Blue Market Website Launch Checklist: 12 Essential Steps to Setting Up Your Website
Thank you for creating a website on Blue Market!
We understand that marketing your business is a big commitment with tons of complexity to navigate.
For this reason, we’ve created this guide to help make your first day with Blue Market a success.
Please set aside around 45 minutes to fully complete the steps outlined in this document.
Once you’re done, you’ll have a fully operational website that contains everything set up except for the specific words and images you want to put on each page.
If you’d like to learn more about what to put on your new website, please review our detailed content marketing guide in our Documentation archive.
1. Collect Your Branding Materials
Your first step should always be to collect the branding materials you’ll use to populate your site.
In general, all users should collect the following resources and information before they start the website setup process:
- Primary Logo
- Favicon Logo
- Color Scheme (~2 to 3 Colors)
- Base Typography Information
Users who run ecommerce sites may also need to collect information on a few of their products so they can quickly get their site up and running (you can always add more products later once the website is up and running).
2. Create the Necessary Pages for Your New Site
Next, you should brainstorm the exact pages you’ll need for your new site.
If you chose to build your website from one of our templates your site will come pre-installed with a few necessary pages (such as a Home page and a Contact page).
If you choose to build your site using our Blank Website Template (or if your template doesn’t come with a specific page you need) you can create the necessary pages using the “Add New” link under the Pages tab.
Importantly, all sites should generally include the following:
- About Us
- Services / Product / Menu (for Restaurants) / Etc.
Note that we’re just creating the pages in this step, and you don’t have to fill in any content on these pages.
Instead, we’re just adding them so we have some links to use in our main navigation menu and so we can update a few basic settings below.
3. Configure Basic Website Settings
Now that we have a few pages to work with, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of setting up your website.
Personally, I prefer to start near the bottom of the side menu in the WordPress dashboard and work my way up, but you can go about changing these settings in any way you like.
Review Your Account
At the bottom of the left menu in your site’s dashboard you’ll find a tab labeled “Account.”
This tab includes some basic information you need to know about your Blue Market account, such as your current subscription plan, your custom domain address, your billing history, and a list of all your websites.
Please confirm that this information is all correct before proceeding with your website setup.
If you find any incorrect or incomplete information, please reach out to one of our customer service representatives and we’ll help you get everything sorted out.
Settings -> General
Under the Settings tab you can find several subpages relating to your website’s core settings.
These pages largely contain information about exactly how your website works, and generally change settings relating to your WordPress installation.
To begin, please navigate to the “General” tab and review the information presented on this page:
- Site Title – Make sure your site’s title is correct (i.e. “Bill’s Fishing Emporium”).
- Tagline – Write a tagline that describes the purpose of your business or website (i.e. “We sell high-quality fishing equipment to last you a lifetime”).
- Administration Email Address – Confirm your site has the correct administrative email address (this is the email that your website will send automated messages and other important information to).
- Site Language – Set your site’s language.
- Timezone – Set your site’s timezone.
- Date Format – Set your preferred date format (this is how dates will display on your website when they’re auto-generated).
- Time Format – Choose your preferred time format (this is how times will display on your website when they’re auto-generated).
- Week Starts On – Choose a day to start your week on (usually either Monday or Saturday).
- Usage Tracking – Most Blue Market websites come pre-installed with the Astra theme, one of the most-used WordPress themes in the world. This theme is developed by a company called Brainstorm Force. The final setting on this page, then, is whether or not you’d like to send tracking data to this theme developer to help them create better themes in the future.
Settings -> Reading
The Reading page under the Settings tab largely governs what displays on your theme’s default homepage and posts page:
- Your Homepage Displays – In most cases (for small businesses at least) you’ll want to click “a static page” and then select your homepage from the following dropdown menu. You can also set a default posts page here if you’d like, though it’s not required.
- Blog Posts Show at Most – This shows how many posts will display on the posts page you selected above. You can leave it as the default.
- Syndication Feeds Show the Most Recent – This shows how many posts your website will send out at once via your RSS feed. Generally, any number between 10 and 30 is fine.
