If you are starting your first website, you are of the fortunate many who have the opportunity to start at the top by doing things right the first time around by implementing a new WordPress website.
Here’s what’s going to happen though.
First, you’re going to have the immediate goal of spending the least amount of money to get a website up and running. After all, every sibling, spouse, friend, or colleague will tell you how easy it is to get a website for $0 to $750.
Notice how I phrased that with the spending even before the “up and running” part.
Second, your website will take twice as long to complete as you expected because you really didn’t know what to expect.
Third, your completed website won’t convert visitors to customers as much as you thought it would.
Fourth, you’ll send an email to your web-guy and say, “Why am I not getting any leads or sales through my website?”
If you even get a callback or a reply to your email, the response will not be a pleasant one.
Fifth, the war begins between client and web-guy.
That’s about the time WE get the phone call to rescue the client from the web-guy’s wrath.
This happens over and over and over again. So, don’t worry, you are not alone if you’ve already experienced a falling-out with your web helper.
And, don’t be embarrassed to reach out for help! It’s just good business to find a better solution.
The one advantage of going the cheap route the first time around is that you realize after a bit of pain that working on the web is a real business and you need to approach it with a real budget and a real planning process with a real team.
One thing you can count on though is using WordPress software to power your website.
There are at least 35 reasons to use WordPress for your main company website. For this post, I’d like to focus this post on the 20 most critical steps to consider when starting your new website with WordPress.
1. Describe on paper what important people will be visiting your website
2. Find what your website has to look like to show those people you “know the game” of that industry.
3. Make a list of the content items those people need to see before making a decision to contact you for a quote or buy the product you’re selling.
4. Document 3 problems your product or service reduces or eliminates
5. Find at least 5 competiting websites and analyze them.
6. Identify approprate colors that speak to your targeted visitors
7. Brainstorm a tagline to accompany your logo
8. Choose Linux hosting so that WordPress will run most efficiently.
9. Contract with your designer that you will receive all orginal graphics files.
10. Assure you get all usernames and passwords to keep control of the project.
11. Apply graphics to PHP include files, which will require some PHP skills.
12. Add your primary navigation to the “Menus” area and use text-based navigation when possible.
13. Add a search box for visitors to search pages and blog posts, which is an off-the-shelf feature already included with WordPress.
14. Setup your contact form. Redirect your visitor to a “thank you” page after the form is completed online.
15. Adjust Permalinks to be search engine friendly for every post and page on your site.
16. Install plugins for better performance.
17. Install security plugins to “harden” your WordPress website from hackers.
18. Add HTML and XML sitemap as well as a Google Webmaster account to announce to Google every time you add a page or blog post.
19. Include a robot.txt file.
20. Use the H1 tag only once per page or post.
21. Add RSS subscription icon.
22. Offer an “alarming” giveaway to get visitors to opt-in to your list if they’re not yet ready to buy from you or make contact with you by phone or email.
23. Assure you have setup the correct plugins to make your new WordPress website appear consistent on any mobile device.
24. Test everything.
25. Go live!
In future posts, I will address each step with more details. But this serves as a starting point.
If starting your first website with WordPress sounds like a lot of work, well, it is to do it right! Our team at HereNextYear is standing by to help with your new custom WordPress website…the first time around…without the webmaster wars.