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WordPress is designed to allows anyone to quickly setup and edit websites. WordPress saves data to a physical content folders and to a database so you can swap themes without deleting data (worst case data will be moved ). You could hand develop a WordPress theme but I would suggest you buy a commercial theme and modify that theme to use on your new site.
A theme may come with a starter database that has a working site, these starter sites are quicker to configure and get going.
Choose your theme first (as the starter template may need to be installed over a blank database)
If you need a basic site you can choose a free or trial theme from https://wordpress.org/themes/. There are tens of thousands of themes available but you really need to choose a Mobile/tablet responsive theme (filter here https://wordpress.org/themes/tags/responsive-layout/).
Here are a few leading sites that sell responsive WordPress themes:
- Buy a theme from solostream
- Buy a theme from Template Monster
- Buy a Genesis themes.
- Buy a store based theme from WooThemes.
- Buy Cherry Framework WordPress Themes.
Take your time choosing a theme as it can be hard to change a theme too far from it’s design. The good thing is you can swap themes quite easily without deleting data.
Essential WordPress Plugins
WordPress allows you to extend the basic application and install extra functionality via plugins. Many plugins are free but some are commercial (paid).
You can download and try dozens of plugins from over 38,000 total available plugins but beware many plugins have not been updated in a while and are not compatible with the latest WordPress or are written poorly. Luckily you can review the compatibility and user ratings for plugins before installing them. The more plugins your site uses the slower it may load.
Here are some of my favourite plugins.
- Relevanssi – A Better Search – A free and simple site search.
After Install Tips: Add a search widget to your site and build an index under “Settings – Relevanssi”.
After Install Tips: Rename admin account, remove user id 1, block brute force users etc.
After Install Tips: Create a form and add a honey pot field to the form to catch spammers.
- Jetpack – https://wordpress.org/plugins/jetpack/
After Install Tips: Link to a WordPress.com account and enable stats.
- MailChimp for WordPress – Easily add signup forms that save to your MailChimp account.
After Install Tips: Create a MailChimp account, get your api key, create a form.
- Adminimize – Adminimize that lets you hide ‘unnecessary’ items from the WordPress backend
After Install Tips: Create WordPress contributors, deactivate WordPress admin elements based on roles.
- Responsive WordPress Slider – Soliloquy Lite – The best responsive WordPress slider plugin. Made lite and free.
After Install Tips: Create a sliding banner, add images, done.
- TinyMCE Advanced – Enables the advanced features of TinyMCE, the WordPress WYSIWYG editor.
After Install Tips: Enable and enjoy more WYSIWYG editor options.
- W3 Total Cache – Caches your dynamic PHP pages and serves up html pages to speed up your site.
After Install Tips: todo.
- Akismet – Server side comment spam detection and deletion
After Install Tips: Activate, Link to JetPack, Buy a yearly subscription and you are done..
Duplicator – Export/Restore a whole site.
WP-Clone – Backup and restore a wordpress into an empty wordpress site.
Migrate Database – Similar to phpMyAdmin.
Go Live Update Url’s – Search and replace URLs in a database (great for moving a database from a local install to a live site.
Query Monitor – Learn how wordpress themes are used by different pages.
P3 Plugin Profiler – Debug slow plugins.
WP Performance Profiler – Advanced Plugin Profiler.
WP-Optimize – Optimize and shrink your database size.
Crayon Syntax Highlighter – Syntax Highlighter supporting multiple languages, themes, fonts, highlighting from a URL, or post text.
WP DBManager – Optimize, Compress and backup your dababase.
Image Optimization Plugin
Finding WordPress Plugins
- Goto https://wordpress.org/plugins/
- Google “What is the best___ WordPress plugin 2015”
Before you install any new plugins it is a good idea to backup your site.
You can’t backup too often 🙂
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