I am lucky that my Service Provider (DreamHost) offers a Staging Site capability for my Financial Site. A staging site duplicates your original location, where you can experiment with new ideas.

There are many projects that I have been trying to start on the site.

  • Change the Theme, as it is currently very old and slow. I have been using Neve on this site and like how it works
    • I have been using an iPhone plugin to create mobile pages, but it is expensive and doesn’t look very good.
  • Is Yoast the right choice for the site (which is quite large with over 3000 articles) or is MathRank the right choice?
    • Yoast has been failing due to the shere size of my site, and I have been getting system crashes that might point to it as the culprit.
    • MathRank seems to have a lot more features, but they are starting to charge for things. Creaping subscription fees always worry me.

Staging Site Project 1 : New Theme

Setting up the Staging site was easy. There was a minor bug with the Facebook Plugin, which had to be disabled, but creating it took about 1/2 an hour after letting the whole thing settle. Given how little time this takes, I will not be shy to use this for testing in the future.

Having a little experience with Neve, I started fiddling around with things and quickly found I had made some huge blunders on my Staging Site. I had tried to do too much at once, without a plan. This worried me until I realized I could simply blow away the staging site and start again from scratch. It also caused me to start writing down notes of everything I was doing.

What I learned from my first Staging Site Project

  1. I really should have written down a plan of what I was trying to accomplish. It was fun blundering around, but had I been a bit more careful, I wouldn’t have had to redo a lot of the work. Let’s file this under, Live and Learn.
  2. Mistakes happen, but thanks to this being a test site, no harm, no foul.
  3. Most of the interesting things I figured out about Neve, I have already put into this site. This will hopefully speed this site up a little.
  4. I have far too many plug-ins on my site, I will need to streamline things.
  5. There are far too many “bits” and “ads” on the site, and I think that needs to be streamlined as well.
  6. This site I have left in disrepair for far too long. I am glad I moved it, but it really was a bit of a shambles as well. Hopefully fixing up the Theme is a good start to things.
  7. Making things look good on a mobile page is not easy and that is going to take a lot of tweaking on my part.

I view my first set of work as an Alpha Test of things. The next set of tests will be done on a new Staging Site to ensure I am not doing any damage or missing something on the original site.

Next Project SEO Testing

I am not sure I can test SEO on a staging site. Mathrank relies on being able to talk with its servers. I know that Yoast is failing to work entirely on my site, so I may have to do these tests on a live site? This is where it will be essential to make sure I have backups of the site if I obliterate something important.

Neve Configuration Video

A helpful video that gave me many ideas to try out on Neve.

What do you think?

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