Did you know that over 455 million websites use WordPress?
If you or your business is new to web design, it’s likely that you have considered WordPress or even tried it out for yourself.
Its numerous features, themes, and options make it fairly easy to create your website. But what you may not know is that many things can go wrong along the way.
Below we’ve created the following guide to help you create an effective and properly working WordPress website. Here are common web design mistakes to look for and correct.
Not Backing up WordPress
Any time you don’t back up the data on your website, you run the risk of losing it. Whether it’s from theft, human error, or hacking, recovering data isn’t guaranteed.
If you can’t recover your website’s data, you’ll have to start over. You won’t just have to re-create all your content and web design elements, but you’ll also have to rebuild your traffic.
There’s not much you can do once you have lost all of your data, but this situation can be easily prevented. Avoid this mistake by setting up automated backups.
WordPress offers several backup plugins that you can use. BackUpWordpress is one of the most reliable and popular options.
Once you install your backup plugin, double-check that it allows for automatic backups. Make sure to store these backups on a platform that is different than the web hosting server.
This will ensure that even if a problem happens with the server, you can rest assured that your data is safe. Options to store your backups include DropBox and Microsoft OneDrive.
Choosing a Cheap WordPress Host
When you build your WordPress site, you can choose to host it using WordPress’s servers or an external host. There’s no right answer for the hosting services you should choose – but there are definitely wrong ones.
Hosts can vary greatly in price. Paying for a cheaper hosting solution may be the better choice for you now, but it will cost you in the long run.
Why is it a mistake to select cheaper hosts?
Cheaper hosts typically don’t have the fast load times and helpful features as a more comprehensive host. If you have a more intricate web design, you may need higher hosting capabilities. A cheaper host may end up being a mistake.
Take time to consider what services you need before deciding on a host.
In some cases, you may not care about the advanced features that come with more comprehensive plans. But it’s necessary to have your web pages load quickly – and there’s no guarantee of this with a cheaper host.
Using Plugins Incorrectly
One of WordPress’s best features is that sites can be customized through the use of various plugins. With plugins, you can do everything from modifying the design of your website to adding custom email options.
However, using plugins comes with some caveats. Using plugins can slow down your website and create vulnerabilities within your website’s code that could make it more prone to hacking.
Think about the following best practices for using plugins on your website so you can avoid common mistakes and create a more successful website.
Use a Select Few
Don’t install plugins unless they are absolutely necessary. Plugins are there to help you upgrade your web design or add additional features that your theme may not have.
Using too many plugins can lead to problems, though. From slowing down your website speed to opening up your site to security breaches, too many plugins can compromise your website’s functionality and web design.
There is no general rule for the plugins you should have installed. The rule of thumb is to use only ones that are the most beneficial for your website.
But one mistake you should remember to avoid? Once you stop using a plugin, don’t keep it activated. Uninstall if from your site.
Once you have plugins in use throughout your website, it’s important to update them regularly. This will keep your site operating smoothly and protect it from vulnerabilities from outdated plugins.
Outdated plugins can cause numerous problems, including site crashes, negative effects on web design execution, and slow website speed. Developers update plugins to keep them working properly and fix holes in security.
As soon as updates are released, you should install them. It’s a good idea to view the “Updates” section of your dashboard regularly.
Use Trusted Plugins
Most of the time, you’ll be able to use a few plugins on your website without problems. But it takes just one corrupt plugin within your site’s web design to open up your site to malicious hackers.
Avoid the mistake of using questionable plugins by taking the time to research plugins and only download trusted ones for your web design needs. High-quality plug-ins will usually have thousands of downloads, at least four stars, and positive reviews.
Not Using a Mobile-Friendly Theme
In the early days of web design, having a beautiful website meant creating one that was optimized for desktops. Now, your website needs to seamlessly transition between desktops and mobile devices.
It’s a common mistake for many people to forget the importance of mobile-friendliness for web design. But having a responsive website is crucial to attracting users who use a variety of browsers and screen sizes.
Luckily, using WordPress means that you’ll likely avoid this mistake. Most WordPress themes are mobile-friendly. The tool allows you to switch between screen sizes during the editing process so you can view what your website would look like on different devices.
To ensure that your web design is mobile-friendly, you can try using Google’s free and simple tool to conduct a mobile-friendly test. You can type in your URL to test it live and get feedback.
Not Using a Child Theme
WordPress offers many themes with customization options known as child themes. The child theme is the sub-theme of a larger parent theme.
