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The ultimate checklist for building a WordPress website 2019

I've recently been pushing a ton of content out on social media and have been trying to make a plan how to consistently post day in day out with useful info for people building or maintaining a WordPress website. As many of you will know we run a website agency but also give away a ton of what we do to help those that want to do it themselves or can't afford to have their site for them. I hope that this helps people out and if you have any things that you think should be added or think there are better ways than we have listed please get in touch and let us know or drop us a message on our social media below.

I have split this up into the following sections to try to make it easier. The plan at some point is to add in a Google Doc so you have a downloadable checklist you can keep and use also. I will post the link to that here when complete.

I have posted this with the first section completed but please check back as all other headings will be completed and this will be added too as we build and change our processes. We also aim to add videos for each of this process on our YouTube channel but please expect this to take a good few months. If there is something you want to see as a priority and depending on how many requests we get we will put it to the top of the list, Just let us know.

One last thing please remember this is always a work in progress and at times I may update the page without full finishing a section purely because of time I have spare to put into this.

Hosting and accounts checklist

Buying a domain name

We use 123-reg.co.uk to buy our domain names and if I'm honest it's for no other reason than that's who I started buying them with and have never changed. There are plenty of alternatives and I have listed a few below to get you started. Please note that I have not used any of these other companies so please do your research before using them. Anyone who would like to add a recommendation please drop us a message and we will add it in with a link to your website.

123-reg

Names

GoDaddy

Fasthosts

Think there is a better alternative to 123-reg? please drop us a message and let us know

Choosing a web host

There are 3 different web hosts we have used and still do use.

Siteground

We use Siteground for lower traffic sites. There shared hosting is good value for smaller businesses without the need for a dedicated server.

WP Engine

We use WP Engine for our higher traffic sites, they have a range of features that help with things such as traffic spikes and a customer service that incredibly good.

Flywheel

We love Flywheel, a really good in-between hosted with the added advantage of a local software enabling you to build your website on your local machine and push it straight to your live hosting. Probably our favourite host out of the bunch and we are looking to move most of our sites here along with using them for any new clients.

Cloudflare

We use Cloudflare for all our clients, check out our reasons why below!

Why use Cloudflare

The primary reason we use Cloudflare is purely down to ease of setup of new client sites. We move them over to here early in the process which then enables us to change DNS entries quickly and efficiently.

Other features included (in the free plan)

  • DDOS attack protection
  • Global CDN
  • Shared SSL certificate
  • COntent caching

There is also a ton of other features on both the paid and free plans which you can see here.

Setting up Cloudflare

Setting up Cloudflare is very simple, you can find the setup guide below, Video coming from us soon! if you need it sooner just let us know

Visit setup guide

Setting up WordPress

Downloading WordPress

You can download the WordPress file from here

Setting up using local by Flywheel

A great way of developing your website. More details can be found here on the Flywheel website. Please be aware that you don't need to use Flywheel hosting to get the benefit of using their local development software.

Setting up on Siteground

 

Setting up on WP Engine

Setting up on Flywheel

Downloading Filezilla to access your FTP

Pre-build checklist

  • Which directory to install too
  • Changing your WordPress database prefix
  • Setting up your username and password
    • How to set up your username and password
    • Choosing a secure password
  • Create a coming soon page
  • Update the title and subtitle of your website
  • Checking the WordPress default date and time
  • Check media settings
  • Setup Blog default category
  • Delete your sample WordPress config file
  • Setting up permalinks
  • Remove default WordPress content

Development checklist

  • Build a sitemap
  • Add blog categories
  • Add blog tags
  • Build menu
  • Install plugins
    • Our recommended plugin list (all this included in this guide)
    • Yoast
    • WPMU dev dashboard
      • Hummingbird (LINK)
      • WP Smush Pro
      • Analytify
      • Ninjaforms
        • MailChimp Ninja Forms Addon
      • Updraft Plus
      • DUPLICATE PLUGIN NAME HERE AND LINK
      • CLOSE COMMENTS PLUGIN NAME HERE
  • Social media
    • Create social media accounts
      • Facebook
      • Instagram
      • Twitter
      • LinkedIn
      • Pinterest
  • Close all comments
  • Create a 404 page
  • Favicon
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Upload your logo

Speed optimisation

  • Check load speed
    • Run GTMetrix
  • Enable caching
    • Hummingbird
    • Hummingbird paid for
  • Optimise images
    • Smush
    • Smush Pro
  • Using a CDN

