When it comes to website content management for your business or brand, WordPress is an invaluable tool. From its simple beginnings as a blogging system, WordPress has grown into a comprehensive web content management system that you can use to power and update your site.
Today, more than 22% of all websites on the internet are powered by WordPress. This includes websites from top brands like Time Magazine, Facebook, and eBay.
WordPress is search engine-friendly, meaning it facilitates you improving your search engine ranking. It’s also compatible with a variety of free plugins—such as the Yoast SEO plugin—that can further help improve your SEO. As a free software that is also open source, WordPress allows you to use the software however you wish and host your website whatever location you choose.
The best part? You don’t have to be an HTML whiz to set-up a WordPress site. Even relative newcomers to the web design world find WordPress easy to set up, maintain, and update. Once part of the WordPress community, users are able to access and use more than 2,000 free themes and plugins, as well as free support and tips from WordPress professionals and fellow community members.
Sound good? Great! Here’s a step-by-step guide to going live on a new WordPress site. “Going live” refers to the process of updating your domain name, making sure your home and site addresses are configured properly, and that your DNS is pointed towards the WordPress Engine servers.
Step One: Create a local entry to your site’s new IP address
To create a local entry to your site’s new IP address, edit your local host file and point to the domain to your new site. By doing so, you’ll be able to see what your site will look like once the domain is pointed.
Step Two: Update the domain name
After logging into WordPress, you can click on “settings” before clicking onto “general”. In your general settings, you will find two fields titled “WordPress Address (URL)” and “Site Address (URL)”. These settings control where WordPress thinks your site is located. The “WordPress Address (URL)” setting is the address you want people to type in their browser to reach your WordPress blog, while the “Site Address (URL)” setting is the address where your WordPress core files reside. Update this information by entering in your new domain name.
Step Three: Visually review your site
Open a new window and visit your site to make sure everything appears to be running correctly. Don’t worry about checking links just yet. We’ll cover that in the next step.
Step Four: Check for errors
You can check for common SEO errors, such as missing links and duplicate site pages, using crawler software. By fixing these errors, you not only improve viewer experience, you may be able to improve your overall search ranking. BeamUsUp and Screaming Frog both offer crawling programs that allow you to analyze, audit, and check your site from an SEO point of view.
Step Five: Check Google links
You can check the links to your site on Google by going to Google.com and typing “site:yoursiteURL.com”. If any of the links do not resolve, do a redirection for their URLs to send your visitors to the correct destination.
Step Six: Get rid of unused themes
For security purposes, it’s important to delete all of your unused themes. Otherwise, these unnecessary themes can create security holes. You can do this on the WordPress site by clicking on the “Themes” button, then “Theme Details”, and then “Delete Theme”. If you have multiple unused themes, you can download the Delete Multiple Themes plugin from HappyPlugins.
Step Six: Update your DNS record
The last step is to direct traffic to the website hosted on WordPress. Afterwards, you can update your A record, which controls what IP address your website traffic goes. Find all the record instances of your previous IP address, and replace it with the new one. Once the updates have come into effect, your site will be live! The time it takes for your DNS to propagate completely can take up to several hours, depending on how your TTL is configured. If you have any issues with this, contact your DNS provider.
And that’s it! Your WordPress should be live. It’s not a complicated process if you take it step-by-step, and even if you choose to work with a web designer, understanding the steps can help you ensure that the process was done correctly.