WordPress Checklist: New Site Action Items

WordPress  |  March 10, 2022   | Ashton Principe

With WordPress, you don’t know what you don’t know. Installing the content management system (CMS) on your server is easy enough, albeit future proofing your site for scalable growth is vastly more complex. Our new site WordPress checklist will provide the foundational information you need to start building your website with scalability in mind.

How To Use Our WordPress Checklist

To get the most out of using our new site WordPress checklist, don’t expect to simply check off boxes and make your way down the list. In this guide, we cover high-level strategy planning for your site that helps avoid the common errors that many new WordPress users struggle to solve a year or two down the road.

wordpress checklist plugin

Themes

Let’s start with the basics. A theme serves as the foundational building block of an entire WordPress website. Too often users fail to research and understand the various themes available. Ultimately, these users end up with an increasingly difficult website to manage, optimize, and scale. WordPress provides a default theme for all users, normally named after the current calendar year. It is more than worth the time to research and find other available options. Default themes are limited in features and design that could prove troublesome later on. Although these themes are incredibly fast, it is advisable to find a third-party alternative that will provide all of the functionality you expect to need in the future. 

Some of the most popular themes available today are Astra, Ultra, Avada, Thrive, and Divi. These five can serve as a great starting point when researching the most practical option for you. Every theme has its own respective advantages targeted towards different groups of users. For instance, Astra is an incredibly lightweight theme that works well with most page building plugins. Whereas Divi and Thrive are themes that are centralized into their own proprietary ecosystems that may or may not provide all of the functionality that users need. Themes depend entirely on use case, not on what is the most extravagant option at the time. Switching a theme requires nearly the same amount of effort as starting a website from scratch. Therefore, the importance can not be stressed enough of choosing a future-proof theme and sticking with it.

WordPress Checklist Plugins

Install plugins you need, not the ones you don’t. Sounds simple enough, yet many WordPress beginners end up overloading their website with plugins that simply aren’t necessary. Keep in mind that the more plugins you install, the greater the likelihood that they will conflict with one another. Troubleshooting fifteen plugins takes a fraction of the time of troubleshooting fifty. Additionally, an excess of plugins will increase the amount of regular maintenance your site needs causing wasted future resources. As with most things online, less is more.

To learn about some of our favorite WordPress plugins read our posts found here and here

wordpress seo checklist

Site Planning

Planning ahead for scalable growth is arguably the hardest part of building a website in WordPress. Directly reflected in the work we do here at Renewal Digital, many of our clients struggled to plan their site effectively when it was first developed, resulting in website redesigns. Fortunately you’re on the right track to planning your site for long-term success, while also avoiding common setbacks.

User Intent

Prior to any page design or development, first consider what site visitors actually want from your site. Stray from making the mistake of prioritizing what you want site visitors to engage with. Focus solely on what makes visitors keep clicking. Call-to-actions need to match user intent given the context of surrounding information.

Audience Desires

Whether your business is online or not, a crystal clear understanding of audience desires is essential to effective marketing. Understanding who you are communicating to – your audience – and what they engage with is the most surmountable aspect to campaign development. In the context of a WordPress website, page copy and site design must align with audience preferences.

Customer Journey

In marketing, you’ve probably heard of the sales funnel. A sales funnel draws the attention of prospects and ultimately seeks to convert them into patrons of a product or service. The pathway that said prospects take is known as the customer journey. Websites are essential to streamlining the customer’s journey from hearing about your business to actually buying a product or service. Call-to-actions must easily provide the next step for the customer to continue their journey towards whatever it is your business sells.

Page Structure

Don’t overcomplicate page structure. While it may appear beneficial to add unique navigation headings and parent-pages on top of other parent-pages, you could ultimately end up confusing site visitors and search engines. A unique website is encouraged, but it must be balanced to match the page layout and structure that most site visitors expect. In some niches abstract page structure does work. Freelance web designers and many creative agencies have adopted untraditional layouts that help uniquely position themselves in the market. Does that mean everyone should do this? Not if your industry or niche doesn’t need to. Simple and predictable page structure tends to generate the most efficient results.

WordPress SEO Checklist

Sites built from the ground up with SEO have a greater likelihood of ranking for difficult keywords than their counterparts. Is this to say a site cannot rank highly if it wasn’t built on foundational SEO principles? Not entirely. Sites that were optimized after conception can still rank within the first page, but the amount of work to get there is tenfold over a website that started with SEO from the beginning. A keyword hierarchy and content strategy set in place at the origin of a site provides a clear pathway for implementation. Learning the fundamentals of SEO in the beginning will save thousands of hours and dollars later on. Renewal Digital has one of the best SEO teams in Raleigh, NC. wordpress checklist before publish

Want Us To Do It For You?

We’ve provided you the fundamentals to future-proof your WordPress website. Still concerned about causing setbacks in reaching your customers online? Reach out and schedule a free consultation with Renewal Digital. We’ll provide additional guidance on planning your WordPress website, no matter whether you decide to purchase through us or handle the project on your own.

Ashton Principe

About the author

Ashton Principe is a student and digital consultant at Renewal Digital. He is interested in copywriting, as well as WordPress design and development. He enjoys learning the industry looks forward to sharing his findings with others.

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