There are many articles around the web about building a WordPress website, coding a WordPress theme and generally making WordPress work for your business or personal website.
Through my 5+ years of experience on the platform, I have learnt a lot and finally I feel like I have installing a WordPress website down to a tee. In this article I would like to go through my process to hopefully help you improve your process.
I have used many ways to install WordPress in the past, from auto-installing from my hosting package when I first started out, to downloading and uploading the files and creating my database myself. Both have their advantages, but nowadays I have gone back to using an installer. I host with MediaTemple (who I’ve now been with for a year, and are fantastic) and they offer a one-click install for Drupal, WordPress and ZenCart.
Although I originally stopped auto-installing with my previous host (I don’t want to give them any promotion) due to not having options over the database name and prefix, I now have those options with MediaTemple, so the idea of downloading, uploading and then creating a database for WordPress just seems like a massive waste of effort these days.
If you don’t have auto-install though, it really isn’t hard to go the classic route.
One of the biggest parts of using WordPress is getting the correct plugins for what you need. As most of my websites are niche sites, the main aim for me is speed and user experience. With that in mind the list of plugins I install off the bat are mainly search engine optimisation and maintenance plugins for reducing image size, code size and keeping the database clean.
All in One SEO Pack is a WordPress SEO plugin to automatically optimize your WordPress blog for Search Engines such as Google.
Allows you to combine and minify your CSS and JS files to improve page load time. This plugin uses the PHP library Minify and relies on WordPress’s enqueueing system rather than the output buffer, which respects the order of CSS and JS files as well as their dependencies. BWP Minify is very customizable and easy to use.
Contact Form 7 can manage multiple contact forms, plus you can customize the form and the mail contents flexibly with simple markup. The form supports Ajax-powered submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering and so on.
This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com to better index your blog. With such a sitemap, it’s much easier for the crawlers to see the complete structure of your site and retrieve it more efficiently. The plugin supports all kinds of WordPress generated pages as well as custom URLs. Additionally it notifies all major search engines every time you create a post about the new content.
WP-Optimize is an extensive WordPress database cleanup and optimization tool. It doesn’t require PhpMyAdmin to clean and optimize your database tables.
WP Smush.it strips hidden, bulky information from your images, reducing the file size without losing quality. The faster your site loads, the more Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines will like it.
If you want to create your own theme, then follow this great guide. If you have downloaded one, then it is as simple as uploading it in the WordPress interface and then following the instructions from within your theme files, or on WordPress, to configure to your liking.
Probably the hardest part, which always appears to be easy, is creating the content. Depending on the content, but recommended is an About page, Contact page, a FAQ page and then a post every week to keep Google looking you up.
Finally, you need to get your content out there with social media, sign up to Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to post regularly and follow people in your area of knowledge. I also like to set up a Tumblr account and queue up a few posts for a different target market. You can take a look at the one for My HRM Book here.
Any recommended plugins or themes? Post them in the comments.
Have a project idea? Feel free to contact me and find out how we can work together.