10 Common WordPress Mistakes

10 Mistakes People Make When They First Start With WordPress

The incredible popularity of WordPress gives hackers an incentive to go after it. Once they find a way in, they can replicate the attack across thousands or even millions of sites. One of the most prominent ways that the CMS has been attacked most recently is through a content-injection weakness that was identified early this year and patched by WordPress 4.7.2. Regardless of the patch, 1.5 million sites were defaced by February 10, according to Threatpost. It is one of the worst points of WordPress compromise to ever develop, according to WP security plugin maker WordFence. The problem (an issue with a REST API endpoint that led to unauthenticated privilege escalation) was patched by WordPress 4.7.2 on January the 26th – although news of the patch didn’t emerge right away. One of the core developers noted that the CMS organization waited to let people know about the vulnerability until people were able to make the update and clear themselves from potential exploit.

 

Since hacking is devastating to businesses (with one report indicating that 3 in 5 hacked businesses go bankrupt within six months), it is important to focus on that particular element. However, we will not neglect various other ways that companies can, well, screw up with WordPress when they’re getting started. Let’s look at some of the most frequently occurring mistakes so that you can avoid them.

 

10 WordPress mistakes that you can avoid

 

How can you get the most out of WordPress? Well, one of the easiest methods is process of elimination. Here are 10 common mistakes to avoid:

 

#1 – Forgetting to update WordPress

 

To return to the above discussion, what can we learn? Takeaway: stay updated. It is often a good idea to set up the CMS to update automatically. One way or another, keep it at the latest version. As noted by Sue Anne Dunlevie of Successful Blogging, software used by attackers scans the Internet looking for installations that have not been properly updated – so don’t let that be you.

 

#2 – Failing to make a backup

 

You certainly need to know that your WordPress is being backed up regularly. Failure to create a backup may seem like a rookie mistake to those who perform those backups standardly – but it’s something easy not to prioritize. Plugins such as BackWPup, VaultPress, and BackupBuddy are recommended by WPBeginner. You can also use a managed WordPress hosting plan that comes with free backups (with both those options recommended for an additional layer of protection).

 

#3 – Retaining the default admin username

 

The username admin is created when you install WordPress. That account has administrative privileges. Hackers know that. It is straightforward for someone who wants unauthorized access to your site to run a brute-force attack targeting the admin username. To be clear, since this user’s privileges are so substantial, it’s especially important that it not continue to display the generic title that comes out-of-the-box.

 

Internet marketing thought leader Jeff Bullas notes that since it’s so easy to change this username when you are installing, it is nonsensical not to go ahead and change it right then. Bullas adds that it is important to make your username and password complex via inclusion of letters, numbers, and special characters. Let’s retire password123?

 

#4 – Going nuts with plugin overload

 

Do you get a new phone and immediately install 200 apps on it? That should not be your same process with WordPress.

 

You want to have as few plugins as possible on your site, advises developer Nathan Ello. “If you can run your entire WordPress website with zero plugins,” he says, “then congratulations, you’re officially a wizard.”

 

The key basis for Ello’s argument is that plugins sometimes are not completely compatible. Beware of plugin conflicts.

 

The risk presented by plugins is not just about conflict among plugins, of course. There are often security vulnerabilities – so vet carefully, and always make sure that your plugins are tested with the latest WordPress release.

 

#5 – Publishing without enough forethought

 

Given how obsessive the digital world has become with consistent posting of content through blogs and social media, it is interesting to see Dunlevie suggest slowing down. She notes that Google updates have increasingly prioritized how user-friendly and valuable your content is (and that is at a broader semantic level rather than just related to keywords).

 

Specifically, Dunlevie says that any posts should be carefully revised and edited prior to publishing them. Beyond your search engine results, it will also help you from a user experience perspective.

 

She suggests working with an editor. You can use an editor if you want to improve pieces you already have on your site or as part of the process to refine new ones as they’re created.

 

#6 – Skipping favicon customization

 

Ever look at the browser window, see those tiny icons adjacent to the title of the page, and wonder how you could have your own? It is easy not to pay enough attention to that element, the favicon. The problem with neglecting favicons is that they will get their information elsewhere. You don’t want your site to be advertising your theme company through its favicon.