- For Each Post in a Feed Include – Choose how your theme displays post content to browsers when posts are organized into a feed (such as on your posts page).
- Search Engine Visibility – Please confirm that this checkbox is not checked. If you check this box, search engines such as Google may not display your website it all in search results.
Settings -> Discussion
The Discussion page under the Settings tab largely governs how your website deals with user-generated comments:
- Default Post Settings – Most business websites should turn off all three of these settings to help prevent spam. The first two settings relate to pingbacks and trackbacks, an outdated notification system that bots use to flood websites with spam. The final setting allows people to comment on your posts, which is unneeded for most businesses.
- Other Comment Settings – You can leave these as the default whether you turn comments on or off.
- Email Me Whenever – Set whether your website will send a message to your administrative email whenever someone leaves a comment.
- Before a Comment Appears – You can leave these as the default whether you turn comments on or off.
- Comment Moderation – You can leave these as the default whether you turn comments on or off.
- Disallowed Comment Keys – You can leave these as the default whether you turn comments on or off.
- Avatars – You can leave all of these settings as the default whether you turn comments on or off.
Settings -> Permalinks
The Permalinks page under the Settings tab governs the default URL structure of your website.
Note that it’s very important for you to choose a URL structure you’re happy with at this time, as it’s risky to change your website’s structure at a later point.
Most professionals recommend that you use a basic, SEO optimized URL structure that adds additional meaning to your permalinks and archives.
We recommend that you chose a custom structure, and then use /%category%/%postname%/.
This will organize your blog posts and archives to show the category first followed by the name of the post (i.e. “examplepage.com/category/post-name”).
However, please remember that the final decision is ultimately up to you and how you think you can best organize the content on your website.
4. Create New User Accounts
Next, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the Users tab.
This section of your website contains information about everyone who can login and edit your site, so it’s important for you to understand how it works and why it’s important.
For our purposes, however, we’re only interested in a few basic tasks we can complete to help with your website setup process.
Edit Your Own User Account
Once you click the Users tab you’ll be presented with a list of everyone who has a login for your website (excluding Blue Market network administrators, who can access every website).
Click on your username and scroll through all the settings, adding as much information as you feel is necessary for your site.
Note that everything on this page is for your user account, and will not affect what other people see (i.e. in the color scheme setting) on your website.
Add Other User Accounts
Once you’re satisfied with your own account, you can begin the process of creating other user accounts for your employees.
You can do so by clicking the “Add New” link under the Users tab.
Then, under the “Add New User” section, give the user a username and provide their email.
You will also have to give them a Role in your new website:
For your purposes, you’ll only have to know about five of these Roles:
- Subscriber – Subscribers can only manage their own profile, and cannot edit anything on your website.
- Contributor – Contributors can write and manage their own posts, but cannot publish them to your website.
- Author – Authors can publish and manage their own posts.
- Editor – Editors can publish and manage their own posts, as well as the posts of everyone else on the website.
- Administrator – Administrators have access to all of the features within a single website.
When creating a new user for your business website, it’s often best to organize these users into a hierarchy based on what information and privileges they need to have access to.
For example, you should never give an employee administrative access to your website if all they have to do is write posts for your blog.
Note that Blue Market administrators have Super Admin privileges for every website on our network, and can manage the nitty-gritty of your website.
5. Review the Plugins Installed on Your Site
Next, you should take a moment to review the plugins that are activated on your website.
Blue Market websites use a variety of plugins that improve functionality and simplify the website creation process.
For example, all of our websites come pre-installed with Elementor, among others, as a way of streamlining your website design and SEO efforts.
Some of these plugins, such as the three I mentioned above, are hidden from the plugins tab so users won’t accidentally change a setting that might break their site.
Other plugins, such as Elementor Header, Footer, & Blocks or WPForms Lite, are visible on your plugins page, and can be activated or deactivated as you see fit.
If you need a specific plugin for your website please reach out to us through our contact page and we’ll set it up for you after we confirm it won’t have negative effects on your website.
