Part 4 – WordPress Setup. My Favourite Plugins and a Few Hints and Tips

This is part 4 in a series of detailed articles about setting up a brand new domain on Australian hosting provider Zuver.  See here for an overview of the whole series.

If you’ve worked through the previous articles then you should now have a basic WordPress site installed on your own domain. Congratulations! But now what?  How do I configure this WordPress Thing?

Well there are hundreds of guides and tutorials online on how to get started with WordPress. So instead of adding to the vast number of howto’s out there I thought that I would jot down my simple tips on what plugins, themes and other things that you should consider when building a WordPress based site.

Web site layout

I highly recommend looking at a single page website for your business. They are really simple to create and maintain and make it easy for your customers to find the information they need.

The bare basics you should include are:

  • What does your business do?
  • Where do you operate? Are you local, national, global?
  • How can your customers contact you?

These are the questions the majority of your customers will be coming to your website to answer. A single page website provides this in an easy to read

Of course, if you plan on having an online store, catalogue or a blog then you will not be putting this all on a single page. But you should still look at including the above on your home page.

Responsive Design

This is a fancy word to say that the webpage will look good no matter how you access it.

There days many people are accessing the internet on mobile devices and tables, rather than computers with big screens. Responsive design takes this into account and will display your page in a way that is suitable for the screen size you are accessing from. For example the menu may be collapsed down into a single button on a mobile phone, rather than taking up half the screen!

My recommended theme (below) is responsive and takes care of this for you. Of course you should always test what it looks like on different devices.

Plugins and Themes

There are thousands of themes and plugins available for WordPress. I have tried a few over the years and these are the ones that I have found most useful.

If you need help on how to install these then check out these guides on the amazing wpbegginer site.

My favourite theme

The vantage theme is made by SiteOrigin. This theme recommends installing a number of other SiteOrigin plugins, which I also highly recommend you also install. Together they make a really flexible platform that will allow you to build almost any website layout that you can imagine.

Check out the user guide over at their website for more information on how to use the theme and plugins.

Blog Spam

If you are running a blog section and have comments enabled then you will need some form of spam protection. I’ve been using Antispam Bee for years and it really cuts down the amount of blog spam I have to deal with.

Analytics

Analytics of a website allows you to track how many people are coming to your site, what country they’re from. How long they spend on your site, etc. If you are running a website and don’t have a google analytics account then you should go get it setup now.

There are many plugins that make adding the analytics code to your website simple. The one I am using at the moment is Google Analytics by MonsterInsights.

Contact Us Form

Every one expects some way of being able to send a message to you from your website. I do not recommend publishing your email address on your website. This is because spammers will scan the website and be able to find your email address and add you to their spam mailing lists thus increasing the amount of spam you will have to deal with.

To get around this I recommend using a contact us form that allows your visitors to type their message in and send it. The best plugin for this is Ninja Forms.

Backing it all up

As I’ve outlined previously Backups are critical! The plugin I use to take a daily backup is UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore. I have it setup to daily backup my page to my google drive.

 

So that wraps up the series.  I hope that by following this guide you have been able to get your own website setup without having to spend $1000’s!

 

Posted in Open Source.

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