Contact Us

Man Sitting in front of a computer with a broken website message.

Whether you’re a seasoned developer or a business owner managing a WordPress site, understanding common mistakes and how to avoid them is important for the success of your website. In this article, we cover 15 common WordPress mistakes. You can improve your site’s performance, security, and user experience by avoiding these mistakes.

Mistakes in managing a WordPress site can lead to many problems, from broken site functionality to security risks. Awareness of these frequent mistakes enables you to prevent them, saving time and resources.

This guide is designed to equip you with the knowledge to recognize and avoid these common mistakes. It is an invaluable resource for developers and business owners, providing crucial insights into maintaining a secure, high-performing, and effective WordPress site.

We’ve organized the list into categories for your convenience and better understanding.

Initial Setup Mistakes

1. Choosing the Wrong Platform ( vs

Selecting the right platform between and is important and can impact your website’s future development, functionality, and scalability. Understanding the key differences between these two platforms is essential for making an informed decision that aligns with your website’s goals and needs. is often referred to as the self-hosted WordPress. It is free, open-source software that you can install on your webserver to create a website that’s 100% your own. It is highly flexible, allowing for extensive customization through themes and plugins. Users can control their website’s code and modify and extend it limitlessly. This level of control makes an excellent choice for those who wish to have complete control over their site’s functionality, appearance, and hosting environment. However, it requires users to purchase their own hosting, handle their website’s security, and manage backups and updates independently. is a hosted platform more akin to a service than just software. It’s built on’s software, but it’s a simplified version that’s easier to use for beginners. takes care of hosting, and basic plans are free, though they come with branding and ads. It offers various paid plans that provide more features, like using your domain name, additional storage, and access to premium themes. However, it has significant limitations, especially on lower-tier plans, such as limited theme and plugin installations, restricted customization options, and the inability to upload custom themes and plugins. This platform is more suited for bloggers, small businesses, and hobbyists who prefer convenience and are willing to work within the constraints set by the ecosystem.

Choosing the wrong platform can lead to challenges down the line. For instance, a business anticipating scaling rapidly might find restrictive and face the hassle of migrating to a self-hosted site later. Conversely, a hobby blogger who chooses might find the technicalities of hosting and site maintenance overwhelming.

The choice between and should be made after considering your technical skills, the level of customization you desire, and the nature of your project. A thorough understanding of each platform’s offerings and limitations ensures that your website aligns with your long-term objectives and grows.

2. Choosing the Wrong Hosting Provider

Choosing the right hosting provider significantly affects your website’s performance. The right hosting provider ensures that your website runs smoothly, loads quickly, and remains accessible and secure for your visitors. On the other hand, the wrong hosting provider can lead to slow site speed, increased downtime, and inadequate support.

One of the primary issues with a poor hosting choice is slow site speed. In today’s fast-paced digital environment, visitors expect quick loading times. A slow website can increase bounce rates as users are likely to leave a site that doesn’t load promptly. This can affect user experience and your site’s SEO, as search engines favor faster websites.

Another critical aspect is uptime. Frequent downtimes can be detrimental to your website’s reliability and reputation. Downtimes mean your site is inaccessible to visitors, leading to lost traffic, reduced customer trust, and potentially decreased revenue, especially for e-commerce sites.

Running a website can come with challenges, and having access to prompt, knowledgeable, and supportive customer service can make a significant difference, especially in crisis situations. Whether it’s dealing with technical issues, security concerns, or performance problems, a responsive and skilled support team is invaluable.

It’s also important to consider the scalability options a hosting provider offers. As your website grows, you’ll need more resources. A good hosting provider should offer flexible plans that can accommodate this growth without causing disruptions to your service.

When choosing a hosting provider for your WordPress site, consider site speed, uptime, customer support, security, and scalability. Research thoroughly, read reviews, and perhaps consult with other website owners or professionals. Remember, your hosting provider is a partner in your website’s success, so choosing wisely is essential for a smooth, secure, and successful online presence.

3. Selecting Incompatible Themes

Selecting the suitable theme for your WordPress site is a decision that extends beyond aesthetics; it profoundly influences your site’s functionality and overall user experience. A common oversight in this selection process is opting for themes that don’t align with your specific requirements or those that aren’t optimized for mobile devices. In today’s digital landscape, where a substantial portion of web traffic comes from mobile users, having a non-responsive theme can severely detract from the user experience.

A theme that’s incompatible with your needs can manifest in several ways. It might lack the necessary features to support your specific type of content, be it multimedia, e-commerce, blogging, or a portfolio. It could also be incompatible with essential plugins, leading to functionality issues or even causing your website to break. This can result in extended troubleshooting periods and potentially overhauling your site with a new theme, which can be both time-consuming and costly.

