You can set up a new WordPress site or inherit one. The main advantage with the latter is that you get one that is ready to use. You, however, inherit many of the functionalities that the previous owner was using. You may also inherit some of the problems that come with an existing website. Inheritance in WordPress site can also be nerve-wracking. So, manage it properly.
Therefore, you must take the necessary steps to ensure that you keep on enjoying the many benefits of being on the WordPress platform. Fortunately, you have very many plugins and themes on the platform that will allow you to customize the website as you wish.
We will explore what you need to do with regards to inheritance with WordPress in our article below, to make the transition process easy for you.
1. Get The Relevant Information
Before starting any action on the existing WordPress website, you must collect some background information. It is essential to know when it was set up and why. You also need to know who the target audience is and how effective the website has been to date.
When you inherit a WordPress site, the first step you should take is to get pertinent information. You will need access to the password and username. Moreover, you need to know about the domain, email hosting, the control panel, the FTP password, web hosting password, email marketing passwords, and the domain management password.
You must also ensure you get the relevant information about any plugins or themes that the platform may be using. Take advantage of the password manager tools available online to make the process easier for you. You get to store your passwords in one place while ensuring the security of the same.
2. Change The Passwords And Usernames
After you collect all the pertinent information, you should change all the passwords and usernames. It helps you secure your website so that no one else has access to it. You must also remember to change the email address to the one you use. You do not want a situation where you fail to get the relevant notifications because you forgot to change the email address.
Make sure you choose strong passwords to make it difficult for anyone who may try to hack your website. You can make the changes on the All Users page in the WordPress admin area. Do not forget to change your contact details as well.
To change your email, go to setting > General page and input the relevant details.
3. Educate Yourself On the WordPress Website
If you have used WordPress before, now is the time to learn. You do not want a situation where you have a website that you cannot use due to a lack of knowledge. Before you start making changes to the site, understand precisely what functionalities you get from each theme or plugin. Only then can you be sure you will run the platform efficiently.
4. Consider The Hosting Plan
It pays to check what kind of web hosting plan the WordPress website is on. The type of hosting plan you opt for will have a big role to play in the level of efficiency you get from the website.
If, for example, your web host provider does not have sufficient bandwidth, your website may crash or failed to respond when there is a lot of traffic.
If your web host provider does not allow for scalability, the more you grow unless they will be able to handle your demands. It will, therefore, require that you shift to a new provider, which can be very inconveniencing.
Some factors to consider when looking for a provider include:
- Cost implication – we would suggest that you do not focus too much on the price because it will impact on the benefits you get.
- Web host company specialty and expertise.
- Technical specifications and any limitations they may have – do they, for example, have sufficient bandwidth that can support high traffic to your website
- How much support do they offer their customers? – 24/7 customer support is critical in case you run into any issues at any time of the day.
- What additional benefits do you get with the package such as CDNs, DDOS, SSL certificates, firewalls among others?
- How friendly is the user interface?
- What additional security measures do they have in place?
- What do other customers have to say about them?
- Whether the web host company allows for scalability.
The above are just some critical considerations; it is imperative that you do your due diligence before deciding on your WebHost provider.
5. Allocate User Permission
It is critical that you give access to the right people only. You will avoid many issues by restricting user permission. Different people should have different levels of access, including the ability to change images, text, Plugin installations, and video uploading, among others. You can also place restrictions on the number of people who have access to important folders or files.
It may also be a great idea to reset the passwords that you give different users on occasion. In allocating roles, it also gives you a chance to review the functions of each person you grant access to. Ensure that the necessary configurations are in place.
6. Automate the Backups
Backing up your files gives you security against the loss of any critical data. Sometimes, there may be a problem with the website that it could require you to do a total reset. Other times a hacker may gain access to your website, and you may have to format it. It could result in the loss of tons of valuable information, which could be very frustrating, depending on what you use your website for.
When running the data backup process, use any of the relevant WordPress plugins. Take advantage of the storage facilities available on platforms such as Dropbox, Onedrive, and Google Drive, among others. Before you attempt any changes in your WordPress website, ensure you have the backups in place.
Useful Read: How To Optimize UX Audit For WordPress Site?
