Important Steps You Can’t Miss When Creating a Website for Your Business – Expert Roundup
Creating a website for your business is essential for your branding, reaching the new clients and customers or boosting your sales. Website’s design, features, and speed are the first things that cross our mind when we think about starting a website. But, things aren’t that simple. Besides the right hosting service, the best coding practices and installing the professional plugins, your website needs a wide set of functionalities to provide visitors with great user experience. In this article, WordPress experts shared the tricks they use to keep their websites fresh, secure and user-friendly. From installing the limited number of plugins, choosing the right hosting service and optimizing the platform for better search results, to selecting the right WordPress theme, this article covers it all.
Shayne Sherman, CEO of TechLoris
Don’t Go Plugin Crazy
People will pull up the WordPress Plugin Directory and start acting like a bored teenager with a phone, downloading every app they see. Remember that the more plugins you have, the more bits of code your site has to go through to run and the more that you have to update. Which brings us to…
Don’t Forget to Update Your Plugins
And not just the critical ones. If the developer takes the time to push an update, it’s because they found a problem or made something more efficient. Same goes for themes and especially WordPress itself. Just remember that when you install those plugins.
Use a Development Site
Don’t just install plugins on your live site. While these plugins have been vetted, any customizations that you may have done or some particular implementation may conflict with the new update and bring the whole site down. Much better for this to happen in a development environment that you can then promote to your live site.
Some of these may seem simple but, if you don’t think about them, they can make your time with WordPress hassle.
Ulysis Cababan, Content Strategist at RapidVisa
People often miss the point of putting too much plugin on a website, that as if though I can compare it to a patient with several IV fluids hanging above. The website owner should know that one of the main reasons why WordPress is better than other CMS is the fact it only has several plugins available and few of them are free. But I think most website owners miss the point that plugins work as a double edge sword – they can benefit the website but also sometimes affect it in some other ways.
The best advice is if you have an in-house web developer better create your own custom plugin. I highly suggest that if you can’t avoid using them, just limit it to a max of four.
Gregory Golinski, Head of Digital Marketing at YourParkingSpace
People creating WordPress website often stick with WordPress’ default login/signup forms. They work fine, but they don’t look very professional. You should present your visitors with custom forms that include your company logo. If you don’t, your website will look amateurish. You should download a WordPress plugin that helps you set up custom forms for your website. I recommend the Paid Member Subscriptions plugin, but there are many more.
You should also prevent members from accessing your WordPress site’s dashboard when they log in because again, this makes your website look amateurish. I recommend the Remove Dashboard Access plugin.
At the end of the day, if you want to be taken seriously, you should disable anything that could remind your visitors that you created a website in WordPress.
Gabriel Shaoolian, Founder and Executive Director of DesignRush
Perhaps the most important WordPress website design step that businesses too-often forget is installing the Yoast SEO plugin immediately upon building their site. Yoast plugin will automatically help organizations who use WordPress, optimize their platform for both technical and content-related search engine optimization. Some items that the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin can assist with include:
- Optimized meta descriptions, titles, alt images tags, etc.
- Content readability scores
- Optimizing images
- And more!
William Chin, SEO consultant for Pickfu
For WordPress builds, one of the most important steps I have seen missed (from agencies, developers and marketers alike) – is the attention to detail when it comes to SEO. Three major things are usually missed.
Whether you’re rebuilding a new site in WordPress, or building one from scratch WordPress’ permalink structure allows easy-to-use customization of permalinks and URL slugs. However, if you’re not careful you can end up breaking your URL structure and causing a variety of 5XX & 4XX errors. Your solution is to ensure that you have an organized hierarchy of your content and stick to it.
Plugins are wonderful bundles of code that when used correctly can allow non-technical users to do extraordinary things to their site. However, some admin users can get carried away when adding plugins and they end up adding plugins for one or two functionalities only. This can cause your site to load a tremendous amount of resources, which will slow down your page speed and hurt your user experience. Therefore, try to limit the amount of plugins to ensure your site loads fast.
Straight out of the box, sometimes customized themes score in the bottom 20th percentile with Google page speed insights. Therefore, consider a customized theme for your needs – so that you can add feature sets as deem appropriate.
Avinash Chandra, CEO at BrandLoom
When building a WordPress site, people often make the mistake of not choosing the right web host. People often buy the wrong web host, which results in poor loading speed. The other common mistake is selecting the wrong theme. If your WP theme is not well-adjusted or balanced, it will have security issues. Watch out for loopholes in coding, because poorly coded plugins can crash your website. Another common mistake people make is not setting up a backup for their website content. If you avoid these mistakes while making a WP website, it will take care of a lot of issues on the front end, and will give you a faster website.
Brandon Ackroyd, Founder of Tiger Mobiles
There are a lot of common mistakes when building a WordPress site, but the main one I’ve made before is:
Overlooking a Backup Solution
Most developers or marketers are goal orientated, and the goal is to build the site and get it live. As a result, you can easily forget about putting a backup solution in place as you don’t tend to think about potential data loss in advance.