Mobile optimization is no longer optional but a critical requirement. A theme that isn’t responsive will not adapt well to different screen sizes and devices, making your website difficult to navigate and use on smartphones and tablets. This frustrates users and affects your website’s search engine ranking.

When selecting a theme, it’s vital to ensure it is visually appealing, functionally robust, and mobile-friendly. Look for themes that are regularly updated, compatible with popular plugins, and offer flexible customization options. Checking for reviews, ratings, and developer support can also guide you in choosing a reliable and well-suited theme for your WordPress site.

4. Not Customizing Permalinks

WordPress’s default permalink structure typically uses plain IDs and dates, which are less informative to users and less favorable for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Customizing your permalinks to include descriptive and keyword-rich URLs can significantly improve your site’s search engine visibility and overall user experience.

Permalinks are the permanent URLs to your individual pages, posts, and categories. A well-structured permalink informs search engines and visitors about the page’s content before they even visit it. The default settings in WordPress might generate functional but not optimal URLs. For example, a default URL like does not indicate the content, whereas a customized permalink like is immediately indicative of the content and is more likely to rank higher in search results for relevant keywords.

Important to know:
While changing permalinks on a new site is straightforward, modifying them on an established site requires careful planning to avoid broken links. Proper redirects are essential to maintain the integrity of your site’s navigation and SEO.

Security Mistakes

5. Ignoring WordPress Updates

Regular maintenance and updates are fundamental to the health and security of your WordPress website. A common but critical mistake many website owners make is ignoring WordPress updates, including those for themes and plugins. Failing to keep your WordPress core, themes, and plugins up-to-date can expose your site to various issues, primarily security vulnerabilities and performance setbacks.

WordPress releases updates often, including security patches, bug fixes, and enhancements that improve your website’s overall functionality and security. Hackers frequently target vulnerabilities in outdated software. Not updating exposes your site to potential attacks, which could lead to data breaches, loss of sensitive information, and even a complete takeover.

Updates can significantly improve the performance of your website. They often come with optimizations that make your site run more efficiently, handle traffic better, and load faster. These aspects are crucial for user experience and impact your site’s SEO ranking.

Aside from the WordPress core, keeping your themes and plugins updated is vital. Like the WordPress core, themes and plugins can have vulnerabilities that are patched in updates. Using outdated themes and plugins can introduce weak points in your site’s security armor.

Another aspect often overlooked is the presence of unused themes and plugins. It’s common to try out different themes and plugins to find the right fit for your site. However, once you’ve chosen, it’s prudent to delete any you’re not using. Unused themes and plugins take up space, add unnecessary bloat to your site, and pose a security risk. They can be a backdoor for hackers, especially if they’re not regularly updated.

6. Using Weak Passwords and Default Username

The strength of your passwords and the choice of usernames play a pivotal role in safeguarding your WordPress website. Unfortunately, many users undermine their website’s security by using weak passwords and retaining the default ‘admin’ username. These minor oversights can significantly compromise your website’s safety, making it susceptible to unauthorized access and attacks.

Weak passwords are akin to leaving the front door of your house unlocked. They are easily guessable or crackable through brute-force attacks, where hackers systematically check all possible passwords until the correct one is found. Common, simple passwords, such as “password123” or “admin,” can be breached in seconds. The default ‘admin’ username adds to this vulnerability. Since ‘admin’ is a well-known default username for WordPress installations, it is often the first guess for hackers attempting to gain unauthorized access.

It’s crucial to use strong, unique passwords. A strong password typically includes upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. It should be lengthy enough to resist brute-force attempts and unique, not used across multiple sites or accounts. Many users find it challenging to remember complex passwords, which is where password managers come into play. These tools can generate and store complex passwords for you, enhancing security without memorizing each one.

Changing the default ‘admin’ username to something more unique and less predictable is another simple yet effective step to boost your site’s security. You can do this during the initial WordPress setup or later by creating a new administrator account with a unique username and transferring all the content from the old ‘admin’ account to the new one.

7. Not Creating Regular Backups

Neglecting regular backups is a critical oversight in WordPress website management. Backups act as a safety net, safeguarding your website against data loss, corruption, or other unforeseen issues that can lead to website malfunction. In the absence of recent backups, recovering your site in the event of a problem can be a daunting, if not impossible, task. Establishing a reliable backup routine is important for any WordPress site.

Regular backups ensure you have an up-to-date copy of your site’s content, databases, themes, plugins, and settings. In situations like hacking incidents, accidental data deletion, or server crashes, having a recent backup can be the difference between a quick recovery and a prolonged, potentially business-damaging outage.