 

Your favicon should be thought of as your identity, says WPbeginner. Here is the Code information on Creating a Favicon if you need help moving forward.

 

#7 – Poor (faulty or off-point) choice of theme

 

WordPress is a standardized way to approach the web, so it’s important that you make the most of the elements that are most easily controllable – such as your theme. Think about it this way: the structure of your design will have a major impact on how well you do in search. Think usability, affordability, and credibility when selecting a theme, says Bullas – who suggests going straight to the WordPress Themes Directory to find one.

 

#8 – Lack of a staging environment

 

Staging is a concept that’s important to development. You have your production environment, which is your live site. The public can see that version of your site. You could even say that “is” your site. There should be another part of your site, though – so that you aren’t always playing around with the live site when you make changes.

 

Small changes? Sure: it makes sense to correct typos and make other minor adjustments to the live site. The production environment should generally not be something you modify, though – without first sending it through staging for boot camp.

 

Ello mentions examples of three typical WP changes you would want to introduce first in staging:

 

  • – Upgrading to a new release
  • – Installing and trying out a new plugin
  • – Changing or updating your theme

 

#9 – Keeping the default permalink

 

What link tends to stick around and mess with your search engine presence? That’s a permalink. The permalink is a static hyperlink referring to one of your blog posts. Default structure is www.thisisyoursite.com/?p=123. That structure could be much better both for engagement and to better feed Google – so you want to change it.

 

Making your permalinks friendlier to users and to the search engines will give you better visibility. It will also convey to your audience that your approach is professional, organized, logical, coherent, and systematic.

 

Overall, you can change your permalink structure through Settings > Permalinks. For each post, you can improve your SEO performance if you use strong keywords (and key concepts).

 

#10 – Disregarding the machinery

 

Let’s get back to that mention of staging – which points to the importance of preparation prior to launch of any new (and significant) modifications. “Staging” sounds like it’s on the stage, but it’s really about something going on backstage, in a way. While staging is about preparation, you also need to think about the behind-the-scenes aspects of your site in terms of infrastructure. Having a highly reliable site on enterprise-grade hardware is critical on numerous levels: it will not only deliver information faster to users (and to you!) but will also improve your SEO.

 

Want to avoid mistakes and accelerate your server for CMS peace of mind and success? Choose WordPress hosting with isolated resources, 99.996% proven uptime, and fully managed 24/7/365 support. Get started.

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Powerful Hosting for WordPress

Why WordPress Might Need More Powerful Hosting Than You Think

When deciding on the backend environment of a site that will serve as the place where you’ll make all changes to content and functionality, there aren’t any wrong or right answers. While there are some specialty cases, like e-commerce, where you’ll probably want to help yourself by choosing an e-commerce specific CMS at least as a base, you can use any solution you’d like. While coding a site from scratch is a perfectly suitable solution, many people opt for a CMS for a variety of reasons.

 

For those who aren’t web developers by trade, or business owners who just prefer simplicity when it comes to making site changes, the use of a CMS is a popular choice. Though content management systems vary, the benefit of using them is that they are relatively easier to use due to being broken down into logical “fill in your content here” sections rather than intimidating users with a wall of code that they have to accurately edit.

 

The most popular CMS in the world, by far, is WordPress. Current estimates have WordPress powering more than a quarter of all websites on the internet. It’s easy to see why so many think of WordPress as synonymous with CMSes, like Xerox and copy machines. WordPress is fairly straightforward, it can be modified to do nearly anything, and the cottage industry of plugins and themes that has developed around it means the combinations are nearly limitless. But, while using WordPress is simple to a degree, it is not a simple software. If you’re just starting out with a website, there’s a good chance you’ve opted for the combination of WordPress on a shared hosting plan.

 

While this set up will probably work for you in the very early days of your venture, don’t be surprised if you quickly outgrow it, especially if this website is for your business. There are two things to keep in mind here: increases in traffic and the demands of WordPress as a software. Sooner or later, you’ll see that you’re going to need to migrate to a managed VPS in order to get the performance a professional site needs.

 

Migrations aren’t fun, so it’s best to set things up initially with an eye on your future needs. That’s why you should skip the shared hosting and go straight for a managed VPS when launching a site on WordPress. Here are some characteristics of WordPress to keep in mind and why you may need more powerful hosting than you realize.

