Building a WordPress website from start to finish

Building a WordPress website from start to finish

 

Building a WordPress website from start to finish – (You are HERE)
Plugins For Every WordPress Website
Mobile first, lightweight Theme for WordPress
Additional WordPress Plugins used on Permian Trader
Specific Tweaks for Permian Trader

This short series of articles is about building a WordPress website from start to finish. Basic installation, Plugin choices and overview, tweaks and configuration. I’m using Permian Trader as the example site.

WordPress has simplified dramatically the necessary skills to put together a website with multiple features. It is –almost– like building with legos. Almost, but not quite. In most cases, you can get right where you need to go easily. This series is somewhat of a loose guide on how to assemble everything yourself, and wind up with a working website with functionality. The basic concept can be applied in a plethora of ways, as there are plugins to provide a wide array of plugins in the WordPress plugin repository.

Permian Trader, the example site for this series, is focused on connecting those working in the Oil & Gas industry with those that can provide solutions and services for their problems, SPECIFICALLY in the Permian Region. This includes West Texas, and the very, very east portion of New Mexico. In the current iteration, there is both a Business Directory section, and a Classifieds section.

The basic platform is WordPress. The Theme is a GeneratePress child theme with the GeneratePress Premium module(s). I knew going into this, that I wanted to restrict some content to logged in users. So Membership is handled by the “S2 Member” plugin. The other two important aspects, the Business Directory and the Classifieds are also handled by plugins. The plugins selected for both were chosen after much painful evaluation of the plethora of plugins that exist out there purporting to solve both of these needs. There are many more plugins and configuration for performance, functionality, security and user interface/interaction of which I will overview.

Permian Trader was built using the Minimum Viable Product model. Meaning, needed functionality is there, the user interface works, the usefulness is without a doubt there – which of course, is the most important aspect.

There are additional features that would be great to have, but I decided to build a functioning site now, versus spending months agonizing over every single possible feature and enhancement.

I have a documented basic site module in which I always include a base of functionality and features for every site I build. For this site, most of my standard plugins were used, but I did have several exceptions. From the list of usual standard plugins I used the following:

  • All In One WP Security & Firewall
  • BackWPup
  • Block Bad Queries (BBQ)
  • Classic Editor (Disables the new Gutenberg)
  • EWWW Image Optimizer
  • Force Email Login
  • Google Analytics Dashboard for WP (GADWP)
  • Google Captcha
  • Post SMTP
  • Redis Object Cache
  • Regenerate Thumbnails
  • Shortcodes Ultimate
  • W3 Total Cache
  • WP Add Custom CSS
  • WP Edit
  • WPForms (Lite)
  • WPS Hide Login

For Permian Trader, I currently have these additional WordPress plugins installed:

  • Advanced Cron Manager
  • GP Premium – GeneratePress Premium Plugins
  • 404page – Smart Custom 404 Error Page
  • HappyForms Lite – I will likely replace this. I was using Pirate Forms, but it was acquired by HappyForms. Using this for now.
  • LoginPress
  • Nav Menu Roles
  • No Weak Passwords
  • S2 Member Framework
  • a3 Lazy Load – I usually use “BJ Lazy Load”, but it was causing some issues. “a3 Lazy Load” allows URL exceptions, and is a strong contender for Lazy Load plugin of choice in the future.
  • Yoast SEO – I prefer “All In One SEO Pack”, but both the Business Directory Plugin and the Classified plugin were specifically written to work with Yoast. I acquiesced, reluctantly, and am using Yoast.
  • Business Directory Plugin
  • Business Directory Plugin – Enhanced Categories Module
  • Business Directory Plugin – Regions Module
  • Custom Content Shortcode
  • Fast User Switching
  • Login or Logout Menu item
  • My Custom Functions
  • Nav Menu Roles
  • Real-Time Find and Replace
  • Remove Dashboard Access

I used the “Hide My Site” plugin while Permian Trader was being built, but has since been uninstalled and deleted.

There is configuration required for most of the plugins upon installation. A few plugins do not require any configuration after installation, they are just ready to provide the additional functionality immediately.

The free Theme used, GeneratePress, has options and features; but the real power is when the GeneratePress premium plugins are installed. The GeneratePress premium plugins provide an easy way to make many configuration changes to the theme, and additional features.

There are times that the look and functionality must be manually configured. Many times, this is adding or tweaking the CSS.

INITIAL EVALUATION OF BUILD PROCESS

Membership Plugins – I began evaluating various membership plugins. Everything kept coming back to S2 Member. All I needed was a simple way to show/hide content depending on membership level. I’ve used Ultimate Member in the past, but was a bit overkill for what I needed on Permian Trader. S2 Member fit the bill perfectly. There are more options available if needed with S2 member – but these do not get in the way if unused.

Basically: Install. Configure. Tweak. DONE!

AWPCP – Classifieds Plugin – I really assumed that it would be easier to find exactly what I was looking for. On a test site I spun up, I tested every single Classifieds plugin on the WordPress repository, and I also tested a few that were free or for sale not in the WordPress repository. Out of all of them, this one worked the best. There are also additional enhancements available if needed.

Business Directory Plugin – I also tested many Business Directory Plugins. Some of them were painful. None are perfect, but this one worked out quite well. This one also has additional features that are available for purchase. Interestingly, both of these plugins are provided by the same company.

Visitors, just regular site visitors not logged in, are able to:

View Classifieds and email via the contact form.

View Business Directory entries and email via the contact form.

Register, and then post their own Business Directory entry or Classified entry.

Registration is free, and there are no requirements. Everyone is welcome.

All created Business Directory listings, and Classified listings require approval. This is simply to keep spam entries from being posted. Every single legitimate listing is approved.

Building a WordPress website from start to finish – (You are HERE)
Plugins For Every WordPress Website
Mobile first, lightweight Theme for WordPress
Additional WordPress Plugins used on Permian Trader
Specific Tweaks for Permian Trader

 

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