Three Mistakes WordPress Do-It-Yourselfer’s Make Every Day
Many business start-ups take on the challenge of building their website. If you have the necessary skills, using WordPress to build your website can be a way to save some money during the start up phase of your business. However, if you make these common mistakes it can quickly turn those pennies saved into pound foolishness.
Not Knowing The Difference Between .com and .org
Lots of business people know about WordPress but few understand the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress.com is a blog and website hosting platform. It offers free and easy to use websites powered by the open source WordPress software. WordPress.com users have access to a variety of designs or themes to style their website and don’t have to worry about site upkeep or maintenance. It almost sounds too good to be true, and unfortunately, for a small business, it is. Building your small business website on can be a dead-end.
In order to provide an easy experience for its users, the features and functionality offered by WordPress.com are severely limited. There are limitations on what themes can be installed to your website and most popular plugins (programs that add additional functionality) are not available. Additionally, you’ll have to pay to have a custom domain name and to not have advertising on your site. If you plan to use your site for e-commerce, be prepared to pay an additional $299 a year.
By contrast, WordPress.org offers full freedom and access to the entire WordPress universe. WordPress.org isn’t a website, but the place where you can obtain the free, open source WordPress software, themes and plugins so that you can self-host your website. While self hosting may initially be more expensive (you’ll have to pay for a domain name and a hosting account), in the long run you’ll have a platform that will grow with your business. WordPress offers a large, helpful community that can get you started in building the website of your dreams.
Choosing the Wrong Theme
Wherever you decide to build your WordPress website, you will need to decide on a theme. There are over 2,000 free themes in the WordPress theme repository, over 5,000 themes available at ThemeForest (a popular market for WordPress themes) and thousands of theme shops and individual developers. With this many themes available, it’s no wonder that small business owners can get overwhelmed with their choices.
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of choosing a theme that “looks nice” but doesn’t fit the needs of the business. To choose the right theme, consider first what functionality is necessary to communicate your message and complete the key transactions important to your business, whether they be growing an email list or selling digital products. In many cases it’s easier to build a website using a simple theme and a few added plugins, rather than purchasing one of the shiny, all in one themes. A simple theme is usually easier for the do-it-yourselfer to manage and is more likely to look like the demo when you’re finished.
Not Performing Regular Backups
After spending many late nights building a website, or spending the money to have it built professionally, many small business owners make the mistake of not protecting their investment. Taking the time to perform regular backups and maintenance of their website may mean the difference between a minor technical hiccup and a business ending catastrophe. Should you experience a problem with your server, a corrupted database or malicious hacking, restoring a recent backup can help you get your business back online quickly. Not having a backup could mean rebuilding your website from scratch, a costly endeavor whether it’s time or money.
Your online presence is critical to the success of your business. Making the right decisions and creating the right habits early in the process can save a small business owner time, money and frustration.