Today most small business owners prefer to go with a DIY approach for setting up their business website on WordPress. With the emergence of many high quality, user friendly website building platforms, this actually makes a lot of sense. If you have the time to invest and the basic tech knowledge to get going, this makes the most sensible and cost effective option. Check out our Tips For A Well Designed Single Page Website.
So you might have done the research, spend quite a bit of time and finally come up with a beautifully designed WordPress website for your business. But a great website is not only about how good it looks. A good website need to have a strong foundation….it’s nuts and bolts must be setup well and strong.
So before you do launch your amazing looking website, I would recommend you to consider these techie things for your WordPress website. Having these covered will ensure that your website is setup for success from day one. Also you will not have any issues to sustain and extend your website in the future.
Lets a take a look at these WordPress techie things:
#1 Secure Your Website
WordPress is the most popular content management system out there. Thus it is often a popular target for security threats from hackers. So you have to take website security seriously from day one. What can you do?
You need to setup a website Application Firewall (WAF). A WAF monitors website traffic and blocks suspicious requests from reaching your website. While there are several good WordPress firewall plugins out there, my favourite is WordFence. The free version is good enough to provide the basic level of protection your site needs.
#2 Setup A Backup Solution
Backups are like an insurance policy on your website. Having a good backup system in place will save you a lot of heartache and sleepless nights should something ever go wrong with your website. Thus we can never overstate the importance of having a website backup in place.
There are many good backup plugins available for WordPress. My personal favourite is UpdraftPlus. The free version provides for the most basic and must have features and is adequate to get you started. Make sure you setup a daily automated backup job and ensure the backups are stored in a remote location.
#3 Prepare For Website Updates
WordPress, its themes and plugins are always releasing updates. These updates usually include bug fixes and/or new features. Keeping your WordPress site updated is crucial for security and stability of your site. There are some themes and plugins that release updates very frequently.
It could be very distracting to keep updating these every time you log into your WordPress dashboard. So you can consider using a plugin to automate some of these updates. Easy Updates Manager is a free plugin that lets you control the automatic updates on the website. You can select and setup what you want to auto update and what you want to do manually. Using something like this will save you time and will also ensure that your website is secure at all times.
#4 Enable SSL
Did you know that your website runs the risk of being labeled as ‘Not Secure’ if it does not have an SSL certificate? So you must install a SSL certificate and enable https://. This allows all passwords, user data, payment details, form submissions and so on to be encrypted.
#5 Setup SEO
Search engine optimisation provides the best form of traffic for your website. SEO might be quite challenging for you, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. There are a couple of basic things you must do to ensure that you are at least covered with the formalities.
First, Go to Settings > Reading and look for Search Engine Visibility. Make sure “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” is not checked. It shouldn’t be, but better safe than sorry.
Secondly, install and setup the Yoast SEO plugin. The free version is good to get you started with the SEO basics. Use the tool and setup proper page titles, meta data, keyword phrases and slugs.
#6 Ensure Mobile-Friendliness
Your website has to be mobile friendly. It must look great and function well on a mobile device as it is on desktops. You can use Google’s own tool, Google’s Mobile Friendly Test to test these aspects. The tool points out any major issues, so that you know exactly what to fix and address.
#7 Performance Test
The speed of your website is an important factor for user experience as well as for SEO. Use tools like Pingdom and Google’s Pagespeed tool to test the speed of your website. These tools usually point out the problem areas if anyway. Then you can take some targeted actions to speed up your website. One of the best ways to speed up your WordPress site is to install a caching plugin like W3 Total Cache.
#8 Google Analytics
You need to be able to track how visitors are interacting on your website. This lets you improve different aspects of the website. Google Analytics is the best tool to use for this purpose. It tells you where your visitors are coming from, what they see on your site, when they leave and how well your site is doing. Its important to setup Google Analytics from the very beginning so that you gather historic data to measure and action on.
Well that’s it. I hope this list of things will help you to ensure that the techie side of your WordPress website is well looked after from day one. This will ensure sustainability and growth for your website in the long run.
Not so sure about how to get the above implemented? We Make It Work can do this for you. Our ‘LaunchRight’ package was created to support business owners just like you. Contact me below to find out more.