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New Website Setup Checklist

by | Dec 13, 2019 | SOP | 0 comments

Every business owner understands the importance of setting up a unique and well-designed website. Establishing an online presence can help you connect with customers across the world and expand your sales to new heights. Thanks to platforms such as WordPress, Squarespace, and others, businesses of all sizes can now set up beautiful, modern websites easier than ever before.
Written by Rebecca Roberts

Written by Rebecca Roberts

Senior Partner

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Every business owner understands the importance of setting up a unique and well-designed website. Establishing an online presence can help you connect with customers across the world and expand your sales to new heights. Thanks to platforms such as WordPress, Squarespace, and others, businesses of all sizes can now set up beautiful, modern websites easier than ever before.

These website tools, while being very simple and intuitive, still contain plenty of backend details that are vital to success on web searches. Factors such as setting up Google Analytics, properly naming the site, and ensuring a proper click-through flow for the website are what set apart the good websites from the great.

We have designed an in-depth checklist that you can use to ensure your website is ready to perform and scale along with your growth. These are the guidelines by which Bolt Goodly sets up their websites, so you may find you have some favorite plugins you’d prefer over our chosen ones, but if you are just starting out, we are pretty confident in our process. By sticking to these guidelines, your site will have everything it needs to look professional and perform well on search engines.

New Website Setup Checklist

Confirm Redirection Plug-in is Installed

The redirection plugin helps track and automatically update any pages that have a new url moving forward. Furthermore the plugin will track and keep a list of all 404 errors so that during the ongoing website maintenance Bolt Goodly can set up the necessary 301 Redirects. To set this up properly, log into WordPress using your admin username and password. Then, go to Plugins > Add New and search for “Redirection”. You should find the following plugin:

Once you see this, click “Install Now”. You will then be redirected to the Installed Plugins Page. Click on Settings underneath Redirection and you will be defaulted to the Options section. Select the URL Monitor: Select all options button. Finally, click update and you are all set!

 

Perform a Security Plug-In Check

It is important to ensure that your security plugins are installed and activated in order to protect your site from malicious activity and ensure a safe user experience. At Bolt Goodly we use WPMUDEV. The security plugins you decide to use depends on many factors: whether or not your hosting provides security, what type of website you are building, and the level of security required for example.

 

Create and Deploy the Child Theme, Footers, and Copyright Info

Using the very intuitive and efficient Divi plugin, we can easily setup a child theme with no coding required! A child theme in WordPress is a sub theme that inherits all the functionality, features, and style of its parent theme. To begin, we need to first setup the parent theme. Log into WordPress using your admin username and password. Go to Appearance > Themes and click “Add New”. Then, click “Upload Theme” and then “Choose File”. After this, navigate to where you’ve save your Divi zipped file. Open the file and click Install Now. Finally, go back into themes and click Activate.

You have now installed the Divi Theme – no need to install the Divi Builder Plugin anymore as it is now built into the Divi Theme.

Now for the child theme!

Navigate to Divi > Theme Options. Under Updates enter the following:
USERNAME: ________
API KEY: ___________
Click SAVE and create and activate a Divi Child Theme. Create a JPG image for your Theme Screenshot (see below) that is 880px by 660px using the client’s logo.

Go to: https://elegantmarketplace.com/child-theme-maker/ and fill out the following information:

Your Company Name
Divi: Select Divi
Version Number: 1.0
Your Name/Company Name/Client Name: your company
Author URL including http: your website
Theme Screenshot: [JPG created above]

In WordPress navigate to Appearance > Themes and click “Add New”, then click “Upload Theme”.
Now click “Choose File” and navigate to the folder where you saved the Child Theme in Google Drive. Once you have found it, click “Install Now” and install the child theme you just created. Once the theme finishes installing, click “Activate”.Hover over each theme that is not being used (everything but the Child Theme you just created and Divi) and select “Theme Details”. When the Theme Details are displayed click Delete in the bottom right hand corner and click OK if a pop-up is displayed. Now scan through and make sure everything is up to date. Then, navigate to Dashboard > Updates and if there is a number next to “Updates” click on it so you can update to the most recent versions if necessary. Now navigate back to Dashboard > Updates and select “All Themes” and then click “Update”. Next, Install the Divi Booster by going to Plugins > Add New and clicking “Upload Plugin”. Then, click “Choose File” and navigate to where you’ve saved your file divi-booster.zip. Open the file and click “Install Now”. Once it finishes click “Activate Plugin”.

One more step….time to make sure the footer is now properly displayed. Simply navigate to Divi > Divi Booster and under the “Footer” select Replace footer links with this text / HTML:

** Be sure to change {CLIENT NAME} and {LAUNCH YEAR} with the appropriate information:

Client Name ©Launch Year- | Designed and Managed By (Your Company).

Scroll to the bottom and click “Save Changes” – and you’re set!

Update Your Site Title, Tagline, and Email Address

Every website needs its title, tag, and associated email properly setup. To do this, log in with your admin and go to Settings > General and fill in the following fields with your information:

Site Title: [Name of Company]
Tagline: [Client Tagline]
Email Address: [Client Email Address] (Note: this is the email address that will receive wordpress notifications of new comments, orders, etc)
Timezone: [Client timezone] (Note: do not use UTC +/- zones because the time will not automatically update based on daylight savings time, etc)
Date Format: [Local Standard] If the client is in the United States the default time format is fine, if the client is overseas and their date format is DD-MM-YY you may use that format.
Time Format: [Local Standard] Typically HH:MM am/pm will be fine unless client requests otherwise.
Week Starts On: [Local Standard] In the United States the week starts on Sunday, in other parts of the country the week starts on Monday.

