By Gary Nugent

WordPress is the most popular blogging platform on the planet. It’s an open-source project so anyone can add new functions and capabilities to their blogs. This is typically done by plugin developers as it’s easy to add new plugins into any WordPress installation. Some of these plugins are absolutely free. Others are not, and these are generally plugins that allow you to monetize your site or better control the content, and management of that content, on your blog.

WordPress Is Easy To Work With, Isn’t It?

Despite WordPress being so popular, it’s not the easiest system to work with. There are literally thousands of free plugins available to do a huge range of tasks and one problem is how you find the hidden gems among everything that’s out there.

There are also a huge number of commercial plugins available and, as with the free plugins, there’s a huge variability in quality between them. While you may only lose some time trying out free plugins, it can be expensive to find you’ve spent good money on a plugin that doesn’t do the job it’s supposed to or doesn’t do it well. On this blog, I’ll try to advise you on what the good plugins are so you’ll save time doing that research yourself and not waste money on bad plugins.

WordPress in now in its third generation and the user interface changes reasonably frequently with the various upgrades and updates that are released. It’s not the easiest system to get to grips with so if you’re expecting to crank up WordPress and start building sites quickly, think again. Speed will increase with experience, but there is still a lot of setup required for each blog. It may be the most popular blogging platform around but it does have a steep learning curve. Then, in addition to that, you have to learn how to use each of the plugins you add to your blogs.

WordPress Is A Target For Hackers

Also, With WordPress being so popular, WordPress blogs have now become a target for hackers. A hacked site can do several things – install malware on a visitor’s PC, redirect the visitor to another website, hijack your affiliate links so that they earn commissions from your site, not you. Or they may just deface your site. A bad hack, especially if you don’t learn about it quickly, can result in flags being raised at Google and penalties being applied to your site so it drops in the page rankings. It may also get flagged as a malware site and online site verifiers, like McAfee’s, may advise visitors to steer clear of your site. Even if you recover from the hack, it can take up to 90 days for any penalties and bad notices to be removed from Google and elsewhere. If your blog happens to be making you good money, that can prove to be a very expensive lesson to learn. So you need to be aware of how to protect your blogs from hackers. And that’s something I’ll also talk about on this site.

Webhosting Considerations

WordPress is now a bit of a resource hog, and the more plugins you use on a blog, the more resources it chews up. Unless you’re building basic blogs, most shared webhosting accounts can no longer run high-powered WordPress blogs. They’ll complain to you about resource over-usage and your hosting account will be suspended. Therefore, it’s best to start out with a reseller hosting account. You get a greater share of the resources on the server and reseller accounts can be configured better to your needs as a blogger. They are more expensive, typically $20+ per month depending on the package you order, but you can usually run up to 20 blogs safely on such an account (you won’t be able to do that on a shared webhosting account).

For high-powered users – those getting a lot of traffic to a high-powered blog – a Virtual Private Server (VPS) is the next step ($50+ per month), or possibly a dedicated server (but that’s an expensive proposition).

Affiliate Marketing

If your goal is affiliate marketing, then you need to know the best ways to monetize your blogs. While Adsense is popular and easy to install, it may not be the most profitable way of making money online. Again, this is a topic I’ll cover on this site.

That said, the best resource for learning how to build profitable affiliate marketing blogs is Wealthy Affiliate. I’m a member myself and can vouch for the quality of the training provided (which is updated and added to regularly) and you get access to a fantastic selection of plugins and Pro WordPress themes to use on your blogs. Check Wealthy Affliliate out today.

What Can Go Wrong With WordPress Blogs

Finally, WordPress is not the easiest system to work with and you will encounter problems. Sites will go down from time to time. Things that can break a site are:

WordPress upgrades themselves – for example older plugins may stop working or conflicts may arise between WordPress and one or more plugins

Plugin upgrades – previously working plugins may stop working or other plugins may stop working. A common cause of this is the version of JQuery used in plugins. That can conflict with the version of JQuery used in other plugins or in your blog’s theme.

Theme upgrades – similar to plugin upgrades. Some themes are actually frameworks within which you can change various settings to change the look of a site. Developers of these themes release upgrades from time to time and again if such a theme is upgraded on an existing site, it may conflict with some of the plugins used on the site.

Buggy plugins – some plugins are just badly coded. They may appear to be working fine at the outset but somewhere down the line, they go AWOL and bring down a blog.

Your webhost 1 – some webhosts like to do frequent upgrades to their servers so that they’re using the latest software or security packs. The incompetent ones will apply these upgrades to live servers expecting everything to go smoothly. There are times, however, when things don’t go well. Server upgrades can break plugins and broken plugins can break your site. Some routine operations like database backups may stop working and, if your site is subsequently hacked, you may find there’s no recent backup you can recover from. Your webhost will probably have a backup, but if they do rolling backups (i.e. keep only the most recent 2 or 3 backups) you could find that those backups also contain the hack, so your site is effectively trashed.

Your webhost 2 – other server upgrades can bring a server down due to software incompatibilities. When this happens, your blogs can be down for hours as the techs work to find out what’s gone wrong. When sites come back up, there may still be knock-on effects that need to be identified and rectified.

Summing Up

Here’s the bottom line: you can’t build a WordPress blog then just walk away and leave it and expect it to keep on running. Many will but some won’t for the reasons outlined above. You should check your blogs regularly to make sure they’re still up and running and that they haven’t been hacked.

Once you’re prepared for and aware of the above WordPress peccadilloes, you’ll be in a much better position to cope with any problems that may arise.

This article originally appeared on Affiliate Blogging Secrets.

The blogs you can order through this site are built to be secure, so all of the common vulnerabilities that people are unaware of are plugged. However, it’s important to note that no website is 100% secure and you should regularly check that your websites are running normally and have not been compromised.

Next Article: What If Your WordPress Blog Gets Hacked?

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