WordPress, Genesis and AgentPress
I created this checklist to consistently build quality WordPress websites. This checklist is designed to provide a clean, efficient framework on which you can build your content. Starting from the beginning, this list will guide you to the correct settings for navigation, users, appearance, plugins and SEO. Adding content to your site is not covered in this checklist.
The checklist can be used for most any child theme that you can install with the Genesis Framework. I own the AgentPress child theme and think it is one of the best themes for Real Estate Websites. These are general instructions that I created for a site hosted by HostGator. They may need to be slightly tweaked for your host or site design.
The Genesis of Your Site
In the beginning, we are going to your domain registrar to change the Domain Name Servers so they point to your hosting service. This helps the internet guide people to your site when they enter your address. Next, we will go to the host and add-on the domain in the c-panel and do a quick install of WordPress.
It can take up to 48 hours for the Domain Name Server changes to propagate or take affect across the internet. There are work arounds if you are short on time, however, I usually wait. You may also need to clear the cache of your browser, computer and router to see the changes on your computer.
- Change Domain Name Servers to Point at Host
- Add-On Domain
- Quick Install WordPress
- Wait for DNS Propagation
- Clear Browser Cache
- CMD, ipconfig /flushdns to clear Computer Cache
- Reboot Router to clear router cache
When the domain name servers are pointing to your fresh WordPress install, it is time to go to work in WordPress. The rest of the items in the checklist will be completed in the WordPress dashboard. Login to WordPress and install the Genesis Framework and the AgentPress child theme. From the Dashboard, you will need to make the changes listed below on the Genesis tab in the Theme settings area.
- Appearance>Themes>Install Themes>Upload>Browse to Genesis Framework File and Install Now – Do not activate Genesis
- Upload Child Theme | Activate Child Theme Only
- Click on Genesis>Theme Settings in the Dashboard
- Enable Automatic Updates Checked
- Set up and add RSS Feed
- Set Default Layout
- Navigation Settings – Check Include Primary Navigation Menu | Check Fancy Drop Downs
- Enable BreadCrumbs on Posts and Pages.
- Comments: Only Enable Comments on Posts and trackbacks
- Content Archives – Set to display Excerpts | Check to include the featured image thumbnail | Select Numeric Post Navigation
- Blog Page: Set to Display All Categories \ Number of Blog Posts = 10
- All other settings as default
- Save Settings
From the users tab on the Dashboard, I always set up two Admin users for my WordPress install. Be careful as users with administrator privileges can make any change to the content or the website itself. For security, do not use “Admin” as the user name.
- Users: Change Password of Admin |Add another Admin User.
Plugins are a very important part of your website. You want to make sure the plugins that you use are intelligent, beautiful and lightweight. Poorly designed plugins can really slow you sight down, so do your homework before you install.
Install the plugins listed below at a minimum. They are my best recommendations for improved navigation, speed, security, engagement and SEO. Where the setup of the plugin is more complicated, I have included the preferred settings.
• Delete Super Cache and Hello Dolly
• Install BackupBuddy
• Install Disqus (optional) Set up with photo and gmail account
• Install Genesis Simple Edits
• Install Genesis Slider (optional)
• Install Google Analytics for WordPress by Yoast and Set up with Gmail Account
o Create New Profile in Analytics and Grab Tracking Code
o Manually enter code in Plugin
o Check Track outbound clicks and downloads.
o Uncheck Allow Tracking of unanimous data.
o All other settings as default
• Install Social Profiles Widget and Set up
• Install WordPress SEO by Yoast
o Dashboard: Uncheck Anonymous Tracking | Check Security to Disable Advanced SEO | Input Google Webmaster Tools ID
o Google Webmaster Tools: Add Site and Verify for both www and non-www | Configuation> Settings: Choose preference for non-www
o Titles & Meta: Check Noindex Subpages of Archive | Check Top Three Boxes – Clean up the Head | Uncheck Force Re-Write Titles
o Titles>Home: Homepage Title %%sitename%% %%sep%% %%sitedesc%% | Homepage Meta – Blank | Check Author Highlighting
o Titles>Post: Posts Title: %%title%% %%page%% %%sep%% %%sitename%% | Meta Desc: %%excerpt%%
o Titles>Post: Pages Title: %%title%% %%page%% %%sep%% %%sitename%% | Meta Desc: None
o Titles>Post: Images Title: %%title%% %%page%% %%sep%% %%sitename%% | Meta Desc: None
o Titles>Tax: Cat Title: %%term_title%% Archives %%page%% %%sep%% %%sitename%% | Meta Desc: None
o Titles>Tax: Tags Title: %%term_title%% Archives %%page%% %%sep%% %%sitename%% | Meta Desc: None | Check NoIndex
o Titles>Tax: Format Title: %%term_title%% Archives %%page%% %%sep%% %%sitename%% | Meta Desc: None | Check NoIndex
o Titles>Other: Disable Author Archives | Disable Date Archives
o XML> General: Check Ping Yahoo and Ping Ask | Exclude Taxonomies: Check Tags | View XML in plugin and Add to Google Web Tools
o Internal Links: Check Enable BreadCrumbs
• Install WP Smush.It
• Install Genesis Simple Hooks
• Install Genesis Simple Sidebars (optional)
• Install W3 Total Cache
o General: Uncheck Toggle
o Page Cache: Check Enable | Method: Disk Enhanced
o Minify: Check Enable | Mode: Manual | Other as default
o Database: Uncheck Enable
o Object: Uncheck Enable
o Browser: Check Enable
o CDN: Uncheck Enable
o Varnish: Uncheck Enable
o Network: Uncheck Enable
o Misc: Default Settings: Only Check Verify Rewrite Rules, Enable News, Enable Google Page
o All other settings: Default
o Empty All Caches
From the Settings tab in the Dashboard, the following changes will need to be made to these sections. These control the overall settings to your website and are important. Not all of the default settings are best for every install.
• General: Set Title, Tagline, URL to match Google Web Tools Preference, Chicago Timezone, All others on default
• Settings>Writing: Defaults
• Settings>Reading: Defaults
• Settings>Discussion: All Default Except: Before a comment appears: Check Admin must always approve. Uncheck Author previously approved.
• Settings>Media: All default
• Settings>Privacy: Allow Search Engines to Index
• Settings>Permalinks: Postname
Social profiles are used to guide visitors to your RSS, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Linkedin profiles. I think these are important because not everyone will engage you on your website. However, most will not hesitate to tweet or message a question.
Social Profiles Setup – Need Social Account URLs
Author Highlighting or Author Markup
Author Highlighting is a process where Google attributes the content created to an individual as well as a website. When set up correctly your photo will show next to your content in the search results. This provides an increase in your click thru rate today and has significant importance to SEO in the future. The easiest way to set up the Author Highlighting is to use the WordPress SEO plugin listed above.
Setup Author Highlighting
• Complete Author Meta Data in Yoast SEO Plugin – Titles>Home
• Link Gmail account to Website
This checklist assumes that you have a basic knowledge of the WordPress and the Dashboard. If this is all new to you, some additional research will help fill in the gaps when you are confused.
Have questions? Be sure to leave them below!