If you are using WordPress, I applaud you for having chosen a content management system which is great. Not just that, this cms is being used by more than 30% out of top 10,000 websites and it is being used by more than 23% out of top 100,000 websites. See the stats yourself below (these are from trends.builtwith.com)
Just using this great cms is not enough though, it is also important to be aware about some common mistakes which you may unknowingly make and which may cost you dearly. We have an extensive experience in using wordpress since more than a decade and we want to help you know about these common mistakes and avoid these.
Here is the list:
- No search functionality on your website
- Not checking up the forms, whether they are working or not
- Using a hosting server that makes your website load slowly
- Not Optimizing images on the website
- Not optimizing the website for Speed
1. No search functionality on your website
Imagine a scenario where let us assume that your website does not have a search functionality. So lets take the scenario what will happen when someone will search on google for the products or services that you offer.
Once the person reaches your website through google, the person has two options:
A. Browse through the menu on your website for the products or services(Wait, does everyone still do that?)
B. The user searches for the information they are looking for, through the search functionality on your website.
Wait, but you don't have that functionality on your website!
What does the user do then? the user clicks on the cross button or the back button and goes back to a different website that can satisfy what they were looking for.
Search functionality on the website is extremely important to provide a great user experience as well. These days, everyone is looking for information quickly, you would have seen google also delivers search results in less than a second.
People do not have the time and patience to look through a product hidden in deep sub menus on your website. They just want to be able to do a quick search and get what they are looking for. Shouldn't we also strive to become smart like google for our business? I bet we should!
How can you avoid this mistake?
In the WordPress dashboard, you can goto the Appearance->Widgets, you will be able to find a search widget there. If you do not like the default search widget, you can try using something advanced. For example, you can use this paid plugin from popular code site codecanyon: ‘Ajax Search Pro' which is an awesome search tool. Since it shows the search results with thumbnails then and there when a user is typing the search term.
2. Not checking up the forms, whether they are working appropriately or not
We all have at least one type of form on our website, whether it is the form on ‘contact us' page or an enquiry form. You would think that how can someone be naive enough not to test their contact form, but you would be surprised to know that a lot of business owners don't get inquiries through their website's contact forms because it is not functioning properly. Sometimes, it does happen that the email id (to which the email should go once the form is filled and submitted) is mentioned incorrectly in the form or sometimes there can be some other error with the form.
How can you avoid this mistake?
It is very important to make sure you test all forms mentioned on your website so that you don't lose on potential inquiries. You can either test those forms manually or you can also ask someone from your friends or family to double test it for you.
3. Using a hosting server that makes your website load slowly
When people are starting out with their websites, at times some people try to save on one cost, which is the cost for hosting, unfortunately this might prove too costly for them later on. Because if anyone uses a cheaper host, most likely they would be using a shared server which is the starting plan for most of the website hosts. In such a scenario, since the price of the server is too low, the resources offered by the hosting server for those websites on a shared server are also low.
So, this might result in two horrible issues for the website owner:
A. The website loads very slowly
What happens when a website loads slowly? Imagine a scenario wherein you want to search for some information, you searched on google for that information, when you saw the google search results, you clicked on a link which seemed relevant to your search, now you are waiting continuously for that website to load, but the website is taking too long to load.
What will you do? Will you keep waiting endlessly for that website to open? or will you click the back button and go to any other website that satisfies your search query? Chances are you will do the latter. This is what happens with most of users who reach slow websites, they get frustrated or tired of waiting and leave the website. If you want to understand in detail, why customers leave websites, you can check this article.
Not just that, Google makes sure they provide the best user experience for their website visitors, fast website loading speed is one of the important ranking factors in google's algorithm. So, to provide the best user experience to its users, google ranks those websites higher that have a faster loading speed.
So, if you use a slow web server, you might get less number of visitors from google since you might not be ranking higher, and you might lose the chance to get those visitors which might be potential customers for you.
B. The website might not load at all if there is a little extra load on the server.
You would be thinking how do I know this? Well, when I started my first website in 2008, I did not know much about hosting and started with a shared hosting server, it was only after a few months that I started getting the above error (my visitor count per month was only approximately 1000 visitors). I was getting that error since I was using a shared host. That is when I realized it is important to have a good web host.
