WordPress is a fantastic framework to build a new or existing website with. WordPress started as a blogging platform and has grown into a complex CMS (content management system) that helps companies build high-end website, ecommerce sites, members websites and more. What was once a small blogging tool, now powers nearly 1/4 of the internet.
WordPress is built on an open-source model; which allows the system to be modified or customized to fit very specific needs. There is always a balance when leveraging such a complex framework and hiring a professional team to help execute the development of your WordPress website can help ensure that you are positioned to get the most from your online presence.
There are more than 30,000 plugins to help with everything from complex ecommerce websites and shipping modules to simple tasks such as removing double periods. The balance between the WordPress installation, theme and plugins is critical to ensure that you don’t overload the website with “stuff” that could impact your website speed, visibility and ultimately hurt your position with search engines and user engagement. When done correctly, you can quickly see why WordPress has become such a dominant platform in the web community.
Wordpress.com offers free installation of their system, and even offer a paid service which includes your own domain. This is a great solution if you are limited by your budget, but the expectations should be limited. Building a WordPress website with a custom theme, the right plugins and a solid mix of content and media takes time – hiring a professional WordPress developer like NFY Interactive, Inc. can help ensure your website is setup to maximize your exposure.
WordPress is an open-source framework, developed with PHP and MySQL. The base of the code is well supported and documented and a massive community of developers and designers provide input to constantly improve on the WordPress core.
The WordPress development process focuses on helping your business launch on the WordPress framework with a theme, plugins and content. The WordPress installation is available to the public at WordPress.org and can be downloaded and installed with nearly every host. Many hosting companies provide a quick installation method; which will one-click install for WordPress with all requirements to get started in place. This installation process; while simple – can be customized by our teams to get the most from the system and ensure you have a solid footing with the core of your online presence.
Once your installation is completed, the theme installation (creation of child theme) and the implementation of plugins begins. Often, there are just a few plugins that our team installs for every WordPress installation. Since our hosting environment is specifically designed for WordPress, we do not install caching or of CDN plugins. The hosting we provide for WordPress focuses on improving potential security or speed weaknesses; while also improving the great things about WordPress. WordPress development is not something that you should take on yourself if you are looking to really grow and expand your business online. Our team of professional WordPress developers can help build a website that really leverages the system to its maximum potential.
One of the greatest plugin markets that was created for WordPress, were eCommerce plugins. These include: WooCommerce, Shopify, ECwid, Shopp, WP eCommerce and many more. Like all plugins and frameworks, there is a right solution for your needs based on your current business model and ideas for growth in the future. Just like painting a room, WordPress can paint you into a corner quickly if you haven’t considered future growth. In our industry we often refer to those systems as a black box – it works, but you are limited to what you have at that time.
NFY Interactive, Inc. has helped build a variety of WordPress eCommerce type websites over the past 8+ years. We were on the forefront of using WordPress for online shopping, launching the subscription box company Birchbox.com in 2010. Since, our team has helped build and launch a variety of eCommerce websites based on the WordPress framework.
The advantages of using a platform like WordPress for your eCommerce website is that there are dozens of eCommerce specific plugins that enhance the user experience and provide customization often limited in other hosted systems.
Our team of WordPress developers have developed a handful of custom WordPress plugins for ourselves and our clients. WordPress is based on the PHP web development language and is part of an open-source market. This allows talented WordPress developers to leverage their PHP knowledge to build custom plugins or customize the WordPress installation directly.
Custom WordPress programming was a natural and organic fit for our in-house web developers. The nature of most projects revolve around PHP and MySQL, so the adoption of WordPress was something we leaned into years ago. Our teams ability in WordPress customization is reflected in our process for all web development or web application projects – we invest time to ensure that the concept, goals and strategy align to produce and effective solution.
Analytics & Reporting
The analytics of your website are a critical measure of how your online presence is working for your business and your customers. WordPress offers a variety of plugins that quickly install tracking code from Google Analytics or other analytics plugins developed by the WordPress community. We typically lean into Google Analytics due to the comprehensive data collection and ultimately the partner elements that allow more actions from the data.
Regardless of the direction chosen, analytics help determine far more than just the traffic to your website. Understanding how people are finding you, the device they are using, what information they are consuming and how they are navigating through your website is critical. Our team can help ensure your new website is optimal and regular tracking helps ensure that roadblocks that are limiting your website potential are fixed or removed.
Wordpress is popular; which also means hackers are looking to exploit weaknesses in WordPress. This is an open-source platform, so it is critical that you take the steps to at least limit your exposure to hacking. It is critical to note, nothing is hack-proof, nothing. This method is to help ensure that you are limiting the scripts that are running that scan websites – providing a bit of an additional security layer. We are not going to get into the details on access, updating, etc – this is just a primer.
- Configuring .htaccess : this is a file on your server that tells the server how to handle incoming requests.
