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Pre-Build WordPress Website Checklist
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Pre-Build WordPress Website Checklist 

WordPress stands amongst the content management giants. It is a platform that runs more than a quarter of all the websites in the world. Many people look towards building good and easy to manage websites. WordPress makes it easy for you to create a site and manage its data and security all under one umbrella. However, many people don’t know what to prepare before they start building a WordPress site.

There are a few requirements that you need to keep in mind as you begin working on WordPress. You can get a website and jump straight away into creating content. However, it can be devastating as you may end up losing the website to hackers or getting it blocked by Google for spamming.

So, let’s take a walk to understand how you must begin building a WordPress website and what a few necessary steps that you should take are.

Domain Name

Domain Name is the unique name you give to your website that helps a user to identify it. It is an integral part of your website and something that gives you recognition. If you are to use Facebook, you shall go to FACEBOOK.COM, which is its domain name. Similarly, if you are to use WordPress, you can access it through WordPress.Com.

Therefore, you need a unique domain name but also something that identifies your brand or persona. Many people confuse the domain name with a URL, which refers to Uniform Resource Locator. A domain name is an essential part of your URL but not entirely the URL.

Hosting

There are various hosting providers giving you different hosting packages to work with. Commonly available packages include shared hosting, VPS hosting, and managed WordPress hosting.

web hosting

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is a good place to start and appears to be the most attractive option because of its pricing. You can get it for around $5 a month (basic plans) for the yearly plan or you can eventually switch to a monthly billing cycle and begin your WordPress website.

Ultimately, you can buy yourself some time to get your website up and running before investing further and shifting to expensive hosting plans. Here, you have multiple websites running on one server that share its resources. However, it is not always a good option because there are instances when websites can be too heavy for such hosting to deal with.

VPS Hosting

VPS hosting refers to Virtual Private Server, and it is one step ahead of shared hosting. Here, you enjoy the perks of shared hosting services while ensuring that there are no side effects of it. The resources you receive are still shared, but the user base is limited, and the hardware partition is done appropriately to avoid any mismanagement.

Managed WordPress Hosting

WordPress is a very popular platform and hosting providers tune their servers according to its requirements. The hosting on these particularly tuned servers for WordPress is known as the managed WordPress hosting. Here, from the processor to all the aspects of WordPress hosting, everything is configured in a way to make your WordPress website faster and secure.

Take a good look at all the hosting packages and analyze them according to your requirements. Compare the offerings of different hosting packages and check their first year pricing and renewal costs before you finalize.

SSL Certificate

Browsing the internet, you may notice that some websites start with HTTP while some begin with https. You may wonder where the difference of ‘s’ comes from. It is the SSL certificate, known to many by TLS; SSL refers to Secure Socket Layer and adds a layer of encryption to your website. Moreover, it adds authentication that the client communicates with the right server and prevents spoofing and other hacks. You also get the ‘https’ for your web address, which encrypts all the traffic coming to your website.

ssl

To get an SSL certification, you need to go to a trusted third party that generates and gives out SSL, referred to as the CAs. CAs often charge a fee for the issuance of the certificate.

Installing WordPress

You may see a few tutorials providing you guidance on how one must download the script and integrate it on the website. Well, gone are the days when you had to put in the hard yards. Now, you can simply use your hosting services to get WordPress installed on your site. Log into your hosting account, mostly a cPanel, and search for WordPress. The apps installation section will carry WordPress, and you can install it with a few clicks. Depending on the hosting you use, you can watch tutorials on YouTube or contact support for further details.

One thing to note here is that you can use WordPress for your whole website or solely for your blog. The former needs you to install WordPress on your domain, while the latter will require you to proceed with installation in the www.yourdomain.com/blog folder.

Securing Admin Credentials

Start by changing the default username and password. Make sure that you pick a strong password to prevent any hacks. Common passwords become predictable and crackable by brute force attacks. Therefore, you must pay attention to creating a strong password.

By default, the username is the admin that you must change. Then comes the password section where you should follow WordPress guidelines to create a decent password.

Also, you can go one step ahead by customizing the login links. Initially, it will be yourdomain.com/wp-login.php. You can change it to anything that you prefer and find suitable. Limiting the login attempts will also help you in securing your site to a great extent.

Theme

There are a lot of choices available to you when it comes to WordPress themes. You also get an option to create your website on your own using web builder tools. However, it is important to pay close attention to your theme because it plays a crucial role in many aspects. Not only is it essential for the looks and appearance of your website, but its responsiveness and SEO optimization can play a huge role in how easy or difficult it will be for you to rank your website.

