Avoiding Common WordPress Mistakes: A Developers Guide 2024

WordPress Beginner Mistakes

Master WordPress: Learn how to sidestep typical errors for an optimized website experience

As a WordPress developer, freelancer, or agency manager, understanding WordPress’s intricacies is key to avoiding common errors. Despite its popularity, WordPress isn’t immune to issues. In this guide, I’ll highlight typical WordPress mistakes and how to sidestep them, ensuring your website is both effective and efficient.

Let’s dive right in!

  1. “To dive deeper into plugin optimization, check out our comprehensive guide on the 11 Best WordPress Image Optimization Plugins 2024.”
  2. “Enhance your website’s performance with our curated list of the 26 Best WordPress Speed Optimization Plugins 2024.”
  3. “For robust website protection, explore our detailed overview of the 31 Best WordPress Security Plugins To Secure Your Site in 2024.”

1. Installing Too Many Plugins

Fault: If you want to add new functionality to your site, choose the plugin to install very carefully. First of all, when it comes to plugins, it’s a good idea not to get carried away and only install what is strictly necessary (ideally no more than 15).

The least when it comes to installing plugins. WordPress Plugin database contains quite a lot more than 50,000 plugins that may get you to feel like a kid in a candy store and want to have a go at them all. But if you install too many plugins, it would result in your site to bloat and run slower than a herd of snails traveling through peanut butter. (Okay .maybe not that slow, but you get the gist.)

fix: So don’t forget to always do all the updates for the plugins. In fact, not doing the updates could cause compatibility problems between the plugins and the theme installed on your site, and between the plugins and WordPress itself.

If you notice that a plugin has not been updated by the author for a long time, consider replacing it with an alternative tool. Choose the plugins you install wisely, and be certain to remove those not being used. Ask yourself, is this mandatory to the functionality of my client’s site

Not Uploading A Favicon

Using your company logo as a favicon is an excellent way to display your brand and it enforces brand consistency across platforms. For most themes, the favicon should be a .png file with dimensions of 512 x 512 pixels. You can use Canva or another free design program to create your logo in this format.

If you’re not sure how to create a favicon, or want to learn more about designing one, check out how to create a favicon in canva.

From the dashboard, go to Design > Logo & Title > Browser Icon (Favicon) Click Add a Favicon and select your file to upload. Save your changes.

Leaving Comments Open

First, you can set a limit on how many comments each post can have. For example, if you only want a few comments, you can set it to five or ten. You can also choose whether WordPress should display the number of comments left on the post. If you want to display this information, select the “Show” option. Otherwise, select the “Don’t Show” option.

You can also choose whether you want to allow pingbacks and trackbacks on your site. These are links from other sites that refer back to yours in some form. You might not want these because they could be spammy links or unrelated to your content or audience.

However, if you do want these on your site, select the “Allow” option next to each one. Similarly, you can choose whether you want WordPress to display these links under the posts where they occur. Choosing this option will allow users who click on your website and read your blog posts to see which sites link back to yours and what they say about it. This might lead them back to your site later and help with SEO, so it could be a good choice for some sites

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2. Not Optimizing Content For SEO

Fault: Publishing a piece of content in the absence of putting thought into SEO is simply an opportunity missed. To increase traffic and be confident that your content is search engines friendly, it’s imperative that you prepare your written content and images with SEO in mind.

The fix: Care to install a WordPress SEO plugins like Yoast or Rank Math which will greatly up your SEO game by giving you helpful tips on how to make your content more likely to rank on Google.

3. Neglecting to back-up a site

Fault: Failing to consistently back-up your clients’ sites is almost the same as spending months writing a novel and never hitting “save” on all the work done. Making a backup of your work is fundamental so that you do not lose anything should an outage or other issues occur.

fix: Most web hosts provide tools to generate and download backup copies of your site. If you have any questions, make sure you understand if this feature is included in your hosting plan and how to use it.

There are a few hosting companies which give daily automatic (or on-demand) wordpress database backup so you don’t have to bother about doing it yourself.

4. Not changing the default permalink structure

Fault: At present, the permalink structure in WordPress has not been set for SEO. You would want to change yours or clients’ site’s permalink structure to get better article rankings, which is fairly easy to do.