- Modify your .htaccess with the code below
- What is my IP – great question, check out: http://www.whatismyip.com – use the IP in the Your IP Address Is:
This is your current IP and it can change! So if you get locked out of your /wp-admin, it is most likely because your IP address has changed, or you are accessing from an IP you have not granted access. You can have as many allow from IP as required to help support your access requirements.
Add to your .htaccess file:
order deny,allow deny from all allow from xx.xxx.xxx.xx (Your IP Address)
Once this is setup and working! You can test by removing your IP and trying to access your /wp-admin – you should get a 403 Forbidden error | You don’t have permission to access…
NOTE: You need to make sure that you are NOT editing your .htaccess through your WP installation – if you do and remove your IP to test – you will be LOCKED OUT! We recommend using FTP to access the file directly on the server.
If you have been hacked, need help to lock things up on your website – give us a call. Having a solid partner that understands the details can help ensure your website stays online.
Permalinks or pretty URLs are very easy to setup, but do not come setup initially when WordPress is first installed. We highly recommend modify the permalinks structure to support your website and enhance the user experience with better and more description URLs.
No one likes, http://www.domain.com/?p=7294/, permalinks within WordPress modify this naturally to something more visually friendly, like: http://www.domain.com/pretty-permalinks/.
To modify your Permalinks, simply log into your WordPress dashboard – from the left menu, choose: Settings > Permalinks.
There are many options available, just don’t use “plain”. We typically recommend using the Post name selection for most websites. This puts each page and blog into a more natural position based on the primary domain.
SEO is simply Search Engine Optimization – the keyword here is optimization, not manipulation. Your focus should be on providing your business online in the best light. Just like preparing for a party at your home, you need to make sure that everything is in order and ready for guests.
There are many SEO plugins for WordPress, and we typically recommend three depending on your needs, skill and time. They are: Yoast, SEOpressor and All-In-One SEO. They each require time to setup and configuration to ensure that you are using the plugin correctly.
Once installed, you can ensure that each page has a focus keyword, meta data and a scoring model for each page and blog post to help ensure you are optimizing the content on your website. These plugins mostly focus on the on-page SEO optimization, with a small amount of detail on the technical SEO. If you are looking to push your SEO to the next level, let’s connect and review.
XMLRPC.php is not a file that most people every really think about or worry about, but as developers – the access to this file can help ensure that plugins like Jetpack are working – or access to systems like Marketing.AI or KioMedia have the right access to connect to your website.
xmlrpc.php is simply a gateway – but since it has been exploited in the past, some hosts block access. You can check to see if your xmlrpc.php is accessible by visiting: http://www.yourdomain.com/xmlrpc.php, a proper response is:
XML-RPC server accepts POST requests only.
If you are receiving a 403 error or something else – then your host will need to help provide access. Often, the access is limited to specific IPs that need to connect to the xmlrpc.php file. If you need help or would like more details on how we can ensure that your site is optimized, let us know.
Wordpress.com vs. Hosted
Wordpress.com is the commercial facing side of the WordPress framework available at WordPress.org for free. WordPress.com offers free but limited WordPress installations using yourname.wordpress.com as a domain. For a fee, you can connect your own domain and have a more customized WordPress installation, including more access to modify the website, theme and plugins.
The hosted version of WordPress is installed with your hosting company and is a full version of the software, but requires more configuration. We do not recommend low-cost or cheap hosting for WordPress websites, they are complex frameworks with demands that exceed other frameworks. If you are serious about your website and online presence, we recommend hosting with a company that specializes in WordPress hosting (typically: $25+ per month). Our company offers WordPress hosting to our customers with each website project that we build.
This includes: automated backups, automated updates, malware/virus scanning, customized firewalls, Enterprise server caching, content delivery network.
Themes are often complex designs that sit on top of WordPress to enhance the look and feel of the website. Many themes include comprehensive coding to integrate plugin customization, drag and drop interfaces and more.
It is very common that themes are still missing or limited based on your needs. This is where child themes come into play! Once you have the following ALL implemented – you will see your new Child Theme under Appearances > Themes. Make sure you activate the new Child theme.
Child themes are a one-to-one file replacement of the now parent theme – or the original theme. The reason we create child themes is because the parent theme is often updated to add new features, fix bugs, add security, etc. So if you had any customization added to the parent theme – those changes would be wiped out during an upgrade. The child theme ensures we can customize to our needs, while still ensuring the parent theme is up to date.
Creating a child theme is actually very easy – to see the details, click here.
A child theme has basic needs: a theme directory (often called theme-child) and a style.css and functions.php in that directory. The functions.php is copied directly from the theme directory (not moved, copied). The style.css is referenced below – this is used to add custom CSS and setup the child them within WordPress.
/* Theme Name: My Theme Child Theme URI: http://example.com/mytheme-child/ Description: My Theme Child Theme Author: John Doe Author URI: http://example.com Template: mytheme Version: 1.0.0 License: GNU General Public License v2 or later License URI: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-2.0.html Tags: child theme Text Domain: mytheme-child */