do it simply - Help and Advice

Can someone help me fix my WordPress site?

If I only got paid for every time someone asked me this!

WordPress is great.  It is user friendly, has almost infinite possibilities when designing a site, and just about anyone can build a site with it.  And herein lies the problem.

Just because someone can build a site with WordPress doesn’t mean they should.  Let me go ahead and expand on some of the biggest problems faced by owners of WordPress sites built by someone not 100% in the know.


1. Your site has just stopped working – you may need to update and check your updates.

This is WordPress itself and every plugin you are using.  Wordpress changes, makes improvements, fixes errors, and you must keep up with them.  If you don’t your website can and will break.  This then has a direct influence on any plugin you have.  All well maintained plugins should check whether they need an update when WP updates, and then offer this update to you.  Depending on how your website was built you will either receive an email notification of this, or they will update themselves.  There are dangers with both.

a. If you are emailed that an update is happening – whomever built your site might be the email recipient and you are dependent on them doing the work or the email address may be old and know one will ever know.  It is vital that you have this information and that you check up on it regularly.

b. Automatic updates may seem attractive but keep in mind if you have 1 plugin that has become obsolete or is not actively maintained, your website could break and you would never know.

The bottom line is, you need to keep an active roll in your website or pay someone to do that for you.


2. Your website has stopped working 2 – You have too many plugins that are conflicting or poorly built.

This is a biggie.  When your website is built there is a tendency to look for and find a plugin to solve your every problem.  That is how WordPress is built and encourages developers.  The problem is, every developer is different and what dev1 does may not be compatible with what dev2, dev3, etc does.  The more plugins you have the more opportunity for conflicts.

Instead of adding a new plugin for everything, think about what you really need, discuss things with a developer, and consider hiring someone who understands that 20 plugins for a 6 page website should not be necessary.

This also leads on from point 1, your plugin may no longer be maintained or hasn’t keep up with the latest WordPress release.


3. Your site design is broken – most likely the template you chose is not flexible.

Templates are a huge part of WordPress and there are some awesome ones out there.  There are also some terrible ones, and if you or your site designer does not know how to use them, that means constantly having design issues with your site.

A lot of template locks you into 1 design, you must enter your content in exactly the way the template was built and that is it.  Not a problem if you are very happy with what you have, but if you want to change something in the future, you will have to start again.  By their very nature, templates are not open to small changes.  If you ask another designer/developer to come in and tweak your site chances are they won’t be able to do it without a lot of time and effort.

Other templates offer you lots of flexibility with widgets, and page layouts.  The result of this is much the same as having too many plugins, the more choices/changes you have/make the more margin for error.


4. I just want to add a _blank_ but I can’t – most likely the template you chose is not flexible 2.

To expand on number 4, I always recommend a bespoke template.  For a good developer this does not have to mean weeks and weeks or work and costs.  Most brochure websites can be turned around in 7-10 days of development (after the design phase).  This means you have ultimate control of not only how your website looks, but how you maintain the CMS in the background.  This is where WordPress really shines.  You can make every part of your site work the way you want.  You can also change how the site’s backend looks/acts for different users.

Hiring a skilled WordPress developer not only gives you this huge amount of flexibility it allows you to update and make changes.  If you decide you need a contact form after you release your site a simple request to the developer should have it done within the day, without any significant cost to you and without breaking your site.  This also has the advantage of someone who is highly skilled explaining to you exactly how to use your new form.  Win, win!!

5. I’m getting lots and lots of spam help – you need some protection on your site.

Luckily this is something easily fixed with a plugin, and I highly recommend that you do.  Depending on where you are getting spam there will be a robust and well documented plugin to help.  This is definitely one plugin type that you should always have.


These are just some of the most common problems, and all can be prevented.

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