WordPress Website Checklist

WordPress website checklist

Setting up a WordPress website is relatively straightforward. We’ve created this helpful website checklist so you can ensure you’ve considered all the items you may need in running your site. The online industry undergoes regular technical advances, changes and discontinuances and it is a good idea to stay informed and up-to-date with developments. For example, did you know that as of January 2017, purchasing an SSL certificate for your website is no longer considered optional? You can read more about SSL certificates below.

We’ve started off this article with the standard items you’ll need to have in place to run a business website and then further down the page, you’ll find more information applicable to running a WordPress website, in particular.

Overview of items needed to run a website:

Getting started on a website for your business

Here’s a refresher for all of the standard items with which you will need to familiarize yourself in order to run your business website.

Domain name

You probably already know what this is! Your domain name is what people type into their web browser to find you – your online home so to speak. This could be your name, your business name or keywords that describe your services or products. You can register a main domain name (either a .ca or a .com) and then register additional names with various extensions (formally called TDLs) that can redirect to your main domain. Additionally, you can set up sub-sites under subdomains (eg. http://websites.fun4business.ca – not a working subdomain).

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is the official Canadian registrar. Find out more about CIRA on its website here. In order to register a .ca domain name, you must have a Canadian connection – check out the CIRA registrant requirements here.

Web hosting

Web hosting is purchased through a company that provides email and website servers, along with databases, that enable your website to be view-able on the Internet. You can purchase plans with monthly or yearly packages. More specifically, your hosting for a WordPress website needs to offer Linux hosting, with PHP programming language and MySQL database support. A WordPress website is slightly more cumbersome than plain/small HTML websites, and therefore it is a good idea to monitor website performance on “shared hosting” packages, estimate and forecast your anticipated website traffic and usage, and upgrade plans accordingly. Click here for the precise web hosting/database requirements as per the WordPress.org website.

Fun4business can provide recommendations for a domain name registrar and web host.

Email hosting

There are the following options for email hosting:

  • Email hosting is included with your web hosting package. (Usually the most affordable option.)
  • Email hosting is provided through your web host at extra cost.
  • Third party email hosting is available through another provider such as G-Suite by Google. By choosing this route, you may have access to extra useful business features and benefits, like video conferencing using Google Hangouts, document exchange using Google Drive, and more!

SSL certificates

As online security continues to be an issue and a priority, Google is jumping on the bandwagon and using its influence to strongly suggest that all websites need to move to a secured platform. Accordingly, Google is rewarding websites secured with SSL with higher search engine rankings, while simultaneously labelling sites without an SSL certificate as “unsecure.” You can read more here on this helpful blog article by Elegant Themes Blog, “How to Get a Free SSL Certificate (and Why Google is Forcing You To).”

Photos, images, videos & fonts

Another consideration for your website development and online marketing initiatives is incorporating high-quality photos and other visual elements. Surprisingly, it can be time consuming browsing through stock photos, determining your budget, and carefully selecting which photos superbly reflect your products and services. So, start collecting images early that resonate with you and/or your business. These images can be used in many places, including your website banner, sidebars, footers, social media profiles and updates, and any other advertising or marketing materials you can think of or may need like pamphlets, PDF handouts, and more. We at Fun4business recommend carefully selecting between 5 and 10 “branding” stock photos, purchased at a high resolution, to get you started on building your total branding library of assets.

With respect to videos — which is the hottest growing area on the Internet today — you should decide whether this may be an avenue you wish to pursue, whether amateur or professional look and feel is appropriate, and how you could incorporate video into your marketing strategies. Taking, editing, publishing and promoting videos can be a full-time exercise, so due consideration should go into this potential marketing and growth opportunity.

Note: this list may vary from designer to designer according to his or her requirements. Additionally, this list only pertains to setting up a website and excludes steps that you will need to take to start a new business, eg. licenses, registrations, incorporation, etc.

For more information, check out this helpful course by Google called Intro to Webmaster Academy that goes into much more detail on the items we’ve covered above. It is well worth your time to work your way through the course to learn valuable information about running a website and being found in the search engines.

Overview of how a WordPress website fits together:

As a client and online business owner, sometimes all of the technical terms and requirements can be overwhelming. The tendency may be to shy away from learning about them and wanting everything to “just work.” However, having at least a big picture overview of how your WordPress website fits together is fairly quick and painless. Here’s a chart containing the main parts:

wordpress website components

At Fun4business, we assist you with the following:

  1. Install and configure the website core
  2. Provide recommendations with respect to suitable quality and appropriate WordPress themes; Install and customize selected WordPress theme
  3. Provide recommendations on required WordPress plugins; Install and configure chosen WordPress plugins

WordPress Platform Overview

Originally, WordPress started off as a blogging tool, and these origins continue to affect WordPress’ reputation today. When you mention the word “WordPress” to someone, they probably instantly think “oh you mean ‘blogs’.”

Actually, there are two different WordPress organizations, as follows:

  1. WordPress.com: Famous for powering people’s blogs, this is a blogging platform hosted on the WordPress servers. It is easy to set this up yourself, pick a template you like, quickly customize a few settings, and start writing your blog within minutes. A key advantage is being connected to the larger WordPress.com community where you can connect with other writers and subscribe to blog updates.
  2. WordPress.org: A sister organization specifically for self-hosted WordPress websites that users need to set up and run on their own hosting. WordPress.org is an open-source community that is growing every single day with additional upgrades, functionality, features, add-on’s, etc. These type of WordPress websites take more effort and skill to create, build, manage, and maintain than the ones on WordPress.com, however, they offer more options, flexibility and are the better choice for business websites who’s main focus isn’t blogging.

These two platforms should not be mixed up, as they are related, but not the same.

Here at Fun4business, we specialize in the second option above – custom development for WordPress.org self-hosted websites.

WordPress Core

WordPress websites all begin with the central core set of programming and database components. This is the foundation for your website. It is supported by a large community of developers, and is continuously upgraded, expanded and improved.

WordPress Themes

Once you have the WordPress core installed, you need to choose a WordPress theme. The core components and the theme work together to create your complete website. (In other words, you need both!) The WordPress theme is the look and feel of your site, as well as the structure and design. There are thousands of top-notch free and premium WordPress themes available for download and purchase. WordPress developers can even create their own themes to use and sell.

Generally, a theme requires a good amount of customization for each unique website/client. Your logo, colours, fonts, etc., need to be added, adjusted and modified. Additionally, there are options and alternatives for display that need to be evaluated and then applied or disabled.

WordPress comes with standard sections called Widgets, Menus and Sidebars that provide practical space for your specialized and featured content. These all need to be formatted and configured correctly to your specific website and content.

WordPress Plugins

Third parties create plugins that are add-on’s to WordPress websites. Examples include shopping carts and payment processing, email distribution programs, event management functionality, secure client/membership areas, etc. Some plugins are free and some are paid, and most come with a free version that can be upgraded for more advanced requirements.

Next up: Curious about Landing Pages? Click here to learn more!