One of the best ways to follow your passion, free yourself from the 9 to 5, have the freedom to work from home or travel while doing it, or just to build a business and scale it, is to have your own platform and grow it. That means you’ll use WordPress as your CMS and all its wonderful features to create a powerful site that brings visitors and makes profits.
If you’re just starting out, though, there are plenty of mistakes you can make. Most bloggers regret these and wish they knew about them in advance. Let’s learn from their mistakes and skip the most common barriers to building, optimizing and making a WordPress site popular.
Here’s what you need to watch out for with your new WordPress site:
1. Not switching to a self-hosted site early on.
I stayed with WordPress.com for a year and a half because the tech aspect of switching to a self-hosted site and the responsibility that came with it scared me.
But anyone can do it and there are plenty of tutorials online to help you with every step.
Truth is, you don’t really own a website or can make any real money from your online business until you have a self-hosted WordPress site.
2. Not making backups.
That’s yet another thing I wasn’t taking seriously for a long time. But backups are important and there are plenty of plugins and services you can choose from and use for free that will back up and store all the files of your new WordPress site.
You’re investing your precious time into creating and publishing new posts in WordPress, so you don’t want to open your site one day and see it’s all gone. By having a backup, you get quick access to all your files and can recover your site with all its content in place in case there’s a server error or the operating system fails.
Right now, I’m using UpdraftPlus. I installed the plugin and connected it to my Google Drive so backups are saved directly there. Luckily, after an issue with my previous web host, I needed my backup files and could immediately retrieve them without losing any data.
3. Not investing more in your new WordPress site.
Most bloggers have no idea how much a website costs. But that depends on many factors such as your business goals, your technical skills, you desire to learn more about WordPress, your financial plan, etc.
One thing you should always invest more in, however, is proper web hosting. That’s usually the only expense a new WordPress blogger has together with the domain name.
I made the mistake of staying with Bluehost for a long, long time.
While they are great for beginners, they power more websites than their support can handle and I’ve had many issues. Although I did upgrade to a better hosting plan with them, I still wasn’t satisfied. At some point was paying a pretty big sum yearly while I wasn’t getting the service I wanted. That’s when I decided it was time to move on and invest in something better.
Your site depends on your host.
The company I switched to was WPX Hosting and I couldn’t be happier. There was no downtime even during the transition and the support team is doing a great job. It’s definitely worth the $25/month knowing I have no other monthly expenses related to the site.
The same goes for people whose sites grow but who refuse to get a premium WordPress theme, hire an SEO specialist, use a CDN, pay for a marketing automation software, etc. All this will pay off in the long-term as it helps you build trust with visitors, have a secure platform that’s optimized for all devices and performs well.
4. Not checking how your new WordPress site looks on mobile.
Every site must be mobile-friendly because more people now browse from their phones rather than a desktop.
There are some basic rules you should follow in order to have a site that looks good on mobile, and usually, that requires a different menu, theme and other design elements.
People who visit sites from their smartphones don’t want to see pop-ups or have too small buttons. They will probably leave if they need to zoom in to see important information, or if the content is hard to digest as you’re using more than one column.
You need to think differently when designing the mobile version of your site. Luckily, there are free and easy to use WordPress plugins that can help you with that, such as WPtouch.
Once you install and activate it and play a bit with the settings, you’ll now have a mobile-friendly WordPress site. But that needs to be monitored on a consistent basis, especially if you have an online store.
The quickest way to see how your site looks like on a mobile device is this Mobile-Friendly Test by Google.
5. Not having contact details in a visible place.
Many bloggers with a new WordPress site shy away from building their online presence. In the beginning, they don’t even add their contact details in a visible place on their site.
But be sure that anyone who lands there and wants to do business with you will look for a Contact page. You need to create that and add a contact form to it together with sharing your address, phone and email. And then put it in your main navigation so anyone can see it.
There are many mistakes new WordPress site owners make that slow down their journey to earning their first dollars online. But you can skip the most common ones now that you know what they are.