6. Customize Your Website’s Appearance
Now comes the fun part of designing your website—the actual customization.
Under the Appearance tab you can find a few pages with settings relating to customizing the appearance of your website.
We’ll outline the basics of how to use this system below, but please keep in mind that your final design is ultimately up to you.
The information presented in this section is simply a starting point for your overall design process.
Appearance -> Menus
The Menus page under the Appearance tab lets you create custom menus to use around your site.
To begin, you should type in a name for your first menu (such as “Header Menu”), review the settings for this menu (such as clicking “Primary Menu” as the display location), and then clicking “Create Menu.”
You’ll then be taken to a page where you can edit your menu as you see fit.
For example, you could add your Home and About pages to your header menu, then add in a custom link with your phone number so people can directly call your business.
Generally, it’s smart to create a header and footer menu at a minimum to fill out your theme.
Appearance -> Customize
When you click the Customize link under the Appearance tab you’ll be taken to your theme’s customization dashboard, which is separate from the WordPress dashboard we’ve been using up to this point.
On the left you’ll see several new tabs which each govern a particular aspect of your website’s overall design.
Appearance -> Customize -> Global
Under the Global tab you’ll find links to customize your website’s typography, colors, container defaults, and button colors.
Appearance -> Customize -> Header
Under the Header tab you’ll find settings relating to your website’s primary header (the bar of information at the top of every page).
Here, you can set various aspects of your site’s identity (such as your logo and favicon), customize what your header bar looks like, customize the styling of your primary menu, and select whether or not you want a transparent header (and what that header should look like).
Appearance -> Customize -> Breadcrumb
Breadcrumbs are a type of secondary navigation that reveal a user’s location within a website.
They are generally only used in larger sites where users often get lost without additional guidance (such as on e-commerce sites).
Smaller sites (such as the one we’ve set up so far) should generally turn breadcrumbs off until they need them.
Appearance -> Customize -> Blog
Under the Blog tab you can find various styling options relating to your posts, such as the default content width, what metadata to include, and other similar settings.
Appearance -> Customize -> Sidebar
Here, you can edit whether or not pages on your website have a sidebar by default, as well as what that sidebar will look like when it displays.
Appearance -> Customize -> Footer
Under the Footer tab you can find settings for customizing the bottom bar of your website.
For example, you could add widgets to your footer (which could contain additional navigation options, search bars, etc.) and you can customize the existing footer on your website.
Appearance -> Customize -> Menus
The Menus tab simply contains information similar to what we customized earlier in Appearance -> Menus.
Appearance -> Customize -> Widgets
Under the Widgets tab you can customize the various widgets that appear in your theme’s primary sidebar.
Appearance -> Customize -> Homepage Settings
The Homepage Settings tab simply shows information relating to your homepage that we’ve customized already.
7. Configure Elementor and Explore the Builder
Blue Market websites all use the Elementor page builder to customize the content on individual pages.
The Elementor plugin settings are divided into two separate tabs in the main WordPress dashboard:
- Elementor – This is where most of the base settings are located. You should configure these settings once and then ignore this tab completely.
- Templates – This is where you can save various templates for new pages on your website.
We’ll provide a basic outline to using Elementor below, but please remember that this tool has a sharp learning curve if you’ve never designed a website before, so please tread carefully before you start to edit things on your website (i.e. please watch a guide or two first before you start to edit your template).
Elementor -> Getting Started
To begin, please navigate to the Getting Started page under the Elementor tab.
Here, you will find a quick 3-minute guide to creating your first page in Elementor.
We’ve also linked this video above.
Please watch this video in full for a quick primer for using Elementor to build pages on your site.
A Primer on Elementor Templates
Once you have a basic understanding of how Elementor work (and how to import templates onto your website), navigate to the Templates tab and click “Add New” at the top of the page.
Select “Page” and give your new page template a name.
You’ll then be redirected to a blank page with the Elementor builder active on the left side of your screen.
Since we’re editing a template and not a real page, feel free to play around as much as you want with the various building and editing tools available in Elementor.
