The other day I took my dog over to the veterinarian and while there I got to chatting with the receptionist, and I had mentioned that I do web design. She said she was interested in setting up a website for herself to start selling her flip flops that she makes, but had no idea where to start, let alone how to design a website. The truth is, these days you don’t need hire a web designer to have a website you can pretty easily do it yourself.
Here are the five simple steps to get your website
Step 1 – Content
It all starts with content. Before you even think about design, you must have content. What is it you’re going to say? What are you selling? What makes you different from someone or company doing the same thing? What is it that you do? Who do I provide these services or products for? Provide answers to these questions, and you’ll have some great content.
Step 2 – Domain Name
Once your content is set, focus your attention on your Domain name. Domain names are very important for two main reasons. It is how people will find and more importantly how easily they will remember you. Start by going to a domain registrar like A2 Hosting (affiliate) or GoDaddy and start researching names. Be creative. Your domain name should be as short as possible and contain keywords or phrases about what it is that you do or business name. For instance, my website domain name is larrysnow.me. Although it’s a .me, I’m still a believer in the .coms so try to get one if you can.
Step 3 – Hosting
Most domain registrars like GoDaddy, BlueHost, 1and1, etc. also provide hosting. I’m most familiar with the GoDaddy process, but they should all be relatively the same. Pick your domain name, and automatically they will sell to you hosting. For a basic website, go with the cheapest hosting solution possible. In GoDaddy’s case, economy hosting, and I recommend the Linux system. If you are stuck during this process, don’t hesitate to call the hosting provider’s toll-free number. They will try to sell you the deluxe version with all the bells and whistles so be careful.
Step 4 – Business email
Depending on your hosting provider this may or may not be included in step 3, but I recommend a business email address tied to your domain name. Sending business emails out to clients and potential clients from your email address (like [email protected], [email protected]) just conveys all the wrong messages. For this blog, I use my personal Gmail address, but for my business it is [email protected]
Step 5 – WordPress
Now we get into the simplicity of “design.” The domain name and hosting may take a while to set up on the hosting provider’s servers, making sure it’s connected to the domain name servers around the world (aka the interwebs). Once everything is set up you’ll get an email notification saying your website is up and running. Time to install WordPress. WordPress is a free content management system (CMS) that is simple to use. When setting up WordPress you’ll be asked to provide a username and password which is for admin access only. Once your WordPress is set up on your domain, you can log in to the admin area of the site through the browser. (URL is something like http://yourdomain.com/wp-admin.php or http://yourdomain.com/wp-login.php)
If you’re familiar with Microsoft Word you’ll do just fine with using WordPress which is why I highly recommend it to all my clients. You copy and paste your content to pages (static i.e. pages that won’t change that much) and posts (aka blog). As you add your content, your website will begin to take shape.
Now, by default, WordPress comes with its own design in a package called a theme – the 2015 theme to be exact. However, you can change that theme or design by going to Appearance and selecting Themes. You can search among hundreds of free themes based on colors or layout. Find the theme that best fits your content and style.
For a little bit of money (between $30-60), you can purchase a premium theme from websites like ThemeForest, Woothemes (affiliate), Studiopress, etc. These themes usually provide you with more flexibility when it comes to design and provides with more options than the standard free themes.
In as little as a few hours or less, you now have a fully functional website without having to worry about design. Now I didn’t get into all the aspects of WordPress because there is a lot to cover. This is just the beginning, and there is much more to do on the marketing side, but these 5 steps start you off on that journey.
If you have any questions on WordPress or internet marketing I can help, give me a call at 1-781-369-5185, email me at [email protected], or post in the comments below.