If you have been following my tutorials on creating a website you should now have a functioning bare bones site. It is now time to add some functionality to your site and take some precautionary steps to secure your site.

What is your site about?

Depending on what your site depends on the functionality that you require. For instance if you have a site about a hobby you may add a forum, yet a forum would probably be misplaced on a small business site, and so on.

So you really need to identify your site users, who is going to be viewing and using your site. Who will your site appeal to, What are the possible age ranges and technical capabilities of your site users. These factors can decide what functionality your site should provide.

Secure your site

But ignore the end user functionality for a second, in my opinion we need to secure your WordPress installation first. The following plugins provide a good solution to reducing the amount of time spent on identifying and removing spammers and spam registrations, as well as some other security tools for WordPress.

Askimet Pluginhttp://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/akismet/
Comments are checked against the Askimet web service to see if the comments look like spam. Any spam comments are moved to a spam folder for you to review at a later date. Very good accuracy rate.
Stop Spammers Registration Pluginhttp://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/stop-spammer-registrations-plugin/
Any email address that is being used to register on your site is automatically checked against the Stop Forum Spam database. If a match is found they cannot register with your site.
Project Honey Pot Spam Traphttp://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/project-honey-pot-spam-trap/
Invisible links are scattered throughout your blog that only Bots can see these. Their IP addresses will be tagged and this info will be sent back to ProjectHoneyPot.org
Secure WordPresshttp://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/secure-wordpress/
Registered users can have a lot of access to useful information that will help them if they decide to hack your site. This plugin will remove some of that information (as well as doing some other minor tweaks) such as removing update notices to non-admins, removes the WordPress version number, error-information on login page, etc.
Login Lockdownhttp://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/login-lockdown/
Every failed login attempt is logged (IP Address & Timestamp). If a certain amount of login attempts are failed within a short time period then the login function is disabled for one hour (default setting) for the IP range.
WordPress Firewallhttp://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordpress-firewall/
Scans every request made on your site and block suspicious requests and notifies the blog admin of any reported attack on the site. Very handy for reducing SQL attacks against a WordPress site as well as mnay other useful security features.

To install any of these plugins, login as an Administrator to your WordPress site and go to “Plugins > Add New” and then do a search for the name of the plugins. Once you have found the correct plugin, just click on Install, and then Activate. Some of the plugins will need configured before being used, just follow on any screen instructions provided by the Plugin or on the Plugin information page on WordPress.

Adding other functionality

What makes WordPress so good to use, is the ease of usage and the wide availability of plugins and widgets that have been developed and is available for free. Most Plugins and Widgets can be installed and removed without any detrimental effects to your WordPress installation, but always check the documentation with each plugin first.

WordPress has a wide range of plugins available so you can turn your site into a Social Network, display portfolios, provide social bookmarking, conduct your own SEO, and much more. The best way forward is to decide what features and functions you want on the site and then do a search to see if a plugin is available to provide you with the feature.

All your searches should be done at: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/.

Change the way your site looks

Another good thing about WordPress is the availability of free themes and for those that want custom themes there is a paid option by other developers. One word of warning though, you should only install a free theme that comes from the WordPress site. The reason for this is that there is many online sites that are providing free themes, and a majority of them I have tested and found that most of these free themes contains encrypted and embedded links to Casino sites, Pharmacy sites etc that cannot be removed without good working knowledge of various scripting languages.

So only download a free theme from WordPress.org. WordPress changed how you can browse the free themes, and in my opinion it is harder to find a decent theme without knowing what you are looking for so I personally do a Google Image search for themes to use. If you wish to use a Google Image search for potential themes for your site, do a search for the term: site:http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/

Or if you want to try and find a theme on WordPress visit: http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/

Installing a theme is much the same way as installing a plugin. If you are logged into your site as an Administrator, go to “Appearance > Themes > Install Themes” do a search for terms or the name of the Theme you want for your site, once found, click on install and activate.

If you have some knowledge of HTML or image editing, you can customise your theme further to personalise it better for your site or company brand. If you haven’t you can then go to a developer and pay for the customisations which should be very cheap as you have already done all the hard work.

Finally

If you have been following these tutorials, you are now ready to launch and promote your site, but just one last step. Make sure that your site is visible to Search Engines. To check this go to “Settings > Privacy” and make sure “I would like my site to be visible to everyone, including search engines (like Google, Bing, Technorati) and archivers” is selected, save the settings, and now you are ready to begin promoting your website.

Help and Support

If you need help with installing WordPress or using WordPress to power your website, I am available in the forums to try and help with any problems you have, or you can post in the comments below.

Related Articles

Step 1 – Getting a Domain Name
Step 2 – Purchasing Web Space
Step 3 – Installing a web site (Open Source)
Step 4 – Adding Content
Step 5 – Adding Functionality
Step 6 – Promoting your website

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