15 Biggest WordPress Mistakes of 2022

It’s been a busy year for WordPress! Even more websites are powered by WordPress now – 43.2% of the internet, compared to 39.5% of the internet in 2021!

This means that more users are creating WordPress websites, but this unfortunately means more mistakes are being made.

The majority of people making WordPress websites are not experts. The CMS is designed for those who don’t have coding knowledge and so this isn’t a surprise.

However, what’s worrying is that there are several WordPress agencies in London also making these basic mistakes! Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know who is truly a WordPress expert out there, even if they say they’re a “top WordPress agency”.

What are the biggest mistakes made in WordPress?

Since we are dealing with hundreds of different WordPress websites every year, we thought we would put together an article to go through the top 15 mistakes that we’ve seen with WordPress sites this year.

Some of these WordPress mistakes have caused companies to lose their entire website, drop off the face of Google, lose thousands of pounds of revenue and one even lost their investment.

So, these errors can be detrimental, but yet many are very easy to fix.

There are in no particular order of severity, as you should really be doing them all 🙂

Using “admin” as an account name

We cannot believe we still see this one, as this has been an absolute “no no” with WordPress for decades now!

In fact, we’ve taken over several websites built by other agencies who has “admin” as the username and we’ve seen many developers who submit their trial task to us during the recruitment process do this rookie error too.

So, why is it so bad?

When hackers try to get into a WordPress site, it’s the first name they guess! Then, they use brute force attacks to try and guess your password. It might not sound likely that they’ll get in, but bots are so powerful these days and they can guess millions of passwords per minute!

No backups

It should be a no-brainer to back up your website, just like with anything else. But yet people still don’t do it. These are the same people who probably never back up their files on their computer, save documents while they’re working on it or take out insurance.

They never think it will happen to them, but cry and curse when it does!

Back in the day, backups were fairly expensive. Companies used to rip you off as they know how important they are. But now, all good hosting companies should offer free backup solutions. And they should be daily too.

If you are a company who regularly updates your website, the last thing you want to do is end up re-doing all those changes if something goes wrong.

Not using a child theme

Again, another basic one, but we’ve had to repair the styling of multiple WordPress websites because there is no child theme… AND… no backup!! Crazy crazy crazy!

Not sure what a child theme even is? Then, you probably don’t have one, unless your site was built by a professional.

A child theme is a copy of the “parent” theme, which is the main theme you installed when building your WordPress website. The child theme will have all of the same features, functionalities and styles as the parent theme when you create it.

However, the main difference is that when you update the theme, you override all the files in the theme folder, but the ones in the child theme remain.

Therefore, whenever you make any changes to the theme, which includes all your styling – colours, fonts etc. then all this will disappear when you update the website.

We often hear people scared of updating their website because it “breaks” the site, but this is usually the reason why!

There are some additional reasons why websites can break after updates, which we will cover a bit later.

Installing too many plugins

This is definitely the most common mistake we see in WordPress websites. In fact, we think every website that has ever come to us uses too many plugins!!

It’s very tempting to install a bunch of plugins to get lots of cool functionality on your website, but this just causes a whole host of problems.

Each plugin massively slows down your website, causing performance problems, and increasing the carbon output. This is not good if you want to have a sustainable website.

It also comes with security issues – hackers find vulnerabilities in plugins, exploit them, and then destroy your website. This is why it’s also essential to update your WordPress website regularly! More on that later!

Using the wrong plugins

Plugins are dangerous territory if you don’t know what you’re doing! We already know that problems occur when you add too many plugins to your website, but there are also “bad” plugins to install too.

With a database of 55,000+ plugins, (and the rest from other sources), it’s difficult to know which ones you shouldn’t install.

First of all, you should only be installing plugins when you have to.

Secondly, there are signs to look out for when you’re installing a plugin: When was the last time it was updated? How many downloads has it had? What are the reviews like?

If you have a plugin with thousands of downloads from happy customers and you can see it’s recently been updated, you’re less likely to run into any problems. If a plugin has decent reviews but hasn’t been updated in a long time, it can still pose security risks considering technology progresses very quickly.

Plus, many plugins cause conflicts with each other. If you install a particular plugin, it could end up stopping another plugin from running, so you need to ensure that you test out the plugins on a test server first.

Using a page builder

This one is going to surprise (and annoy) a lot of you.

Page builders are bad.

There, we said it.

Yes, they help people edit their own sites nice and easily, but they’re also terrible for performance. Each page builder adds functionality to the website using really bloated code and often introduce HTML errors that are impossible to fix.

It also goes against sustainable web design practice and your website will be a lot less green because of it.

Not compressing images

While we’re talking about green websites and performance, let’s talk about the number one culprit for slow websites – large images.

Even if you were to run your own website through Google’s PageSpeeds, the top result is likely to come back with “compress your images”.

The problem is, if you want your website to look nice, then you want nice images on it. We get it. These nice images usually have huge files sizes too!

