If you’ve just started out on the path of entrepreneurship, having a good platform from which you can present your products and services to your customers is imperative. The sales and marketing processes are intrinsically related to having a good business website. This should be the first place where your potential customers can go and find out about your organization, your experience, and credibility, thus making it a necessary step in your future business endeavors.
While it might seem daunting at first, creating a business website is actually not as difficult as you might imagine.
Since its release in 2003, WordPress has completely changed the landscape of the internet. As of January 2017, WordPress is used to power 27.3% of the web. The content management system is so popular because of its incredible ease of use, versatility, extendibility through plugins, and robust functionality. To set up a brand new WordPress website, all you need is a little bit of time. This guide will walk you through the process of creating a new site using WordPress.
Step 1 – Register Your Domain
Before you can set up your WordPress site, you need a domain name. This is the website’s address or URL, what someone types into the address bar to pull up your web page. You can either purchase your domain separately or do it in conjunction with setting up your website in the next step.
Most web hosting providers sell them, but you can also buy it directly from a domain registrar like Namecheap. This is an annual fee that you will have to keep paying as long as you have the website, but it’s generally quite affordable. Check out this list of good domain registrars to consider.
Make sure that your domain name speaks clearly about your business and makes it easy for your customers to understand what your services are about.
Step 2 – Hosting
WordPress is a self-hosted platform, meaning you need a place to host the website. Your content needs a place to live. Whenever you type in a URL, the resulting page you see displayed is hosted on a server somewhere. You, too, will need a web host.
There are a variety of good web hosting providers out there and the majority of them will work with WordPress. Some hosting providers have WordPress-specific hosting plans that make the process a little bit easier, but you don’t absolutely need to use a WordPress-specific plan. Some good providers are BlueHost, SiteGround, and WP Engine. Some people like to simplify their hosting by going with a company they already use for another purpose, like Verizon or Time Warner Cable.
Hosting plans vary quite a bit in cost, based on your needs. Websites with massive traffic tend to need a more robust (and more expensive) plan, but most beginners don’t need to spend more the cost of a pizza each month.
For most WordPress beginners, it’s a good idea to choose a web host that allows for automatic WordPress setup. It’s possible to set up WordPress manually with FTP, but automatic setup through your website is the best choice. This process will vary a little bit from host to host, but there should be a clear place on the hosting dashboard to click to install WordPress. The automated wizard will walk you through the process. If your host uses cPanel, you can find WordPress in the Autoinstallers section.
During the set-up process, you’ll come up with a WordPress username and password. It is very important to remember these login credentials.
Step 3 – Choose a Theme
The next step to set up a brand new WordPress website is to select and set up your theme. How a WordPress site looks and functions depends heavily on its theme. This is a framework that determines the overall feel of your website. Your WordPress installation will come with a few pre-installed options, standard choices named Twenty Seventeen, Twenty Sixteen and so on. Many of these are quite decent but a little too basic and generic for many people.
There is an almost endless selection of themes available and choosing one can be a little bit overwhelming. There are options for every taste and for every purpose. There are both free and paid themes. You can also change it down the line, so you don’t need to spend days agonizing over this choice. Browse the free selection available at the WordPress directory and if you don’t see anything you like there, check out some premium themes at ThemeForest.
Once you’ve chosen a theme, it’s time to install and activate it. If you’re planning to use one from the WordPress directory, the best way to do this is directly through your WordPress dashboard. Start by logging in by entering your username and password at yourURL/wp-admin. From the main menu on your dashboard, click on Themes under the Appearance tab. Then click on Add New.
You can browse the directory from here, or you can type the name of the one you have previously chosen into the Search bar. Click the Install button on the theme you want. Once the installation is complete, click Activate.
If you’ve purchased a premium theme, the process involves one extra step. After purchasing it, you should have downloaded a zipped folder. From your WordPress dashboard, click on Themes under the Appearance tab and then click on the Upload Theme button. Upload the zipped folder. After the installation is complete, click Activate.
Step 4 – Install Plugins
Plugins are one of the biggest strengths of the WordPress platform. There are millions of these tools available that cover pretty much every need imaginable. You certainly don’t need a ton of plugins, but there are probably some that you will want. WordPress will come with a few of these pre-installed, like Akismet, something that helps filter out spam comments.
A good plugin to install right away is the “Coming Soon Page”. This lets you build your site in private, by displaying a “Coming Soon” message of your choosing to visitors. Once you’ve added and are satisfied with all of your content, you can turn the settings for this to off.
Since you’re just starting out with your business, you’re probably going to need to create a mailing list of potential customers. Therefore, another important one you should install right away is a newsletter subscription plugin.
The process for installing a WordPress plugin is similar to the process for installing a WordPress theme. From the dashboard, click on Plugins, then Add New. You can browse the WordPress directory and install directly, or you can click on Upload Plugin to upload a zipped folder for one you purchased or downloaded elsewhere. Once your plugin is installed, click on Activate.
Step 5 – General Settings
There are a few basic WordPress settings to be aware of. You should know about the following ones, found under the Settings tab on your dashboard.
- Under General: your site’s title and tagline, how you want dates displayed
- Under Reading: the number of posts you want to be displayed per page on a blog or news section of your website, whether you want your homepage to be a static page or a list of posts
- Under Permalinks: how you want URLs for inner web pages to be displayed (the Post Name option is best for SEO purposes)
Step 6 – Build Your Content
In many ways, the hardest part of getting your website set up is creating the content. Before taking your site off the Coming Soon mode, be sure to have at least the basics of your content set up. There are a few mandatory pages that every website should have. These are:
- Contact page
- About Us
- Terms & Conditions
- Other corporate policies
Setting up a business website can sound like an intimidating process, but with WordPress, it’s pretty straightforward and painless. You just need to secure a domain name, find a good web hosting provider, install the WordPress software, choose a theme, consider adding a few plugins, personalize a few settings, and you’ll be ready to build your content. Once you set up a brand new WordPress website and start to use it, you’ll quickly realize why the platform is so popular.
Make sure to check out our Beginner’s HandBook for more information about services and products that will help you to create your brand new website for business.
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