programming, so I felt at ease with customising my style.CSS, my footer.php and generally customising my theme.
Unfortunately this mistake has been costly, more in time. I installed an update to my theme and overwrote all my website tweaks. Then I changed all my text sizes and colours back to how they were and have not updated my theme again.
The solution? I’m getting a developer to look at creating a child theme for me.
5. Editing your theme directly
Pasting custom code directly from an existing website into your theme’s editor. This is likely to result in an exercise in how to use FTP.
There’s heaps of help out there in the way developer forums. So you can grab someone’s code to customise bits of your site. Like creating dashed lines under hyperlinks.
The mistake I made was that there’s extra formatting in web pages and you need to paste into a text editor first. Otherwise, you’ll get the white screen of death on your site. You won’t even be able to login to your website admin panel.
But, you’ll have to use FTP to copy and edit your corrupt file. This is another thing to learn or it’s often simpler to outsource.
6. Failing to back up your website
When the above happened, I couldn’t just grab a backup. I hadn’t created one. So lesson 6 learned. Make sure your website is backed up so that if there’s an issue you can recover it.
7. Not creating blog categories
I only just worked out blog categories. These are like topics that each blog fall into. You can also have these displayed so that your web visitors can read your other blogs of the same category.
Once I created categories, I then assigned old posts under these new categories. In hindsight, I should have done this first.
8. Changing permalinks
I changed my permalinks as I thought that they had to sit under a category name to work. I’d changed them to
www.kellynicoleodonnell.com/copywriting/blog name rather than just
Permalinks have somehow been changed so that the post category is defined in the URL.
9. Deleting pages, posts, images
I’m a neat freak. I love order and having things nice and tidy. I decided my blog was going to take another direction. So I deleted a few pages. I also deleted some images that had their own pages too.
The result? 301 Page not found errors. I then had to redirect to another page.
10. Not planning my website structure from the start
When I started out, I had a totally different website structure to what I have now. I’ve moved things, I’ve written my copy numerous times. Plus I’ve played around with the structure.
While not a costly mistake, it’s something that is important to define before you start.
Over to you:
Please share any WordPress mistakes that you’ve made.