Building My First WordPress Site

In this post I will describe my journey of creating my first WordPress site. I will go over how I set up the server, the plugins and optimizations.

Setting up the domain

First I registered the domain: danielkliewer.com with Google Sites. It was quick and easy and only cost $12 a year. Next set up the DNS with Amazon Route 53. Now I copied the name servers from Route. 53 to Google Sites ensuring that both danielkliewer.com and www.danielkliewer.com directed correctly.

Setting up EC2

Next I followed along with this video to set up the Elastic Cloud instance of my WordPress site.

This creates a Linux server on Amazon’s cloud computing servers that has all of the code for the WordPress app. So when someone visits my site the app on the server returns the page. It also includes the administrative access which is the user interface used to edit the site. Following step by step I created the instance on the server choosing the specs that would be used. I chose one of the most basic options as this was all meant to be a learning experience. The more advanced ones cost more.

Now I copied the IP address of the site and went back to Route 53 and edited the name servers to direct to that address. Now when someone visited danielkliewer.com it directs them to the IP address of the cloud server that is running my WordPress site. At this point when I visit my domain it directs to a place filler WordPress site. I can now log into the administrative access and begin to edit the site.

The video was well made and also included how to set up free SSL, which is encryption that makes the site secure enough to handle financial transactions. Since they were using Windows they had to use Putty to SSH into the site, or to log into the terminal of the server. I use Linux and MacOS so I was able to use the terminal to do so. During the setup of the EC2 instance it downloads the ssh key which I use to connect. Once I was connected to the terminal access I ran the following commands:

Command for SSL certificate :

sudo /opt/bitnami/bncert-tool

Command for Remove AWS tag :

sudo /opt/bitnami/apps/wordpress/bnconfig.disabled –disable_banner 1

To Renew The Let’s Encrypt Certificate :

Replacing EMAIL-ADDRESS and DOMAIN with my data –

sudo /opt/bitnami/ctlscript.sh stop

sudo /opt/bitnami/letsencrypt/lego –tls –email=”EMAIL-ADDRESS” –domains=”DOMAIN” –path=”/opt/bitnami/letsencrypt” renew –days 90

sudo /opt/bitnami/ctlscript.sh start

Setting Up WordPress

Now that the server is set up I can complete the rest of the set up from the administrative menu of my page. The Astra Theme seemed like a good choice for my site as it is very clean and easy to use. Now I started designing the main page wanting to show my art and including a picture of three paintings of Russian artists first. I also included video art that I had created as well as a video about an art show I had once. Also I included a feed to my Instagram. Next I set up my blog and created my first entry. On the main page I included links to my blog posts. I created an About and Contact page and created my menu. Carefully I went through all of the settings for appearance, for the Astra them and all of the page settings. I also included a sign up form for Mailchimp email list.

Next I set up my shop. I installed the WooCommerce Plugin and connected it to my Printify store. Printify is a print on demand service that integrates with WooCommerce. It allows me to create any product I want on Printify and it automatically populates the product into the store on my site. Now I set up the payment options using PayPal and Stripe. From my store a person can purchase and pay for an item, the order is sent to Printify who then prints and ships the item all without me having to do anything. The profits are automatically deposited to my bank account. I chose to create prints of my cat art as well as a few shirts.

Plugins

These are the plugins I used for my site:

Astra Pro – to add some features for editing pages

Hummingbird – optimizes the site for faster loading

WebP Converter for Media – convert media to webp for better performance

Jetpack – many uses including allowing access to WordPress.com, security and site performance

Mailchimp for WooCommerce – to create a form to sign up for my email list

Printify Shipping Method – calculates the shipping for the store

Remove Footer Credit – allows the removal of text, in this case the made by WordPress label

Site Kit by Google – allows integration of all Google services

WooCommerce – allows the creation of a store to sell things

WooCommerce Shipping and Tax – for calculating the tax

WooCommerce Strip Gateway – allows using Stripe for payment

Yoast SEO – great tool for managing SEO

I spent a considerable amount of time going though each plugin to ensure that they were properly configured. Hummingbird and Site Kit I used to optimize performance of the site. Next I went though each suggestion but since I chose one of the cheapest options for EC2 I was unable to get the site to pass all of their tests. Also I went through the Site Health Status on the main dashboard to ensure that everything was working well.

Conclusion

I had to google many times to find the correct plugins for what I wanted to do. Hopefully you will find this useful and if you do please leave a comment below. Be sure to check out my art page here.

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