8. Overlooking Website Security

Overlooking website security is a mistake that can have consequences for any WordPress site owner. The importance of robust security measures is often underestimated until a breach occurs, which can result in significant data loss and a tarnished reputation. To safeguard your website, it’s crucial to implement comprehensive security strategies.

The foundation of website security begins with using security plugins, with a range of features designed to protect your website. They can block malicious attacks, scan for malware, monitor suspicious activities, and alert you to potential security threats. Some well-known security plugins also offer features like two-factor authentication, which adds an extra layer of security to your login process, and firewall protection, which helps to block brute force and sophisticated attacks before they reach your site.

Related Article:
Read more about WordPress security in our article “How to Secure Your WordPress Website: A Comprehensive Guide”

SEO/Marketing Mistakes

9. Not Optimizing for SEO

SEO is the practice of enhancing your website to improve its ranking in search engine results, making it more discoverable to users. When SEO is neglected, your website may struggle to appear in relevant search results, leading to decreased organic traffic and missed opportunities to connect with your audience.

Search engines like Google use complex algorithms to rank websites, and these algorithms favor well-optimized, relevant sites that provide a good user experience. Key aspects of SEO include optimizing your site’s content with relevant keywords, ensuring fast loading speeds, making your site mobile-friendly, and having a clear, logical site structure.

Keywords play a vital role in SEO. They are the terms and phrases that users enter into search engines. By incorporating these keywords into your site’s content, titles, meta descriptions, and URLs, you increase the likelihood of your site ranking for those terms. However, it’s important to use keywords judiciously; keyword stuffing or overusing keywords can have a negative effect.

10. Skimping on Quality Content

Content is the cornerstone of user engagement and SEO effectiveness. The internet is a vast repository of information, and your website’s content sets it apart, attracts visitors, and keeps them engaged. High-quality, relevant content is essential for drawing in and retaining an audience and enhancing your site’s visibility and ranking in search engine results.

Quality content refers to valuable, informative, and interesting information to your target audience. It should be well-researched, thoughtfully written, and directly relevant to the interests and needs of your visitors. Engaging content answers user queries or offers unique insights and tends to resonate more with the audience, encouraging longer site visits and repeat traffic. This user engagement is a crucial factor that search engines consider when ranking websites.

High-quality content is instrumental in establishing your website as an authoritative source in your niche. Consistently producing well-crafted articles, blogs, or other types of content helps build trust and credibility with your audience. This trust fosters a loyal user base and enhances the likelihood of your content being shared, further amplifying your reach and impact.

11. Poor Navigation Structure

Having a poor navigation structure on your WordPress site can significantly undermine your website’s user experience and overall effectiveness. Navigation is the roadmap of your site; it guides visitors through your content and helps them find what they’re looking for. This complicated or confusing process can lead to frustration, increased bounce rates, and a loss of potential engagement and conversions.

When users visit your website, they often have a specific goal or information they are seeking. They are likely to leave the site quickly if they cannot easily navigate to the desired section or content due to a complex or poorly designed navigation structure.

A well-planned navigation structure, on the other hand, can significantly enhance the usability of your site. It should be logical, clear, and consistent across all pages. Key elements of effective navigation include a well-organized menu, clear categories, and a visible search bar. The menu should be easily accessible and self-explanatory, with labels that accurately describe the content of the pages they link to. This straightforward approach helps visitors understand how to navigate your site and find the necessary information.

Expert Tip:
Integrate schema markup into your website to enhance SEO, as it helps search engines understand your content’s context and improves rich snippet display in search results. Additionally, regularly audit your site’s navigation and content to align with your evolving SEO strategy and user engagement goals.

Speed and Performance Mistakes

12. Not Setting Up Caching

Caching is a technology that significantly improves the efficiency of data retrieval, providing a faster web experience for your users. Without caching, whenever a user visits your website, the server has to process each request, retrieve data, and then compile it into the webpage delivered to the user’s browser. This process can be time-consuming, especially for content-rich or high-traffic sites, leading to slower loading times.

Various types of caching can be implemented, including page caching, object caching, database query caching, and browser caching. Each type addresses different aspects of the loading process and can significantly reduce the server load and page loading times.

Implementing caching on a WordPress site can be relatively straightforward. Many WordPress caching plugins can handle the technical aspects of caching for you. These plugins are often easy to set up and can be customized based on your website needs.

13. Failing to Optimize Images

Images are essential to most websites, enhancing the visual appeal and often conveying critical information. However, large, unoptimized images can be one of the biggest culprits in reduced page loading speeds, negatively impacting user experience and SEO.

When images are not optimized, they can have unnecessarily large file sizes. This means they take longer to load, which can be particularly problematic for users with slower internet connections. Every second counts regarding user engagement; as page load times increase, so do bounce rates. Users are likely to become impatient with slow-loading pages and may leave your site before they fully experience what you offer.

