10 common WordPress mistakes that make you look like an amateur

11 Amateur WordPress Mistakes

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?

  • Jack

    Err.. did you check your own site? http://www.stuffedweb.com/readme.html

    Other than that though, a great list and one I’ll be forwarding to many of my clients!

  • You mention some very useful tips to stay away from that wordpress mistakes and by the way Jack good to mention about there own error.

  • CrazyLee

    Nice! So how do i remove the Ctrl + U? im not sure what its suppose to look like?

  • Paul Cutcliffe

    Great post – very useful and informative, thanks!

    Just one thing:

    * the page slug (URL) is: “/10-common-wordpress-mistakes-that-make-you-look-like-an-amateur/”
    * the page heading says “11 common WordPress mistakes that make you look like an amateur”
    * the text on the page says “This article will highlight 12 mistakes that will make your website look unprofessional”

    Now far be it from me to suggest that your very useful and informative blog post makes you look like amateurs, but I did appreciate the irony!

    • Ha! You know I was aware of the URL and the 11 items, however I missed the third one. It’s where the items in the article have changed over time (some have been added and some removed) but I was lazy in checking the introduction – sorry!

      I’ve re-updated the article again so now it’s 10 with a bonus and everything matches up 🙂

      Thanks for the heads up Paul.

      • Ian

        Yeah,Thanks Paul. I didn’t even notice that until he pointed that out

  • Yuri Chwi

    The biggest thing about this is that it points out what is wrong. . . but not HOW to fix it at all. It’s like getting a bike, baby crib, whatever with a book of instructions for how to put it together but when you open it all the pages are blank. What was the point? Plus some of the terms need explained or at least linked to something that explains them. I don’t feel like an amateur after reading this. I just feel lost.

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  • It’s hard to come by educated people about this subject, but you seem like
    you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  • Lazlo Mortimer

    If I’m running a premium theme, by developer who keeps updating the theme, and not free wordpress them do I still need to remove the WordPress version and/or the readme.html file number from my website meta data?


  • Glowdaddy

    I am a new blogger and use WP, how do I resolve #10 and the bonus issue?