 

Keep Traffic in Mind

 

Many of the factors that can make a WordPress site feel like it’s running slow or performance isn’t what you’d expect comes down to the software itself, not necessarily your hosting. What this means is, upgrading to a managed VPS isn’t necessarily a magic bullet. Rather, it gives you more room to work with to offset some of the characteristics of WordPress that can make it sluggish. The only thing your server is primarily responsible for in this equation is handling traffic loads.

 

Between the information presented in cPanel and Google Analytics (which you really should set up on your site) you’ll be able to extrapolate if you’re seeing notable increases in bandwidth usage and traffic. If these metrics are higher than they have been historically and you’re noticing that your page load time is exceeding three seconds, you probably need a more capable server. Google themselves have said two second load times should be the target.

 

If external factors are affecting site performance, a VPS should be something you look into.

 

The Nature of WordPress

 

Now we’re going to get into how WordPress in particular can be a bit sluggish. Since we are speaking in terms of literal seconds, sluggish is a relative term. But the difference between three seconds and six seconds when it comes to user behavior is significant. Pinpointing ways to shave down fractions of seconds is something you’re going to want to do if you’re looking to make money with your website.

 

When it comes to issues of WordPress itself, your host can only act as a buffer. With a more powerful hosting solution like a VPS, the added CPU and RAM provides more leeway when it comes to more bloated themes or plugin usage. The hardware in a shared hosting plan will begin to suffer under the load of a heavy site sooner. But, ultimately, it’s about striking a balance between necessary functionality, good design choices, and having a reliable host. Here are some of the aspects of your WordPress build where things can bottleneck.

 

Your Theme

 

The theme you choose doesn’t just contain the design of your site. Themes that have a bunch of bells and whistles have functionality hard coded into them. That means more elaborate PHP. This makes for heavier code that can bog down your site. When possible, go for the most lightweight theme possible. Chances are you won’t use all of the features coded into the theme. It’s better to add functionality yourself via plugins you select yourself. This leads to the next point about plugins.

 

Plugins

 

One of WordPress’ biggest selling points is the ability to easily add functionality with plugins. The downside to this convenience is you can get a little plugin happy and find yourself with many installed in your WordPress build. While plugins are necessary to get the site you want, it’s important to know that each plugin can add a fraction of a second to your page load time because the browser has to process them. It’s also important to note that not all plugins are equal. Some can be significantly heavier than others with similar functionality. That’s why you should test and evaluate to see which to keep and which to get rid of.

 

Image Optimization

 

Rarely, if ever, should you be keeping images on your site that measure in megabytes. Large images can be a culprit behind slow load times. These images add up, so a long post history with large images can absolutely cause performance issues. Get around this by installing a plugin that automatically optimizes images as you load them into the CMS. This takes the responsibility of going through and editing every image off of you for convenience.

 

Caching

 

You can help your site load quicker with a caching solution. W3 Total Cache is a popular plugin for this . It makes a variety of behind the scenes changes without actually altering your theme or plugins. It was designed to work in any hosting environment, including your VPS. Check out its long list of features. It makes many small changes to how certain content is cached in order to improve the user experience.

 

Conclusion

 

Your website depends on reliable hosting to get the results your business needs to thrive. Don’t accept slow performance and erratic uptime. A managed VPS is a great investment for businesses of all sizes. The combination of a managed VPS and WordPress could be the ideal environment for yours. If you’ve grown frustrated with your current hosting plan or you want to start fresh, contact the team at KnownHost today. We’ll help you choose the hosting solution that makes the most sense for your business.

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Why Your Content Management System Could Dictate What Kind of Server You Need

In some ways, a website is like a car. There are many moving parts that make the entire thing work. Similarly to diagnosing car trouble, there are many different variables to investigate when trying to determine why your website may not be performing up to par. What’s with the slowdown? Why is the site taking so long to load? Questions like that cause site owners to drill down into their analytics and see what, exactly, are the implications of these noticeable issues. Typically, you’ll note things like higher bounce rates, drops in conversions, and a general tapering off of visitors as they make their way through the pipeline you’ve designed.

