The subject of WordPress sites for small businesses could easily be a book, but here I'm going to whizz through the essentials for the benefit of anyone thinking of going down this route.
WordPress is easily the most popular web building platform, way ahead of rivals such as Drupal and Joomla. This is because it is tried and tested, free and supports a huge range of plugins.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is essentially a framework that provides a means of rapidly publishing and managing web pages. It comes with an easy to understand Graphical User interface capable of building quite sophisticated layouts, especially when extended with plugins.
Plugins extend the functionality of WordPress. They are mostly free and you will definitely need them in the areas of Security, Backups and Spam management before you even start building the site.
You will need web space and a domain name, there are a lot of suppliers and most of them provide easy access to your space through a web based graphical user interface offering access to tools which can install the latest version of WordPress for you.
Once installed you will get an email telling the URL for your site and your admin pages. This next bit is important so take notes!
- Create a new user with admin privileges. Give this user a name that is impossible to guess by deduction. e.g. not your company name, personal name or pet name!
- Delete the user called 'Admin'. (this makes it much harder for the bad people to hack your site!)
- Install some plugins - we recommend at minimum -
- Jetpack - Site Management
- Akismet - Spam Filter
- BackupBuddy - Automates Backups
- Wordfence Security - Secures your site against hackers
- Yoast - SEO
- Choose a Theme, download and install it.
There are hundreds of themes available for wordpress, you get two out of the box, but there are specialist themes that add functionality such as e-commerce, bookings, galleries, advanced layout etc. Search Google, take a look at Theme Forest and check back to the planning notes you made to ensure that the theme you choose has the functionality you need.
Some themes simply offer a pre built page template that you can reuse, others such as Divi and our own favourite Semplice are much more sophisticated, offering advanced building blocks to generate custom layouts. The general rule is the more customisable the theme, the more knowledge and skill you will need to get the results you want. With many themes you'll need to understand HTML and CSS at minimum.
A word of warning this bit is technical! WordPress Themes are constantly updated so be aware that if you hack the actual code of the theme, then your changes will be overwritten when you install a new version. The way around this is to create a child theme containing just the modules you have changed. Similar to the hierarchies in CSS, WordPress will look to the child theme first for the correct version of a module to load.
This is where the SEO plugin Yoast earns its keep. I may have mentioned that there is more rubbish talked about SEO than you can shake a stick at. We get the first page of Google for all the searches we are interested in appearing in, the secret is relevant, original, high quality, readable content. Yoast held you choose titles, a primary keyword, meta description and operates a traffic light system that tells you when your content is good to go. You will need pictures - make sure you use the title of the picture file and the ALT tag to reflect the subject/keyword you are writing about.
Once you've built your site, make sure you update the plugins, themes and WordPress itself, when new versions appear. These will be flagged in the admin console, so its easy enough. Backup your site after every update, including new content. That way you can be confident that your site is safe and in case of disaster can be restored easily.
We don't currently offer web site design as a service, however we're happy to help you through the process. And of course we can create exceptional content for you. If you'd like your web site to stay clear of the weeds, why not give us a call? Or contact us via our Contact Page
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