1. Domains & Hosting

DNS changes take time to propagate but after configuring the install on the web server I sat at my screen for 30 minutes hitting CNTL + F5 unsuccessfully. Something was wrong. I had forgotten that a domain name has to be told where to direct a request. It doesn’t happen “auto magically”.

I updated the A record to point to the host IP. Inconsistently over the next 4-6 hours I was able to access the site.

2. Analytics and Indexing

Websites are like – we put a lot of stuff in them, hope family and friends visit often, and rely on a good foundation. When launching a site make sure you have the following configured:

Google Analytics –  You have a live website, make sure you get an immediate feel for interest and what pages are most visited. This can be useful to define content strategy.

Inspectlet – I like this service to understand what users are doing on the site. Inspectlet provides heatmaps and screen captures of visits. I hope to share this data over time.

Robots.txt – To ensure proper indexing all sites should have robots.txt set up at the root. My current robots.txt is simple but I intend to customize further.

3. WordPress Plugins

For a long time I assumed that to have a WordPress site I needed to know PHP. Plugins allow me to build out greater functionality with few PHP/JS/CSS updates. I recommend:

Contact Form 7 –  Simple tool that allows full functionality and control over your contact form.

Remember to set the From email to send from your domain!