So, you’ve just launched your new WordPress powered website. You carefully chose a theme, added some cool plugins and content. Great job! But, are you forgetting anything? Sometimes we’re in such a hurry to get things up and running that we forget some small (but nonetheless important) details.
Here are 5 things you’ll want to make sure are taken care of:
1. Dig into the Settings Menu
The Settings menu inside the WordPress Dashboard has some of these aforementioned details that are often overlooked.
Settings > General
Make sure that the Site Title and Tagline fields are properly filled out. Nothing looks more unprofessional than the old "Just Another WordPress Site" appearing in the browser’s title bar (or worse yet, search engine results).
Also make sure that you have set the correct Timezone and Date/Time formats. You wouldn’t want the wrong dates or times showing up in your blog post, right?
Settings > Discussion
Many sites these days aren’t using the WordPress comment capabilities. Give this page a visit and make sure the settings reflect your preferences.
Settings > Permalinks
Ensure that your new site is using a nice, SEO-friendly permalink structure. Pretty much any setting outside of the default should do just fine.
2. Don’t Forget the SEO
There are plenty of SEO plugins available for WordPress. Make sure to take advantage of one! While your theme may have come with some rudimentary SEO tool, optimizing individual pages and posts will allow you to boost your rankings.
If your site has any particular content that you don’t want indexed, SEO plugins can help with that as well.
While you’re at it, you’ll definitely want to sign your site up for both Google Analytics and . These tools are essential for tracking how well you’re doing with SEO along with any marketing efforts you have made for your site.
If you’re new to WordPress and SEO, you might like to have a look at these six on-site SEO strategies for WordPress users.
3. Have an Emergency Plan
No matter how unlikely it seems, your site could be lost at any moment. The combination of a server crash and a web host’s corrupt backup file could mean starting from scratch again.
That’s why you need to have an emergency plan in place. Be proactive:
Regularly Back Up Your Site, Especially the Database
There are lots of great plugins out there that will help you back up your database. Some will even email pre-scheduled backups to you or a 3rd party cloud storage service. Don’t just rely on your web host to take care of this. Having the ability to restore your site’s database in the event of a crash is priceless.
Keep a Local Copy of Important Files
If you have FTP access to your website, take advantage and download all of your WordPress-related files. The
/wp-content/ folder is especially important. This contains your theme, plugins, uploaded media and other vital data.
If you would like to delve deeper and learn more, I’ve published a post that takes you through the simple steps of backing-up your WordPress site.
4. Stay Secure
The folks who work on the WordPress core do a great job of patching security holes rather quickly. These days, the software will even update itself when a new fix is released. But that doesn’t mean we can ignore security altogether.
There are some great security-related plugins out there that can make your WordPress site harder to hack. Especially look for plugins that will "lock out" a user after a number of failed login attempts. That can slow down bots who attempt brute-force attacks on your site. The sad thing is that those attacks will happen. It’s only a matter of time. The good news is that you can help protect your site from them.
And, don’t forget, the more complicated password/passphrase you use – the better!
5. Use a Child Theme
This is one tip that may sound like it’s for really advanced WordPress users. To some degree, it is. But it’s something I’ve seen a lot of site owners overlook (mostly because they’re unaware of it).
A child theme is a separate folder within your
/wp-content/themes/ directory. Think of it as a sort-of extension of the "parent" theme your site is using. You can use a child theme to customize the look or functionality of your site.
Saijo has written an indepth post on what child themes are and why you should be using them. You can read it here: How to Future Proof Your WordPress Site With Child Themes.
So what’s the benefit of having a child theme? Oftentimes, theme developers will release updates (much like plugins are updated). The child theme ensures that you won’t lose any customizations made to your theme when these updates are made.
Imagine having made some updates to a theme file or stylesheet, only to see them disappear after you click that Update button. This is another way to protect yourself from an unwelcome situation.
Depending upon your experience level, a child theme can be pretty easy to setup. If you hired a web designer/developer to create your site, ask them if you should be using one.
Launching your new site is a very exciting and even tense time. You want to make sure the site looks and functions perfectly. Taking the time to focus on the details can make a huge difference.
I’ve also published a post about WordPress Maintenance that covers some small, yet very important, things you should get into the habit of doing while running a WordPress-powered site.
Featured Image: Design and Development by Vasabii.