Setting Up Your
Your ideal host has three major
Great Customer Support
Media Temple ($20/month Grid
Digital Ocean ($5/month droplets)
Ease of Customization
Plugins & Theme Frameworks
Pick Your Own Hosting Package
Easier to Work with Freelancers
Less Expensive in the Long-Run
*Only* install plugins you absolutely need! Do your
Pick plugins that have been updated recently (in the
last 6 months)
Go with repository or premium plugins. No back-alley
WordPress SEO by Yoast, Akismet, Limit Login Attempts,
Redirection, Gravity Forms, BackUp Buddy, Subscribe
to Comments Reloaded, Clean Archives Reloaded
If you’re using Jetpack, make sure
you DISABLE features you’re not
using (e.g. math, spelling/grammar,
subscriptions, Json, gravatar
My favorite is sharing, stats,
publicize, and the image CDN
Eg. Headway Themes, Genesis, Thesis, PageLines, etc.
Take a giant chunk of work out of design
Are continuously developed and have a large
community for support and expert services.
Typically mobile responsive and ready for
Are fun to use :)
WordPress design tool.
Built to customize any
and all layouts and
elements of WordPress
My personal favorite :)
Build your design around your
content so you don’t have to do
Easier to brand when you brand from
the ground up.
Easier optimization and conversion
tweaks later. (Less “Hacking”)
Things to Keep in
Mind When Designing
MOBILE. Go responsive. Avoid apps unless
you have a really good reason and a LOT
of money for updates.
Limit the amount of images that the
design needs to work for faster loading
Make sure every color has a function.
Copy, callout, background, emphasis, etc.
PS. Child Themes
Child themes are good if you want
to do a LOT of custom code
customization. But it’s not necessary
for Headway Themes :)
They’re uploaded like themes, but
require the parent theme installed.
Pay more now or you’ll have to pay
again later for someone like me to
fix an “affordable” design.
Don’t be afraid to shop around and
ask for what you want. Ask questions!
Do not fear the idea of code.
Start development once your design is
FINISHED. DONE. No more colors. Pencils
W3 Total Cache with CloudFlare
JetPack’s CDN for Images or another CDN to
WP Optimize on occasion (database cleanup)
Reduce the Clutter
Remove deactivated plugins & themes,
except WP default theme.
Remove “Unattached” images and files that
aren’t part of the design.
Remove spam and empty auto-drafts, empty
Assess the plugins you’re using and reduce
them whenever possible.
Create back-ups using a plugin like
BackUp Buddy and store them locally
or on Amazon S3
Enable scheduled back-ups from your
Regularly update or use an update/
Are Your Plugins
Try “P3” Plugin Performance Profiler
if something weird is happening to
see if a new plugin is seriously
Deactivate plugins one-by-one for
more precise changes.
Just. Keep. Updating.
BackUps Are Your Friend.
Don’t freak out if you’re not a giant ecommerce website. Limit Login Attempts,
disable registration, move on.
Change “admin” to anything else. Passwords:
auto generate and keep it in a sticky note
OR use “pass phrases” with spaces n’ stuff.
Remove social media buttons & comments
from the blog index and individual pages.
Permalinks Matter. Use /%postname%/ if
you’re not sure what you want.
Move archives to their own page instead of
the sidebar. Plugin: Clean Archives
Remember about WP
Use the “featured images” option for
Don’t link post images to their
attachment files, or at all if you don’t
Pages for static/unchanging content.
Posts for fresh, updating content.
SEO the Easy Way
Make optimization a habit! Write content, go
back and optimize.
Install and configure just ONE SEO plugin,
eg. WordPress SEO by Yoast
Write titles people are searching for, eg. “how
to change a tire”
Only spend money if you have a lot and
find a provider you love.
Meh, I’m not a fan. I’d say use
WordPress SEO unless you need a lot
Read up on SEO tips from major
blogs like searchenginejournal.com
and copyblogger.com and
About Title Tags
<h1> Should be your post/page title.
<h2> is important stuff
<h3> is for sections related to the
<h4 - h6> Basically whatever you
want, but treat like titles.
About Categories &
Limit the number of categories to main
topics on your website.
Remove the /category/ part of your URLs if
you’re a new site.
Create as many tags as you want, avoid
Use the plugin “Relevanssi” to make search
better and take advantage of these.
Moderate your comments to avoid
spam content and crappy links.
Use plugins like “Conditional Captcha
for WordPress” and “Akisment”
together to prevent spam.
Turn OFF comments if you’re not
blogging/interested in them.
Not Just SEO
Add share buttons to posts to make it
easy for people to spread naturally.
Auto-update social networks and
email lists on new posts to minimize
work and maximize exposure.
Respond to comments and let people
get to know you.
My Favorite Social
Digg-Digg (for floating)
Tweet Old Posts (for continuously
promoting older content automatically)
Subscribe to Comments Reloaded for
connecting with others.
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