This template is not visible on your website, so anything you do here is contained within the Elementor builder.
Personally, I prefer to build pages as templates first and them import them onto the pages I built them for, but it’s really up to you how you’d like to edit the pages around your website.
Elementor -> Settings
Return to the WordPress dashboard and navigate to the Settings page under the Elementor tab.
Here, you’ll find various settings relating to using Elementor to design your website.
Importantly, you need to check the two boxes to disable Elementor’s default colors and fonts.
Otherwise, these settings may cause problems with your theme down the line.
The rest of the settings can remain in their default settings.
Elementor -> Role Manager
In the Role Manager tab you can manager which users have access to the Elementor builder.
Personally, I only give Elementor access to users with Editor permissions or higher, but what you do with your own website is ultimately up to you.
8. Customize the WordPress Dashboard
The last thing I like to do in my first run-through of the website is customize the WordPress dashboard to my liking.
Generally, I like to organize my dashboard based on the order of importance for each tile.
So, I always place the glance-value tiles on the left (near the sidebar) and the more technical tiles on the right (such as the Limits and Quotas tile).
More Information on Posts, Media, Pages, and Comments
As one final note before we get into the nitty-gritty advanced part of setting up your website, you should also take a few moments to further familiarize yourself with the three cornerstones of your WordPress website:
- Posts – Posts are short, procedurally designed pages that often center on one key point or topic. For example, you could write a post on the best way to make a cup of coffee, or make an announcement about a recent award your business won.
- Media – All images, documents, and other similar files are accessible in the Media tab in your WordPress dashboard.
- Pages – Pages are “one-off” pieces of content that act to meet user intent. For example, your Contact page allows users to send you messages, while your About page conveys information about your business and its history.
When you’re building out your website, it’s often wise to plan out what content you plan to create and where this content best meets the expectations of your users.
For example, it’s considered unprofessional to put your contact page in a blog post, and it’s similarly a bad idea to create a new page for every post you want to add to your blog.
This is because each of these actions circumvent the native workflows present in WordPress sites (and because they go against what your users expect from your site).
9. Configure Any Remaining Plugins or Settings
Some Blue Market templates come pre-installed with various plugins that support the template’s design.
For example, some may use the Elementor Header, Footer, and Blocks plugin to add customized sections to existing pages, bypassing the default Astra designs.
Others may include e-commerce plugins, various forms plugins, or other similar solutions to template-specific problems.
Once you’ve configured all the other settings, it may be wise to look over the settings for each of the various plugins on your website.
Often, these plugins will provide additional functionality that may assist you in better managing your website and your visitors.
10. Finish Designing Your Website
As I mentioned above, this guide primarily aims to get you to the point where all that’s left is filling in the content on your website, and you’ve just reached that point!
We’ll list a few basic suggestions for designing your website below, but please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions about your website or if you’d like help designing it.
Thank you for choosing Blue Market, and we wish you the best of luck with your new website!
4 Ways to Finish Designing Your Website
As a few ideas for finishing up your website, consider working on any of the following:
- Style (or review) your header and footer to help users navigate around your site. You can do this by updating your primary menus, changing the colors or typography in these sections, or adding additional functionality through widgets or buttons.
- (Re)Design your core pages with Elementor and fill them with content. After all, while Blue Market provides a variety of templates to help you get started, you’ll still need to fill the pages in these templates with content specific to your business. Restaurants need to fill out their menus, authors should post pages for their books, and interior designers should upload images and descriptions to their portfolios.
- Update your forms (if any) and refine your user funnel to improve lead generation. After all, the whole point of a website is to bring in new business, so it’s smart to make sure your forms and other lead generation methods are working as intended.
- Write content for your blog (if any). Content marketing is all the rage nowadays, and this strategy centers on posting compelling article on your blog. From online marketing freelancers to the plumber down the road, everyone can benefit from writing a few specialty articles on their niche.
Finally, if you need any assistance in designing your website or filling it with content please reach out to one of our support agents and we’ll connect you with one of our experienced website designers who can help you with your project.