WordPress is currently running on more than 72 million websites around the world, reports WordPress. It continues to be one of the most popular content management systems for everything from personal blogs to retail sales. Many people are drawn to it because of its ease to set up and configure. Whether you are new to WordPress or have had a website for some time, here are common mistakes to look for:
Protect Your WordPress Website
The site Manage WP has many helpful tips for creating a great WordPress website and it emphasizes protecting your site on day one from cyber attacks. This requires modifying your .htaccess file so that your WordPress configuration and login files are safe from hacking. Many new WordPress users forget this step, which leaves their site vulnerable.
Find the .htaccess file in the root directory of your WordPress installation and open it for editing. Cut and paste the following statements into the file and save it:
# protect wpconfig.php
deny from all
# disable the server signature
# disable directory browsing
Options All -Indexes
# protect the htaccess file
deny from all
These additions to the .htaccess file prevent people from browsing the files in your directory structure and from hacking into your configuration files. It also prevents someone from modifying your .htaccess file.
Establish a Backup Plan
The next step is to schedule regular backups of your WordPress site. There are two ways to accomplish this:
- use the backup process that your hosting company offers
- use a WordPress plugin such as WP-DBManager
Both steps back up your data and used together guarantee you have solid backups for all of your WordPress files. When configuring your backups, place the backup files in a directory outside of your WordPress installation folders. Copy those files to your own computer and use a service such as Mozy to backup those files. This way you have three copies of your backup. In case of a massive failure with your hosting company, you can rebuild your site somewhere else from one of your other backups.
Eliminate the Defaults
Your site will look more professional if you get rid of a couple of the default items that are present with a new WordPress site, suggests WP Beginner. In your WordPress admin dashboard, go into Settings > General and remove the default tagline that reads something like “Just Another Blog.” Then go into Pages and delete the “Sample” page. Many people forget about these and it leaves an unpolished look to the site.
Help Your Site Ranking
SEOPressor suggests that everyone should implement a sitemap to help the search engines crawl your pages. This is done with a WordPress plugin, such as XML Sitemap, which tells search engines where to look in your site for content to index. Without a sitemap, the robots will index everything on your site, including the Sample page if you forgot to delete it. Sitemaps point them to the most important parts of your site.
Index Your Images
If your WordPress website contains a lot of images, make sure the search engines are indexing them fully. For each image you should include the Alt Tags and Titles. Search engines will index this information and add it to your page rank. Many people forget this step when they include images in their posts.
Tim is a Web designer and work-from-home dad of two little girls.