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Top WordPress Mistakes by Website Developers

WordPress is the most popular method to launch a website and have it functional quickly. However, many developers make bad decisions as a result of their haste. Some mistakes may be easy to make, others may be the result of laziness. Armed with the knowledge of the most common mistakes, you can make a far better decision when selecting your new web developer. This is the first in a series of educational blog posts to help you avoid problems in the future.

Putting WordPress Theme JavaScript Code in a Single Main File

Some developers will use a premium theme and place all the libraries in use, including any custom code, into a single file labeled theme.js, main.js, or custom.js. This procedure is unacceptable for the following reasons:

Over time, the file will expand to match the size of the theme. As the developer works on it, the file can sometimes reach 1 MB is size. The file will load the entire website, even if a mere 10 percent of the code in the file is necessary for some pages. This results in pages taking longer to download and slower to render, especially if it includes render blocking code within the head section of the page.

Managing the code within the file becomes problematic. You will be unable to use functions like we_dequeue_script() to download some code for certain pages in an effort to increase page speed or avoid conflict between other JavaScript code and any of the plugins. The developer may be able to split the file into multiple files; however, if an administrator performs an update of the theme’s main.js file, it’s back to the beginning.

Failing to Leverage Existing WordPress Core Functionality to Its Full Capability

WordPress is powerful and comes with a suite of regularly updated libraries accessible through plugins and themes. Exploiting those existing core functionalities is the best way to leverage the power of WordPress. There is no reason to repeat files in theme or plugin asset directories that already come in WordPress core files, such as Color Picker or JQuery. The expanded size of the files slows your website and your network. In addition, you will need to ensure that third-party libraries receive regular updates, which is time-consuming and costly. Leverage the core functionality because the WordPress development core team updates them, and you will have a more agile project. By performing regular WordPress updates, you have access to additional features through themes, plugins, or the WordPress core, because the team improves the dashboard frequently. This will also add security to your website against vulnerabilities found in older code releases.

Developing a Website with WP_DEBUG Set as False

The WP_DEBUG constant comes set to “false” by default to prevent any PHP warnings, errors, and notices. Once the site is live, this is the preferred setting, because it keeps private server scripts and paths hidden from the public view, which is best for security. However, while in the development stage, it is better to set the constant to “true” for notification of errors in coding. Even if the errors don’t create problems with functionality, your developer should rewrite them with better code. While many experienced developers follow this practice, many become rushed and forget to make this change to avoid errors.

Check back next week as we continue to review common mistakes developers make in WordPress.

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