But you can size them down and compress them without losing quality before uploading them to your website.

Most people don’t do this.

Some people are somewhere in the middle and use a plugin to compress their images for them. This is lazy and simply not good enough!

Forgetting to remove unused content

Do you know how many websites we see that still have dummy data on their website? We’re not even talking about a bit of Lorem Ipsum here and there, but full on pages, portfolio content and even products!

This is because many people buy pre-made themes, install a demo and it comes with so many pre-made templates that people just leave in the backend.

What they don’t realise is that these pages then show up in Google search results and people find them while browsing their website and it’s totally embarrassing. Plus, it completely screws up your SEO!

Have a check – you may have “sample page” still installed on your website, even if you didn’t install a theme.

Don’t forget to also remove any unused plugins. These still cause performance and security issues even if they’re not being used.

Not uploading a favicon

This is probably the mildest of the mistakes on the list, but it’s so common that we thought we’d include it.

A favicon is the little icon that comes up at the top of the browser tab. Most people forget to include a custom one with their WordPress website that the default one shows up.

This could mean that the WordPress logo is displayed, or the logo of the company who made the theme itself. Either way, it’s not a good look.

Remember, this little favicon is a way for your brand to get easily recognised, especially when you’re dealing with people who have multiple tabs open at a time!

Allowing comments

WordPress has seriously evolved in the last few years. What used to once be a blogging platform is now the world’s most popular CMS, powering the websites of giants such as Disney and CNN.

Since blogs used to all be about writing an opinion piece and then people leaving comments on said blog, naturally this is a feature built into WordPress.

However, these days, all it does it attract spammers – people who leave comments on your site in order to give links back to a website that they’re trying to promote.

This is actually a classic black hat SEO technique that people use and if you pay for cheap SEO services, this is likely the sort of thing they will be doing, claiming they got backlinks for you!

We’re going to go into a few of the more technical mistakes now.

When you first create a WordPress site, the default settings for your permalinks are pretty ugly! Even having the date in the URL isn’t ideal.

For SEO purposes, you really want the post name, so that people can see what the page/post is about right away.

You can change this in Settings > Permalinks. Many people don’t realise that this is customisable and leaves the default settings on and it’s unpleasant for users.

Not understanding basic SEO

Unfortunately, even some of the top web design agencies in London do not know much about SEO, which we think is wrong.

Yes, they’re very different professions, but we ensure that all our developers know the essentials of SEO or it can be detrimental to your website.

It’s good that you also know a little bit, so that you can do some checks and also help your site rank in Google.

One of the biggest errors that we see all the time, which is super painful, is that when people get a new website designed, they don’t transfer their SEO over.

So, a once high-ranking website, gets a brand new makeover, but then drops off the face of Google. It’s riddled with 404 errors and no meta data.

Complete nightmare.

Blocking indexing 

On a related note, in order for your website to rank on Google, you need to ensure it’s being indexed by search engines.

It’s very normal that when you’re building out a development site and it’s not ready, you definitely do not want it to be indexed by Google.

There’s a checkbox within the WordPress settings menu, under “Reading” that allows you to check a box to discourage search engines from indexing the site. However, the better way to do this is via the robots.txt file, although this requires a bit more technicality to do it.

We’ve seen many people forget to uncheck this box after launching and wonder why their site is doing so badly in Google!

Not installing Google Analytics

Again, another basic one, but we’ve seen it so much! When a client comes to us asking us to help with their marketing, once of the first things we ask for is access to analytics.

So many of them are not even aware it exists!

The best thing about digital is that it’s all measurable. Why waste the opportunity by not installing it on your website?

Please note, do NOT install it with a plugin! You can take a piece of code snippet from within your Google Analytics dashboard that you can pop into your website.

If you do not have a Google Analytics account… then set one up now! You can get so much insight into your customers with it.

Ignoring updates

Most customers come to us and their site is so out of date!! They have multiple updates that they need doing and they have complaints that things are not working on their website.

A lot of the time, the updates fix these issues!

The updates are done by the developers of the themes/plugins to fix any bugs that have been found. So, it’s in your best interest to keep your WordPress website up to date.

Also, if you don’t update your WordPress website, it can leave it open to security vulnerabilities. So many hackers look for ways in due to problems in the code and will take any opportunity they can.


This exhaustive list may put you off using WordPress since there are so many things that can go wrong! But there are also so many things that can go right!!

If you build your WordPress site right, you will a stunning website that runs fast, ranks really well on Google and is super easy to use in the backend. It will also give you so much opportunity to further develop your website and futureproof it.

We would always recommend using a WordPress specialist agency to build you a bespoke WordPress website so that you don’t run into performance problems. WordPress is super easy to maintain, but it can be tricky to build out a good quality build from scratch without good skills.

WordPress maintenance is also quite time-consuming and so this is another service that you could leave to professionals to ensure that your WordPress site is also up to date and secure.

If you have any concerns about your WordPress website, you know how to get in touch!