Content checklist

  • Remove dummy content
  • Creating a sitemap design
  • Mapping out content
  • Writing content

Analytics and tracking checklist

  • Google Analytics
    • What is Google Analytics
    • Setting up a Google Analytics account
    • Plugin Google Analytics to your website
      • Setting up Analytify
    • Exclude your IP
  • Hotjar
    • What is Hotjar?
    • Setting up Hotjar on your WordPress website
    • Exclude your IP

Watch our full video guide to setting up Hotjar on WordPress

  • Google Tag Manager
    • What is Google Tag Manager?
    • Setting up Google Tag Manager in WordPress
  • Facebook Pixel
    • What is Facebook Pixel
    • Setting up Facebook Pixel on your WordPress site
    • Exclude your IP
  • Google Adwords tracking
    • Adwords tracking
    • Exclude your IP

Seo checklist

  • Label and tag images
  • Check and manage redirects
    • Ensure if your rebuilding your website you redirect any URLs that no longer exist
  • Make sure your website can be crawled
  • Install Yoast
    • LOOK FOR YOAST GUIDE AND PUT IN HERE
  • Image alt tags
  • Check robots.txt
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Google Search Console
  • Check for duplicate content
  • Schema creator - (Schema Creator Plugin.)
  • LINK TO THIS - On-Page SEO Guide by Brian Dean from Backlinko.com
  • Social sharing icons

Pre-launch checklist

  • Update admin email address
  • Run browser testing
  • Check site is enabled to crawl
  • Disable holding page
  • Test for mobile responsiveness
  • Check load speed
  • Compress images
  • Check for the latest plugin and WordPress updates
  • Check all links
    • Broken link checker
    • Remove broken link checker

Security checklist

  • Prevent directory access
  • Delete unneeded WordPress files
    • /wp-admin/upgrade.php
    • /wp-admin/install.php
  • Limit login attempts
  • Disallow file edit in the admin area
    • Open your wp-config.php file and add the following code
    • define( 'DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT', true);

  • Hide your WordPress version
    • Open your functions.php and add the following code

function remove_version() {

return '';

add_filter('the_generator', 'remove_version');

  • Hide login error messages
    • By hiding login error messages you can decrease the risk of giving hackers information that may help them penetrate your site, simply add the code below to your functions.php to stop your website showing any messages.

function wrong_login() {

  return 'Wrong username or password.';

}

add_filter('login_errors', 'wrong_login');

 

Setting up WordPress backups

updraft plus

BackUpWordPress(Free) |

Updraft

WordPress Backup to Dropbox (Free).

 

Monthly maintenance checklist

  • Keeping your database clean
    • The first thing to do before doing any database maintenance is to back up our database, this is the most important step of the process
    • Deleting old revisions
    • Clear out trashed posts
    • Clear out deleted comments
  • Updating plugins
  • Updating WordPress
  • Test your contact forms
  • Check for broken links
  • Check our backups
  • Check Google Analytics
    • Analytify
  • Change your admin passwords
  • (LOOK AT WP SECURITY SCAN)

(BONUS) List of useful WordPress functions to add to functions.php

Here we have compiled a list of useful functions you can add to your functions.php to achieve various things that will improve your website. We will continue to add to this list and create an easy to use index.

(BONUS) List of useful WordPress functions to add to wp-config.php

Here we have compiled a list of useful functions you can add to your wp-config.php to achieve various things that will improve your website. We will continue to add to this list and create an easy to use index.

Disable debug mode

define('WP_DEBUG', false);

Control post revisions

//### Limit the number of revisions saved
define('WP_POST_REVISIONS', 3);

//### This completely disables post revisions
define('WP_POST_REVISIONS', false);

Disable WordPress Updates (Only use this if you really know what your doing!)

//### This completely disables automatic WordPress updates
define( 'AUTOMATIC_UPDATER_DISABLED', true );

//### This completely disables ALL core updates
define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', true );

Increase the memory limit

//### Set the memory limit to either 64, 96 or 128M, substitute the '64MB' with 96 or 128 to change the memory limit
define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '64M');

Automatically empty the trash every X days

//### Empty the trash every 7 days (change the 7 to change the amount of days)
define('EMPTY_TRASH_DAYS', 7);

//### Disable the trash completely
define('EMPTY_TRASH_DAYS', 0);

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