Jessica Frick is Liquid Web's Product Manager for their Managed Hosting offerings
While WordPress makes creating a website or blog possible for anyone for free, it isn’t always as easy as it seems—and even savvy users who have been using WordPress for years still do things wrong because they just don’t know any better.
As a WordPress agency or a creative freelancer, you’ve probably seen a lot of website mistakes over the years and I’ll bet you’ve had some ideas of how they can be fixed. That’s why today we’re sharing three BIG mistakes we see site owners make and how to fix them for the future.
Here are the three mistakes we see site owners make all too often, and the solutions to get better results from your WordPress site:
- Best WordPress themes (opens in new tab) (paid and free) of 2019
1. Not providing team members, contractors, or vendors the right level of access to your WordPress site
It can be tempting to share your username and password with your team members, your virtual assistant, or an SEO consultant, but don’t do it! Instead, it’s better to set anyone who needs access to your website up as an individual user with their own account. With this approach, you can control what information they can access and what power they have when logged into your website and you can revoke the account at any time.
WordPress has five different user levels built in for you to use:
- Administrator: This is the role you are given as the site owner. Site admins hold the keys to the kingdom. They have the highest level of access and authority and are able to do everything behind the scenes, including creating, editing, and deleting content, managing plugins and themes, editing code, and deleting other user accounts. Very few people should be given access at this level.
- Editor: An Editor has the second-highest level of access because they are usually responsible for the management of content across the website. Editors can create, edit, publish, and delete all pages and posts, manage taxonomies and links, and moderate comments. They do not have the ability to access themes and plugins, add new users, or change site settings.
- Author: An Author is able to access their own posts and content, but no one else’s and no pages. Authors have no administrative access. This means they can only create, edit, publish and delete their own posts. Authors can view comments but cannot moderate, approve, or delete any comments.
- Contributor: Contributors are similar to Authors but with fewer capabilities. The only things Contributors can do is edit, read, and delete their own posts—they cannot publish posts or upload media.
- Subscriber: A Subscriber is the lowest level user role available for WordPress. Subscribers can read content on the website and manage their own profiles. Sites with gated content and membership content typically use this role.
2. Not completing the most basic yet critical search engine optimization tactics for every page and post on your site
From optimizing images and using sub-headlines to adding internal links and natural keyword phrases, there are a lot of free tactics you can use when creating content to improve your search engine rankings. Unfortunately, the top two most effective things you can do for search engine optimization is often ignored by site owners.
At the bare minimum, for every page and post, you need to:
- Write a short, compelling, keyword-rich HTML title that clearly states the topic of the page or post. The HTML title should be no more than 55 characters long.
- Write a helpful meta description of what the page or post is about that persuades the reader to click and visit the page or post. The meta description should be no more than 160 characters long.
3. Not creating redirects when a URL is changed or a blog post or page is deleted
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment when editing content on your website, changing or condensing your categories and tags, editing URLs for better SEO, or deleting posts and forget about redirects. Or maybe you aren’t sure what a redirect is?
When you move, you provide the post office with a forwarding address and for a certain amount of time, all mail sent to your old address is automatically forwarded or redirected to your new address. Website redirects work just like a mail forward. When an URL is changed or deleted, a new one is provided and anyone going to the old URL is automatically sent to the new one.
Anytime you change or delete URLs on your website, you need to create a redirect. This way visitors coming from existing inbound links can find your content and search engines don’t find broken links on your site.
Safe Redirect Manager (opens in new tab) is the easiest and most user-friendly redirection plugin for WordPress.
- Jessica Frick is Liquid Web (opens in new tab)'s Product Manager. When she's not obsessing about all things digital, you can find her enjoying quality time with her family, binging a sci-fi series, or brewing some iced tea.