Optimizing images typically involves a few key steps:

  • Reducing file size while maintaining acceptable quality
  • Choosing the right file format
  • Correctly sizing the images for their intended use on your site

Image compression tools and software can significantly reduce file sizes by removing unnecessary data from the image. Tools like Adobe Photoshop or free online tools like TinyPNG can perform this task efficiently.

14. Overlooking 404 Error Page

A 404 error page appears when a visitor tries to access a page on your site that doesn’t exist, typically due to a broken or dead link or a mistyped URL. While 404 errors are normal and occur on every website, how they are handled can significantly impact user perception and engagement.

A default 404 error page is often stark and unhelpful, potentially leading visitors to exit your site out of confusion or frustration. This diminishes the user experience and can impact your site’s bounce rate.

To mitigate this, it’s crucial first to monitor and fix broken links on your website. Regularly checking for and repairing broken links minimizes the chances of visitors encountering a 404 error. There are various tools and plugins available that can help you detect broken links on your site. Once identified, these links should be fixed or redirected to relevant pages to maintain a smooth navigation experience.

Customizing your 404 error pages can also turn a potentially negative experience into a positive one. A well-designed, informative, and engaging 404 page can help retain visitors who might have left your site.

Custom 404 pages can include elements such as:

  • A friendly, reassuring message that the missing page’s absence is a simple error.
  • Links to popular or relevant content on your site, guiding visitors back into your website.
  • A search bar allows users to find the content they are looking for.
  • Brand-appropriate humor or creative graphics to lighten the mood.
  • Navigation menus or a home page link offer easy pathways to browsing your site.

By designing a custom 404 page that aligns with your brand and is helpful to users, you can turn a potential dead-end into an opportunity for further engagement.

15. Using a Default Favicon

Using a default favicon is a small yet significant oversight that can result in a missed branding opportunity for your WordPress site. A favicon, short for “favorite icon”, is the small image displayed next to your website title in a browser tab and bookmarks list. It’s a crucial element of your site’s identity and brand recognition. Default favicons are generic and can make your site appear less professional or indistinguishable.

Customizing your favicon is a straightforward yet effective way to reinforce your brand identity and enhance your site’s professionalism. A well-designed favicon is a visual marker for your website, making it instantly recognizable to users with multiple tabs open or a long list of bookmarks. This level of brand reinforcement adds to the overall user experience and can contribute to the memorability of your site.

The process of creating and implementing a custom favicon is relatively simple. The image should ideally represent your brand, such as a condensed version of your logo or a recognizable element of your brand imagery. Given its size, typically 16×16 or 32×32 pixels, the design should be simple and straightforward to remain discernible at such dimensions. Once created, the favicon can be uploaded to your WordPress site via theme settings or a plugin designed for this purpose.

Expert Tip:
Explore lazy loading and leverage a Content Delivery Network (CDN) for images to improve loading times.

Bonus: For Advanced Users

For advanced WordPress developers, there are advanced practices that can significantly enhance the efficiency and reliability of your website management process.

16. Ignoring Local Development Best Practices

The importance of utilizing local development environments cannot be overstated. Working locally allows for a more efficient development process, enabling testing and development without the risk of affecting the live site. This practice ensures that any changes, updates, or new features can be thoroughly tested before being implemented on the live website.

17. Not Having a Staging Environment

Having a staging environment is crucial. A staging site is a clone of your live website where you can test updates, plugins, and new features. This setup acts as a buffer, protecting your live site from potential disruptions or breakdowns that could occur from direct changes. Using a staging environment ensures that your live site remains stable and uninterrupted.

18. Not Using a Child Theme

Using a child theme is a practice often overlooked by many advanced developers. A child theme allows you to customize your site without altering the parent theme. This approach is particularly beneficial when updates to the parent theme are released. Without a child theme, customizations can be lost when the parent theme is updated. Using a child theme ensures that your customizations are preserved, making updates smoother and more secure.

19. Neglecting GDPR Compliance and Privacy Policies

In today’s digital age, data privacy and protection are paramount. Neglecting these areas can lead to legal issues and a loss of user trust. Ensuring that your site complies with GDPR and other privacy regulations and that your privacy policies are transparent and up-to-date is essential in building and maintaining user trust and credibility.


In the dynamic and ever-evolving landscape of web development, being aware of and actively steering clear of common mistakes is crucial for the success and security of your WordPress site. By diligently considering and implementing strategies to counteract these 15 common WordPress mistakes, you can enhance your site’s performance, fortify its security, and elevate the overall user experience. It’s vital to remember proactive prevention is invariably more effective than retrospective fixes. Ensure your WordPress site’s smooth and secure operation by embracing these best practices, thereby setting a solid foundation for your online presence.