Wordpress from start to finish
Over the past few months we have built a number of Wordpress sites for clients, including navigate and the ADC at Harvard, and have learnt a lot along the way! Here are some tips to keep in mind if you’d like to build your own site; or just want to understand the process better before you chat to us to get a quote.
1. HOSTING AND DOMAIN REGISTRATION:
First, register a first or second level domain name. The second level domains usually are free. Many companies offer this kind of service, such as GoDaddy and Hetzner.
During the registration process, you will be asked for your credentials like name, surname and other personal details that will be used to associate the domain to your company and will be listed on the international domain registry.
You can also transfer an already registered domain that you bought or registered previously to your new hosting company.
Companies that offer domain registration usually provide hosting services too. Choosing the right hosting package is vital, and it is important to consider the website traffic and other services needed when buying, among other things.
You can set up a hosting service with any company, even if your domain is set up elsewhere. Domain registration can just be linked to your hosting server, as the two things are completely separate.
Once you have your hosting service and your domain, the webmaster will send your account details so that you can access and manage your hosting services.
2. INSTALLING WORDPRESS
After setting up a hosting service, consider installing a Content Management System such as WordPress on the webserver, through ftp connection, Cpanel or similar web tools offered by your hosting company. A database will automatically be created during the installation process.
The Installation tool will guide you through the process, so fill in the form and leave database settings untouched unless you know what you are doing.
3. ACCESSING THE WORDPRESS BACKEND
Once you receive the domain registration email confirmation and the Wordpress engine is correctly installed on your server you can access the backend through the URL (usually www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin) and log in using the details provided during the installation process.
4. INSTALLING THIRD-PARTY PLUGINS AND THEMES
Basic CMS offer few functionalities by default, so in order to create a dynamic website it’s wise to install a theme and plugins to improve the functionality of the site. These are available through the Wordpress backend or on third party suppliers such as Envato Market.
Different themes serve different purposes; some of them are built for e-commerce platforms, others just for blogging. Choose carefully because most themes also include a wide selection of shortcodes with great effects like one-page, parallax features, full-width maps and much more.
Plugins are also very useful; here is a list of must-haves:
- CLEF LOGIN – for super easy and secure log in.
- CONTACT FORM 7 & REALLY SIMPLE CAPTCHA – for seamless form integration.
- SEO by YOAST – the ultimate SEO plugin.
- SHORTCODE ULTIMATE – to create easy functional web pages.
- WP SUPER CACHE – for super-quick loading times.
Always be careful when installing plugins as each one adds code developed by people that could have made mistakes. This will mean that your site is not completely safe. For example, this article explains what happened with an older version of WP SUPER CACHE.
5. MANAGING CONTENT
Hurrah! Your website is ready to go; you can now start adding pages, post, products and anything you like.
6. OTHER TIPS AND TRICKS
- SSL could be a huge investment if you are really concerned about security.
- Backup services are vital.
- Email accounts can be offered for free, such as through Microsoft Exchange or ZOHO mail.
- Database Management with PhpMyAdmin can mess up all the work done with CMSes, so be careful using it.
- Consider setting up an SMS/ email system that alerts you if your website is under attack or other important events happen.
- Cron Jobs are useful as well as Ruby on Rails and Cloudflare.
- Antivirus and firewall software is important when working with secure files.
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