Building your own website can be… challenging. Sometimes it downright sucks. Like if you choose the wrong platform to build your site on and then can’t figure out how to actually build the thing. Or do something as simple as updating the text or adding in a new image.
So you abandon it and then maybe 6 months later try again with a new platform. Sound familiar?
But choose the right platform from the start and you can skip all that frustration.
I’ve worked with a few platforms over the years but my favourite has always been WordPress. It’s a fantastic blogging tool, but also a great Content Management System (CMS). That means you can add new content – from simply changing a few words, to adding whole new pages – without any coding.
That makes it the ideal platform to create your new website on. Today I’ll show you how to get started with WordPress, and if you’re ready to take action, I’ve got a free email course that will take you through it step by step:
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
Firstly, be aware that there are two options with WordPress: .com and .org. The software is the same with both options, but with one big difference. With WordPress.com, WordPress will host your site for you, and WordPress.org is self-hosted. Which means you’ll be responsible for the hosting.
With the self-hosted version, you have much more flexibility in what you can do with your site and way more plugins and themes available to you, so that’s the version I’m recommending for your business site.
Plan it out
Effective websites come through planning, so if you’re right at the start of the process, I’d recommend you spend a little time figuring out what you need from your website. Make some notes on:
- what its purpose is (to provide info + generate enquiries, allow people to book or buy, etc)
- who it’s aimed at
- what pages/sections you need
- what functionality you need (like a shopping cart, social media integration, appointment booking, etc)
You might also like: How to plan your new website + free worksheet
Your online home
Now we’re on to the technical bit.
The first thing you need is a domain name and hosting account. They’re two separate things that work together to get your business online.
Think of your domain as the address of your house – it’s how people find your specific home rather than just any random building in your town. And your web hosting is like your actual house – it’s where you store all your stuff.
So, you store all your website files on your hosting and your domain name is how people find and view your site.
You don’t have to buy them from the same company but it can be easier sometimes. And sometimes you can even get a year’s free domain name registration included in your package, so it’s worth shopping around.
Install + setup WordPress
Once you’ve got your domain and hosting sorted, you can install WordPress.
Many hosting accounts come with a simple 1-click tool to install WordPress. It actually takes a few more clicks than that, but it is a very straightforward installation. You simply enter a few details, like the name of your site, and create a username and password for yourself.
Tip: to help keep your site secure, don’t use ‘admin’ as your username, as that’s one of the first things a hacker will check for.
Plug it in
Now’s the time to grab the notes you made in planning out your site.
The functionality of WordPress is extended by plugins. They provide an easy way to add extra features to your site, and your notes will tell you the kinds of plugins you should be looking for.
Not every site needs loads of extra features, but there are a few types of plugins that I install on every site as standard: 5 essential plugins for your WordPress site.
Make it pretty
When someone arrives on your website, you only have a few seconds to grab their attention before they’ll go elsewhere. So it needs to look pretty awesome.
The look of a WordPress site is controlled by themes. Thankfully, there are thousands of themes available so you should be able to find one that’s right for you.
WordPress itself has a directory of free themes, many of which are well designed and easy to customise, and there are also many marketplaces and sites where you can buy great themes at reasonable prices.
Add some content
Now that you’ve got all the technical stuff out of the way and you site is looking great, you can focus on adding in some awesome content for your customers and readers.
Your site will be made up of pages for your static content, like your About, Services and Contact pages. And then you have blog posts, where you can publish news, articles and tips to provide value to your readers and demonstrate your expertise, ie prove why they should buy from you!
You might also like: How to format text in WordPress
Ready to take action?
WordPress seems big and scary when you’re new to it, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’d like to build your WordPress site with confidence, check out my free email course, Website in a Week. I’ll take you through this process of getting started with WordPress with step by step tutorials.