 

So, what gives? Which of the moving parts is keeping this car off the road? It’s hard to give broad answers because of the many different possible causes. But, because we talk about hosting here, we’re going to investigate how two critical choices you make when creating your site can interact in a way that gives your site less than optimal performance.

 

Two big contributors to overall site performance are your content management system and the hardware you choose for your hosting. Many factors go into the need for upgrading your hosting to a VPS or dedicated server. Things like traffic volume play a big part, but your content management system can dictate what kind of server you need as well. Let’s break it down.

 

Content Management System

 

Your content management system, or CMS as it’s more commonly written out as, is the “behind the scenes” portion of your site. It’s the place you login to to make changes to the content of your site. Copy, images, and even a lot of the functionality of a site will be controlled through here. This is not to be confused with cPanel, which is even further behind the scenes and where the user can do things like actually install the CMS onto the server.

 

CMS choices come in a variety of flavors. Many of the most popular ones are open source software which cost nothing and can be modified to the end user’s liking. Depending on your individual needs, some of the more popular content management systems include Drupal, Joomla, Magento (with Magento 2 now seeing wide release), and WordPress. WordPress is probably the CMS that you’re most used to, even if you don’t know it. That’s because about a quarter of all the websites on the internet are powered by WordPress. It’s pretty crazy when you think about it. There’s a good chance the website you’re looking to launch will be powered by WordPress due to its popularity and relative ease of use.

 

WordPress is formidable in nearly any use case. While it may be generally looked upon as a blogging platform, its capabilities go far beyond that. With popular plugins like WooCommerce, you can operate an ecommerce site. If you’ve got some fairly decent PHP chops, you can even hack WordPress to operate as a simple social networking site or company intranet.

 

But these tasks (and the WordPress installation itself) can be “heavy.” That is, WordPress can be burdensome when it comes to resource requirements. Which is where your server comes in.

 

Hosting Solutions

 

Everyone knows the allure of shared hosting plans. They’re cheap, easy enough to get started, and they get your site online. But there are quire a few reasons why shared hosting isn’t a viable option for a professional site with a CMS. For one thing, shared hosting isn’t as secure as options like a VPS or dedicated server due to the fact you’re sharing not only a machine but resources with other sites. If one site gets compromised, there is a route that can be exploited into yours. Any sensitive information you have may be exposed. But beyond the security aspect of it, there is the performance aspect.

 

WordPress, to say nothing of a really resource hungry CMS like Magento, doesn’t perform at its best on shared hosting because it requires a bit more horsepower to load quickly. If you’re a web developer, you probably use a lot of different browsers for testing. WordPress is a lot like Google Chrome. It’s the most popular and it has awesome features, but it’ll eat up RAM and battery at a faster pace than the competition.

 

Since shared hosting won’t cut it, you’ll need to decide if a VPS or dedicated server is right for you. In most cases, a VPS will do the trick. It has the CPU speed and RAM required to power most sites and handle a reasonable amount of traffic. The only sites that would really benefit from going all in on a dedicated server is a site that’s getting significant traffic at all hours of the day. Think huge ecommerce stores or content delivery sites like the Huffington Post.

 

Why Your Server Matters

 

Pairing the right CMS for the job with the right server will be what helps make sure your site performs properly. Site speeds and load time are very important to conversion rates. There are many different metrics you can look at that prove the point. Essentially, what you need to know is that the major ecommerce sites have an average loading time of ten seconds, when the ideal is actually three. Every second counts. A one second improvement can improve conversions by up to 7%. Compound that annually based on your sales and you can see that it’s a sizable sum.

 

The reason why your CMS can add to your load times is that the functionality all has to process in the browser when a visitor calls up your site. The complexity of the PHP scripting can add on to the load time. Themes have to populate. With WordPress in particular, the number of plugins you’re running can slow down your load time. While each plugin maybe adds a fraction of a second to the total load time, if you’re relying on a wide variety of plugins for functionality, those fractions quickly add up. And if a single second does indeed impact sales to such an extent, you see why offsetting all the backend processes of your site with a powerful server is the way to go.

