Setting up a website is relatively straightforward. We’ve created this helpful website checklist so you can ensure you’ve considered all the items you may need in running your site. The online industry undergoes regular technical advances, changes and discontinuances and it is a good idea to stay informed and up-to-date with developments. For example, did you know that as of January 2017, purchasing an SSL certificate for your website is no longer considered optional? You can read more about SSL certificates below.
We’ve started off this article with the standard items you’ll need to have in place to run a business website and then further down the page, you’ll find more information applicable to running a WordPress website, in particular.
Overview of items needed to run a website:
Here’s a refresher for all of the standard items with which you will need to familiarize yourself in order to run your business website.
You probably already know what this is! Your domain name is what people type into their web browser to find you – your online home so to speak. This could be your name, your business name or keywords that describe your services or products. You can register a main domain name (either a .ca or a .com) and then register additional names with various extensions (formally called TDLs) that can redirect to your main domain. Additionally, you can set up sub-sites under subdomains (eg. https://websites.fun4business.ca – not a working subdomain).
The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is the official Canadian registrar. Find out more about CIRA on its website here. In order to register a .ca domain name, you must have a Canadian connection – check out the CIRA registrant requirements here.
Web hosting is purchased through a company that provides email and website servers, along with databases, that enable your website to be view-able on the Internet. You can purchase plans with monthly or yearly packages. Generally, your hosting for a website should be on a Linux platform, with PHP programming language and MySQL database support – and this is considered a “standard” web hosting package for most websites.
A WordPress website is slightly more cumbersome than plain/small HTML websites, and therefore it is a good idea to monitor website performance on “shared hosting” packages, estimate and forecast your anticipated website traffic and usage, and upgrade plans accordingly. Click here for the precise web hosting/database requirements as per the WordPress.org website.
There are the following options for email hosting:
- Email hosting is included with your web hosting package. (Usually the most affordable option.)
- Email hosting is provided through your web host at extra cost.
- Third party email hosting is available through another provider such as G-Suite by Google. By choosing this route, you may have access to extra useful business features and benefits, like video conferencing using Google Meet Hangouts, document exchange using Google Drive, and more!
Of note is that some web hosts provide for free SSL certificates, and others charge a yearly fee at varying prices. There are also different levels of SSL certificates available: a generic level and a branded level. An example of a branded version is at Elegant Themes – note the company name beside the secured lock to the left of the domain name.
Photos, images, videos & fonts
Another consideration for your website development and online marketing initiatives is incorporating high-quality photos and other visual elements. Surprisingly, it can be time consuming browsing through stock photos, determining your budget, and carefully selecting which photos superbly reflect your products and services. So, start collecting images early that resonate with you and/or your business.
Professional stock photos, along with your own photographs and videos can be used in many places, including:
- website banner
- social media profiles and updates
- paid advertising
- online and print marketing materials
We recommend carefully selecting between 5 and 10 “branding” stock photos, purchased at a high resolution, to get you started on building your total branding library of assets.
Fun4business can help you carefully select and/or create your branding images!
With respect to videos — which is the hottest growing area on the Internet today — you should decide whether this may be an avenue you wish to pursue, whether amateur or professional look and feel is appropriate, and how you could incorporate video into your marketing strategies. Taking, editing, publishing and promoting videos can be a full-time exercise, so due consideration should go into this potential marketing and growth opportunity.
Analytics & Traffic Tracking Codes
Two must-have website analytics are:
- Google Analytics: Comprehensive tracking code to provide you with valuable information on what’s happening on your site and how you can make improvements. You can even get fancy by creating specific goals for your website and measure how it’s doing.
- Facebook Pixel: Facebook is one of the most popular social networks and adding the Facebook Pixel tracking code onto your website can help you better target and retarget your audiences on Facebook.
Fun4business can install your tracking code(s) onto your website for you!
For more information, check out this helpful course by Google called Intro to Webmaster Academy that goes into much more detail on the items we’ve covered above. It is well worth your time to work your way through the course to learn valuable information about running a website and being found in the search engines.
Overview of how a WordPress website fits together:
As a client and online business owner, sometimes all of the technical terms and requirements can be overwhelming. The tendency may be to shy away from learning about them and wanting everything to “just work.” However, having at least a big picture overview of how your WordPress website fits together is fairly quick and painless. Here’s a chart containing the main parts:
At Fun4business, we assist you with the following:
- Install and configure the website core
- Provide recommendations with respect to suitable quality and appropriate WordPress themes; Install and customize selected WordPress theme
- Provide recommendations on required WordPress plugins; Install and configure chosen WordPress plugins
WordPress Platform Overview
Actually, there are two different WordPress organizations, as follows:
- WordPress.com: Famous for powering people’s blogs, this is a blogging platform hosted on the WordPress servers. It is easy to set this up yourself, pick a template you like, quickly customize a few settings, and start writing your blog within minutes. A key advantage is being connected to the larger WordPress.com community where you can connect with other writers and subscribe to blog updates.
- WordPress.org: A sister organization specifically for self-hosted WordPress websites that users need to set up and run on their own hosting. WordPress.org is an open-source community that is growing every single day with additional upgrades, functionality, features, add-on’s, etc. These type of WordPress websites take more effort and skill to create, build, manage, and maintain than the ones on WordPress.com, however, they offer more options, flexibility and are the better choice for business websites who’s main focus isn’t blogging.
These two platforms should not be mixed up, as they are related, but not the same.
Here at Fun4business, we specialize in the second option above – custom development for WordPress.org self-hosted websites.
Generally, a theme requires a good amount of customization for each unique website/client. Your logo, colours, fonts, etc., need to be added, adjusted and modified. Additionally, there are options and alternatives for display that need to be evaluated and then applied or disabled.
WordPress comes with standard sections called Widgets, Menus and Sidebars that provide practical space for your specialized and featured content. These all need to be formatted and configured correctly to your specific website and content.