The default configuration of permalinks in WordPress is not optimized for SEO optimization (that is, the structure of permalinks is not optimized for search engines).

We, therefore, advise to review this aspect and, in the case of Settings> Permanent links, select the Option Item name/Item name.

fix: In order to change the permalink structure in WordPress, go to Settings -> Permalinks and select “Post name.” If the site has old content, you would want to redirect old permalinks to the new ones. Yoast has an awesome redirect tool you can use to generate redirects from your old permalink structure to a new one.

Warning! If you are still creating your site, this is an option you can work on without major problems. If you’ve already posted content, however, be careful, as changing this setting actually changes all of the permalinks on your site. (could, therefore, generate 404 error in wordpress if not treated correctly). If necessary, configure redirects.

5. Ignoring WordPress core, theme, and plugin updates

The mistake: Making use of an out-dated version of WordPress is like opening the front door of your site to hackers. Plugins, themes, and WordPress sites that aren’t up-to-date present security vulnerabilities—these out-dated files are traceable, and basically let the bad guys in. Also read our post on How to Scan & Detect Malware in WordPress Theme

Fix: Be sure to keep your client’s plugins, themes, and WordPress core updated. Within your dashboard, next to “Updates” and “Plugins” there will be a number that appears if any of your plugins (or WordPress core) needs to be updated.

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6. Changing a post’s URL after it’s been published

Fault: It can be inviting to go into an article and change its URL when making an update of an old blog post or page, but this is something you and your clients should completely avoid. By modifying the post slug, you damage all existing links to that post. Any old links will lose traffic and present a bad user experience, often in the form of a 404 error page.

The fix: Prior to publishing an article, be certain the post slug is the way you want it. In addition, if you have installed Yoast SEO, it will give you tips for optimizing URLs, such as removing “stop” words and shortening the post slug.

7. Using bad (or no) visuals.

Fault: Images are fundamental to keeping a reader’s attention within a text-heavy article. Studies have revealed content with visuals gets 94% more views than those not having them. Also, the human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Therefore, you should also add images within your content as deemed appropriate to gain readership.

 fix: Making payment for a stock photography membership is out of the question, there are a lot of free image options out there. Unsplash.com supplies high-quality, professional imagery, but other options include Flickr.com and others. Just be certain to give attribution to the photographer when required.

8. Not resizing images for web upload.

Fault: Having Images are often the culprit to a slow site and you should seriously consider preparing your images for upload by reducing their size. This can be done either by using an editor like Adobe® Photoshop, or a plugin to resize images so they’re not taking up a huge chunk of space and causing your site to run super slow.

fix: If you’re working in Adobe® Photoshop, make sure to Image – > Image Size. Be certain the resolution is set to 72. You will have to reduce the width of the image if applicable. 2,500 pixels on the wide side is ideal for displaying images at large on the screen—you can decrease this size to around 600 to 1,000 pixels on the wide side for regular site display. This will reduce the file size drastically, resulting in less bandwidth required to upload images whenever someone visits your client’s site.

Make sure to set the resolution to 72 pixels/inch for web upload. If “Resample” is checked, the image’s dimensions will automatically be reduced when you adjust the resolution.

9. Adding customizations to a parent theme.

Fault: If you’re looking to customize a client’s theme, doing so could result in a whole lot of headache if you modify the theme directly. Changing a theme’s code can create unwanted changes and potentially cause downtime for your site.

fix: The safest way to edit a theme is with a child theme, which takes the functionality of the parent theme. A child theme allows you to make changes without ruining your original theme’s code, ensuring your modifications aren’t lost.

10. Failure to use a staging environment.

Fault: Say you want to test a theme, plugin, or custom code on your client’s site. It would be unwise to make these changes directly to the live site—your clients won’t be too happy if their website crashes because you’re tweaking things on the back end.

fix: Before deploying changes to the live site, the best practice is to use a staging environment to test any changes before going public. We have listed best staging wordpress plugins in 2024 for you to create your test site.