However, the last thing you want is to wake up one day and see that your new site has been compromised with malware or the hosting company’s server has died and lost your data. If you don’t have backups in place, then your only option is to start from scratch again, which is a costly problem.
On one of my websites, I completely forgot about a backup solution as I was used to the hosting company taking care of it for me, but on a VPS, it was my responsibility. Fortunately, I didn’t have to learn the hard way, but a month after putting in place a daily backup we needed to restore from a backup after a WordPress database table was corrupted, so I was lucky.
My top tip is to backup to a cloud service and download a copy locally rather than saving them on the same server your website is located. A single point of failure is not a good idea when it comes to backups.
Hiren Modi Project Manager at E2M
Missing to Put the Website in Maintenance Mode
New developers often miss changing the website to ‘maintenance mode’ while building the website, making changes, and adding new features. Missing to change the mode will make an unfinished website vulnerable to public access. It can be easily crawled and indexed by search engines even before the website is ready. It also allows competitors to steal your ideas.
Missing to Remove the Demo Content on WordPress Site / Change the Default Settings
Here’s another step that most of the developers forget. Removing the default content is an important step in building a WordPress website. The default contents added while installing WordPress is easily read by search engines when they crawl. Contents that are not optimized for your own site, will be considered as low-quality pages due to duplicate content.
Forgetting to Set up Automated Backups
It’s fairly simple step but yet most often easily overlooked. If you care about data security, you shouldn’t miss this step.
Missing to add WordPress plugins for data backup can lead to data loss. Forgetting it can also lead businesses to miss a few dollars. Automated backup of your WordPress site is a powerful defense against internet thefts, hacking attempts, and other unexpected online disasters.
Ignoring Updates for WordPress, Themes, and Plugins
People often miss looking for updates and new version to keep the site up-to-date. Building a website is an ongoing process. It doesn’t end after going ‘live’.
Developers send security patches, updates to fix bugs, and new features for WordPress themes and plugins. Add this step in your website building process and protect your site from security breaches by installing updates regularly.
Armen Saghatelian, VP & Co-founder of 10Web.io
Here are a few important things you should take under consideration before building any website:
Choosing Cheap Hosting
Firstly, the cheapest hosting plans are only cheap for the first year. They renew for a higher price that’s only mentioned in the slimmest print. Secondly, cheap hosting is always shared. It means, the servers are shared between multiple websites, and one’s traffic and security issues can easily affect the others. The best choice is managed hosting with one of the clouds. It’s a bit more expensive, but guarantees higher uptime, speed, and security for the hosted websites.
Not Thinking About SEO
It’s a common mistake among website owners to build a website, then start optimizing it over time. In such cases, a lot of incompatibility issues can happen because the website’s core structure must be optimized in the first place. Only then it’s time to start optimizing content and reaching out to other websites for link building.
Using Untrustworthy Plugins
WordPress is an open-source platform where anyone can create and add new plugins. When adding new plugins, you should make sure it won’t harm your website’s security, speed, and SEO.
Plugins can create “backdoors” on your website (mostly because of non-secure code, not intentionally). This is how some hackers access data from multiple websites.
Before installing a plugin, check the number of active users (the bigger the better), latest updates, reviews, and the company’s reputation.
Not Backing Up
The Internet can be unpredictable. Your website can get hacked, hour web host can go down, even an employee can destroy your website, intentionally or not.
That’s why you always need a backup of all your files and data. Look for a differential backup option: it requires minimal disk space. And store the backup in multiple locations.
Andrei Vasilescu, CEO and Digital Marketing Specialist at DontPayFull
We all make different mistakes when creating a WordPress website. Here a few important mistakes to avoid before they happen.
Paying for Unnecessary Things
People often spend some extra cash for unnecessary things while paying for the domain name from the web hosting service. Domain service providers always try to upsell the buyer on so many additional services such as extra email accounts, added security, enhanced privacy, etc. You can save money for these things which you don’t need.
Not Having Proper Backup
You might’ve ignored to have proper back up for your website. You’re in the risk of losing all your data if the server gets crashed or worse, if your site is breached by a hacker. This can easily happen if you don’t set up a proper data backup system for your website. Always use cloud storage for back up.
Avoiding Regular Updates
You must’ve noticed the update notification appears frequently on your WordPress dashboard and you usually ignore it. Updates are provided to keep the plugins, themes and your WordPress version up to date. If you don’t install the regular updates for the latest and more advanced features, your website will not defend the latest cyber threats.
Using the Wrong Themes
There are thousands of website themes available in WordPress and people often try to use the most attractive theme for their own website. Your chosen attractive theme with so many advanced features is not compatible with mobile browsers or the heavy theme is sucking out most of your site speed? Choose your WordPress theme wisely.
Not Tracking Site Performance
Often people forget to monitor the performance of websites and sites fail to produce required results. So, regularly track the overall performance of the site to keep your WordPress website perfectly working.
