WordPress is one of the most used CMS platforms out there powering millions of websites worldwide. Generally speaking, the platform is stable and runs without issues, and the community is helpful and quite developed. But sometimes, you just find yourself fighting WordPress instead of actually running your business. Whether it’s because of lack of features or just too many choices for how to add a feature, or whether it’s managing security for your website or just frustration with the old WYSIWYG editor that WordPress uses, as a WordPress website owner, there will be times when you will feel overwhelmed and ready to give up.
Below are the top 5 WordPress problems you’re likely to encounter as a WordPress website owner and how to actually solve them.
1. Which plugin should I choose for this?
Usually, the number one action that every new WordPress website owner does once his website is up and running, is to install plugins. Whether it’s for a contact form (every website needs one of these right?) or for SEO, the first place to go after installing a WordPress site is in the Add new plugin area of your Dashboard.
The problem is that the WordPress.org plugins repository is a maze. For every feature you might need, there are at least 10-20 plugins that claim to do it. How do you know which one to pick?
You could read the reviews, checkout the stars, whether it’s compatible with your version of WordPress, how many installs so far and when it was last updated. These are all valid factors in making a decision. But even if you’ve checked off every item on this list, once you install the plugin you might just discover it’s not doing what it says on the tin or it’s simply not what you expected or needed. Even worse, it may prove to be incompatible with another plugin you already have installed and now you’re locked out of your Dashboard.
Installing too many plugins will also have its downfalls. Having too many plugins installed can lead to performance problems down the road. So install plugins with caution and try to have the minimum required to do the job. No more, no less.
Here’s my advice. Never ever install or update plugins on a live production website. Always use a staging site to test every new plugin you install or every update for existing plugins. Because there is no clear cut solution to determining the best plugin for your requirement, you will undoubtedly have to play with different ones until you find the winner. And even when you do, you still need to make sure it doesn’t break anything else on your site. By using a staging site, you have the freedom to break anything without disturbing the regular course of business.The more #Wordpress plugins you have installed, the more potential security holes on your website. Click To Tweet
2. Help! I was hacked!
Perhaps the most troublesome thought is waking up in the morning and finding out that your website has been defaced and that you’ve lost business as a result of that. Out of the box, WordPress does not have the tough security measures that the current online environment demands.
Are you logging in to your Dashboard using the “admin” user? Are you showing the WordPress version from your website’s HTML source? Do you have database and PHP error reporting turned on?
If the answers to the above questions is yes, then you’ve already opened many doors for hackers. WordPress doesn’t solve any of these issues for you by default when you install it. It’s up to you to be careful and informed.
As an afterthought related to the plugins problem, the more WordPress plugins you have installed, the more potential security holes on your website.
Run a periodic security audit on your website that will check for the most common problems with the WordPress core as well as the themes and plugins you have installed. Either get a managed hosting service such as WPEngine, hire a security expert to tighten up security or use a third-party managed solution like Sucuri.net.
3. Handling comments is no fun at all
Every WordPress website inevitably attracts spam bots. They leave comments on your blog, on every page, on every post, they promote services completely unrelated to your niche. You wake up every day and delete hundreds and hundreds of comments. All day. Every day. You’re not even sure if they’re spam or not, you just want to get it over with. Congratulations, you’re now a slave to the spam bots.
The default comments on a WordPress website is not thoroughly developed. It’s lacking important functionality such as allowing the user to log in using their Facebook or Twitter accounts, there’s no built in spam protection. No threaded comments. In fact about the first thing that I do when installing a new WordPress blog is to replace the default comments section with either Disqus or Livefyre and activate Akismet.
Until WordPress catches on with the modern times, we still need to rely on a third-party service and a plugin. I personally prefer Disqus.
4. The content you write in the WYSIWYG editor shows up differently on the frontend of your website
One of the first encounters with WordPress for any website owner is writing content. You can’t launch your website without the content it needs. Unfortunately, even if you’ve purchased this amazing premium theme and the demo looked so sweet, when you go and enter in content in the WYSIWYG editor and hit that “Publish” button, you might be in for a surprise. The WYSIWYG editor view is not the same as what you see on your website. What You See Is Not What You Get (or WYSINWYG).
The basic WordPress WYSIWYG editor is missing a lot of needed features of the more modern editors out there, like tables, a form builder or CSS imports. The HTML source code viewer is pretty weak with no syntax highlighting.
You can’t easily replace the WYSIWYG editor for WordPress (more modern solutions like Redactor.js come to mind), but you can use a plugin like WP Edit to help you enhance the functionality of your current editor.
5. Social media integration
It’s simply amazing to see that WordPress, the most used CMS in the world, doesn’t come with some built-in social media integrations. A easy, pre-installed way for website owners to enable sharing on posts and pages. A built-in solution to enable following on your website. Yes, you can install a plugin for that, which every one of us does, but such an essential feature of content-rich websites should not rely on plugins and the willingness of the plugin developers to update it as needed.
WordPress doesn’t have a built-in way of enabling sharing of website content and following on social media.
Right now, the only solution is to install a plugin to do it for you. Simple Social Icons or Ultimate Social Media and Share Icons come to mind, but the discussion of which plugin is right for every situation deserves an article or two of its own.
Final word of advice
Don’t rest on your laurels. Make sure you perform regular audits on your WordPress website. Be sure to check for:
- Old plugins. Update them.
- Plugins you no longer use. Remove them.
- Security. Do a sanity check for the usual suspects as well as deep scans for malware.
- Backups. Make sure they are running and that they are actually working.
- Website performance. Is it loading slow? Check for redundant plugins or install a caching solution.