How can you avoid this mistake?
Its simple, use a good web host which is fast and has a good uptime.
4. Not optimizing images on the website
You would be wondering; “What, do I need to optimize images on my site? why?”
Well, it's simple, whenever any user visits your website, then all the data on your website's page gets loaded on the visitor's device. Now, there might be certain section of visitors who would be visiting your website via a fast internet connection, but there might be a good portion of visitors who might be visiting your website via mobile, and they might not have a super fast internet connection via mobile. So, the higher the size of images on your website, the more time it will take them to load on the user's system (whether its mobile, laptop, desktop etc). And we do know that if the user has to wait for the website to load, the user might go back to a different website.
How can you avoid this mistake?
I am mentioning it here just so that you are aware about what strategy you should take. There are two types of image compression : Lossy compression and Lossless compression.
What is Lossless Compression?
‘Lossless compression' means that a high quality size image can be compressed in such a way such that the size of image gets reduced without compromising on the quality of the image. For example, if you have clicked a photograph from your mobile, and say it's size was earlier 1 MB (megabyte), then if you compress the image via lossless compression, then the size of the image can be reduced to say 400Kb Kilobyte or 0.4 MB).
What is Lossy Compression?
Lossy compression means that that the size of the image can be greatly reduced, but it would also compromise the quality of the image. The quality becomes such that it can be used reasonably easily for use on web. So, if you have high resolution images and want to greatly reduce the size, lossy compression can also be done.
You know about both types of compression now, Which one to implement on your website?
Now, that you know the two type of compressions, you can decide which one would be good for your site. There are several WordPress plugins available that can do either type of compression. The compression can be automatically done whenever an image is uploaded on your site. There are some free plugins as well as paid plugins. Free plugins generally have a limitation as to number of images you can compress per month and the maximum file size to which you can compress the image.
Some of the popular free plugins you might use are mentioned below (free versions have limits):
It would be good to install a plugin when you are starting out with your website, but what if you already have a ton of images on your website and you just got to know right now after reading this article, that you need to do lossless compression of images on your website. Don't worry, If you install such a plugin, the plugins also have the option to compress all the existing images that are there on your website.
5. Not optimizing the website for speed
Image optimization is big in itself that I had mentioned it in a separate point. Apart from image optimization, it is also extremely critical to optimize your website overall for improvement in speed. I believe the reason as to why to optimize the site speed would be clear to you by now.
You can check the current speed of your website through the below free website:
you can also check how google views your website at : Google Page Speed Insights
Once you enter your url into google page speed insights, google will check your website for speed and then give your website two scores: one for desktop version and one for mobile version. It will also give you recommendations on what are the different things you can do to improve your website score.
If your resultant score is within the range of 90 to 100, your website's speed is fast. You don't need to worry and can be happy if your website is in this range.
If the resultant score is between 50 to 89, the speed is average. This means you will need to work on the recommendations and improve your score to make it above 90.
If the resultant score is below 50, the speed is slow. This means that you will need to do serious efforts on your website to improve the score and make the speed fast.
How can you improve your Website Speed and avoid this mistake?
There are many things that you will need to do in order to improve your website speed score. Apart from reducing the image sizes as mentioned above, you can also do the following:
A. Minify CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
C. Delete all wordpress plugins that you are not using currently
D. Remove trackbacks and pingbacks from your website
E. Use a good cache plugin
F. Use a good CDN (Content delivery network)
Apart from the above common mistakes, sometimes people who are new to WordPress might not know there are 9 horrible Security mistakes that people make with their wordpress websites. I am mentioning them below in a summary, I will be sharing the detailed step by step article soon. Keep checking this space for more updates….
- Not using strong passwords and not changing passwords frequently
- Using default wp as table prefix (Changing this is important for security reasons, duh)
- No installing SSL on your website
- Absence of a system for regular backups of the website
- Not having a system that prevents the website from hacking
- Using free plugins which are not from the WordPress official plugins directory
- Lack of a system to check the reviews of plugins before downloading them
- Installing plugins which have not been updated from the author from some time
- Using free themes which are not from the WordPress official themes directory
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