When building a WordPress site, there are a few basic settings to configure. The settings will normally be the same for every WordPress site you create. So rather than repeat this set-up task again and again, it makes sense to do the work once and save it in a special site that you can use as a starting point for all other new sites.
This series of blog posts describes doing these settings on a fresh WordPress installation. You can use the resulting site as a starter, seed or bootstrap site every time you want to build a new WordPress site. We'll call them Seed Sites from now on.
I'm specifically setting my seed site up for Bricks Builder. But you can use these steps and make your own modifications so as to create a seed site for any theme or page builder that you choose.
You will need to include a number of plugins and other tools of you own choosing. I'll list the plugins I use later. But to begin with, the first tool you'll need is a suitable browser. I've found it is best to use Google Chrome or Brave.
There are two good reasons to use seed sites.
I like to build new sites on a development sub-domain rather than directly onto the final destination domain. Sometimes, of course, this isn't absolutely necessary. If the destination domain is brand new and there is no existing site in place, you can build the new site directly on the intended domain. But even in this case, I'd still build it out on a development sub-domain.
For this purpose, I bought a domain name similar to this one : brandnew.website. I didn't care that the domain was a .website and not a .com - in fact it could have had any TLD (top level domain). If you are going to go this route, just get yourself a cheap domain name with any TLD that suits you.
I also build my seed sites on sub-domains. I built my Bricks Builder seed site on a subdomain similar to bricks.brandnew.website. It will live there permanently. For my Oxygen seed site I set that up at a domain similar to this one : oxygen.brandnew.website. The idea is that they live on those sub-domains permanently.
If the site I'm making for myself or a client, is a site promoting say, dog-related products, I would build that initially at something like, dog.brandnew.website. If I'm developing the dog site in Bricks Builder then to do this, I would start off by copying the seed site at bricks.brandnew.website to dog.brandnew.website. At this point it would be ready to go with all the WordPress basics already set up.
Build all client sites, and all sites you build for yourself initially, on a sub-domain
To do the actual site copying I'd either use the fabulous All In One Migration plugin or my host, GridPane's built in cloning function. You can use whichever method you are familiar with.
Further, I would continue to develop the dog site in that sub-domain location until the finished design, complete with placeholder content is ready for review by the client, or if it's my site, until I'm happy with it.
Once the dog site design containing placeholder content is signed off, I would take a backup of it using the All In One Migration plugin, and then overwrite the placeholder content with the client's planned, real content.
Once the real content is in, I'd migrate the site to its proper domain, say bigdogblog.com from dog.brandnew.website, again, either using the All In One Migration plugin or GridPanes's cloning function.
Then I'd restore the backup I took of the development site at dog.brandnew.website when it only contained placeholder content.
Why you ask?
Web designers need website portfolios. But even if you're only working on your own sites it's still worth building a website portfolio. Why? Because occasionally you'll make extra money quickly by building a site of the type you typically build for yourself, for others. You'll have more chance of winning unexpected business like that if you've a got an existing portfolio.
However, if you're building sites for others you definitely need a portfolio.
Building out a portfolio, using subdomains can be a good way to reliably display your web design work
Building up a website portfolio on your own sub-domains will help maintain a clean, evergreen portfolio enabling you to avoid embarrassing surprises.
When you handover a new site to a client, (assuming they're managing it themselves), the site can quickly degrade. Clients may,
They may have employed third parties to do SEO, add blog content, or add extra features to the site such as pop-ups, ad insertions or landing pages. The client could end up with a site that doesn't present the design you originally conceived as intended, and/or performs poorly when put through a performance tester.
This means that people checking your portfolio cold end up with a poor impression of the work you do. Also, in cases like this, the client's site is now an amalgamation of your work and that of many others.
This is a problem when you want to display a portfolio. You may be too embarrassed to list a site on your portfolio if it has changed in bewildering ways since you handed it over.
The way around this is to build out a version of the site on your own subdomain complete with dummy content, as already explained above. The result is that you will always have a clean version of your design to show on your system of sub-domains. You can of course also refer to the live site in your portfolio. But you can simultaneously show potential clients how well-optimised your site was originally and ensure it looks exactly as intended.
The only downside of course is that you have to keep all your portfolio sites, thus preserved, updated with plugin and WordPress updates.