For developers, to inherit a WordPress website is not only about taking over a WordPress website from the former owner. Inheriting an existing WordPress website means lots of responsibilities come to you.
To help you inherit a WordPress website smoothly and keep it running well, we compose this guide to highlight 10 things that you need to know and do when you are inheriting a WordPress website. Now, let’s check out the 10 things one by one in below.
1. Create Password Vault – Get Access
According to our experience, we believe the first thing for you when inheriting a WordPress website is to collect all usernames and their passwords, which should include the web hosting account’s password, CDN password, FTP password, domain management password, the passwords to all the third-party premium plugins, as well as any other basic things you need to manage the existing WordPress website.
Of course, if you can keep in touch with the old website master or developer of the inherited WordPress website, that’s great, because you can obtain all the information in detail that you need.
To make sure you get all password information and manage them well, especially for the developers working with several clients, we sincerely recommend you to build a Password Vault by using LastPass or 1Password. The two platforms enable you secretly save and organize your passwords in groups, making sure you will not be overwhelmed by various passwords.
2. Change All Admin Passwords and Emails
After you received and organized all password details, you should change them all, which is the best practice for the website security. Once you change all the existing Admin passwords, the old developer or owner cannot access the WordPress website and make any change on your site.
Besides, we recommend you to update all admin contact emails. There are many cases that after developers inherited a WordPress website, and they often forgot to update their admin emails in the WordPress settings page. Then, it caused that they missed some important notifications. Therefore, here we recommend you to make your admin emails update to ensure the right person get all important messages.
3. Learn the WordPress Website Well
Now you really have full control over the WordPress website, BUT we still recommend you do not make any change to the WordPress website now. We think it is more important to learn the website well, instead of starting to create anything new on the site. Supposed that you don’t know WordPress, or don’t understand WordPress plugins’ functionality or important, how can you manage it smoothly and efficiently? That’s why we recommend you to get familiar with WordPress, its plugins, themes as well as widgets the WordPress website is using first.
Once you take notes and are familiar with the WordPress website, you still have an important step to go, which is to back up the whole website. It is very, very important, making sure that you can easily get your site be reversed to the original one, in case of any accident or failure.
5. Update User Roles & Permissions
When inheriting a WordPress website, to check out which users needing what permissions by working with your clients is one of your prior practices. To do this is to limit administrator user roles to those who indeed need it.
According to the website and the needs, you many need to reset the passwords for all users sometimes.
6. Conduct Security & Performance Scanning
For you, the WordPress website is totally new. So, to conduct security and performance scanning is very important. To make it, you can make use of Sucuri. Or, you can bother your web hosting company to ask a security scanning service, to get rid of development issues. Many web hosting companies are willing to offer free website security scanning service.
About performance, many WordPress experts recommend Google Page Speed which is a professional tool to scan website performance and provide you with a lot of recommendations and insights.
Additionally, you should also check out you site caching and see if it is configured in place. If you site does not have a CDN, then we think you can consider adding one on site. It is to improve website performance with fast page loading time.
7. Check for SEO Integration and Proper Tracking
For beginners, they often add Google Analytics in their WordPress themes. For you, you’d better move it into a site-specific plugin. If you check out that your new WordPress website does not have any tracking tool turned on, then we think to set up Google Analytics is the best choice for you.
Also, you have to check out if the WordPress website has been properly submitted to Google Webmaster Tools. Besides, you need to check for the sitemaps and see whether they are functioning well, or they are properly submitted to Google Webmaster Tools.
In addition to that, verified Google Authorship is also need to be checked.
8. Implement Version Control
As for developers, we highly recommend you to implement the version control for the WordPress website. By using BitBucket or GitHub, the process will be very easy. Or, you can choose to create a WordPress staging site to make sure you get a stable environment for testing before you push things live. If you are working with a larger customer, this is a must.
9. Spring Cleaning
After familiarizing yourself with the new WordPress website, you can start to clean up all the unnecessary stuff on the site. All existing but unnecessary user accounts and inactive WordPress themes now can be deleted.
Besides, you should login to the WordPress databases and make database optimization. There are some bad plugins still leaving their database tables after they are deleted. So, when check for your database, you should pay attention to those database tables. Once you find them, you must delete them for the best WordPress website.
10. Improve Website!!!
Now, you can keep communication with your clients and know what they need so as to make right improvements on those parts. We recommend you to make a thorough code audit to figure out how to make these website improvements. Debug mode and scripts and code checking are easy-to-use way to make website improvements.
The things above are the must things we think you should do when you are taking over a new WordPress website. If you can do as the list above, we believe you can smoothly inherit and run the WordPress site well.