Yep, I went there! I see it time and time again these same mistakes that say “newbie” faster than Trump can tweet out an alternative fact. You probably don’t even know you’re doing it and I’m going to share some cold, hard facts with all of you. These tips are geared to the WordPress.org user, but some of them can be used on any platform.
The first one most of you will agree with, but I still see people using it, although, not as frequently as I use to:
- CAPTCHA – The first one on my list for a very good reason… DO NOT USE EVER AGAIN! I understand you have this deep-seeded fear of spam. You hate it, I hate it, we all hate it but you don’t NEED Captcha I promise! Akismet – if you don’t have it, get it! It’s the best spam blocker there is. It comes already installed on new WordPress websites (yeah it’s that good). Follow the directions and when you get to the subscription price just slide that little bar all the way to zero. Grab your API key and you’re all set!
- SHARING – This one will take a little explaining. I see this all of the time. You have three or four little share buttons because “I’m only on those platforms“. Guess what, just because you’re not there doesn’t mean that people won’t be interested in what you’ve written. I love to share things to Stumbleupon and I get a lot of traffic from it, but I rarely find a share button for it on other websites. Add those buttons it can only help your stats.
- TO MANY ADS – You’ve been to those websites that take forever to load because there are more ads than …see the first sentence. People will leave quickly never to return. When estimating site speed 5.0 seconds and under is what you’re aiming for BUT it depends on a lot of factors so take it with a grain of salt. Everything from too many ads to the time of day you check your speed. Want to really check your site go to an incognito window and pull up your site and see for yourself then go to GTMetrix.com and see what they say. All you need to enter is your URL and hit enter plus its free.
- UNCLEAR NAVIGATION – One of the great things about WordPress is the option to use not only pages but, posts, categories, or custom links on your menus. USE THEM! One of the easiest ways, if you want people to take a particular path, is to have a START HERE tab on your menu leading them right to your call-to-action (you do have a call-to-action right?). At least have an ABOUT ME, CONTACT, BLOG, but you can also include links to a sales page or your book on Amazon, or your different categories just make sure that there is some kind of direction. Because a lost reader is a lost reader.
- SUCKY TEXT – Text that is small, illegible, or some funky color that makes my eyes want to bleed. I’m 47 and my eyes are probably 57 if it’s too small or lightly-colored I can’t read it and if I can’t read it I go somewhere else. I never use anything (this is main content I’m talking about) smaller than 16px and preferably 18 or 20. Your headlines, widget titles, etc. go crazy. Live it up!
- NO SEARCH BAR – Not only can’t I find my way around with the navigation, but I can’t even search for what I want. Not cool!
- MESSY CONTENT – A website’s content is what drives traffic to it. How the content is structured is what will make it a success or a failure. People only read what is absolutely necessary. They scan through information and pick out points of interest on a web page. You can’t just put up a block of text on your web page and totally neglect headings, sub-headings, bullets, keywords if you want your hard word read.
- NO ESCAPE POP-UPS – Have you ever been to a website that has a pop-up that you just can’t get rid of? They block the content we’re looking for and there’s no clear way to turn it off. If you have a popup check to see if there is an easy to find exit for those who want to opt out and please for all that is holy only use one!
- BROKEN LINKS – Links leading nowhere are sure signs of unprofessionalism. Such small details can ruin the general impression even if the design is splendid. You should always have a good 404 page. It should include a search bar, breadcrumbs and at the very least your top performing posts. I have an archive list on my 404page.
- BAD IMAGERY – Using the wrong size images, too many images, or just bad images. It’s best to use the image size that your theme requires. Those dimensions are there for a reason. It must make sense.
AND A BONUS!
Please, please, please don’t call your post a blog. It’s annoying, really. It’s called a “blog post” a blog is what you call your website if you are a blogger. Blog post = ONE POST Blog = ALL OF YOUR POSTS TOGETHER and that is my public service announcement for the week!
#wordpress is my wine
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