15 basic WordPress errors to avoid

WordPress is an easy to use content management system to manage a blog or website. However, some problems can still crop up, either by user error or a software problem.

Copyblogger created an infographic in 2012 outlining 15 WordPress errors users should try to avoid. While there’s been plenty of changes since 2012 in the world of WordPress, the advice given still applies (as I still see some of these errors on some sites). I’ll outline my thoughts on each point below.

15 WordPress User Errors That Make You Look Silly [Infographic]

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1. Slow load times

No, a slow loading website’s not the greatest. Besides the usual tips (including ones I’ve written) on keeping a spry website, it’s also good to find a decent web host. More advanced or higher-end users might want to forego the usual (and cheaper) shared hosting for dedicated hosting.

2. The white screen of death

Such screens are definitely not the greatest for WordPress users. For those with cPanel, going into the file directory to fix things (checking for a stray character in a file you edited, etc.) might help.

3. Gateway or database connection errors

Trying the advice in tip #2 might help. If not, try contacting your web host.

4. The “just another WordPress blog” tagline

Remove this tagline and type in, well, something more descriptive (such as “a blog about media and technology”). To do so, under WordPress’ admin screen, go to Settings > General and enter a new tagline.

5. Site de-indexed because you set it to “private”

To turn this off, under WordPress’ admin screen, go to Settings > Reading and make sure the box reading “discourage search engines from indexing this site” is unchecked.

6. Running an old version of WordPress

Current versions of WordPress will install minor software updates automatically as a security measure. Still, major version updates will require users to manually do so. Given security concerns, it’s never worth keeping an older version running.

7. Keeping deactivated plugins installed

While one can update even deactivated plugins, many suggest just deleting unused ones instead. You can always reinstall them anytime.

8. Keeping a messy wp-admin section

See tips #6 and #7 above.

It also might help to create an “editor” user account and just use that for blog posts. The admin screen for editor-level accounts will display fewer menu items, and look less cluttered. You can go back into the administrator account for software updates and maintenance.

9. Posts that span the entire front page

In my opinion, this one depends on what theme you’re running, as well as user preferences. I prefer to display main blog page posts as excerpts, taking up less space.

10. Your sidebar shows up below your content

Again, this likely depends on one’s theme or any customizations you’ve made. Still, if you’ve done the latter, it’s a good idea to check for any code typos, wrong settings, etc.

11. Phantom homepage gobbledygook

No real input beyond what the infographic says (plus the tips I listed above).

12. The dreaded /wordpress blog subdirectory

If you’re setting up a WordPress blog as a subdirectory or not on the main site page, I’d go with “/blog” as its name. It looks more professional than “/wordpress,” and it’s a shorter URL.

13. Index.php in your URL

As the infographic says, “Index.php” shouldn’t be part of site URLs, as it looks lousy.

Besides double checking your installation, I’d also check over the pretty permalinks settings (under Settings > Permalinks) and make sure something besides the “plain” default is selected.

14. Local and/or visible backups

These days, most backup plugins/software will offer to either upload your backups to cloud storage (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) or email them to you. Besides off-loading backups from your site, it’ll also eat up less server space.

15. Visible server information

Most security plugins, such as Wordfence, will hide such information from more inquisitive site visitors.

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