12 WordPress Mistakes Even Professionals Make

WordPress professionals come with a wide variety of backgrounds so some mistakes may be forgivable. Others.. not so much. After working on many websites built by other people I’ve generated a list of common mistakes and oversights by designers and developers.

The 12 WordPress Mistakes

1. Skipping The Settings

Settings? What Settings? While they are important they are at the bottom of the list for an eager website builder. Almost every setting is important but here are the most common things people miss:

  • Timezone for the Website
  • Good default Image Sizes
  • Limitations on Comments
  • Choosing good Permalinks

2. Using A Bloated Theme

This one is a pet peeve of mine. You can read about this topic on this posts:

3. Using Too Many Fonts

The main reasons for using a limited number of fonts are:

  1. To maintain a consistent look and feel
  2. To minimize how many files are loaded on a website (keep the website lean and fast)

4. Using Headings for Style Without Considering Hierarchy of Content on the Page

This is a huge SEO mistake. Headings and style go hand in hand. Using headings just for stylistic purposes is a major design mistake and is often because of using pre-built templates.

5. Using Oversized Images

This is a page speed killer, larger images than you need take longer to load so your page loads more slowly.

6. Choosing a Low End Page Builder

Page Builders can be great time savers but some of them can cause huge headaches long term. The biggest challenges are:

  • Drowning in shortcodes which restricts you to using that page builder (if you change you lose your content)
  • Ease of Use Challenges

7. Failing to Include Calls to Action

Every website has a reason for being. Always think, “what do I want a viewer to do?” Then implement calls to action to achieve that goal. In some case you need a complete “funnel,” sometimes tell the viewer what to do, like “Ask a Question.”

8. Failing to Check Responsive Layouts / Failing to Tweak the Design

This is another pet peeve of mine. Margins on mobile devices should be narrower than the margins on large devices. Logos should be nice and big. Menus should be easy to use.

9. Failing to Use Long Term Thinking

Long term thinking involves creating standards and preventing extra work in the future. Where this is most prevalent is when designers copy and paste content instead of creating a single item and using advanced methods to display the original item in multiple places. That way if the information changes it can be changed globally with one edit.

10. Failing to Show Diversity When Choosing Photos

While I consider myself white, I am ethnically diverse and websites that are all “white” seem very strange to me. Websites which include some diversity feel more welcoming. Finding photos featuring diverse people is more difficult on stock photo websites but it is worth taking the time to do so.

11. Failing to Educate The Client

I’ve been guilty of this one. Clients can be demanding. Clients love slideshows, video backgrounds and animations.  All of them can be overdone.

  • Too many slideshows or unnecessary slideshows are tiresome and rarely do visitors view all the slides anyway – they scroll right past them.
  • Video Backgrounds slow your website down. Sometimes they aren’t justified because they don’t add any value to the website.
  • Animations can really help a website be a little more interesting. The problem arises when there are too many of them. Many “template sites” have many animations on a single page. This is really common with sites I’ve seen built with DIVI theme and some of the “multi-purpose” themes on Themeforest.

12. Popups, Slide-In Overlays and Slide Up and Slide Down Banners

Calls to action are great but when they jump in front of content your users are trying to read you are driving them away. Just today I visited a website and when I started scrolling there was a banner that covered 25% of the page, and 2 popups on top of the content. I left the website immediately.

13. Baker’s Dozen Item – Illegible Text

Enough said.

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