One in every four sites is powered by WordPress. That’s a lot. WordPress has become as popular as it is for good reason. It’s easy to setup, simple to design, and painless to update. However, there are also a lot of things you can screw up pretty easily if you aren’t careful. And with the vast majority of websites failing in the first couple of months, well, these are mistakes you can’t afford to make.
So if you’ve chosen WordPress, how can you make sure that your site is working correctly, and you’re set up for success? Well, you’re probably okay if you don’t make one of these mistakes that are sure to make your WordPress site suck.
#1 You’re using free hosting.
If you simply need a blog to write about your adventures in parenting or other life experiences for the sake of memories, fine, free hosting might work. But if you plan on your blog growing or ever making money, don’t make this mistake. You don’t want “myblog.wordpress.com.” It’s ugly. Not to mention a WordPress.com blog can’t be monetized.
#2 Your comments go unmoderated.
Don’t let your comments turn into a cesspool of spammers. Moderate! Start by activating the Askimet plugin. This will take care of half the problem. Then get in there and respond. Blogging is about conversation. The more you discuss, the more people will come back.
#3 It’s too difficult to navigate.
WordPress is great for menus, page hierarchy, categorizing blog posts, etc. However, it’s very easy to turn your site into a big jumbled mess. Take a step back and really think about the organization of your site. Your menu needs to be functional and help people find your most important content. Your blog posts shouldn’t each have ten categories. Figure out the biggest categories and put each blog post in one. Then you can use tags to get more specific if you want.
#4 Your mobile design sucks (if you even have one).
My sites get about 50% mobile traffic. And I only expect that to increase. Gone are the days where you choose a theme for its desktop look and worry about the rest later. It’s time you really thought about what your site looks like on mobile. And don’t just assume because a theme is responsive that it’s going to look good.
#5 It’s too damn slow.
There are plenty of reasons your WordPress site is too sluggish. Could be too many plugins, bad plugins, unoptimized images… the list goes on. But one thing’s for sure–page speed can affect bounce rate and rankings. To decide if your site is snailish, use Google’s page speed tool here. It gives some good tips on how to speed things up. You also probably want to read up on the AMP project.
#6 You aren’t using an editorial calendar.
Everyone blogs with the best intentions. But it doesn’t take long to run out of gas. Daily blogging quickly turns to weekly quickly turns to monthly. However, if you have an editorial calendar and plan content in advance, it’s sooo much easier to stick to it. I recommend CoSchedule, which integrates directly into your WordPress site and allows you to manage social media as well.
#7 You have too many ads.
Few things look as spammy as a page overloaded with ads. Few things will make me click the back button faster. Not only that, if I do stay on the page, I’ll be so distracted I won’t know what to click. Instead, use a plugin like adrotate to switch out ads on a page. Keep it to an ad or two per post, depending on article length. And don’t go nuts in the sidebar either.
#8 Your pop up is annoying as hell.
Let me start by saying, I once implemented a pop-up into a blog and increased email sign-ups by 400%. However, I also got a shitload of messages from people saying things like “screw your pop-up, jackass!” The truth is, most people hate them. And they can really affect your mobile experience. If you must use them, remove them from mobile. It’s too hard to see the little “x” button.
#9 I can’t share your content because you didn’t give me a way to.
You want your blog to be shared, right? But people aren’t going to go through the trouble of copy/pasting your URL into a tweet. You need to make it easy for them. Make sure you have a good plugin for social share buttons. I like to use floating buttons, but you they can be annoying on mobile. So make sure you use something that allows you to either remove or modify on mobile. AddtoAny allows for this.
#10 Someone hacked it.
It’s every blogger’s worst nightmare. You’re cruising along with your site but one day the whole thing is down. You can’t even get into your WordPress login page. You’ve succumbed to a brute force attack and your hard work is all ruined (hopefully, you backed it up!). Look, we never think it can happen to us… but it can. Make sure you have a good security plugin that will ban IPs after too many incorrect logins. You also might want something that will add a captcha to the login page, or even hide the login page on a different URL. For further discussion on WordPress security, check out this Yoast article.
There you have it. 10 reason your WordPress site sucks. Ideally, you solve these issues at the very beginning when you first start your blog. Avoiding these mistakes all together is the best way to handle them!
What other reason can make a WordPress site suck? Discuss in the comments below!