WordPress War Plan

You must align business processES with youR WordPress site plan

When launching any new major WordPress site, there are some things you need to consider. First when I say major, I mean like a multi-site with 100 users… or for me, pretty much any site I charge people to build.

I keep a file on my Dropbox called WordPress_War_Plan. It has links to my plugins folder (which has all my go-to plugins already in it), 3rd party accounts (like Gravity forms, Jetpack & Zoho CRM), and hosting plans (I actually select the hosting plan/provider by the project size, scale and traffic scalability strategy).

My war plan also has reminders and checklists for setting up a site. Tid bits like “Step 3. Set your permalinks” or “W3 Total Cache plugin is disallowed on WPEngine hosting”. I find that by following along these checklists and reminders, I limit the possibility for mistakes and work weekends.

My War Plan is mine. It’s stuff that has worked for me. I suggest you make your own, stuff that works for you. Here’s a peek at that critical items I have considered when launching a new WordPress site:


  1. User Provisioning
    You must have a solid user provisioning plan in place before launch. If I am implementing a multi-site with many types of users and permissions I’ll often turn to a provisioning plugin like WHMCS MU Provisioning . Also, it’s important to have a business process for bringing on new users. For instance subscribers may be auto-approved and added to a subscriber mailing list, while a new editor may need to be added by an Admin and approved by a SuperAdmin, then have there account tested for provisioning before they are granted access. 
  2. Passwords
    You may also want to implement a strict password protocol. Some Admins prefer to automatically reset passwords while others prefer to manually approve resets. Plugins like Force Strong Passwords ensure your users are using passwords that are more difficult to replicate.
  3. Backups
    Some of my hosting providers have all the resources I need for backing up and retrieving backups. Some of my other clients have hosts that don’t provide these services. [UPDATE: I’m no longer using plugins to backup my client sites. Either they use a host or cloud service that provides fast, secure restores, or they host with me. If they insist on anything else, I fire them.]


  1. Themes
    I like using templates for certain projects. If it’s a beginner site, small business/small budget, or it’s a temporary site, I consider using templates. ThemeForest is my go-to site for these templates. But template have serious cons. Templates are usually bloated with code because the author wants the beginner user to easily login and design their site from the backend with a simple GUI. This also means the browser is loading EVERY POSSIBILITY then deciding what it needs to actually render. 12K lines on CSS, when it’s actually rendering 700 lines. 26 JavaScripts when it’s only using 4. Performance issues due to code bloat are often the cause of high bounce rates and poor search engine indexing. If you’re serious about a high Google placement and a fast performing site, learn to make your own themes/child themes.
  2. Plugins
    I try to use plugins for as little as possible. If I can get a result without touching the core WP code, I’ll avoid using a plugin. If I need to harass the core, I’ll turn to a plugin. NEVER touch the core. I also consider plugins that achieve a certain proficiency as well. For example: I use GravityForms because it seamlessly connects with dozens of popular 3rd party services (like PayPal, Zoho CRM or MailChimp). But also because it offers me total flexibility in creating dynamic forms that more my traffic to buckets that give me incredible analytical insights. And they have an active community of users, great support and they are always improving the product.Why am I so picky about plugins as a last resort? Because plugins slow down your site and every time you add a plugin, you increase your odds of breaking your site. Since plugins are are created by the Wild West of millions of WP users, they aren’t under any umbrella of testers. Plugins can have security leaks, they can crash other plugins, when used in conjunction with each other they can crash your site. You must do a lot of reading, testing, and crashing of plugins before deploying them into your customers’ environments.
  3. CDNs
    I’m partial to Amazon AWS services but there are many great CDN solutions out there. Make sure you’re constantly testing your site. I have a service called UptimeRobot that texts me when my sites are not performing well. Just because you’re paying for better performance, doesn’t mean they are providing it.


  1. Lead Nurturing / CRM
    The services I have the most success with are (in alphabetical order): AWeberBase CRMConstantContactHubSpot (my favorite)MailChimp (super easy), Sugar, and Zoho. Some are email distribution services with lists and analytics, some are true CRM systems. The key is to find one that fits your budget and allows you the most insights, the best conversions, and the most overall ROI. Like a said before I user Gravity forms in concert with these other tools because thay work well together.I also have a strategy that I have nearly perfected called “Cattling” where I can herd visitors into predefined buckets using a combination of dynamic forms and attraction techniques. This is my own system, I work hard on it for over a decade and I won’t share it with you unless you’re a paying customer (not sorry).
  2. Social Media
    If there are 2 things I’ve learned about Social Media over the years is:

    1. If you aren’t “all-in” it won’t work. Pay for and immerse yourself with social media monitoring tools and have a social media nurturing plan… or DON’T DO ANYTHING.
    2. Your social strategy is not smart if:
      • Your target is business people and you’re Facebook-heavy
      • Your target is 12-24 yr old and you’re using Twitter or Facebook (they don’t care)
      • Your product is mobile and you have no mobile social strategy

      Having 1000 Facebook friends and 300 Followers on Twitter does not make you a Social Media Expert. Hire one. Get a real plan together. Stop kidding yourself.

      Once you have a true social media plan together you’ll need to explore which SMSaas plugin serves your strategy and processes the best.


  1. Plugin Library
    Document all your plugins, what issues you’ve had, what combos work best. I try to get developers licenses for the ones I use the most. It saves me money in the long run and I usually get access to better support.
  2. Security
    I put in every client file: User/Pass for Hosting, Domain Reg, FTP, WP Admin, etc., etc., etc.


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