Recently I’ve been given a task to build and develop a website from scratch. When I say from scratch, I meant from nothing, no hosting, no direction on what the website will be, only a concept from the client that needs to build a website with niche toward or something similar to lifestyle blog as soon as possible.
This usually nothing to be surprised but in this case, the client has no clue where to start, he claimed that his previous encounter with a developer that bailed on him when working on his website. When I asked where the website now hosted, he points me to a free blog site, blogger.com, and the previous developer already been paid a few hundred upfronts for setting up the website on blogger.com and getting the URL for him. You can imagine that I’m a bit surprised, also frustrated, and mad toward his previous developer for trying to cheap trick his client. The client said that when he asked for few modifications, the developer right away claimed the website design cannot be customized and tell the client he can choose the ready template from blogger.com, after than no response whatsoever.
Hearing the client-side of the story make me felt sorry for him and wanted to help him as much as possible. Since the client is a personal friend of a previous client, I don’t hesitate to help him to set up a proper website so he/she can start blogging.
This is a long term collaboration that includes building, maintain, and optimize the website for SEO and I’ve chosen WordPress as the website content management system. Here’s 5 important step for building a website using WordPress.
1. Choosing suitable web hosting
Since this is for continued long term work for the client, I will be set up and maintain the website hosting for him using my name and credit card. Reminder: only do this if you have absolute trust in the client or already paid upfront for work, in this case, the client already upfront $500 for starting the work. It’s a two side trust since his friend (my previous client) assured him of my work.
Choosing domain (the client already purchase domain name) and choosing web hosting and setup web hosting already been covered so many times and better details can be found here. However, choosing which hosting plan to purchase is an important factor to consider. In my case, the client’s objective is to build a lifestyle blogging community with advertisement options such as Amazon and Google Ads.
So, choosing a shared hosting is out of the question, dedicated hosting is too much for a new site, maybe when traffic per-day getting around 10,000 hits that we would consider choose to upgrade the hosting. For now, we choose the “Managed VPS hosting” as the suitable hosting plan for us. Techradar compiled a list of best manage VPS hosting for 2020.
2. Choosing suitable content management system (CMS)
Without a doubt WordPress is the most popular CMS today, it is easy to set up and manage posting schedule. There’s an alternate option on CMS, Magento but the client did not or not going to run any eCommerce type content on his website so this is not necessary since Magento is purposely built for eCommerce type content.
Allowing the client to test out WordPress posting, drafting and scheduling in my test server and he likes how easy it was, no need to be a rocket scientist to post a simple content, drafting been a useful feature he said and he usually does content draft in Google docs and now prefer WordPress drafting process.
Read also: Top 5 PHP CMS in 2020
3. Choosing suitable theme for website
WordPress offers a wide selection of free themes in their themes directory. You could choose from magazine-style, classic two columns, and three columns if needed more space for content, they even got a custom grid style themes that suitable for product presentation or portfolio. If you’re looking for more “premium” features on the theme but don’t want to spend a dime, you can download free WordPress themes outside of their directory, there are one or two trustworthy theme download sites such as:
But wait. What do I mean by “premium” features? I meant without editing the theme template, you can change the website font and color style, and even have built-in theme goodies such as schema markup for SEO, properly coded HTML tag, or maybe pass the W3C check, among others. These are a few of the features that mostly available only on paid premium themes. Ok. Back to the list:
Having 56 million premium themes sold, this achievement makes Themeforest a household name whenever “premium WordPress themes” mention. It’s not surprising they also want to contribute to the WordPress community with their pack of free WordPress themes available on their site.
With its long history of providing free WordPress themes, active since 2004. MagPress is definitely one of the must-visit websites for free themes download. Their “Full features, no lock, try free, if like, consider getting a developer version” way of business is a great opportunity for users to try their themes full features, without any locking features which I’ve seen in many “freemium” type WordPress theme download.
Most of their themes come with full options on font and color styles such as Combomag. You can easily change your website fonts and layout color within theme options or customizers. One downside on their theme collection is some are encoded with protection on author/contributor link and sometimes web hosting server return PHP error on the theme activation, rare case though unless you’re on free hosting or cheap unmanaged shared hosting.
However you could choose to remove the encoded link by purchasing their developer or paid version, pricing around $37, but I was told that you can get a discount if you subscribe to their Facebook fan page.
4. Choosing appropriate plugins for website
Similar concept as building your pc, you need extra hardware upgrade to make it run faster and smoother. In this case, it’s for your WordPress website. However, you’ll need to choose carefully on which and how many plugin to install so it won’t bloated and slow down your website. According to the WordPress community, installing plugins could reduce 10-30% of website speed depending on what plugins you installed. Here are a few WordPress plugins that will benefit your WordPress website.
- Yoast SEO – for website content SEO
- Akismet Anti-Spam – prevent spams in comments
- Contact Form 7 – easy to setup contact form
- Google XML Sitemap – one-click setup sitemap
- UpdraftPlus – easy backup and restore
- WP-Optimize – clean, compress, cache all in one
- All in One SEO Pack – alternative to Yoast SEO, easier setup
- Google Analytics for WordPress – for website analystic
- WP Super Cache – WordPress website caching
- Format Media Titles – best for automatic images SEO
- WordPress Share Buttons Plugin – AddThis
5. Choose to install SSL or not?
When you visit a website, you’ll notice there’s a difference between the site having SSL installed or not. It had different Hypertext Transfer Protocol, the installed one has https and the not installed have http only, without the “s”. But what is SSL? It stands for Secure Sockets Layer, an encryption protocol that prevents website intersection data been stolen. Basically it shows your visitors that your website is secure and protected. But do you really need it? One of the reasons for the rising adaptation of SSL on the website is because according to Search Engine Land, Google confirmed it’s one of the ranking factors in their search engine. Many website owners, link builders, affiliate website owner don’t want to misses the opportunity of this “gold rush” for ranking.
One thing for sure if you’re running a user-based eCommerce website, then installing SSL on your website is recommended but for a normal blogger running a personal website that does not have any user data exchange then not really, however with the vast offering of Free SSL certificate, applying this secure method on your website had become a new norm for a website owner.
Images credit: istockphoto.com