Save your bacon (with a test site)

If you manage a website, perhaps you’ve faced with these two problems:

  • You want to improve your website to reach and serve more people.
  • You’re afraid to risk trying to improve your website while it’s live since it could cost you business.
  • You’re concerned about the long-term costs of never improving your website: content getting stale and looking out-of-date.

Create a site just for testing out new ideas

An easy way to improve your website without breaking it is to create a testing site. I’ll show you how to install WordPress so you can play with themes and plugins without messing up your live site.

Listen up: You don’t need web development experience to setup a testing site. If you can install an app on a computer, tablet or phone, you can do this!

A test site might just save your bacon – and give you a weekend at the beach

Successful businesses never just make changes live – they usually have test sites where they try out every part of the user interface.

Having a local test allows me to try different plugins that may do similar things. If you search for “event calendar” on the WordPress plugins page, you’ll see dozens of plugins appear. You can try which one is best by testing out a few on a testing site.

Having a local test site has also saved my bacon. Not sure why someone would want to save bacon – I’d rather eat it. Recently I was managing a site where a calendar plugin broke and I had to swap out both the plugin and the theme. I had a testing version of the site that I was able to use to get the site overhauled in a matter of hours instead of days.

As a bonus, I got to spend the weekend at the beach enjoying my Father’s coding work in nature instead of pulling out the few hairs I have left..

Installing WordPress is as easy as installing an app

Watch how I show how to set up a test site on your computer. In the video, I’ll show you:

  • Where to download a free WordPress installer for your computer.
  • Where to download test content that will aid in trying out themes and plugins
  • How to install both WordPress, test content, themes, and plugins.
  • And a useful plugin to reset your testing site if you need to.

If you’d rather read a tutorial, I’ve also written about it in my post: How to install WordPress at home to try new features.

What would you try if failure was an option?

What would be three things you’d try on your site if you had a test site? Let me know in the comments section below.

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