On most Thursdays, I'll be bringing you tutorials on techie things we bloggers need to deal with. This tutorial is by my colleague, Jack Bishop.
WordPress is a leading out-of-the-box solution for website owners who need a quick blog or site without the extra cost and hassle of custom coding.
With WordPress, you can have a website up and running in minutes. With the ease of installation comes some common mistakes, especially if you're new to WordPress and handling a website altogether.
Here are seven common newbie mistakes that you should avoid.
Permalinks turn the “?p=123” at the end of your URLs into a “/my-content-topic/” structure. WordPress gives you several ways you can organize your URLs. You can organize them by date, category or post title.
The advantages of using permalinks are that you have a more easily remembered URL for users and they are more search engine friendly.
Your permalink settings are found in the administration panel under the “Settings” section. WordPress has a number of template URL setups you can use to organize your blog.
If you're new to WordPress, take advantage of the URL templates and avoid using custom URLs for when you accidentally make a mistake in your permalink code structure.
Keep WordPress Up To Date
WordPress deploys updates regularly to fix security holes and other software bugs. Hackers use scripts that continually scan the web to find insecure WordPress sites where owners haven't updated the software.
Always update your WordPress version to the latest immediately after a new release. With newer WordPress versions, you can set the software to update automatically.
Installing Insecure Plugins or Never Updating Plugins
Plugins are probably the number one way WordPress owners get hacked. Always be careful with plugins you install.
It's better to install a well-known plugin than one that isn't regularly maintained by the plugin owner. The plugin owner must update his code every time a new WordPress release is deployed. If they don't, your plugin might be rendered useless, which then affects your blog. Poorly coded plugins leave your site insecure and vulnerable. Don't install plugins just to install a functionality that you don't need.
Leaving the “Hello World” Initial Post
Each time you install WordPress, a sample post, a sample page and a sample comment are included after the installation. You can delete these properties or rewrite them to update the content.
Most site owners use the initial content as a road map for building their first blog page, post and comment. The difference between a page and a post is often difficult for newbie WordPress owners to understand, so editing these properties is easier than deleting them.
However, you must do one or the other, because leaving them up sends poor quality signals to search engine algorithms such as Google.
It's easy to get tied up with regular blog posts and management, but backups should never be disregarded. Don't put backups on the back burner. Decide how many days of data loss you can live with and make that your backup frequency.
For instance, if you create a post every week, you can probably get away with backups once a week. If you create new posts every day, you should set up backups every day.
Remember, you don't just back up the WordPress software. You also need to back up the database, which carries all of your critical data.
Clicking “Publish” Too Soon
With Google tightening up its algorithm and releasing content penalties such as Panda, it's critical that you only publish your content when it's ready. You should write, edit and revise your content before clicking “Publish.”
Don't publish content just to publish something on your site. [Tweet “It's better to publish one excellent post a week than ten average posts a day.”]
The algorithms judge quality not quantity. Users prefer quality over quantity. Hire an editor if you need edits. An editor can turn a bland, ungrammatical blog post into something enticing to readers.
Implementing Poor Passwords and No Login Security
You might be surprised by the number of attacks on your WordPress log-in. Wordfence is a WordPress plugin that protects your log-in page. It audits login attempts and tells you when an attempt to log in is made. It also scans your site for any other vulnerability.
There are several other protection plugins available, so you should choose at least one to protect your site from being hacked. Once a hacker has access to your administration panel, he can add content, edit pages or even delete your blog posts and pages.
The above is a list of a few common newbie mistakes. You can avoid the hassle of losing data, using poor SEO URL structures and getting hacked by taking note of these issues and avoiding the issue when you start your blog.
Jack Bishop has been designing websites since before the days of the DIY design. With a knack for clean and contemporary looks that function successfully, he often blogs about his experience and insights into crafting great websites for today's users.