WordPress has been a platform of choice for many businesses and entrepreneurs.
But there are many things on a site that can make you look… well… amateur.
This article will highlight 10 mistakes that will make your website look unprofessional.
#1 – You still have “Just another WordPress blog” as your tagline.
You really need to remove this. Anyone who is familiar with WordPress will instantly know you haven’t updated your settings, and those that don’t know WordPress will have no idea why that tagline is there.
If your theme isn’t pulling the tagline into the front of your website, you still need to edit it within the admin as it can crop up in the search results for your website.
#2 – Your website is extremely slow
If a website takes more than 2 seconds to load, your visitors are going to get annoyed.
The last thing any professional outfit wants to do is piss off their potential customers.
This point isn’t specific to WordPress, it’s to all websites. If your website is slow, then ask a developer to look for bad scripts, or change your hosting company (or both).
#3 – You have discouraged search engines from indexing your website
If you have ticked the box (in the settings) ‘Discourage search engines from indexing this website’ then you are not going to show up on Google or a search engine that respects your settings.
That means you won’t get any website ranking, and you won’t get any organic traffic as a result of your content or keywords.
Sometimes a developer will tick this when they are making a development version of your website, so make sure that you double check they remembered to un-tick it.
#4 – Your sidebar has gone walk about
By walk about, I mean under your content. This is often caused by HTML not being created properly by the theme.
If your sidebar is wrapping under your content, first check you haven’t added any plugins recently that have changed the sidebar. Otherwise contact a developer to look over the code on the theme.
#5 – You are using /wordpress as your subdirectory
Using WordPress as an extension to your website that’s not in WordPress is very common.
But putting WordPress within a directory called ‘wordpress’ is just wrong.
If you’re using WordPress as a blog, then put it in a folder called ‘blog’ or ‘news’.
#6 – A plugin is adding to the layout of your websites
You will often find plugins like to add things to the public side of your website.
These additional elements, although sounding like a good idea initially, can sometimes break a layout.
So if you install a plugin, please make sure you check everything is working on the public side of your website.
There is nothing that looks more amateur than a broken layout.
#7 – Your homepage is displaying full length posts
By default, WordPress will display a list of the most recent blog posts on the homepage.
If each one of those blog posts isn’t making use of the “read more” links, then can look unprofessional.
Your users will want to use this page to quickly scroll through the latest articles. If they have to scroll for miles before they see the next post, they will give up.
Note: If your articles are shorter in length, or you explicitly set out to have full length articles on your homepage, then I will let you off – but please ensure it’s a concious decision, not one out of forgetting to add the “read more” break.
#8 – You have inactive plugins in your wp-content folder
Inactive plugins are bad news. Not only do they add bloat to your website and decrease speed, each additional plugin also creates a greater chance of a security hole.
The majority of website hacks come from plugins that have been left as inactive instead of deleted. So get rid of them!
You will feel like an amateur if you get hacked just because you didn’t remove the plugin that’s not even installed.
#9 – You have inactive themes
Just like plugins, themes can also create security holes.
So if you have a collection of themes that are installed but not used, then delete them.
If for whatever reason you wanted to keep the theme, then download it to your computer and delete it from your web server.
#10 – You haven’t removed the WordPress version number from your website meta data
Your meta data can be seen very easily – on most browsers (except IE) you just need to hit ctrl + u.
If you are showing the WordPress version you are currently running, hackers will love you.
If you’re running an out of date version of WordPress, hackers will know exactly what the security holes are for that version and guess what, they are going to use them against your website.
This is only really a serious issue if you don’t often update your website, but it’s worth removing as a ‘just in case’.
#Bonus – You haven’t removed the readme.html file
This file can be found by going to www.yourwebsite.com/readme.html
Like with number 10 above, showing your version information gives hackers way more information than they need.
Make sure you delete this file from your server.
Note: This file will be reapplied every time there is a WordPress update (annoying!) – If you have the security plugin ‘Better WP Security‘ installed, you can go to ‘System Tweaks’ and tick the box to ‘Protect Files’.
What other mistakes do you see that make a WordPress website look amateur?