I spent yesterday at WordCamp Boulder, a fun event for WordPress designers, developers and bloggers. That was my first WordCamp and well worth the very small entry fee.

They had a genius bar where people could ask questions of WP experts. I spent about 2 minutes there and learned a trick that will probably save me 1-2 hours each time I set up a new WP installation for a new client project from now on.

Over the last year I’ve gotten comfortable with a set of plugins that I use for just about every project. And recently I attended a WordPress security seminar and a one-on-one security consult from WPSecurityLock – I learned much about securing a WordPress install and as a result added a few more plugins to my must-have list.

The problem is that getting those plugins installed and configured takes some time. I went to the genius bar to see if there was a way to make the process more automatic.

Here’s what I plan to do as a result of that 2-minute conversation:

  • Create a dummy WordPress install on my production server
  • Add in my chosen framework (at this point I like WP-Framework a lot)
  • Install and adjust settings for my list of must-have plugins

Then when I start each new WP project, I can just export a copy of the dummy site’s database (after making sure everything is up to date) and use it for the new site.

This seems totally obvious to me now, but thanks to the genius bar I didn’t have to go through a lot of headaches to get here.