You’ve just landed another web design job! Woohoo! You’ve done all the groundwork, now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get going. There are some obvious thing to do like registering the domain and organising web hosting if it hasn’t already been done but, if you’re like me then there’s often more to do before you can start constructing the site itself. In this article I’m going to detail the process I go through. Not all of it will be relevant to you but I hope you’ll find it useful. Let me begin by painting a picture of what I usually do for my clients who are mostly not that tech savvy. As part of the package, I set up the following:

  • A free MailChimp account for newsletter signups
  • Google Webmaster Tools
  • Google Analytics
  • Google My Business

Initial Information Gathering

If I’m registering the domain, I make sure it’s registered in the client’s’ name and not my own. I have had a number of clients with existing websites who’ve had to negotiate with the previous developer to get back control of their domain name. In order to register the domain and set up the other bits and pieces, here are the details I need.

Registrants Details

  • Contact Numbers
    • Office phone
    • Office fax
    • Registrants mobile number
  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Postal Address

 

Business Details

  • Domain name
  • Business name
  • Business tagline
  • Office hours
  • Physical address

Getting Started On The Site

Now that you’ve done the initial domain registration and the hosting has been organized, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty.

Domain Registration

If domain doesn’t exist, get the account details and register the domain.

Setup Emails

Create a webmaster email address. This just makes things easier when you’re signing up with Google and whatever other services you’ll need to register for. At the same time, you may as well create an email address for the client.

Install WordPress

Install a localized copy of WordPress. Generally, I use the British English version of WordPress.

Configure Settings

Set permalinks and timezone. My preference is to use “Post name” and it’s probably the most common permalink in use. Elegant Themes have an excellent guide to WordPress permalinks which is well worth reading.

Install Divi and a Child Theme

Once you’ve installed Divi, it is imperative that you create a child theme. It might seem a bit daunting if you haven’t done it before but WordPress give clear instructions on how to go about doing it. You can read their “How to Create a Child Theme” in their codex.

If you want the easy option, then visit Divi Space. They have a simple Divi Child Theme Builder which generates a zip file for you to upload to your site. All you’ll need is a png called screenshot for WordPress to use in the Appearance >> Theme section. The screenshot should be named screenshot.png. The recommended screenshot image size is 880x660 pixels. The other thing you’ll need to do is to enable pop-ups for this site.

Cleanup Your Installation

Let’s being with plugins. The bundled plugins, Akismet and Hello Dolly should be deleted if you’re not going to use them. I delete both and use DISQUS for comments rather than the builtin WordPress commenting system. DISQUS provide a simple guide that explains how to go about setting it up on your site. There are a few other commenting options to consider and again, Elegant themes have an excellent article called Using Alternate Comment Systems With WordPress.

Next, head on over the Appearance and delete the unused themes, just don’t delete Divi and the child theme you created earlier.

Lastly, delete the sample post that WordPress include by default.

Install Plugins

I have a few plugins that I install with most installations. Here are the regulars:

  • Bloom & Monarch by Elegant Themes.
  • Elegant Updater so that you can keep Divi up to date with all the latest bells and whistles. Elegant Themes has a tutorial that details how to get and setup Elegant Updater.
  • TinyPNG – After trying a number of image compressors, I discovered TinyPNG and am sold! It’s now my absolute favourite image compressor.
  • Contact Form 7, but only if I need more functionality that what’s provided by the Divi Contact Form module.
  • Crelly Slider – Although Divi’s stock slider is slowly getting better, it’s still not as powerful as many of the big name sliders out there. My favourite premium slider is Layer Slider, it’s a fantastic slider and it works beautifully but so far I have managed to get along just fine with Crelly Slider which is free. It works well and is similar in many ways to Layer Slider.
  • Jetpack – I used to install Jetpack by default, initially to get the “Edit CSS” option.
  • Yoast SEO – I’m not so sure about this one anymore. Divi has a lot of SEO functionality built into it, but until I’ve managed to play with it, I’ll stick to Yoast SEO.
  • Google Analytics by Yoast is a must if you want to simplify adding Google Analytics to your site.
  • Minimal Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode – this one should probably be at the top of the list as it’s the one that I normally use first. It’s a great “Coming Soon” plugin in that it’s relatively easy to configure and it’s free. It even supports HTML and CSS if you need a bit more power.

The Next Steps

At this point, if it’s appropriate, activate and configure Jetpack, setup MailChimp and get the API key and then configure your coming soon page.

Final Touches

If it’s part of the deal, then signup and configure:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Webmaster Tools
  • Bing Webmaster Tools
  • Google My Business

The End

And that’s it! Now it’s time to have some Divi fun and wow that client with a finely crafted Divi powered site.