If you’re a new blogger, your head is probably spinning with ALL the WordPress things you’re trying to learn.
Not to mention the blogging part itself.
There are a handful of questions and mistakes that come up again and again when I talk to new bloggers.
I hope you’ll find these tips helpful if you’ve run into the same questions as well.
5 WordPress mistakes to avoid
- WHERE to actually write your blog posts!
- HOW to add structure to your site by adding categories.
- What PAGES are actually for.
- The one SETTING you definitely need to get right before you publish anything.
- The CRITICAL mistake new bloggers make with their images!
These are all things any new blogger will struggle with because they haven’t learned the ropes yet. Let’s walk through these things together so you won’t have to undo a bunch of stuff later on.
You’ll be so glad you learned these tricks ahead of time!
Where to actually write your blog posts
This is the biggest confusion most new bloggers have on their WordPress site.
The difference between posts and pages makes every new blogger’s head spin.
Most people assume that when you go to write a brand new post it will need its own page.
Therefore, a common mistake is for bloggers to create their posts in the “Pages” area of the WordPress dashboard.
Don’t ever do this!
Blog posts should ONLY be written in the POSTS section of your blog. So, in your dashboard you’ll always click on Posts and then Add New.
Let me show you. While I’m writing this post for you, here’s where I’ve created my post:
There are no exceptions when writing blog posts. They always start in the posts section of WordPress.
The reason you want to write them in the posts section is that WordPress will then automatically add them to your blog area or your front page as you publish them.
They’ll always be in the order of most recent date published (unless you’ve adjusted a setting otherwise).
WordPress is cool like that. It’s all set up for you that your blog posts will pop up in your blog area once each post is written and published!
If you write them in Pages, they will not show up anywhere on your blog. No one will find them.
What a shame to work hard on a post that no one will find. Pages have to be manually added to your menu.
You need to categorize your blog posts
As a new blogger you may not realize how much categorizing your blog posts helps your readers.
Once you’ve written a few (or more) blog posts, and it’s clear what you’re mostly going to be writing about for your blog, you’ll want to choose a few categories to put them in.
For a gardening blog you might have the following:
- Winter gardening
- Container gardening
- Herb gardening
So, if a gardening blogger writes about things to grow in the winter, they’d want to add them to their Winter Gardening category.
The same goes for the other topics.
Make appropriate categories for your blog posts so your readers can easily find topics they’d like to read about.
What is a blog page for?
Now, let’s talk about pages.
We know that they are never for writing blog posts, right? Good.
An About page is always a great idea.
Your readers can get to know you, and it definitely adds a personal touch to your brand.
I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy reading About pages.
The other uses for pages might be a contact page, a resources page, or a lead page.
Lead pages (sales pages) are specifically for a product or service you’re offering your audience.
It gives them a place to learn more about it and make a purchase.
The biggest thing to note about a page is that it won’t automatically show up anywhere on your blog.
You’ll need to add specific pages to your menu for readers to find them.
The important setting you may not know about
** PLEASE NOTE ** Don’t change this setting if you’ve already published some blog posts. It will mess up the links to your posts!
If you only have a couple of posts:
- You could consider copying and pasting the text from those posts into a document.
- Delete those posts completely.
- Change your setting according to the directions below.
- Then paste your content into a brand new post which can have the same title you had before if you like.
This permalink setting is good to set up correctly when you’ve just started a WordPress blog — before you’ve officially published anything.
This is the web address at the top of someone’s screen when they’re on one of your blog posts or pages.
WordPress sometimes sets your permalinks to a strange combination of blog title, numbers, and odd characters.
It’s best for your blog to display the name of your site and the blog post or page a reader is currently on.
Go into Settings in your dashboard and click Permalinks.
You’ll then want to make sure it’s set to “Post name”.
Now your readers and Google will have a better idea where they are on your blog.
** Please don’t stress out too much if you’ve published a lot of content already, and your Permalinks aren’t set to Post name.
If you really want to change it, you can hire someone to do it for you so it won’t mess up your already-established links.
The huge mistake with blog images
This happens to ALL of us when we’re new.
In our excitement to create these fabulous blog posts to share with the world, we want amazing images to go with them.
And you should include lovely images with every post to keep readers’ attention and break up the text in a post.
Don’t ever take an image you’ve captured on your phone or camera, or one you’ve downloaded from a free image site, and put it directly onto your blog!!
WordPress doesn’t have enough file storage to keep these giant images for you in the media library without dire consequences down the road.
Oh, you CAN upload them into your media area no problem.
And you can even put them in your posts.
Eventually, your site will slow down so much that your visitors will fall asleep waiting for it to load!
I don’t know about you, but I don’t stick around when a blog takes more than a few minutes to load … much less five minutes!
You must RESIZE and COMPRESS your images BEFORE you even put them into your WordPress site!
Here’s what I suggest:
- Resize images to around 800 x 600 pixels
- Stick to horizontal images for blog posts
- Save all of your images in jpg format
After resizing, use a site like TinyPNG to compress the images even further so they take up minimal space in your WordPress files.
Optimizing your images BEFORE you ever put them onto your blog is a best practice for every blogger.
Aren’t you glad to know this secret?
It will save you days of redoing hundreds of images in your second year of blogging. (;
There you have it!
The FIVE top things new bloggers struggle with when starting a blog on WordPress, and how to solve them.