You don't have to know someone directly to see what he's doing wrong, at least not when it comes to bloggers and beginner WordPress users. Blogs usually are publicly available to anyone and often it's obvious to see how far the given person has progressed with his blogging skills.
Quite often, you'll find that beginner bloggers are not doing their part of the bargain when it comes to delivering a great reading and browsing experience. Two things that are crucial to the success of any blog. Though, mistakes are our best teachers, and that's why we don't believe in judging neither beginners, nor experts. Any mistake is an opportunity to become a better blogger.
- Messed up structure of website
- Partly built pages or incomplete websites
- Large number of plugins installed
- Weak security precautions
- No regular backup schedule
- Writing for nobody than yourself
- Unclear niche, topic or genre of blog
- Missing contact / about page
- Picking a fishy blog WordPress theme
- Discouraging yourself from learning
So, what should you be looking out for? Are you assuming you've got everything covered, and what do these suggestions bring up in your mind? We would love to hear your stories about your first steps in blogging and the mistakes you've made!
1. Messed up structure of website
It could also be said in the words of “have you chosen the right blogging platform?” – WordPress offers multiple content management solutions, especially when it comes to product pages, ecommerce stores, business directories, news websites or simply a blog. If you're planning to launch feature-rich and complex websites while possibly using other 3rd party software as well (e.g. forum software), it quickly can become messy, if not properly taken care of on your server.
By installing everything in the main sub-folder of your website, you're going to create a mess that's usually hard to clean-up afterwards, and will most likely drive you crazy anyway. Always make sure you know what you're building your website for. Perhaps, it's a better idea to install your blog in a /blog/ directory or create a multisite-network, rather than straight on the root of your domain?
2. Partly built pages or incomplete websites
This one's quite annoying from the perspective of fellow webmasters. You should always remove any unfinished or default webpages from your new WordPress installation. Leaving partly built pages or the default “Hello World” post for others to see is going to signal everyone that your blog is hardly finished or that your website is not maintained, and they'll just steer away. Do you want this?
3. Large number of plugins installed
Yes, the WordPress plugins section has something for everyone, but sometimes people just seem to get carried away with all the plugins that can possibly be installed, and end up having like 50 installed plugins in their dashboard that they don't even use. It doesn't just take up disk space and resources, but many times you will leave these plugins activated, and that just creates potential compatibility issues. Find what you need, and stick to it. Fancy is okay, too fancy is simply bad.
4. Weak security precautions
WordPress will usually prompt you to change the default password, but that doesn't mean that people will always do it. Using a strong password is important, as it discourages hackers from trying to attack your site for too long. One of the most well-known methods of hacking WordPress websites is by using bruteforce methods. Prevent yourself from being a victim by following a few simple security best practices and using a password that's going to take years to crack!
5. No regular backup schedule
Backups, they're extremely important! If your hosting company doesn't do daily backups, you can rely on services like VaultPress – the basic plan is available at low cost, and provides you with all the necessary tools and features to help your WordPress blog maintain a healthy daily backup schedule. You can opt for the more expensive plan to have realtime backups available!
But, those unable (or unwilling) to chip in for a secure backup service, can rely on backup plugins like WordPress to Dropbox – keep your valuable WordPress website, it's media and database backed up to Dropbox in minutes with this sleek, easy to use plugin.
6. Writing for nobody than yourself
If you've decided to publish your blog, it means that you're usually looking to write for others, rather than yourself. There is a big difference between the two, and it's important that you always keep that in mind. You're writing for others, so keep your topics, opinions and views open-minded.
7. Unclear niche, topic or genre of blog
Have you thought about the niche, subject or topic of your blog? What is your target audience? In best case your blog should have a clear direction, or a clear message that people can relate to. You'll quickly learn that people usually don't like clutter-full blogs, with plenty of different and unrelated content that's all over the place. It usually just doesn't work well, so stick to your handful of topics based on your own skills or expertise and write on those!
8. Missing contact / about page
People want to get in touch if they like what you're doing, always. They also want to learn more about you, always! Make sure that both your contact page and about page are fully functional, and contain the necessary information. Especially the about page is a great opportunity to tell people more about yourself and to give your blog a personal touch. People will like that!
9. Picking a fishy blog WordPress theme
Quality matters! This does not only apply to your website content, but also to the WordPress theme that you've installed on your website. There are over 4,000 unique free WordPress themes available in the official repository and plenty of high-quality premium themes. Always make sure that you choose WordPress themes that are supported, maintained and well rated to prevent trouble.
When you opt-in for a premium WordPress theme, always purchase the theme from the developer directly or from trustworthy 3rd party marketplaces. Never ever get premium themes from shady websites that offer these themes for low cost or even for free. These themes usually contain malware or have other issues (e.g. outdated code), that possibly can even result in a hacked website.
10. Discouraging yourself from learning
Right, so you've got all these points covered and you feel like you're making some progress with your blogging path. So, why not continue in the same spirit and continue learning not just about blogging, but about search engine optimization (SEO), online marketing, social media marketing or about WordPress in general. There is so much cool stuff to learn and with any progress you make, you'll become a better blogger with the skills and tools available to run successful websites.
Conclusion: Beginner mistakes, we all go through them
Blogging – or running a website in general – is fun and exciting, it comes with plenty of opportunities to take advantage of, and within the first year of blogging you'll notice significant changes in your lifestyle, and the perception of your own world. But, always remember to keep an eye on everything that you do, so that in the end – it was worth it. What about you? Are there any beginner mistakes you've made that you want to share with others? Please let us know in the comments.