5 Lessons Learned from WordPress Mistakes

Updated July 8th, 2024
Updated July 8th, 2024
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Raise your hand if you’ve ever tangled with WordPress! Whether a newbie or a seasoned pro, we’ve all been there. It’s easy to make mistakes, but hey, that’s life, right? Imagine launching a sparkling new website only to find it’s slower than a turtle in peanut butter. Or worse, getting emails from a client because the site isn’t working right.

Guess what? Those facepalm moments come bearing gifts—lessons. Today, we’re diving into five invaluable lessons I learned the hard way. Buckle up, folks! It’s about to get real…fast.

Lesson 1: Choosing the Right Theme

Think of your WordPress theme as the outfit for your website. The wrong choice could be like rocking sandals to a snowstorm. I once fast-tracked my theme choice, picking the flashiest one without checking compatibility or reviews. Bad move.

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Consequences?

My site dragged, customization was a nightmare, and I wasn’t have fun.

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Lessons Learned?

  • Research is gold: Read reviews like you’re hunting for spoilers on the latest blockbuster.
  • Regular updates: If the theme isn’t regularly updated, walk away.
  • Compatibility check: It should vibe with your essential plugins.

Actionable Tip: Stick with trusted marketplaces like ThemeForest or the WordPress Theme Repository. They’re like the Nordstorms of WordPress themes.

Bonus tip: If you’re using a page builder like Elementor or Bricks, then you can use templates to create your site and you isn’t doesn’t really matter which theme you choose. But I recommend you choose a fast one like Astra.

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Lesson 2: Ignoring Regular Backups

Ah, the sweet ignorance of no backups. It’s all fun and games until your site crashes or gets hacked.

Consequences?

Total data loss and hours spent trying to piece things back together—if you can at all. And it’s 10 times worse if it’s a client site rather than your own site.

Lessons Learned?

  • Automate it: Set up automatic backups. Seriously, do it now. Here’s a video to walk you through it.
  • Multiple locations: Store backups both locally and in the cloud if you can. It’s your insurance policy.

Actionable Tip: Use your host’s scheduled backup features, if it has them. If not, check out WPVivid. I use them for all my backup needs! They’re basically your digital guardian angels.

Lesson 3: Overloading with Plugins

Remember that time you couldn’t resist installing every plugin you stumbled upon? Yeah, we’ve all been guilty. My site went from zippy to sluggish, faster than you can say “plugin overload”.

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Consequences?

Slow speeds, plugin conflicts, and maintenance headaches.

Lessons Learned:

  • Evaluate: Do you really need that plugin? Be brutal.
  • Quality over quantity: Stick to well-supported plugins with regular updates.

Actionable Tip: Schedule regular audits and declutter unnecessary plugins. It’s like spring cleaning for your website.

Lesson 4: Neglecting SEO Best Practices

I ignored SEO one some of my first sites, expecting magical traffic growth, but it wasn’t 2008 anymore. Not doing SEO is like opening a store in the middle of nowhere and wondering why no one’s visiting.

Consequences?

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Poor rankings, low traffic, and missed opportunities galore.

Lessons Learned:

  • Keyword research: Invest time in understanding what your audience is searching for.
  • Optimize everything: Meta titles, descriptions, and image alt tags.
  • Use an SEO plugin: Yoast SEO or Rank Math are lifesavers when you’re starting out. If you’re an SEO pro, you won’t need these plugins. Why is that good? See lesson 3.

Actionable Tip: Stay update-to-date with SEO trends. What worked yesterday might not today.

Lesson 5: Poor Site Security Management

Think your site isn’t a target? Big mistake. Hackers feast on vulnerabilities. I faced the wrath of a poorly secured site, and it wasn’t pretty.

Consequences?

Potential data breaches, loss of user trust, lost revenue and countless lost hours fixing the mess.

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Lesson Learned:

  • Strong authentication: Implement two-factor authentication. It’s a must. See this video here.
  • Regular updates: Keep WordPress core, themes, and plugins up to date. See this video here.
  • Security plugins: Wordfence and Sucuri have your back.

Actionable Tip: If you want a step-by-step walkthrough for securing nearly every aspect of your WordPress site, then check out my WP Security Lockdown Action Plan here.

Wrap Up

So there you have it: five lessons I wish I’d learned sooner.

Let’s recap: Choose your themes wisely, back it up like you love it, declutter your plugins, invest time in SEO, and finally, safeguard your site like you would your home.

Mistakes are bound to happen. The key is to turn them into stepping stones rather than stumbling blocks. Do you have any hard-learned WordPress lessons you want to share? Drop them in the comments! Let’s learn together.

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