Michael Kummer, the owner of Michael Kummer’s Blog
One of the most important steps people miss when setting up a WordPress site is utilizing a custom permalink structure. WordPress’ default setting includes the date of publication in the permalink, which has a number of negative consequences for SEO. Almost all WordPress users should change their permalink structure to include either the post category and slug or just the slug. Also, it’s worth noting that the slug should be a readable, plain-language phrase like /wordpress-permalink-tips.
Mac Whitney, Lead Developer at Page 1 Solutions
Most WordPress websites I see don’t have one issue the developers consistently miss. Rather, it’s a complex of issues that can lead to bigger problems down the road, especially on mobile:
- They use a pre-built theme that is not built mobile-first or even mobile-friendly. Large, unoptimized images look appealing on desktop but cause loading issues on mobile.
- They rely on entirely too many plugins to provide basic functionality to the site.
- This increases the required maintenance, potential for security breaches and there are more chances for script conflicts.
- Incorrectly configuring the contact forms, which results in missed opportunities.
- Failing to structure the site in a way that is SEO friendly. Multiple SEO plugins are used and meta and schema are tossed into multiple locations.
- Failing to build the site in a way that allows a user to easily edit content. Simple page text ends up hardcoded in PHP templates and requires a developer to edit.
- The existing 301 redirects are ignored and not transferred to the new site.
- Choosing the right plugin to house the redirects is also crucial.
- They leave comments open, unintentionally resulting in spam.
Joe Flanagan, Business App Developer at GetSongbpm
WordPress has made setting up a website easier than ever before, but there are some things that people often overlook. When it comes to building a website, many overlook the fact that not all WordPress themes are completely mobile friendly – and with Google prioritizing mobile-first websites, this is essential.
Permalinks is another step that a lot of people tend to forget, yet by simply making a quick change to permalink structures, you get a significant boost in your on-page SEO.
A lot of people also jump into this entire process without a plan – and that could end in a disaster. Always do some planning – at least set up a wireframe for the site and a sitemap before you install WordPress.
Bottom Line: While WordPress is easy-to-use, overlooking the on-page SEO factors and the mobile-friendliness of a website can lead to lower search engine rankings.
Oliver Berger, CMO at Gorilla Stack
When creating a WordPress site, it’s vitally important that whoever sets it up changes the login URL to something new from site.com/wp-login or site.com/wp-admin.
If your login page is something obvious (such as these defaults) then hackers know where to target to try to get into your admin panel. You should also block the login pages from being crawled by robots by placing
<meta name="robots" content="noindex"> in the header as an extra precaution.
You can change the URLs manually via FTP but it will often change back when you update the theme.
Alternatively, there are a number of plugins available such as WPS Hide Login that can manage the process for you.
Abhijith VM, Team Lead – Digital Marketing at ClaySys Technologies
I’m sure you would have received a lot of pitch with the most common issues seen during WordPress development. Here is something I have encountered while optimizing WP sites.
One important UI factor that’s overlooked in custom-built websites is the archives templates page.
Usually, when a WP site is built from scratch, developers simply build the necessary template files only such as the page template, blog template and template file for any other custom page.
It is very easy to forget that there are template files required to render archive pages.
Since archive files like the author, category, tags, custom taxonomies, etc. are not linked from anywhere in the site and most of the cases are accessible when someone enters the URL directly in the browser, users are greeted with a broken, not well-designed page that’s generated from the default template.
This gets worse if the SEO team forgets to no index those archives. If those pages are indexed, it’s bad for both SEO and UX.
Jayakrishnan, Head of Digital Marketing at Livprop
Not Upgrading WordPress
As per the latest study, the majority of WordPress websites are vulnerable to hackers because they haven’t updated to the latest WordPress 3.6.1.
Forgetting to Install Security Plug-In
Not Utilizing 302 Re-Directs to Prevent Inflated Google Index
By default, the WordPress meta keywords will create its own separate landing pages. Typically, Google sees these as thin page content. You need to 302 redirect these pages to the main information pages through the redirect plugin.
Not Considering About CMS Speed
You need to check your website speed for each WordPress theme and plugin update utilizing GTmetrix. By checking the different configuration, you can reach the optimal set-up for optimal WordPress performance while having the necessary functionality.
Not Installing Amp for WordPress Plugin
The WordPress AMP plugin is not just applicable to news publications. It could be leveraged by any information providers or blogging networks. By installing AMP for WordPress you’ll be able to get your articles featured in Google news.
Not Utilizing Category Sections
You can easily categorize the content and create relevant content hubs by creating categories within WordPress. This will also help you create SEO juice that’ll help you rank for the main money keywords in your category.
With the right search engine optimization strategy, good selection of plugins / features and reliable web host, you’re one step closer to a website of your dreams. Use the limited number of plugins, optimize your platform for both technical and content-related search engine optimization and backup from time to time. We hope these tips for creating a website for your business were helpful. Good luck with your new website!