Quality hosting providers offer free staging environments. Every site hosted on such hosting has three different environments: development, staging, and production. To provide customers with the needed flexibility to build and test new projects. There are also a number of plugins that enable testing environments, or you can set one up yourself from scratch.

Using the default admin username.

Fault: By default, after WordPress is installed the username is “admin,” which is troublesome in terms of security. Hackers can easily guess that name and take control of your website.

Fix: If you still have “Admin” as a username, CHANGE YOUR WORDPRESS USERNAME NOW. Create a new administrator account in your WordPress dashboard. Go to “Users” and select “Add new.” Create a new user and ensure that the role of the new user is set to administrator. Log out of your account. Log in again under your new administrator account. Delete the old “Admin” account under “Users.” Use your new administrator account to log in from now on.

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12. Using a weak password.

Fault: People more often create a weak password because they don’t want to forget it. However, a good password should be random and complex, not predictable or simple. The easier your password is for you to remember, the easier it will be for hackers to perform brute-force attacks and guess your password.

fix: A strong password should include a minimum of eight characters, an uppercase letter, a lowercase letter, a number, and a special character. Try using a strong password generator if you need help coming up with a hack-proof password. To protect your passwords even further, try enabling two-factor authentication.

Also Read – WordPress Passwordless Authentication & Login Form Plugins

13. Failing to be selective about who gets admin privileges.

Fault: Giving admin rights to just anybody is like giving a kid the keys to your car. It’s extremely important that you don’t give admin rights to the wrong person. You should only give admin rights to site owners and developers who work with the back end of the website.

The fix: To change user roles and permissions, you can use a plugin like User Role Editor.

You should also Track & Log User Activity in WordPress.

14. Accidently blocking search engines.

The mistake: Certain WordPress settings can impair your site’s ability to be found by search engines. If you’re ready for your site to be found by a larger audience, you’ll want to ensure that a certain box isn’t checked within your Settings to make it SEO-friendly.

fix: To find out if you’ve made such an error, take a look in your WordPress dashboard and go to Settings -> Reading. Make sure the box next to “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” is not checked. After the selection is checked, it curbs the site’s PageRank, informing search engines not to inspect the site’s content. (You’ll want it verified if your site is still under development).

15. Using Budget Web Hosting.

Fault: One might want to keep costs low, but choosing a generic web host to power a WordPress site is like purchasing cheap fuel for a Ferrari. Your WordPress site represents your business, your brand, your portfolio, and so on. Poor performance and downtime show poorly on you and your brand and could also cost more in the long run

 fix: Search for a hosting provider that specializes in building digital experiences on WordPress. Be certain your provider offers services for caching, uptime, security, amazing customer support, and expertise when it comes to building future-proof WordPress sites.  A lot of brands and agencies rely on WordPress to power amazing websites for them and their clients.

Forgetting about WP caching

Caching is an important concept in web development and programming. It is used to improve the performance of a website by storing a copy of a web page in temporary storage. This reduces the time required to load a page and also speeds up the page loading process.

On the internet, caching refers to storing resource files (such as HTML documents, images, CSS and JavaScript files) on your computer so that they can be downloaded more quickly the next time you visit the same website. Web browsers maintain their own cache. A cache refers to a static file stored from a website you visit; when you visit the site again, it will load that much faster because part of it is already stored within your browser. An example most of us use regularly is website logins. If you allow a site to store your login, this becomes cached, which means the site will load much more quickly for you the next time you visit because it’s stored.

When you don’t use caching, your website is not optimized to load faster and the end result is that you’ll lose the visitors who can’t wait for your website to load. There are many caching plugins to choose from, with the most popular being W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache. There is also one built into WordPress called WP Rocket. Each of these speed optimisation wordpress plugins has its own strengths and weaknesses and you can research them thoroughly before choosing which one will work best for you.


WordPress is very easy to use even for non-specialized users. This allows many of them to continue configuring their websites without learning more about WordPress.

Making mistakes is normal, especially if you’re new to WordPress security. Now that you know what the most common wordpress mistakes are, you can focus on optimizing your website, reducing the risk of problems.

When we stop learning, we miss the opportunity to explore and exploit the incredibly useful WordPress functions. Things that are very simple to implement but that can transform your business.

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