Therefore, acquire a good theme even if you have to invest in it. Assure that it is catchy for the visitors and helpful for SEO.

Removing Demo Posts and Pages

When you install WordPress on your website, it will come up with some dummy posts and pages. The purpose is to guide users about where posts and pages are present and how one can create, customize, or delete them. So, you must go to the posts and pages section of your WordPress and delete any existing demo post or page present. Else, it may disturb you as you proceed further with your website building.

Install Essential Plugins

There are different WordPress plugins that you can install to enhance your website’s functionality and add protection to it. It is one of the reasons why so many people look towards managing their websites on WordPress. Some essential plugins that you should install as you create your website include the following:

SEO Plugins

SEO plugins help you in optimizing your website and assure that it ranks higher in search engines. These tools analyze your website and enhance it to make it appear at the top of Google. They supply you with various metrics and point out problems, giving you details about the optimization and where you must make changes to enhance your website for search engine bots. Common plugins include Yoast, AllInOneSEO, and RankMath. You can install either of the three or all of them, see which one works better for you, and then remove the other two.

Security Plugins

Security plugins are extremely important, and among the two pre-installed plugins you get with WordPress, one is the anti-spam Akismet security plugin. You can proceed using this plugin or turn to Sucuri Security, iThemes Security, Jetpack, or Wordfence. Moreover, setting up two-factor authentication with Google authenticator will also help in making your website more secure. These plugins give you file scanning, malware detection, active security monitoring, and firewalls to prevent hacks and attacks.

Contact Forms

As you create a website, particularly for a company or a brand, you would wish to contain a contact form. It helps people reach out to you and gives you a simple and easy way to tackle form data and queries. You can also build custom forms with different options, integrate spam protection, and communicate with your clients easily. Commonly used WP Form plugins include Gravity Forms, Ninja Forms, HubSpot All-In-One Marketing tool, and Contact Form 7.

Image Optimization Plugins

Images make up for most of the space on your website. They slow it down to a great extent, but without images, your website is incomplete. Therefore, you have to manage it appropriately, and for that, you can take help from image optimization plugins. The common plugins used to manage images on WordPress websites include Smush and WPCache. They reduce the image size to a great extent, lowering the burden on the server and loading your website faster.

Social Media Integration

No website is complete if you do not integrate it with different platforms. Social media presence is integral, and you need to pay attention to making your presence felt. It helps in connecting deeply with your audience. While managing all the different platforms along with WordPress appears a tough task, it can be fairly simple if you use the right plugins. You can start by implementing a combination of different plugins for various social integrations. Some common options include Sassy Social Share, Simple Social Icons, Instagram Feed, Revive Old Posts, and WordPress to Buffer.

Installing WordPress Website Builder

If you are looking to create your website, you can use WordPress builders like Elementor or WPBakery. These tools come with a simple interface and can help you create website elements with a few clicks. While most individuals prefer to use a theme or get one customized and developed by a professional developer, you may look to do the hard yards on your own. For that, you should install tools like WPBakery or Elementor and use them to customize your pages. Make sure that you are creating responsive layouts, and all the structure is crafted logically.

404 errors

404 errors can occur because of lost website content. There are instances when you may update an old blog post and change its URL, causing the existing page to give a 404 error. You would not wish to keep a user stuck on an error page as it may make him leave your website. Therefore, you should redirect the 404 errors to your homepage.

For that, you can use a plugin to help you. Some of the market’s common tools include All 404 Redirect to Homepage, Redirection, and Safe Redirect Manager. Moreover, you can also do it manually by opening your local 404 pages and editing it. Find your 404.php file (if there is no such file, create a blank file with the name 404.php, assuring that its extension is .php). Copy and paste the following code in your 404.php file:

 

<?PHP

           header(“HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently”);

           header(“Location: “.get_bloginfo(‘URL’));

           ?>

 

Pasting this into your 404 pages will redirect to your homepage.

Final Words

So, this is how you need to proceed from scratch to building a website. Doing all this takes effort and may feel unnecessary sometimes. However, it is worth the pain because you will end up with a performance-enhanced, secure website and provides a great user experience. Moreover, it also makes it easy for you to manage things.

Don’t be mistaken that your website building is complete. After installing the theme and setup of plugins, you may feel as if you are done with most of the parts. However, the inclusion of content and SEO, and building of your brand image, is yet to begin.

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