When you want to grow your business and show the world what you do best, nothing reaches the masses like going online. Luckily for you, I know exactly how you can take your business online in just one day! All you have to do is work through the easy to digest steps below,and you’ll have everything up and running the day you start!
What is WordPress?
If you haven’t already heard of it, then WordPress is the world’s largest open source Content Management System. This is a somewhat technical way of saying that it’s the best way you can build your business website. More than 75 million different sites have been created with it which is as good a reason as any to get on board. It offers economies of scale in the form free installation, deployment, and automatic upgrades.
There is also an ever-expanding library of templates and plugins that allow you to add new functionality to your site such as booking forms and the ability to accept PayPal payments. This guide will talk you through everything you need to master WordPress and get up and running by this evening.
Hosting: What does it mean and is it overly expensive?
We’ve already covered WordPress: it’s the platform that allows you to build your website. Now you need to think about a hosting service. Hosting is when a company gives you access to their internet servers so that anyone who searches for it can see your website. Skip this step,andyou will not have a home for your site.
More competition means lower hosting prices
The next thing to think about is the price. Just because this sounds like something you could never envisage doing without external help,it doesn’t mean that it should be overly expensive. In fact, because of the rise of eCommerce and the sheer number of businesses who are now building websites, hosting has never been cheaper. With plenty of competition for your attention companies have been forced to lower their prices.
For the purpose of basic business website, you can get hosting (website space,) dedicated email addresses, WordPress installed, and a unique domain name for just $1.99 per month.
Hurray for net neutrality!
You may ask yourself if anyone will ever see your site if you’re competing against the larger competition? The great thing about the internet is that it’s governed by something called ‘net neutrality’ which ensures free and fair access to all. Now, all we need to do is get started setting up your host!
Choosing your host: budget vs. functionality
Now that you’re ready to get started you’ll want to survey the landscape and see what you can get for your money. What I like to do is work with the functionality I need in mind, and find something within my budget that will fulfill my business needs. If you focus too much on what you can afford then you can run the risk of not thinking about what specific functionality you need to have at the end of it all.
If in doubt: future proof so that there’s plenty of scope for your site to expandwhen your business really takes off!
Deciding on the right functionality
This is where you need to have a clear idea of what type of site you want to build. At this point, you’ll be making decisions regarding how much storage and how many WordPress projects you can include in your hosting package. There’s also the super important task of picking the domain that will be your www. address! Here’s a quick numbered list for you to work through to keep things simple…
1. How many WordPress projects do you want to host?
Focus is everything, so while learning, one site should be your priority!
2. How much storage do you want?
That depends on whether you want to add lots of photos and video to your site so plan for a bit of expansion. Plenty of hosting services will offer you 50 GB of storage with their basic packages which is more than enough to get you up and working. Your data will either be stored on an SSD or in The Cloud. Either technology is suitable for what we’re trying to do.
3. Avoid visitor limits!
Some hosts will cap the number of visitors you can receive on their more basic packages. That is, sothey do not undercharge for something that goes viral. Make sure to pick an unlimited option (there are loads out there),and you won’t run the risk of missing out on new customers and leads overnight.
4. Managed WordPress Hosting is super important.
Always select a Managed WordPress host if you want to ensure you automatically receive security updates. This will ensure that browsers are safe on your site and is the best way to minimize costly downtime. If in doubt, opt for additional security.
5. Security is key!
Perhaps the most important aspect of selecting a host is checking their security credentials. Opt for a package that offers full data recovery and comes with an SSL Certificate and you’ll be safe should the worst happen. You’ll also want to look out for DDoS protection so that hackers can’t cripple your site.
6. The final choice: Your Domain!
Now that you’ve decided on all the details to get your website up, now you should think about your domain name. Businesses can literally live-and-die by their choice. Choose something too long or too tricky to spell,and you’re doing the equivalent of building an incredible shop down a blind alley where no one will ever find it. Be memorable, keep it relevant, and make sure there are no major competitors with similar names.
PS. Don’t forget the extension!
You may have the best domain name in the world on the tip of your tongue,but it’s no use without the right extension. In an ideal world, you’d secure the .co.uk and the .com so that you have all the bases covered.
Complete the hosting sign up
Now that you’ve found a package that meets all of the requirements above, the checkout process is nice and smooth. Simply add your chosen package to your basket like you would any other purchase, enter your contact and payment details, and you’ve just taken the biggest step so far to get things up and running.
Just remember to set your domain to auto-renew. Most hosts will only save your domain for the next 12-months,and you don’t want to find out one day that your domain has been taken down because you forgot to renew it for another year!
It’s Building Time: How to Install WordPress
While I’ve already recommended a managed WordPress host so that you automatically receive those all-important security updates and patches I want to take a small step back here. We’re going to cover everything needed to manually install WordPress and get it up and running on your server. That way no matter which way you decide to go you’ll still only need to work your way through my guide until it’s all done in a single afternoon!
The Prep: 4 Steps before downloading
- First things first you’ll need to have FTP access to your server. This will allow you to move files around and upload the content that you want. If you haven’t got it by default, then I suggest contacting your host at the earliest opportunity.
- Next, you need something called an FTP client. This is the piece of software that your computer will use to copy and transfer files from your hard drive onto your web server. They’re free and readily available, although you may need a specific Windows or OS X version depending on what you’re running.
- Open your text editor and have it ready and waiting: simple right!
- Finally, you need to pick your favorite web browser. You want something which supports HTML5 and CSS3 which unfortunately rules out IE for all you Explorer lovers out there. Chrome and Apple’s Safari are still good though.
The Install: 5 quick steps so we can start building!
