If your WordPress website is already live, the first thing I’m going to want to do is clone it to a “Staging Server” or subdomain, i.e. dev.yourdomain.com This not only allows me to test things behind closed doors but allows me to make a real mess of things, break them into crumbs and then whip up dessert. I seldom ever work on a live website. Who needs the embarrassment?
Toronto’s Preferred WordPress Designer & Developer
Again, if your WordPress website already exists, I’ll first want to backup the site as it is, then after each round of revisions I’ll backup again… this not only saves me from losing work but makes it very easy to rollback to a previous version… even 3 versions back. At the end of the job, I’ll give you backups of the site in case you need to migrate to another server or pass it off to another WordPress developer.
WordPress is constantly releasing updates as are themes and plugins. Rest assured, if it’s built by the WP Chef, upgrading your website will not break anything or lose customizations. Theme changes will be done within a child-theme so that the original theme (parent theme) can be upgraded without issues. Likewise, most plugins can be overridden within the theme’s function.php file so again, feel free to upgrade your plugins.
I’m not referring to the people who visit your website, I’m referring to you or whoever it is on your team that will manage the website. Too often I’m told that customizations were hardcoded into the templates disabling the user from being able to update the section themselves. Be careful of a WordPress developer that tells you they can code anything you desire. Remember that your website’s content (banner, logo, text, contact details, etc.) will need to be updated sooner or later and ask yourself… do you want to pay a developer for every update or do it yourself?
If there is one area where I can call myself Master Chef it’s with SEO… too many developers cut corners to make their job easier and design banners with text lost within an image or navigation bars with rollovers and no live anchor text. Let’s not forget using the same title and description on every page or uploading images that are named img0001.jpg – these are often the first things I clean up when I take on an SEO project for an existing website. Story of my life… let me tell you… actually no, I won’t bore you with that. All you need to know is that there won’t be any rookie mistakes made on your website.
I often have to remind my clients that there screen is not the only screen to be taken into consideration when building the website. Things will not look the same on a 13″ laptop as they do on a 32″ LCD flat screen like mine. The average user these days has a 20″ desktop and a smart phone that is about 480 px wide or 960 px in landscape mode. The variances aren’t that drastic, they can be as subtle as going from Internet Explorer to Mozilla Firefox on the very same computer. Rest assured that all major browsers, devices and displays will be taken into consideration when the WP Chef is in the kitchen.
Did you know you can measure the total file size of your home page? Did you know that all pages in your website should not exceed 2 MB in file size if you want them to load quickly? If you upload an image is that 1 mb, how many images does that give you before you meet your 2 mb quota? Images should be compressed for the web and no larger than 200 kb in my mind… that 0.2 MB and even that is large. Plugins aren’t always the answer either, too often I see a WordPress website get bogged down by too many plugins. A good WordPress developer prides himself on lightweight code design which doesn’t leave you feeling like you a coma-toast like you feel after a turkey dinner.
I have been using WordPress for a long time now and have not been hacked in quite some time. It’s a reality no matter where you go, BaseCamp has been hacked, Facebook has been hacked, Youtube gets attacked daily and most of the time companies don’t admit to it. If you’ve ever had a WordPress website, you should have had a Firewall setup along with some server-side restrictions to block various entry points known to hackers. All they need to do is find you on Google while searching for the version of WordPress you are using or even the version of a plugin you are using and boom… they have their entry point.
I wouldn’t be calling myself a WP Chef if all I could serve was meat and potatoes. My father and his father were both gardeners, so let’s just say that I have a green thumb and take great pride in my talented nose. Did I mention my family is French? Breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert from any side of the world, you name it and I’ll find the recipe book for it if I don’t have it already. I’ll be plenty picky for the both of us and remember all the other contingencies at stake while still preparing something that is worth framing as a work of art.
Aside from backing up and testing the various browsers, devices and displays. We also want to be sure that every function works from start to end… we can’t launch a shopping cart without actually confirming that we’ve collected payment right? We can’t launch without also making sure we can process a refund right? Then there’s the other world of robots… will they find what they are looking for? Have we got all our bases covered? Does anyone have any questions? Do all the links and images work properly? Are all the images hosted within the site or are there any remaining 3rd party plugins, themes, images, etc. that need to be licensed? Does everything checkout? Ok, let’s backup first, now let’s do this!