When you use a child theme for your web design, you can edit your parent theme without affecting the core files of a website. This will ensure that your website runs smoothly while giving you the chance to change certain design elements.
Avoid the common mistake of using a parent theme. When you edit the parent theme directly, you’ll lose all of your changes when the theme is updated by the developer due to WordPress coding standards.
Use a child theme to keep all of your customizations. You can use a parent theme with an existing child theme if you’d like. Or, you can make your own.
Create a child theme folder in your site’s File Manager. To do this, visit the public_html folder for your theme and then add a new folder with the child theme name.
Next, create a stylesheet for your child theme and enqueue the themes together so you can activate the child theme.
Ignoring Important SEO Design Elements
It only takes a few seconds for users to form a first impression on your website, and the same goes for search engines. With a high-quality web design and thoughtfully presented content, you’ll both attract more visitors and generate higher SEO ratings.
Below are just a few of the important web design elements you need to prioritize for your website so you don’t make a critical mistake.
Keep Format Simple
There’s a misconception with websites that more is better – but this is a mistake that you should avoid. Less is always more when it comes to your web design format.
Keep your format as simple as possible. Display important business information right away so visitors understand your site from the start.
Don’t cram too much information on your home page. Communicate some of your main values business offerings, then let other pages of your web design explain more.
Use white space to your advantage. You don’t need to fill up your page with lots of information – key points will do the trick.
And as for text, don’t make the mistake of having your text extend across the entire page. Great web design will have 45 to 80 characters per line.
Keep Navigation Simple
Along those same lines, keep your website navigation simple. People expect everything to be accessible within an instant.
If they can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll abandon your site. Avoid the common mistake of trying to make your website navigation fancy or unique.
Place the menu and the search bar at the top of the page in intuitive locations. You can also test out how users interact with your website so you can enhance your web design.
Keep Content Simple
Your content is arguably the most important part of your website. It conveys your branding and your message while creating relationships with your readers.
Many small businesses and website designers make the mistake of trying to make content stand out through the use of design. They’ll use bright colors and unique fonts within their web design in an effort to get noticed.
But these will just distract your readers. Use simple fonts that are easy to read in neutral colors. It’s hard to make a mistake with the look of your content when you use simple black text on a white background.
Great content will speak for itself. Focus on delivering a quality message that’s simple but effective.
Improperly Categorizing Content
WordPress gives you two options to organize your content: categories and tags. One common mistake is failing to understand the difference between these two tools.
Categories are broad topics, and WordPress will require you to categorize every post. Tags are more specific, and WordPress doesn’t require them.
Say that you upload a recipe on your cooking website. The category could be the type of recipe, and the tags could be the specific ingredients within the dish.
If you choose not to categorize content, WordPress will categorize it as “Uncategorized.” While this isn’t necessary a mistake, it won’t do your website any favours.
This will help neither search engines nor your readers understand your content, so make sure to categorize your posts and add tags when relevant.
Ignoring Website Security
One reason that many companies and designers choose to use WordPress is that it’s a trusted platform. Newer web designers or businesses may take comfort in the fact that WordPress is more secure than alternatives.
However, this assumption isn’t always true. Many people make the mistake of not taking their security seriously when using a WordPress website, leaving their websites open to vulnerabilities.
WordPress happens to offer a great tool for keeping your website safe. The Word Fence tool is one of the highest rating security tools and can be downloaded here.
Another security threat you should keep in mind has to do with when you choose to update your WordPress.
WordPress regularly releases updates to themes in order to fix security issues. If you wait too long to update your theme, this is a mistake. You’ll be exposing your site to a myriad of security issues.
Check your dashboard regularly for WordPress updates. You’ll see a “new version” update when it’s time.
Forgetting Contact Information
Forgetting to include your contact information within your website is another common mistake. Even with the best content and most unique products, you won’t be successful without a way for customers together in touch with you.
As soon as customers decide that you are the company they want to do business with, they need an immediate way to get in touch with you. This could look like a call to action at the end of a blog post or a small contact button in a widget on the side of the page.
A visitor should never have to search through your site for contact information. If it takes more than three seconds for them to find how to contact you, it’s time to rethink your web design and correct this mistake.
Avoiding Common Web Design Mistakes
Web design is key to a WordPress website that runs smoothly. Taking the time to understand and correct web design mistakes will set you up for a website that will rank higher and deliver a better user experience.
Interested in more tips and strategies for optimizing your website’s performance? Don’t hesitate to reach out to the Bankey Digital Solutions team.
We offer services in web design, WordPress hosting, and branding. We’re excited to hear from you.