Once these have all been filled in, click Save Changes. Now, we need to update the homepage display. Go to Settings > Reading and update the following fields:

Homepage: Typically a static page is used as the homepage and posts page default. You may need to come back to this particular setting once the correct pages have been created. In the meantime you can select “Sample Page” as the default Homepage. If you’re working in a currently created website, just select “HOMEPAGE”.

Now to work on your search engine visibility: Check off “Discourage search engines from indexing this site”. This will prevent Google and other search engines from indexing the website while under development. Just prior to launch this will be deselected.

NOTE: If you are working in a currently created website, DO NOT CHECK THIS BOX! Leave it indexed.

Now click Save Changes and let’s move on.

Next, go to Settings > Permalinks and update the following fields:

Select “Custom Structure” and use the available tags /%category%/%postname%/

Click Save Changes.

Now we will work on the privacy settings of your website.

Go to Settings > Privacy and update the following fields:

Click “Use This Page”:

 


*If no privacy policy exists yet, you can create them for free online

 

You should now see the following at the top of your screen indicating that all the settings are properly setup!

 

Setup Email Notifications

Getting proper email notifications about your website activity is crucial for easy monitoring and applying fast updates as they are needed.
To start, log into WordPress using your admin username and password. Go to Plugins > Add New and search for “WP SMTP” and install the following plugin:

Once it has finished installing, click activate. After you do this you will be redirected to the “Installed Plugins” Page. Scroll to WP Mail SMTP and select Settings.

Fill in the settings with the following information:

From Email: [MAIN CLIENT EMAIL ADDRESS] *Note: this will be the email address that all emails will come from.

From Name: [Client Name]
Mailer: SendGrid
Create SendGrid API

Next, in a new window or tab go to https://sendgrid.com/pricing/ and select the free account. Scroll down and click “Try for Free”. Fill out the signup page with the following information:

Username: [business name]
Password: [Generate from 1Password]
Confirm Password: same as above
Email address: [client email address on the same domain that the website is going to be launched on]

On the next screen fill out the information as follows:

First Name: Client First Name
Last Name: Client Last Name
Company Name: Company Name
Phone Number: Client Phone Number
Company Website: Final Website of Company
What is your role?: Developer
How do you plan to send email? Using our API
How many emails do you send per month? 0 to 100,000 or client appropriate
How many employees work at your company: Client appropriate

After this is all filled out, click “Get Started”. On the next screen click “Start” next to “Integrate using our Web API or SMTP relay”. Go ahead and select SMTP Relay and enter WP Mail SMTP under My First API Key Name and then click “Create Key”. Copy the long key to your clipboard and go back to WordPress WP Mail SMTP Plugin Settings and paste it in WordPress under API Key in the SendGrid. Click “Save Settings” and then click on “Email Test”. Enter your Bolt Goodly email address in the “Send To” field and click “Send Email”. Now you can go to your email and confirm tat the email sending mechanism is working properly.

Now just verify the Integration on the SendGrid Website by sending an email from your application using the code you just integrated. If that runs without error, click “Verify Integration”. Be sure to close the SendGrid Website Connection.

Setup Landing Page

Your landing page is where clients and potential new customers will develop their first impression of your brand and service. It is important to make sure this page is clear and succinct and gets right to the point by displaying:

Your mission
What problem are you solving?
How do you solve it?
Headline and Sub-Headers
Sign-up, buy, ability for visitors to engage with your product/service

Design Product Pages —> Checkout

The flow of your website should be logical, so your product or services pages should be directly connected to a checkout mechanism. This can be easily setup on WordPress and linked using a variety of different ecommerce plugins (see ecommerce setup section). Go through the customer experience and make sure all of the links are working properly and the flow is logical.

Setup Facebook Pixel

The Facebook pixel is code that you place in your website that collects data and helps you track conversions and optimize Facebook ads. It allows you to build targeted audiences for future ads and remarket to people who have already taken some kind of action on your website. The tool works by placing cookies to track users as they interact with your website and your Facebook ads. This tool helps you get the most bang for your buck with your FB ad budget.

Setup Bing Webmaster and Google Analytics Tools

If you want the most effective analytics and data regarding your websites performance, it is important to get all of the data from the different search engines. Bing webmaster and Google Analytics toolsuite help you get in-depth insights into multiple data points including:

Overall visits
New visits
Traffic sources – where are your clicks coming from?
Most successful traffic sources
Your most popular content

WordPress allows for easy integration of both of these tools into your website. Simply sign up for the services, download the plugin, and connect your website to start getting smarter with your website decisions.

Check for Grammar and Layout Errors

Before you set your site to live, go through and double-check all of your copy, headers, and image text. The last thing you want after all of this work is to go live with grammar, spelling, or glaring flaws in your website’s content. Using Grammarly is the easiest way to quickly and accurately analyze your website’s copy and make sure it is all proper and ready for the public eye.

There you go! Now you have a detailed checklist of some of the most important factors you should take care of when trying to setup a professional and high-performing new website.

If you have any questions or would like help with this process, the pros here at Bolt Goodly can help you nail your new website and start off ahead of the pack.

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