Strategies for a Quick Product Launch using WordPress

by Jake Rocheleau

on August 19, 2013

in Wordpress

When building a new project you often need to decide how to handle the backend. Should you build something from scratch, or toy around with a CMS engine? I have preferred using WordPress for many online projects because it provides a repeatable strategy for quick launches with fewer issues.

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In this guide I want to introduce how you can build quick products online powered by WordPress CMS. The open source PHP/MySQL engine started as a blogging platform which has grown to include custom post types and many other advanced features. It can fit into almost any type of website making it flexible and valuable to new projects.

WP Means Security

First and foremost I take my time with security. What use is creating a new website and publishing content if the entire project is vulnerable? Not just to spam comments or manipulation, but possibly even complete loss of your database. Thankfully WordPress is one of the most secure scripts out there.

As long as you keep up-to-date with the latest version of WP you will be alright. Plus there are many free open source plugins which counter against hacking attempts. For example the WP Limit Login Attempts will place a limit on each IP for the amount of times they can login. After so many failed attempts they will be locked out for a certain period of time. Brute force attacks are a problem among many WordPress sites, but with so many free plugins the issue can be handled efficiently. Plus it doesn’t require a whole bunch of extra time spent coding.

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Building with Themes

Templating engines can range from confusing to mildly annoying, and there are some easier ones out there as well. I would say that WordPress is somewhere in the middle because you often run into deprecated functions which need to be reconfigured or reformatted. The online documentation is a good place to start learning about themes.

The whole backend system can be used for building themes, plugins, widgets, etc. But it will take a bit of time and practice to learn all the major PHP functions. Thankfully there are a number of free themes you can download to understand how other developers are doing it. The WordPress community is really what helps this CMS jump out & stand apart from the others.

You can Google search almost any topic about WP and probably find some results. Bloggers have been writing tips & strategies about managing WordPress sites for years. It has never been easier to get started running your own WordPress website or even a network of websites.

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Theming is also very easy once you understand the basics, and the other advanced stuff can be learned along the way. If you have the extra money consider grabbing a premium theme to really make your website stand apart from the crowd.

Content Generation

When structuring a new launch on WordPress you can basically plan out the entire process. First you will need a domain followed by a custom-coded theme or a pre-built one. Afterwards you need to start building content which is also easy once you have practiced a little bit. The backend interface looks exactly the same in all WordPress websites, so the sooner you get accustomed to these features the quicker you can push through tasks.

The post content admin page allows you to include extra stuff like featured images or meta boxes. You can actually take in custom metadata like external URLs, file downloads, source credits, practically anything you would need to display in a post or page. By customizing a plugin or editing your theme’s functions.php file you can mold WordPress around any content system you need.

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This is why I like to emphasize “quick” product launches. The startup culture likes to focus on Minimum Viable Product(MVP) to get something online quickly and learn from the feedback. WordPress is an excellent system for testing out new ideas and then rapidly improving as you study user behavior. Good content will come from practice so don’t be afraid to really delve into WordPress and see what it has to offer.

The Backend System

Looking into the PHP backend you will notice there are a number of scattered functions which all relate to different pieces of the puzzle. Plugins and widgets are like smaller customized functions which allow you to extend the default configuration. It has lead to powerful solutions like bbPress for online forums and BuddyPress for social networking capabilities.

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If you like building products over WordPress then I would recommend getting familiar with the backend system. It does not take a lot of time but you will need a website to practice with. Following this guide you can setup a WP site, customize the settings, and start publishing content all within a day.

The process of locating a great theme and refining the layout will take a lot more time. But the sooner you get started, the sooner you can learn from various mistakes along the way. Plus if you are struggling with some concepts do not be afraid to ask for help! WordPress Stack Exchange is a community full of smart developers who are often willing to work with you solving a bug or error in your code.

Final Thoughts

Although WordPress is a fantastic resource for building websites, it certainly can’t provide everything. Sometimes it is a better idea to create something from scratch or code on top of a backend framework. If you are more interested in topics of Internet marketing, content publishing, or just being a webmaster, then WordPress is one of the best choices for getting adjusted and learning the ropes.

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About Jake Rocheleau

Jake is a digital researcher and writer on many popular design magazines. He frequently writes on topics including web design, user experience, mobile apps, and project management. You can find him all throughout Google and tweeting @jakerocheleau. Connect with Jake on google+