 

No matter what CMS you ultimately land on, most of the major players aren’t what one would consider lightweight. And since many rely on the plugin/addon model for functionality, you want a hosting solution that’ll be able to process everything quickly enough so that all of your visitors can have a fast experience whether they’re coming to your site during peak traffic time or not.

 

Conclusion

 

Your website needs the right hosting solution to ensure its performing at its best. Are you currently with another host and you’re contemplating shopping around because you’re tired of losing out on money due to a poor performing site? Whether you’re looking for a new host or you’re looking to get a brand new online business off the ground, the team at KnownHost is here to help. We have the hosting solutions you need so you can set yourself up for success. Contact us today and we’ll walk you through your options and get you set up with the VPS or dedicated server you need for your site.

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How to Use Video in Your Content Marketing Effectively

Video marketing is the lifeblood of any major marketing campaign. If we look at the statistics, we can see that 40% of people respond more positively to visual content than they do written content.

This demonstrates that video content is the way forward. Visual content is your salvation. If you’re not in on it now, you’re going to lose out when your competitors decide to take advantage.

How to Use Video in Your Content Marketing
We’re going to go into how you can use video in your content marketing effectively.

See Also: Benefits from Using Video on Your Business Website

Why Video Marketing is on the Up

Facebook and Twitter are two of the biggest social media networks on the planet. Both of them have installed auto-play features on their news feeds. In the words of these social media networks, they want stories to be told more effectively, and this appears to be working.

The Success Rate

What we can see is that 69% of all web traffic for consumers is now in the form of video content. In response, marketers have pledged to dedicate more of their resources to video marketing. What this means for you is that video marketing is about to catch fire.

Using Video for Branding

Video is the key to personal branding. It can tell a rich, complex story that wouldn’t be possible when using text-based content. The crucial thing is it’s easy to digest. It allows you to say so much more than a simple blog.

So video marketing can be used for propositions in a fast and easily digestible way.

Customizable Sales Funnels

Your sales funnel is what your customers are coming through. It’s what you’re showing to customers to convince them to part with their hard-earned money. Video can customize all aspects of your sales funnel in ways previously not possible

How it Works

If we go into detail, we can see that video can explain the purpose of a landing page. It can be used for a call to action, a way to add in product reviews, or simply to reveal a new product altogether.

There are so many ways you can increase customer interest on your landing page with video.

PR Purposes

What’s hot and what’s not?

Smart companies are talking about the here and now. Videos allow you to better describe upcoming changes within your company. It also allows you to address customer concerns as and when they arise.

We Show You How

One of the best examples of PR use for video is customer tutorials. Don’t just tell your customers what they can do with your products. Show it to them. Allow the user to stop in the middle and digest what you are saying. Make everything fully interactive. Video gives you that power.

Enhancing Buyer Trust

Trust is everything in the business world. Without trust, you are never going to become a success. The problem is people are more suspicious than ever before. Anyone can fake a review, and the chances are they are going to get away with it. Faking a video, though, is next to impossible.

Validating Reviews

The first way you can use videos to enhance buyer trust is to validate reviews. You validate reviews by adding a video to the product. This can be done by featuring video content within the review. If possible, you could even feature the customer in the review.

In the Real World

People always love to know what’s going on behind the scenes. Videos can enhance buyer trust by showing your company in the real world. They will see members of your team interacting with the public and they will see that there are real human beings behind the computer screen.

It instantly dispels the fears that naturally come with being an Internet company.

Showing Products

The full product experience is showing the product to someone in person. Of course, this likely isn’t possible because you’re not there with the customer. A video gives them the closest thing they are going to get because, once again, it’s very difficult to fake a video.

Educating Customers

You need to educate your customers so they are aware of the surrounding issues that inspire your product. For example, a company selling green products would do well to educate on green issues so customers can get passionate about green issues, and subsequently buying more of the company’s products.

It all leads up to encouraging more people to make a purchase.

See Also: Social Media Marketing Trends that will Rule 2016

Video is King

It’s clear that video marketing is king. There’s no denying that video is here to stay and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. It’s versatile, flexible, and there’s no industry where it won’t fit right in.

With running costs lower than ever before, you can get a video up and running without having to break the bank.
Start taking advantage of the medium of video today and get the marketing advantage you deserve!

 

Image Credit – Pixabay 

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