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10 Incredibly Common WordPress Fails to Avoid

Jenn Palandro March 31, 2021 · 7 min read
WordPress is an incredibly flexible blogging platform. It allows you to keep your content organized and present it in a customized way. You can make it as simple or complex as you need, and there’s a lot of room to expand. Generally, WordPress sites look more professional and streamlined than its competitors like Blogger or Tumblr. However, because of its flexibility and level of complexity, it can be used incorrectly. Below are 10 incredibly common WordPress fails to avoid, and how you can fix them.

1. Don’t Link Images to Themselves

By default, if you upload an image to WordPress, it will link to itself if you click on it. Images should only be linked when they’re pointing to another post/website, or if they’re being lightboxed/enlarged in a photo gallery modal. To avoid doing this, all you need to do is change the Link To dropdown to None under the Attachment Display Settings. Once you choose Link To: None, WordPress will start to remember your settings and you will be set up correctly for future image uploads and posts. wordpress display attachment settings link to none

2. Don’t Include Non Full-Width Images

Blogs are all about content, both in terms of imagery and written words. When you upload images, WordPress may automatically crop your image under Attachment Display Settings. This action can help if you need to automatically generate thumbnails, but otherwise images within a blog post look best when they’re full width, provided it fits with the design of your site. Exceptions can be made with images that aren’t high-enough resolution to be stretched to full-width; in that case, images should be floated left or right with the text wrapping around the image. In general, I’ve seen too many blogs where the content block is about 700px wide, and images are uploaded and centered at about 300px wide — this should be avoided for good design’s sake! use-full-width-images My recommendation is to upload images that are optimized for the width of your blog’s content. Or, upload a 2x image if you want your blog images to be retina-friendly. From there, create a catch-all custom line of CSS so your images won’t ever extend wider than your content by accident. I recommend something like this: .post-content img { max-width: 100%; height: auto; } The only exception to using non full-width images is when an image is aligned left or right and the written content wraps around the image. It’s still not a preferred method of including images, because it takes away from the visual experience.

3. Don’t Upload the Wrong Image Type

A slow-loading blog can be a deterrent for readers. A lot of times, I see bloggers uploading the incorrect type of image file, specifically for PNG’s versus JPEG’s. In short, PNG’s should be used for images with transparent backgrounds or for graphic-only presentations (like a simple logo). JPEG’s should be used any time the image is a photo, or is more complex and has a lot of gradients or shadows. Make sure to optimize your blog images so they load quickly.

4. Don’t Forget to Categorize Your Posts

I often see posts marked “Uncategorized”. This looks like you straight-up forgot to comb through your post before you hit publish. Or it looks like you don’t really know what your blog is about. Don't forget to categorize your WordPress posts Sort through all of your Uncategorized posts and see if there’s a common theme. Categorize the posts with something — anything. Even if you write a blog about design but occasionally share personal stories or opinions, don’t leave these posts unmarked. Call the category “Personal” or “Opinion” or something.

5. Don’t Slam Your Posts with Too Many Categories and Tags

You must organize your blog posts. This not only makes it easier for you to get an understanding of your blog posts, but it also makes it easier for readers to sort through similar content on your site. However, categories and tags can become overwhelming in WordPress. When do you categorize a post versus adding a tag? Basically, categories are reserved for your Table of Contents. Tags, on the other hand, are keywords. Avoid using a category that is also a tag, and visa versa. If you aren’t sure where to start, try drawing a mind map of the topics of your posts and see which words could be used as a category or tag. By doing this activity, you’ll quickly see the hierarchy of your post topics take shape. Here are more tips for organizing your categories and tags in WordPress.

6. Don’t Use WordPress Comments

Don't use WordPress commenting You want your blog to be as engaging as possible. In order to do this, you want commenting to be open and easy to use. If you use WordPress comments, users will have to sign into WordPress to get the full experience. Make sure the barrier of entry is low. Install a third party commenting system like LiveFyre or Disqus so users can use a social media account to comment.

7. Don’t Forget to Upload a Gravatar For Yourself

While we’re on the topic of commenting, let me advise something. Friends don’t let friends go picture-less in blog comments. Make sure to set up your picture next to your blog comments so you won’t be faceless, especially on your own blog. Gravatar links your email address(es) and profile pictures to help ensure your comments will have your face next to them, both on your own blog and on other blogs that use Gravatar, which is the industry standard. Set up your Gravatar!

8. Don’t Use Hard-to-Read Permalinks

Shorter URL formats for your blog are awesome for several reasons. For example, posts that look like this: are much harder to read than posts that look like this: If you choose to use shorter permalinks, your URL’s will be easier to read. The content won’t look dated, especially if you’re working to post evergreen content, because the date won’t be included in the URL. Of course, it’s easiest to set this up when you’re starting a new WordPress blog. If you’re a blogging veteran and want to change your permalink structure without breaking your site, here are tips to make the switch to short blog post URL’s. An exception should be made, however, for larger blogs with a lot of content and a lot of contributors. Otherwise, you may end up with several posts that want to use the short URL of In this case, providing the date in the URL is not only useful for the readers (so they know how relevant a topic is), but it’s also essential for blog admins so you don’t end up with multiple sequential “WordPress Tips” posts.

9. Don’t Postpone Updates

This is something that everyone talks about. But it’s highly talked about because it’s important. Keep everything updated! Keep WordPress updated Update your WordPress installation. Update your themes. Update your plugins. In fact, whenever you see an update available, update it! Choosing not to update regularly can leave your WordPress blog vulnerable to hackers, which could in turn poison your readers’ experience or could wipe your blog entirely. Running update is simple and fast. Back up your blog regularly and update often. It’s a temporary inconvenience for long-term peace of mind.

10. WordPress Isn’t For Everyone

WordPress is regarded as the blogging platform for anyone who takes their blog seriously. Having worked with a lot of bloggers to set up and design their blog, I know this isn’t true. In fact, for a while I chose to blog on Blogger instead of WordPress (and I’m currently using Squarespace). Make sure you do your research on each blogging platform and take time to define what you need. Choosing a blogging platform is a serious endeavor! So there you have it! These are 10 incredibly common mistakes made in WordPress and how to avoid them. Share this post with your clients or fellow bloggers!
Jenn Coyle is a Philadelphia-based designer and writer who loves to create fonts and resources on Creative Market. She shares tutorials and inspiration for designers and creative entrepreneurs at Hello Brio Studio.

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About the Author
Jenn Palandro

Philadelphia-based UX designer + copywriter. Content creator. Momma bear. Minimalist. INFP.

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