WordPress now powers over 37.5 percent of websites: Yes, that means a staggering 455,000,000 websites are using the content-management system right now.
As businesses and entrepreneurs are called upon to curate their digital presence, it becomes even more vital for creators use the WordPress framework to its fullest advantage. At the end of the day, the software is just a tool -- it's only as effective as the ones who handle it.
Below, we'll dive into some of the most common mistakes beginners make when first building their custom WordPress site. With a little bit of foreknowledge, it's possible to avoid these (potentially expensive) pitfalls and create the most visitor-friendly platform possible.
1. Domain Names
Perhaps the most prevalent mistake beginners make is when they first try to deploy their locally hosted site. Domain names give your files a unique name that visitors can search in order to land on your site; they begin with "www" and usually end with ".com".
In order to get a unique domain name, most creators turn to a domain name registrar, or DNS service, that handles naming and registering the site online. A large, centralized database of registries hold all the information about what domain names have been claimed and by whom.
Fortunately, domain names are super cheap. The trick? Most domain name registrar services try to upsell with flashy add-ons that confuse new business owners.
Common add-ons include private email accounts registered to the domain, security protections, or hosting services you don't actually need. When in doubt, skip out on all the extras and add new services as you need them.
For domain registration, we recommend GoDaddy and NameCheap, both of which provide names for less than a dollar per year. In particular, GoDaddy is considered the most trusted domain provider on the web with over 78 million names under management.
How to Choose a Great Domain Name
The right site name will not only be easy to remember, it'll naturally boost your search result rankings.
We suggest always using keywords in your domain name, which tell web browsers what content your site contains. Make sure the name is short, easy to spell, and ends with ".com" (in most cases).
Feeling a little stuck? The widget wordoid.com can help you generate a memorable name for your brand.
Hosting is, without a doubt, one of most important decisions a new site owner will make. Hosting providers are third-party services that allocate space on a web server for you to store all of your locally hosted site files.
Once hosted, the files that comprise your site, such as code and images, are immediately viewable by visitors all around the world. Choosing the wrong provider or plan can end up costing you quite a bit.
Most providers offer several different tiered plans, including: shared, virtual private server (VPS), dedicated, managed, and cloud hosting. Most new buyers either unknowingly buy a more expensive plan than they actually need.
For small sites or hobby projects, we recommend the lowest cost Shared Hosting plan. Businesses that expect consistent traffic will need to honestly assess their expectations.
Is your site comprised by a collection of static pages that don't require much database storage? Alternatively, does your site feature user profiles, e-commerce, or many concurrent requests? In that case, you may need a dedicated hosting plan, which provides you unfettered access to server resources.
WPX Hosting makes it easy to choose the right plan. With tiers ranging from business to professional, WPX provides all users access to fast CDN-powered plans through a flexible pricing model.
Many beginners don't take into account that security is a vital element of site deployment. Without proper initiative, you're leaving yourself open to a deluge of DDoS attacks, data leaks, and malware.
Every minute, WordPress sites suffer from over 90,000 isolate hacking attempts.
Not only is security important for the site owner, it's important to protect the private information of all those that visit and fill out information on your platform. Poor security can also cause your search result rankings to plummet.
Most WordPress site owners should implement a Content Delivery Network, or CDN, for their site. CDNs are geographically dispersed groups of servers that work together to deliver the content that makes up your site.
Not only do CDNs make your site load much faster, they make it significantly more difficult for a malicious hacker to compromise. It's much harder to launch an attack against multiple distributed servers than it is a single server.
You'll also want to implement malware protection services for your site. Many plugins make it easy to implement basic security measures. Check out top-rated plugins that offer ongoing site monitoring, automated malware scanning, password protocols protections, and site back-ups.
One of the most common security concerns include DDoS, or Distributed Denial-Of-Service, attacks. A DDoS attack occurs when a bot overwhelms a website with elevated fake traffic, causing a site to deny real visitors service.
Many hosting services provide managed security plugin updates, DDoS protection, and other forms of advanced threat blocking.
4. Proper WordPress Themes
With thousands of free or low cost WordPress themes available, it can be difficult to choose the right theme for your site. The proper theme will provide brand consistency to your site visitors, so it's important to stick with whatever design you've chosen from the outset.
Moreover, switching your WordPress Theme regularly can be a huge time sink. If you're indecisive, it can be frustrating and costly to re-build your site several times over.
Keep in mind that some themes are not responsive, meaning that they don't adjust well when viewed on different devices. Though your site may look fine on desktop, certain themes may cause information to render improperly on mobile, tablet, or smart device viewing environments.
In the first quarter of 2020, mobile devices generated 51.92 percent of all global website traffic. Wouldn't it be unwise to discourage more than half of your site's viewers from spending any time on your platform?
When in doubt, make sure you're researching the most responsive WordPress Theme currently available.
Alternatively, Thrive Themes makes it easy to build your site from the ground-up with customized, fully responsive themes.
5. Landing Page Preparation
In digital marketing, the landing page is what makes or breaks a site visitor's experience with your business. It is not only the first thing a viewer sees, it is the largest factor in what converts visitors into leads.
A landing page should immediately capture visitor attention and naturally guide them to the action the business wants taken. Craft an attention-grabbing platform by curating your landing page with a bold, thoughtful layout.
Make sure the potential customer knows the basics about the service you offer within five seconds. The headline, brand name, and call to action should all be immediately visible on both desktop and mobile viewports.
Above all else, the landing page is what encourages visitors to delve more deeply into the rest of the site. Take time to carefully define your target market and adjust the page as necessary.
With integrated services like Thrive Themes, it's possible to build a landing page that maximizes client conversion rates.
6. Email Integration
Proper email integration allows your site to send out newsletters, offers, and targeted campaigns to your list of subscribers.
If you skip out on integration, you'll have to manually send out campaigns to a large list of potentially outdated email addresses. Hundreds of your clients may never receive the email or, worse off, may receive invalid offers due to simple human error.
Considering that email is the primary way modern businesses communicate with new and returning customers, it's vital to get this one right.
WordPress can be configured with tons of plugins to automate the enrollment of new email subscribers. Emails can be sent based on specific criterion, such as visitor activity, demographics, and site activity.
For instance, it may be useful to send out a "Are you sure want to leave behind your cart?" message to a client that hasn't yet completed their purchase.
The latest release of Thrive Architect comes with email marketing integration tools that automate marketing campaigns and email analytics.
7. Ignoring SEO Tactics
Though many have heard of SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, few have used it to its fullest advantage. The best SEO tactics help to improve the quality and quantity of traffic to your site through boosting your search engine rankings.
Most new site owners simply guess what key terms visitors are likely to search for without consulting any metrics.
Check out some of the most popular SEO plugins for WordPress. Services like Yoast SEO optimize for key phrases, synonyms, and related words.
Similar plugins help to add behind-the-scenes meta data to your site, resulting in faster indexing and better search rankings. Rank Math, All-in-One SEO Pack, and W3 Total Cache are also very popular.
Other platforms may help you to manually identify the right keywords to integrate into your site. The SemRush toolkit provides SEO auditing and live site position tracking.
Platforms like ahrefs and Moz allow you to analyze your site for SEO optimizations.
Luckily, it's easy to avoid most of the common mistakes that beginners make when first starting out on their WordPress site. Implementing some of the most tried-and-true practices could help you to optimize site performance, grow visitorship, and convert greater numbers of new clients.