As a web designer and WordPress specialist, I have been called upon by customers asking for help quite a few times over the past years. What strikes me the most is, nearly all of them were making the same mistakes. So here we go!
1) You Have 23 Updates! Or Not Updating Your Website
OK 23 upgrades might be a little bit exaggerated, that is unless you decided to install a bunch of plugins because they were free. None the less, I think you would be more than surprised to see how many website owners have not updated their site since it’s been online, and most critically, they are still running an old unsecured version of WordPress.
If this is your case, I think you need to contact a WordPress Specialist to, first, perform a complete backup of your website and database, secondly, make the updates and, thirdly, try to remove or replace the plugins that may pose a security threat.
2) Having No Security Backups To Restore A Website
Once again I got called a few times by clients when things really got wrong, like they were trying to tweak there theme or plugins and now having a broken website displaying a PHP error message. Or worst, they tried to update plugins and/or WordPress versions, but their web host had a hick-up (or timeout) while upgrading which resulted in… no more website to be seen.
With a backup, a website can be restored and back online within minutes. In this time and age, keeping recent backups is like an insurance policy. If things goes wrong, and they often do if you’re like my friend Murphy, it’s important to protect your investment and make sure your site can be quickly brought back online, no matter what happens. For outside help, simply use a backup and update service.
3) Modify Your Theme’ Source Codes Without using a Child Theme
I have to admit that back in the days, when I first made the switch from building websites with Joomla to WordPress, I did the mistake of tweaking the PHP codes directly from the theme’ source codes a few times. Now these days are gone and I can laugh about it… LOL
Why was it a mistake? The most important reason is, when you modify the source code from a theme and try to update it, all the modifications you made in the past are now gone. This is why web developers are using child themes to make their modifications.
A child theme will use all the codes of your chosen theme, but the modifications are applied within the child theme’s folders. Therefore nothing will be lost when the original theme is updated. Here’s some information on how to create such a theme.
4) Keywords Stuffing: Abusing The Category And Tags Functions
The term “Keyword Stuffing” refers to the malpractice of loading the category names and tags with a combination of keywords in order to influence the ranking of your website on search engines. Google and other search engines do consider these tactics as SPAM, and such websites DO get penalized with lower ranking.
This clumsy stuffing technique is unfortunately still being exploited today, and most likely used by non-SEOs and do-it-yoursefers who will really go to extremes with it simply because they don’t know any better. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an art that works better when combined with relevant and useful content, not just keywords.
5) Opening All Links In A New Tab Or Window
Let’s go straight to the point, so here’s the rule for when to open, or not, a link in a new tab or window. All internal links, meaning if the link goes to a page within your website, just DON’T open a new tab, these links should load within the same window.
One client once told me, I still want to open my menu links in new tabs because I want my home page to say there. But seriously, opening internal menu links in new tabs will only annoy your visitors. Believe me, if people have to close 5-6 or more tabs after visiting your site, there’s a big chance they won’t be back.
The ONLY links that should open in a new tab are external links, meaning links pointing to other websites. So please be cautious with them, and your visitors shall be happy surfers!