Category Archives: Foundation

All aspects of hosting, installing and configuring a WordPress web business.

Deploy WordPress The Shrewd Way

Deploying WordPress is a cinch if you’ve prepared properly.

If you do not have a deployment plan, please read my WordPress Preparation pages. Most of the steps apply to any platform, so still prepare a deployment plan even if you’re not using WordPress.

Deploy WordPress: Installation Checklist

Now it is simply a question of following the steps:

  1. Add domain to server
  2. Check DNS settings are correct with domain registrar
  3. Switch on CDN and cache service, Google Analytics, and Webmaster Tools in CloudFlare
  4. Install WordPress
  5. Change WordPress settings per Shrewdies configuration guide
  6. Add WordPress plugins per Shrewdies functionality guide
  7. Select and clone WordPress Theme per Shrewdies format guide
  8. Create Google Custom Search Engine, and apply to website
  9. Configure FeedBurner service
  10. Configure taxonomy per deployment guide
  11. Create Admin pages per Shrewdies configuration guide.
  12. Configure widgets and menus per Shrewdies format guide.

Deploy WordPress: Next Steps

I am currently reorganizing this website to bring all the above guides into one easy-to-find section. I’m also working on a new guide for deploying a live and a development server, with quick ways to switch between the two – ideal if you need to revivify your site without disrupting the live version. Please subscribe to our free update service to make sure you are notified as I publish these guides.

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Your privacy is safe – I will never share your email address with anyone else, and I only use it to keep you updated about Shrewdies

Much of the information you need is already here, so please search for it using the boxes near the top and bottom of every page. If you cannot find what you need, please ask in the website support forum. You can also use that forum to share your opinions and experiences of deploying your own website.

Preparing For WordPress – Do Not Rush It

I’ve lost count of the number of website owners who have come to me for help after rushing into making a website without proper preparation.

I also have to admit making mistakes as a webmaster myself. After a quick chat, requirements seem simple, and I have deployed WP sites in the past without a plan. It is so easy to install and get started with WordPress, but rushed deployment can be a disaster waiting to happen.

The Webmaster Role In WordPress Preparation

Actually, the webmaster role in preparing for WordPress is the same as any other platform. You must insist that the owner has a deployment plan, even if the owner is yourself.

A deployment plan describes the scope of the website project, and a schedule of tasks required to complete it. Though it describes the specific tasks you need to take to install and configure WordPress, it goes beyond that. By making the boundaries and expectations clear, your deployment plan stops you wasting time on tasks that are not relevant. What is the point of configuring spam filters and discussion settings if the owners have no intention of inviting the community to deface their creation with comments?

There are hundreds of decisions to be made when you deploy a website, and thousands more when you operate and improve it. If the purpose of the website is clear, you can make these decisions easily.

Now, it is mainly a management task to complete the deployment plan, and so I cover most of the detail on Shrewdies Web Business Management website. However, the plan will be better if you are involved in the preparation of it. I will link to relevant pages on that website that every webmaster should be aware of.

Read more about preparing for WordPress

Help Yourself to a Website the Shrewdies Way

Do you want a shrewd way to create your own website? Let’s do it better, let’s see how to build your own website the Shrewdies Way.

Build Your Own Website: Preparation

Everyone assumes that building your own website starts with registering a domain name at or other domain registrar. It does not.

If you have an existing business, then domain name selection to match your business name is important, but let’s take a step back.

You must advise on the strategies needed to plan information, ecommerce, and community aspects of your website. You must assess the server requirements to handle projected traffic. You need to ensure that deployment timescales are important.

See how to plan, deploy, and improve your own website

Business Hosting Needs Your Credibility

I have explained some basic business hosting issues recently, as part of relaunching this WordPress Web Hosting website. However, I have not yet covered the most important basic principle – credibility.

Credible Business Hosting

If you are a new webmaster, or contemplating hosting your own web business, you are likely to be completely confused by an avalanche of opinion and argument about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I have written about the futility of concentrating too much on SEO, so here is my best tip about it:

Ignore any website or book that does not explain the importance of credible authorship

Keyword research will always be important, but only when considered in a credible environment. You have to create that credibility by verifying who you are. Then create great content that links you as an author with the topics that people search for using keywords. That is my only mention of keywords for today – let’s get back to credibility, and how you can achieve it.

Continue reading Business Hosting Needs Your Credibility and learn how you achieve it

New Email Policy For Shrewdies

My new email policy describes the best way to contact me via email and other Internet based messaging services. It also assures you of your email privacy. I value my own email privacy, and I would never do anything to hurt yours.

I never share your email address with anyone else. Furthermore, I do not generate sales newsletters, so when you contact me, I only use your contact details to communicate about the subject you have asked about, and I do not promote other parts of my web business to you.

Continue reading about email policies and see how to get yours

Simple:Press Forum – Is The Best Good Enough?

Q2A Update

I no longer support or recommend Simple:Press. Please search here for Question2Answer if you want a forum for your hosted WordPress website.

Simple:Press Forum is definitely [edit: no longer] the best forum software I’ve used for WordPress.

There is no WordPress plugin to touch it, and the alternatives are simply too cumbersome to integrate.

For most needs, Simple:Press forum provides all that you need, but I’ve also mentioned before that it is not as simple to administer as some – but only because it has a wealth of options. And under the lid, tweaking the code is not particularly easy – again because there is so much included that it can be hard to find exactly what you want to change.

Mechanics aside, I have been trying for months to develop a simpler alternative built on posts and comments. This is not the most difficult coding challenge, but it is time-consuming, and there always seems something more important to do. Whilst doing the more important things, I noticed that Pods CMS has recently changed there forum for a completely different, simpler interface.

Looking deeper, I saw that it was based on Stack Overflow. Similar, in some ways, to Yahoo Answers, this approach means that we can focus on answering questions. This is a bit of an eye-opener for me, and I realize that promoting a forum to answer questions and share experiences and opinions is asking too much for one application.

I’ve decided to split my forum into a Question And Answer Section and a Discussion Forum. In an ideal world, these would be linked, and it would be absolutely possible to build such a beast with Pods CMS. But the time to build this from scratch means I’d rather look for something usable now, and seek better integration later.

The key here is to find something usable that is easily integrated into WordPress.

Step forward Question2Answer.

I’ve installed it on own of my sites, and I’ll report back on the details later. I’ve no intention to import questions from Simple:Press Forum, as I believe the two applications can work side by side. There will probably be a few more integration issues, but installation of Question2Answer using the WordPress user records was surprisingly easy.

Rather than repeat it here, I’ll refer you to my Question2Answer WordPress installation notes on the author’s support site.

WordPress 3.0 Beta

WordPress 3.0 Beta is now available, so I used it today on a new website.

I wouldn’t normally use a beta version on a production website, but the full release will be available before that site is fully live, giving me a chance to test some new features.

Site installation continues to be simple, and I took the simplest option of using the automatic script provided by my server host. This has the nice option of changing the default admin username to something less guessable – always a good idea for improved security.

WordPress Settings

Settings are the same as version 2, so I made the usual adjustments: Continue reading