If you run a web design and development business then you must relate to the pain and frustration of building websites from scratch every single time whenever starting a brand new project. Hence in order to address your pain points and make things easier, I am going to share our process of dealing with this situation that I call Website Blueprints.
In the beginning, I used to do the same as every rookie does, for example:
- Installing WordPress on the server
- Adding the essential theme and plugins
- Activating the licenses of each paid plugin
- Necessary customization of the theme and each of the plugins
- Custom templating if necessary (In case of using Oxygen Builder, Bricks Builder, etc.
Once all the above-mentioned steps are completed then start working on page design and feature building stuff that is usually custom work and unique for each project.
After working on multiple personal and client website building projects I realized that we need a system and process in order to save our time and reduce our effort on each project that we are spending unnecessarily.
I got this great idea from one of my favorite YouTubers Ali Abdaal while taking his Productivity Masterclass course on Skillshare.
Every Repetitive Task Should Be Automated.Ali Abdaal
I learned that the day-to-day repetitive tasks from my personal life and business could be automated or semi-automated. This means now I can save a lot of my time and energy on repetitive tasks by automating them.
As soon as I get to know about it I decided to create a system and process for my business and the very first process was creating some ready-to-use variable website blueprints with different stacks of tools in order to save time and reduce efforts on the website building projects.
Therefore in this article, I am going to share with you the process that I built and use for our website building projects, so if you want to learn everything to implement the same in your business then read this entire article carefully.
So let's get started!
Multiple Websites with Different Tool Stacks
If you run a web design and development business then you must be using different tool stacks for different kinds of projects which means one size fits all formula will not work in this case.
Therefore I suggest you brainstorm and make a list of all the tool stacks that you consistently use on your various projects.
Once you know which tool stack is required for what type of project then you need to set up multiple websites and each should contain different tool stacks.
For example; if you use WordPress for your website building projects then you can create multiple blueprints using a different set of themes and plugins for different categories of projects.
Let me share with you a few ideas with my favorite tool stacks:
- Blocksy Theme, Native Gutenberg + Editor Plus, and Other Essential plugins for a simple blog website blueprint.
- Bricks Builder or Zion Builder and Other Essential plugins for simple custom-designed website blueprint.
- Oxygen Builder and must-have tool stack (Oxygen Builder Add-ons & Compatible Plugins) for complex custom-designed website blueprint.
- Kadence Blocks or Stackable Blocks with Kadence Theme or Blocksy Theme and Other Essential plugins for custom Gutenberg website blueprint.
Now you have a clear idea about variable website blueprints and you might have different requirements depending on your business strategy and the set of tools you use for your agency thus you may need to create completely different types of website blueprints to semi-automate your business needs.
Consistent Domain or Sub-Domain Naming Structure
As soon as you properly plan the multiple website blueprints as I explained in the above section now you need to create a logical and consistent domain or sub-domain structure for your website blueprints.
These domains or subdomains will be used to host your website blueprints therefore logically defined names would be very helpful for ease of access and understanding just by looking at it by anyone from your team.
You can use multiple domains for this structure but it won't be as consistent or cost-effective as compared to the sub-domain naming structure.
Therefore in this case I will use a sub-domain naming structure with a few examples considering your website blueprints are going to be completely WordPress-based.
Here are my ideas for sub-domain and WordPress based naming structures:
Must-Have Tool Customizations & Templating
So I'm considering that you have already planned the naming structure as well as created your website blueprints with a different stack of tools so now you just need to perform must-have or you can say global setting customization for each tool used in the website blueprints and create essential templates.
For your information, it doesn't have to be full-fledged customizations of each tool settings or various unnecessary templates because a website blueprint is an earlier stage and you don't know yet what kind of website you're going to build using a particular blueprint as each project might have different requirements.
Therefore just do what is necessary for templating as well as tool setting customizations because that would be more than enough for a website blueprint.
Also must discourage the search engines from indexing the site as well as set up a maintenance page or password lock the website as in this way your site will not be visible to the search engine results and no one will be able to see the site unless they have the password.
Detailed & Well-Organized Documentation
This is a very crucial step because whatever you do if you don't capture the details in the documentation then you end up creating a huge mess because this is not going to be just one website but a network of websites with different technology stacks.
Therefore try to create detailed documentation for each website blueprint separately containing all the details like the set of tools and templates has been used in that particular website blueprint as it will make your life a hell of a lot easier by finding every detail of each blueprint on the document without login into the website itself.
Here is an example of how you should document if it's about a custom complex website blueprint:
(Custom Complex Website Blueprint Documentation)
Basic customizations have been done for each of the plugins except RankMath SEO because this is a step after the project is ready and live on the web.
Stack of Tools:
- Oxygen Builder
- Oxygen Bare Minimum Theme
- Hydrogen Pack
- Recoda Workspace
- Advanced Scripts
- WPVivid Backup
- Many more...
- Blog Archive Template
- Blog Singular Template
- Default Page Template
- Default Taxonomy Template
- Many more...
Website Network Management System
After creating website blueprints for different types of projects you're going to have multiple websites that you would require to manage in order to keep things fresh, updated and secured which is a really time consuming task if you do it manually for each site.
Therefore for that reason, you're going to need a solution that allows you to manage and perform updates for all your website from one single dashboard.
If you're using WordPress then there are great solutions available like MainWP and ManageWP but for other platforms, you need to figure it out yourself as I don't have any idea about other platforms.
In the case of WordPress-based blueprints a few things I recommend to manage your websites are as follows:
- Regularly Update WordPress Core
- Regularly Update Theme
- Regularly Update Plugins
- Regular Full Website Backup
- Website Security Checkup
- Websites Are Working
- Many more...
Easy Website Import & Export Solution
This is the part that is as crucial as building the website blueprint itself because if you have set up something like that then it means you want to use it for the new website over and over again to quickly start the website project by saving some time and energy.
There are many ways you can import and export websites but if you're a WordPress guy like me then I would highly recommend the All-in-One Migration plugin because it never fails me and always help me import and export websites from one server to others.
Apart from AIO Migration, there are other free as well as paid solutions available for WordPress CMS like Duplicator, Migrate Guru, WPVivid, and many more.
In this article, I have shared the complete process of setting up and managing the website blueprint that I use for my website building business which might not be flawless but we find it really helpful.
If you have some other system and process for building and managing website blueprints then feel free to share it in the comment section below as it might be helpful for the readers and our community.
Also if you have to ask or say something about this website blueprint topic in particular then don't hesitate to express your thoughts.
I believe you found this article super valuable and helpful for your website design and development business as it shows the exact process of saving huge time and effort for your day-to-day website projects.
Therefore if you agree with me then consider sharing it with your circle of people who may also find this website blueprint process valuable.
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