When I started my business I knew I needed a website but I had no idea ow to build a website. I was completely oblivious to how straightforward it was. So here I’m going to outline the process I have undertook. There are obviously other ways to do it, but this is my way!
First you have to choose a domain name, check it’s free and buy it. As far as I can work out the domain name is an area on the thing they call the internet and a website is a sort of computer program. In order to connect the two you need a host, or hosting as they cal it. I’m probably wrong on the technicalities so please forgive me if I am. Anyway, the point is, when you buy the domain buy hosting at the same time and choose hosting with managed wordpress or with one-click wordpress installation. WordPress is a website builder (my terminology). What that means is that you can get started really quickly and easily. WordPress, again as far as I can work out, is an application a bit like Excel, PowerPoint etc. i.e. just like Word has the tools and means to create a report, WordPress has the tools to create a website.
I used 1&1.co.uk. They have been really good with their customer service and it’s fairly easy to use. The only problem I found was that the control panel is very confusing. But the customer service is so good that you can just call them if you need to. (Update: the service has proved to be good on basic items but I was less impressed more technical queries). I’ve heard Bluehost is good so give that a go if you like. First you check that the domain is available, if it’s not you may need to choose another name but try a few domain checkers as they seem to offer different choices. I found 1&1.co.uk have the ones I wanted when others didn’t. Check that the site that will host your website supports the suffix you use (.co.uk, .com or .club etc).
You’ll have to press a few buttons to link the domain name to the hosting site and wordpress – this should be straightforward. Initially it kept saying that the server couldn’t be found so I called 1&1 and within an hour it was up and running.
And ta da, you have a website, well, a website shell that is ready for you to populate. Great eh?
WordPress supply a basic theme when you load it up. It’s worth updating the theme to something a bit more snazzy. Each theme has it’s own unique features and look and there are so many it can be a minefield figuring out which one suits you. Figure out what you want to do and do a few Google searches to see what others have recommended. So if you want to set up a shop (ecommerce) then search for something like “best wordpress themes for e-commerce”. Don’t forget there are loads of free ones so, unless you have cash to splash, have a go with the free ones and upgrade when you have built you customer base and you know your business is working.
Once your website is set up you can wrote posts and blog.
You can add plugins to do specific actions such as adding scrolling pictures or messages, adding a contact form….the list of things you can do is endless and it’ll take you a while to figure out what is possible. I suggest you look on there websites as a starting point but if you want to get clued up the best thing to do it to sign up to websites and Facebook pages that write about website development . They have loads of free content you can learn from and they even do free webinars to promote their services. Once you sign up to a few they will advertise to you in your Facebook feed and you can sign up to more. Much of the content will be repeating what you already know but it is worth sifting through to get through to the few nuggets that will be worth their (virtual) weight in gold.
Now for something a little more technical. Often plugins will have something called “short code” which allows you to more easily put the contents e.g. scrolling pictures, where you want them. It’s a bit confusing at first but all you have to do is go to the page you wish to add the content to then switch from visual mode to text mode. Then you can paste in the short code.
Want to sell products on your website? No problem, it’s relatively easy to turn your website into a shop. I’ve used the WooCommerce plugin because it’s free and one of the more popular ones available so I know it’s been road tested. Just add the plugin and follow the instructions. It’s very straightforward. You add descriptions, prices, weights, pictures and then publish your product. More complex pricing is possible using the variations and attributes features. Simply specify the attributes e.g. colour or size and then add the variations. There are special features you can add using short code. To find lists of short code just Google WooCommerce short codes.
If you’d like to add subscriptions or gift vouchers it can get a little more involved.I did it through PayPal – go to tools and then buttons where you set up the features of the button you wish to add to your website. It then gives you the code to paste in on the text mode.
If you’d like to add your products to your Facebook page you can do so using the StoreYa plugin. Just go to their website https://www.storeya.com/ and be sure to use the free option. Facebook doesn’t seem to offer the store facility to all users right now though.
Where you’re storing sensitive data it’s important your site is secure (when it says https rather than http). You can do this by purchasing an SSL certificate from your hosting provider (I bought mine from 1&1).