4 Musts Before Building Your WordPress Website

When it’s time to build a WordPress website for your company, there are many things to plan for and consider. Here are four key items to keep in mind …

1) Know Your Rounds of Revision

It’s important to know what your website developer’s policy is regarding rounds of revisions. The key reason there is a limit is to save both you and your developer time and money. By knowing the overall look and feel the site should take, the navigation/flow of the site, and the written content prior to the site build, everyone is happier through the process!

For example, when building a new site at Juice, we provide our clients with a style tile early on in the process. This showcases an overview of the colors, graphics and fonts we’d like to use for the new website. Once the style tile is approved, we move on to developing all the graphics for the site and doing the full site build. We allow for multiple rounds of revisions during the style tile process since we want to get that accurate before devoting time to the full site structure.

After the style tile is approved and we’ve built the site, we show the new site to our client for their review. If small changes to graphics and/or wording are needed, we take care of those. But if major changes are requested that deviate from the style tile that was approved, then there are costs associated with that. Make sure your website developer has a process/flow that he/she can explain to you … one that you get in writing.

2) Select a WordPress Theme

All WordPress themes are not created equal. Theme developers have different skill levels, and on the surface, a theme may look great, but the code it was built upon may not be so great. Here are some steps to take when it’s time to select a theme.

  1. Do a search for themes on a platform such as themeforest.net.
  2. See how many downloads have been made of the theme (the more, the better).
  3. Check out the rating the theme has received.
  4. Look for the date of the developer’s last revision to the theme (this lets you know they are keeping the theme up to date).
  5. Make sure it’s responsive (nowadays, it definitely should be).
  6. Then review the demo to make sure it will take care of all the functionality you’d like.

At Juice, we have tried-and-tested themes we rely upon so our clients can feel confident in working with us to build their sites.

3) Choose Your Host Provider

You are “renting” space on the Internet via hosting, and basically, this is where your site lives. There are many types of hosting, but the type we highly recommend is managed hosting. A host provider that offers managed hosting should do the following for you:

  • Ping your site regularly to confirm your site is live
  • Back up your site on a regular basis
  • Keep your theme up to date
  • Keep your plugins up to date
  • Most importantly, keep you on the most recent version of WordPress

Many other services are included, but the above are those I consider the most critical.

Keeping your theme, plugins, and WordPress version current are all important to help safeguard your site against hackers. If you feel comfortable monitoring and updating these on your own, you can do that; but I prefer deferring these to a managed host provider, especially when you’re dealing with a major WordPress update since a good provider will back up your site before doing the update just in case. Our trusted resource for managed hosting is Ataraxia Web.

4) Select the Keeper of Ongoing Maintenance

When your new website is built, you’ll want to consider who will take care of wording changes on your site and other simple edits. At Juice, we provide video tutorials for our clients who are interested in taking on this responsibility. We also provide the maintenance for our clients who would like to send us an email with their changes and have us take it from there.

Is That It?

There’s more to consider, of course, such as:

  • Domain/URL decision
  • Plugins
  • Contact forms
  • Email
  • And more

When it’s time to build your website, take the time to think through these items in advance so you have a smooth experience during the build and after your site goes live. Our team at Juice would be happy to help, of course!