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Making Websites with
A guide to creating elegant and effective websites with
WordPress, by Josh Lee
Why do we have websites?
● To promote a product or service
● To sell things online
● To promote and spread an idea
● To educate and disseminate information
● To have a place to get your message out
What makes a website good?
● Compelling, informative content
● An intuitive interface and navigation
● A consistent and professional appearance
● Regular updates
● Exposure via search engines and other
What is a CMS?
A content management system is software that
runs on your website and allows privileged
users (such as you, the site owner) to make
changes to content and to create new pages.
● The user interface is designed for humans.
● The community is enormous.
● It is automatically search-engine friendly,
right out of the box.
● It is free and open source.
● It is the most popular CMS on the planet.
Hosted by Automattic, tightly controlled, easy to use, and rarely breaks
Self-hosted on your preferred host or server, completely free for
customization, requires care, attention and maintenance.
Alternatives to WordPress
Best Practices: Security
● Don’t use the username “admin”
● Use strong passwords
● Use a reputable host
● Use a security plugin for advanced settings
● Avoid the image resizer script “TimThumb”
Best Practices: SEO
● Ensure a unique title and meta description
for every page and post
● Avoid broken links and images
● Don’t duplicate content
● Use an SEO plugin for instant feedback and
● Use analytics to track your progress
External Tools for SEO:
● Pear Analytics (SEO Analysis)
● Pingdom (Speed Analysis)
● Google Analytics
● Google Insights
Some great plugins:
● WordPress SEO by Yoast
● iThemes Security (Better WP Security)
● W3TC (Total Cache)
● Gravity Forms
● WP Migrate DB
How to evaluate a plugin:
● Does it slow down the site?
● Does it have good reviews?
● Does it integrate with other reputable
● Has it been around for a while?
● How good is the support? Is it reliable?
Where to get themes:
● Theme Forest (if you’re brave)
● WooThemes (great with WooCommerce)
● StudioPress (Genesis Framework)
Types of Hosting
● WordPress-specific hosts: WP Engine,
● Shared hosts: Dreamhost, Blue Host, Go
● Dedicated Hosts: Rackspace, Amazon,
● Specialized Hosts: Heroku, Pantheon
Where to learn more:
● WordPress Codex
● Smashing Magazine