About To Launch A WordPress Site? Here’s What You Need to Know

There is no doubt that WordPress is one of the most powerful and easy to use content management systems ever built. WordPress has grown enormously over the past few years, and it is now the primary choice for a majority of webmasters when they want to set up basic websites and blogs. We have already written about the benefits of using WordPress for building websites. If you are new to this, chances are, you will face some problems and hiccups, but these can be dealt with easily.

 

1. Choose the Right Hosting

WordPress or not, the journey to building a website starts here. This has to be carefully done. There are thousands of hosting providers on the internet. So how do you choose one? Well, it entirely depends on your usage and budget. There are two main types of hosting available:

  • Shared hosting: Shared hosting is cheaper, as multiple websites share the same computer server. If your budget is low and you are not expecting a huge amount of traffic, then shared hosting is a good choice for you. You can always migrate to a bigger host when you start getting some serious traffic. The sites that are OK to be hosted on a shared hosting are portfolio sites, sites that are in the beginning stages, sites which don’t require any special software to run, and sites that don’t expect overwhelming traffic.
  • Dedicated hosting: Dedicated hosting is relatively expensive, but is the best option to go with if you are serious about your site. You get a single server for your service only, and thus it can handle more traffic. Support tends to be better, and you’ll have generally have more space for storing files and media.

2. Choose the Right Theme

Choosing the right theme is one of the most important factors when it comes to WordPress. WordPress has an extensive collection of themes to choose from. There are thousands of free and paid WordPress themes available with customization features built in. You must choose a theme that is right for your site. Customizing a theme is a time-consuming task, so it’s better to choose something which you will use for a long time, say one year or more.

Make sure your theme has a simple design and is fast loading. People don’t like cluttered websites, so choose a clean and neat theme. Also, make sure it is “responsive” so that it will perfectly scale on all types of devices and screen sizes. Generally, go with a paid theme since most paid themes have extra features to customize the look and feel of your site, offer better support, and are less generic.

3. Install the Right Plugins

In the world of WordPress, there is a “plugin” available to do every single task you can think of on a website. That’s the beauty of WordPress. When you need to get something done, you don’t have to do it manually if you don’t feel like doing it or if you think that task is way too technical for you to do. Just search for the proper plugin in the plugin database, and you’ll definitely find a good pick.

When you set up a WordPress site for the first time, install the best WordPress plugin bundles. There are plugins available for everything from SEO optimization to advertisement management. Since the website you are planning to build has some specific functions, just install the plugins that you absolutely need.

Don’t install every plugin you see on the internet. Make sure the plugins come from a trusted source. Having a large number of plugins on your site can reduce your page loading speed.

4. Make Sure Your Security Is Tight

Hackers are everywhere. They are looking for even a tiny bit of vulnerability in websites so that they can exploit it and gain access. Don’t let that happen to you. Take your site’s security very seriously. We know that you might not exactly know the things that one should do to secure a WordPress site. Here are a few things to add to your checklist.

  • Always keep WordPress updated: Update your WordPress version whenever there is a new one available. The WordPress team releases new updates when they find a security threat in the previous version (may not always be the case, they release updates when they add new features too). So it is always suggested to stay updated to the latest version. Hackers specifically target old and obsolete versions of WordPress, and do so indiscriminately.
  • Don’t show which version you are running on: You can hide the version of WordPress you are using. Don’t show it anywhere on the website, since people might be searching for sites running on older versions and might find yours one day if it is not updated.
  • Change database table prefix: By default, the database tables WordPress creates on your server will be having a prefix of “wp_”. Everybody knows this. So it is advised to change this prefix into something else which only you know. This makes hacking your WordPress database slightly harder.
  • Use a unique username: When you install WordPress, you are asked to set a username and password for you to log in. Use a username that is unique and not easy for others to find. Do not use usernames such as “admin”, etc. These are too obvious, people can easily guess them, and automated hacking tools will target them. Changing the username is easy and effective.

Note: There are various plugins available to help your WordPress security. Take a look at them too.

5. Perform Proper SEO

Well, to be visible in search engines, you have to make sure your SEO (search engine optimization) is robust and appropriately done. Start with creating a sitemap and a robots.txt. Obviously, there are plugins available for these too. You can easily create a sitemap with a plugin. A sitemap is what you submit to Google search for your site’s pages to be indexed in Google search results. Apart from this, there is a huge number of things you can do such as optimizing the content, keywords, etc.

6. Integrate Google Analytics

This tip applies not only to WordPress but to all the websites. It is important to know how many visitors you are getting, where they are coming from, and what they are doing on your site once they get there. You can grow your website and business only when you know these facts. So integrate Google Analytics to track your visitors right away. You can do this using the WordPress Google Analytics Plugin.

Web developer Richard Sutherland has been working with WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and other content management systems for over a decade. Graduating from Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Richard has held a number of prominent website development roles at major companies such as Samsung, ASDA and Prudential.

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