When you run a website design company you typically have to build numerous websites from scratch, but starting from a blank slate is never the most efficient method. It’s wise to use templates, code you’ve used in the past and even special plugins that are required for a site to run well.
That’s why we put together an ultimate to-do list for new WordPress sites so you can double check your sites to make sure everything is there. The list is nice for first-time website builders and companies that pump out multiple sites every day for clients.
Find Hosting for Your WordPress Sites
A website host stores your databases and data online, and it also helps with uploading media and modifying content. Hosts provide additional advantages such as branded email addresses, high performance sites and 1-click WordPress installations.
You can also access the MySQL and MyphpAdmin areas for shifting around components on your site.
What are some other hosting options to checkout?
Checkout a full hosting description along with additional options here.
Selecting a Theme for Your New WordPress Sites
Today, you no longer have to build a website from scratch. Simply choose a pre-built theme and save on development costs or time spent coding yourself.
If you want a free, high-quality theme you can checkout the WP Dev Shed themes and activate them on your blog. Simply go to Appearance > Themes > Add New and then activate one of the options.
There are also premium themes if you want to shell out some cash for something that suits your brand a little more. The best premium theme sites include:
Shift Your Site to Maintenance Mode so it Doesn’t Look Unprofessional
When you shift your site to maintenance mode you are able to work on changes without affecting the frontend of your WordPress site. Use this plugin to provide a nice page that tells people your site is coming soon, or consider installing WordPress locally to make modifications without affecting the site.
Include Content on Your Site
This might sound like a no-brainer, but you must fill in the pages with videos, text, images and other content so the user-interface is worthwhile. Here are some things to remember when designing your sites:
- Include menus with relevant pages
- About page
- Contact page
- Support page
- At least 500 words of relevant, SEO-optimized text on each page
- A Resources page with videos and images
- A logo
- Products and services with pricing
- Newsletter and events
- A blog
- Security and privacy policies
- Learn more about developing a content plan.
Must Have Plugins for Your WordPress Sites
Hammer Out Your SEO
There are plenty of things you can do to improve your SEO, but the initial phases are essential, and they take just a few steps.
- Install an SEO plugin like SEO by Yoast
- Target high-traffic keywords with the Google Keyword Planner
- Use these keywords in URLs, text, image file names and meta descriptions
- Submit a sitemap to search engines by using the Google XML Sitemaps plugin
Find a Caching Plugin
Caching uses past versions of your pages and posts to serve up your website a bit faster to the user.
Try these caching options, but only use one:
Make the Site Hum
Use the iThemes Security plugin to improve your site’s security. BackupWordPress is nice for keeping all your data backed up and safe. Pingdom is wonderful for testing the speed of your site and seeing what areas need improving.
Your Forms and Fields
People need to contact you, so use the Contact Form 7 plugin for a slick solution. You also probably want to customize your edit screens if you work with tons of sites. Use the Advanced Custom Fields plugin for this.
Additional Must-Haves for a WordPress Site
- Make sure the sites are responsive
- Test to see if the sites work in all devices and browsers
- Shorten your URLs for better sharing
- Include social sharing for all pages and links to your own social sites
- Offer a Search field on the site
- Try Disqus for your comment system
- Use Akismet for comment spam prevention
- Use the Yoast Google Analytics plugin to see how many people visit the site
Let us know in the comments section if you have any questions about our ultimate to-do list for new WordPress sites. Can you think of anything else that should be included with your site?