More on WordPress Themes and Plugins.
Creating an Under Construction Page
In this post we'll learn more about WordPress Themes and Plugins by creating an Under Construction page and installing Yoast SEO and WooCommerce. We've had an introduction to installing a plugin and putting basic security in place, let's continue setting up our site. We still need to install a theme and make a child version of it to protect changes getting overwritten by updates. We should implement some SEO strategy, have an idea of analytics, get the e-commerce portion of our site up and running and be prepared for email campaigns. Whew! Now, although that sounds like a lot, we can handle much of it with tried and tested, well known plugins, and that will make our lives much much easier.
First things first though. Given that the site is in development, it would be prudent to add an 'Under Construction or 'Coming Soon' page, and you guessed it, there's a plugin for that too! We'll be using the 'Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode' by SeedProd, and so to include it, go to Plugins -> Add New.
Search for 'Coming Soon Page' and install and activate the plugin by Seedprod. Once activated, it should open to the settings page by default. If not, go to Settings -> Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode in the dashboard.
Check 'Enable Coming Soon Mode' in the top panel. The Coming Soon page is now enabled, so if you log out and go to your home page or click 'Live Preview' you'll be met by a blank screen. On the top right of your dashboard, the mode is indicated in red. Under the 'Page Settings' panel, set the logo by uploading an image. If you don't have a logo, well there are a couple of options.
The first is you can make one yourself. If you want to do this and don't have either Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, there are a couple of full featured packages available for creating graphics. They are Inkscape ( an open source version of Illustrator, great for vector graphics ) and Gimp, which is more like Photoshop and also very good.
The second is to use a service like Fiverr ( see the link to the right ), and have someone create a logo for you. When you're ready, continue to upload your image. By clicking on the 'Media Image Library' button, you'll be looking through folders on your local computer to find an image to upload to the content folder of your WordPress installation on the server.
There are two tabs in the Media Library. 'Upload Files' and 'Media Library'. Go to 'Upload Files' and click the 'Select Files' button in the middle of the screen. You're now browsing the file system on your local machine. Once the appropriate image is found click 'Open' and the image will be uploaded to the Media Library. Click the blue 'Insert Media' button in the bottom right hand corner and the image will be set.
When that's done add your Headline and Message and the 'Coming Soon' page could be called complete. I say 'could be called complete' because we could go deeper into this plugin creating a button to take us to a contact form ( which I'll cover in a later post ), or work through the 'Design' tab ( which I'll leave to you ). However, it would be prudent at this point to move on and continue with our online business. Click 'Save Settings' and hit the 'Live Preview' tab to see what your page looks like.
Installing SEO Yoast and WooCommerce
Ok, so now that the site is relatively secure and has an 'Under Construction' page, let's continue building our online business. The two plugins we next require are WooCommerce, for setting up an online store, and to help us Yoast SEO with Search Engine Optimisation. Once again, go to Plugins -> Add New and search for then install and activate both WooCommerce and Yoast SEO.
Both of these plugins have setup wizards to aid in configuration. The process is pretty simple and these screenshots provide a sample of to use the wizard. I skipped the first step in the wizard, opting to create my own pages later on. Another note - there are helpful tips at the top and bottom of each of the steps indicating how WooCommerce can be configured later on in the WordPress dashboard.
Similarly with Yoast SEO. To activate the wizard, go to the SEO menu link in the dashboard once the plugin is activated. There will be 2 items in the Notifications card with links to start the wizard, and to connect to the Google Search Console. Clicking on the first link will walk you through the wizard, the screenshots for which are posted here. While going through the wizard, you'll also be asked to connect to the Search Console, which will take care of the second notification.
In a later post we'll augment Yoast SEO by setting up a Google Web Property and activating Google Analytics, but for now, we're done here. In the next post we'll learn about installing a theme and how to go about customising it. Stay tuned!