Dev Sites for Dummies
So you’re thinking about building a new WordPress website.
Great! While it may seem like an overwhelming process, with a little planning your site design is going to go swimmingly.
The first thing that anyone needs to think about when preparing to work on a new WordPress site is setting up a development environment. A development environment is a clean installation of WordPress, sans any themes, plugins, and extra code. How you set up your development site is dependent on what you’re trying to do. So, I ask you, what are you doing with this new site? (Clickable links!):
If this is only the start of your webventure, the hardest part of setting up a WordPress site is settling on a domain and a host. Once you’ve gone through the motions of purchasing your new hosting account and domain, many hosts like SiteGround and GoDaddy have an automated WordPress installation feature. No need to install any files yourself, and you can always lean on the host’s support to get you set up and running. While you’re developing, I’d suggest going to Settings > Reading and checking the box for “discouraging search engines from indexing your site.” This will keep the Google Spiders at bay so they’re not cataloging something you’re not ready for the world to see just yet. From here, you’ll just need to find a theme and get working.
Should you have a website and wish to create a separate, unique WordPress website, you can likely use the same server. I’d suggest doing so by installing WordPress on a subdomain or subdirectory using your current domain. If you haven’t purchased a domain yet, you can set up your current domain to work with the new install.
If you have a new domain, you can point this to the subdomain or subdirectory install. Keep in mind that this will use the same server resources as your current site, so if you’re planning on developing a behemoth, you might think about a separate hosting account entirely.
There are many reasons why you may want to rework your site over time: maybe you developed on a Child Theme that isn’t aging gracefully, or perhaps your theme’s developers went AWOL. Even if you’re just giving your current site a facelift, a fresh WordPress installation will cut out some of the extra jive that may be cluttering up your site.
If you’re wanting to make a copy of your site, I’d suggest doing so by installing WordPress on a subdomain or subdirectory, making a copy of your site using FTP software or a plugin like Updraft Plus, and re-deploying the site on that fresh install. This will let you rip out plugins and CSS, install new themes, and delete content without breaking the live version of the site. While you’re developing, I’d suggest going to Settings > Reading and checking the box for “discouraging search engines from indexing your site.” This will keep the Google Spiders at bay so they’re not cataloging something you’re not ready for the world to see just yet.
Now that you’ve gotten your new site where you want it to be, it’s time to push it to the front in full view of the internet community!
When you’re ready to launch your site refresh, it’s as simple as changing out the current PublicHTML files with your subdirectory WordPress install (remember to keep the old files unless you’re confident that you won’t need them) and changing the primary domain in the database wp_options.
If you purchased a new hosting account and domain, your site is technically live. Just be sure to take off that Settings > Reading protection so that your site is indexable by search engines and you’re ready to go!
That’s it! Your work is now live for the world to see. Of course, if you hit any snags here, Roundpeg is always available to help with your web woes – be it setting up a site, wrestling with strategy, or developing a brand image. Until then, sign up for our newsletter to get helpful marketing tips directly in your inbox.