Thinking of starting a WordPress website for your small business or new side hustle? While WordPress is definitely a great choice and a platform I frequently recommend, there are definitely some big things to watch out for. Today I’m going to take you through the top five mistakes I see WordPress DIY-ers make when just starting out with WordPress. Hopefully this saves you some trouble along the way!
Mistake #1: Buying the cheapest possible hosting
The promise of $3.99/month GoDaddy hosting can sound tempting, but don’t do it! Things can get really slow running WordPress on a budget shared hosting platform really fast. Instead, I’d recommend looking into a WordPress-specific hosting platform like Dreamhost’s DreamPress, WP Engine, or Bluehost’s dedicated WordPress hosting. The bottom line: don’t cheap out on your hosting.
Mistake #2: Selecting a free template with limited customization options
Sure, there are a lot of themes out there for free, but if you’re going the DIY route and relying on built-in customization capabilities like easily changing fonts, colors, header layout, etc., I would recommend springing for a premium theme that has the features you’re looking for and the support you’ll potentially need. I recommend sticking with the popular items on Themeforest when it comes to selecting a premium WordPress theme. Doing your research in the beginning will save you the inevitable headache of getting started with a theme, only to find it’s lacking in customization options when you’re trying to do or change something specific. Check out my WordPress theme recommendations here.
Mistake #3: Going crazy with plugins
Just because you can with plugins, definitely doesn’t mean you should. Having too many plugins installed can slow things down and, a lot of times—especially when you’re just getting started and playing around—you’ll end up with lots of plugins you don’t actually need. Instead, stick with the plugins that come packaged with your theme or plugins that supply an essential functionality (like contact forms, calendars, or ecommerce). If you’re not sure where to get started with plugins, here are five I recommend.
Mistake #4: Not getting serious about content
Your content can make or break your website: it’s so very important that you have clear, concise messaging in order to draw in your prospective customers and educate them about the product or service you’re offering. Don’t let your content be an afterthought! Instead, plan your site around the content: brainstorm the pages you need, draft your content (and edit!), and then work on laying it out on your website’s pages. Even a simple site will do if the content is compelling and worthwhile. Check out some tips here for creating great web copy.
Mistake #5: Abandoning the site post-launch
Your website should always be evolving: new content as you expand your business or services, new posts letting your customers and prospects know what you’re up to, fresh imagery, new testimonials—you name it. Building a website and then tossing it to the side is not a great way to stay relevant on the web: it’s the perfect recipe for needing a website re-do in a few years once everything is totally outdated. Save yourself the trouble by committing to spending just a tiny bit of time each month to continual web improvement. Here’s an easy to follow list of monthly WordPress website improvements you can start implementing today.