7. Run Performance And Security Scans
It does not matter how careful the previous owner of the website was with regards to security. It is your responsibility to ensure that you run security scans to ensure that everything is as it should be. Some web hosting companies will do the scan for you as part of their product offering. You can also use some of the WordPress plugins, such as Sucuri to perform a scan. It will identify any threats to your security, such as vulnerabilities and malicious code.
Take advantage of tools such as Google Page Speed to determine how well the website is performing. You will get a lot of insights and recommendations that you can apply to make your site better.
Also, check on the caching capabilities. Consider installing a CDN if it does not already exist. It will help with ensuring that your pages load faster, thus improving the user experience. Some web host providers such as Siteground and Bluehost, offer cashing services as part of their package. WordPress also has plugins such as WP Rocket to help with this function.
8. SEO and Tracking
Many WordPress owners will use Google Analytics for monitoring different metrics on the website. However, once you install the new WordPress theme, you may lose the Google code. You must ensure that Google Analytics still exists once you inherit the platform.
Other things you need to check to include the SEO plugin, Google Search Console, Google webmaster tool, Google Authorship, among others. Also, ensure that you have submitted and indexed to the XML sitemap. It is also essential that your website is mobile-friendly. Search engines use such information to rank the site, thus increasing visibility.
Use tools such as WP checkup to check the performance, SEO, and security. It will give you all the pertinent information and suggestions that you will require in case you need to make any significant improvements. This step is especially critical because you get to troubleshoot, thus eliminating the need to deal with them at a later stage.
9. Staging Site Or Version Control
If you are a web developer and are handling the WordPress inheritance for a client, ensure that you have the version control for the site. If you are doing the transition yourself, you will need to set up a WordPress staging site. The staging site is critical for giving you a stable environment for any testing you will need to do before you go live on any aspects.
Some web host providers will give you a package that includes the staging environment and version control as an integrated package. You can also get affordable pricing on web host providers such as Bluehost and Siteground.
10. Run Available Updates and Upgrades
It is crucial that you ensure that you are running on the latest update available. Simply go to the WordPress dashboard, and you will see the latest themes and plugins available.
11. Clean Up the Website
Think about inheriting and moving into your WordPress website the same way you would if it was a house. You will do a site visit to ascertain that everything is as it should be. In this case, you will carry out an analysis of the themes and plugins that are currently running on the site.
You will then remove what you feel is not necessary and only retain those which provide the functionality to you.
It is vital to note that the previous owner may have downloaded too many plugins. It could impact on the overall cost of running the website. Moreover, it has the ability to slow down the efficiency of your website.
If you find that the previous owner had deactivated any of the plugins, you should consider deleting them. Also, look at how heavy they are so that you can install lighter ones. You will get a lot of information on some of the platforms concerning some of the themes and plugins.
If you find that some of them have very negative reviews, and they are on the site you have inherited, delete them. The same process should apply to the themes. Whatever plugins or themes you finally opt for should give you responsiveness while maintaining their aesthetic appeal. You should also ensure that the theme developers give you sufficient support in case you need it.
12. Document the Processes
Once you are through with running the steps above, you need to document all the processes you have undertaken. It will give you the chance to review the good and the bad. You also get to note any issues that may prove to be of concern later on. You can also address issues such as page loading speeds, readability, navigation, mobile optimization, among others.
13. Launch Your WordPress Website
When you are sure everything is running as it should, it is time to launch your website. You can overwrite the old installation or repoint the DNS. The former may not be very secure, and you should, therefore, consider an alternative. Create a new database and bring in the data from your staging site. You will then need to change the wp-config.php file so that it reflects your new configuration. You must also remember to revise the domain name appropriately.
Inheritance with WordPress comes with its challenges. From our article above, it is clear that you will need to make some changes to it before you start to enjoy everything WordPress has to offer. You need to customize it to your preferences and take care of any issues that it may have.
Use our steps above to make the process seamless. Change the passwords so that you do not give access to the wrong people.
Any visitors to your website should have good experience and fast loading pages. Ensure high levels of security so that you protect your customer data. You must also run the relevant updates and backup your information as appropriate. Pay attention to the web host provider because it will ultimately determine how efficient and user-friendly the website is.
The best part about it is once you have everything in place, you can launch your website and run it as you wish.