1. Head to WordPress.org and download the latest version.
You’ll receive a.ZIP file,and because of how large it is it may take a couple of minutes to download. Once it appears in your downloads folder, you’ll want to double-click it and unzip the contents.
2. Use your FTP client to load the WordPress files to your server.
Most FTP clients look super simple and consist of two columns of file thumbnails. One lists everything on your computer, the other shows everything that’s sitting on your server. Locate all of the WordPress files >>drag the cursor to highlight them>>>then drag and drop all of them into the server’s column.
3. Make a MySQL database to use with WordPress
For all you tech lovers out there you’ll be interested to know that WordPress doesn’t statically store any of the content on your pages. Instead, it stores everything in a, readable database that dynamically creates each page whenever a browser asks for it. That means that you need to create a database that is specific to your WordPress site. Here’s what you need to do:
- Open your web hosting control panel
- Locate your database module: this is what enables you to create MySQL databases
- Enter a suitable name for your new database
- Click ‘create database.’
- Create a MySQL user that is permitted to change the database. Make sure password protect everything with something memorable when prompted to
- Your new database is now ready to be connected to WordPress!
4. Configure WordPress so that it connects to your new database
We’re getting close to having all the machinery in the background up and running, just a few more quick steps for you to follow:
- Reopen your trusty FTP client
- WordPress will try and find details of your database in a file that’s called ‘wp-config’ so you’ll want to rename your sample file so that it will find ‘wp-config.php.’
- Double-click and open ‘wp-config.php’ in your text editor and enter the details of your database accordingly
- Use the WordPress secret key generator when prompted to >>>add the randomly generated keys to your database credentials. This will add an essential additional layer of security that will prevent unwanted intruders from being able to edit the content you upload to your site
- Save and close ‘wp-config.php,’ all the editing is complete.
5. Let’s run the WordPress installation script
This is a simple one that WordPress will talk you through in a couple of minutes.
- Put your site’s address into your browser
- Add your site’s title and your admin username when prompted to
- Enter your password and a contact email address
- Get ready to build your website now that WordPress is successfully installed!
Choosing your theme: standout from the crowd
Choosing a theme will have the single biggest impact on how your site looks. Take a look through these handy hints and tips to ensure you pick the right one:
- WordPress has basic themes installed go to >> Appearance >> Themes, and take a look around.
- Choose something clean and crisp, not busy and overly complicated
- Choose colors that are easy on the eye and fit well with your branding
- You can always buy a premium theme if you can’t find what you want the first time around.
- Pick a font that is easy to read; if you’re struggling with it then everyone will be struggling with it!
- If you want to look good on an iPhone, then you want to ensure you select a mobile responsive theme
Hopefully, this gives you plenty of food for thought so that you can work through the library and find a theme that you think will enable you to standout from the crowd. Now all you have to do is install it.
Installing your WordPress theme manually and automatically
- Download your chosen theme to your computer
- Move onto your server using your FTP client so that it resides in wp-content/themes/folder
- Once the upload is complete, you should see a folder called wp-content/themes/customizr
- Open your WordPress admin dashboard
- Go to Appearance >>> Theme, now you should see your uploaded theme in all its glory
Alternatively, you can do everything thing from within WordPress
This can be done automatically by going to Appearances >>> Themes >>>Add New in your WordPress Dashboard.
Installing a WordPress plugin
The great thing about WordPress is how uniform it is. That means that the process of installing a plugin is basically the same as installing a theme:
- If not already, Login to the WordPress dashboard.
- Beneath Appearance on the left-hand side, you will find Plugins
- Move your cursor over Plugins >>Click Add New
- Next, either look through the featured, popular, and recommended Plugins or search for a specific one in the right-hand side search box.
- Once you have found the one >>> checked compatibility >>> click install now, and wait for a moment before clicking activate.
You should be aware that some plugins require configuring. You can find out more about a particular one by once again clicking plugins on the left-hand menu. Followed by selecting view details of the specific plugin. You’re now ready to start creating content and posting
Here are a few handy hints and tips to get you off to a flying start…
The simple way to say: ‘Hello World’
There’s no better post to introduce yourself with than the iconic ‘Hello World.’It’s been used to launch some of the biggest online giants in history so why buck the trend?
Here are a few steps to follow that will see your first post become instantly accessible to people all over the world:
- Log into your WordPress dashboard
- Select the ‘posts’ tab
- Select ‘add new.’
- A template of a blank post will now be displayed
This is where you can get creative and start talking to the world. The window looks very much like an email with a title box in the upper field and a much larger empty field at the bottom that you can use to write the actual post.
You can add emphasis with bold, underline, or italics just like you can in any word processing program. Take your time to get it right but don’t obsess because WordPress gives you the option to go back in and edit things if you notice a typo after you’ve already posted it.
The powerful thing about WordPress is how people can search right across its platform using tags. It’s important to include them,and a little thought and creativity can drastically improve your outreach and visibility.
You’ll see options to select a category for your post (self-explanatory), and another to post your tags. Think of your tags as micro-categories that allow visitors to zone in on what they want to read.
You can add a teaser piece in the Excerpt box which is a great way of hooking readers in a couple of lines so that they don’t get overwhelmed with a huge block of text. You can also add your author details to give your article that professional touch as you build your name online. Finally, you’ll have the option to password protect your post, or even make it private if it’s not ready to be seen by the masses.
Now click ‘publish,’ and you’ve added the first of many fantasticpieces of work to your new site.
Congratulations are in order because you’ve done what you never thought possible: taken your website from an idea to a fully working site in a single afternoon.
Now is the time to think through a content plan, and explore the possible new leads it will generate for your business