Websites are simple. So they should be. But making one that reflects YOU, Your Business, and conveys your message to your customers is critical.
This is DAY 4 of our 7 day startup.
There are 3 Options to get yourself up and running with a website to suit your needs in this rapid startup phase:
- Create a site to capture e-mails before you launch in 4 days time
- You can use WordPress, Leadpages, or even just a Gumroad page to save time now
- Create a site that pre-sells your product before you launch it
- Gumroad is our favourite for this, it can be integrated to your website later
- Create the actual sales page you will use on launch day
- Again, WordPress is our preferred option for this due to it’s ease of startup and future extendibility
Creating a WordPress Website:
Choose A Domain
Without a domain, users wouldn’t be able to find or share your website. In case you’re unsure, facebook.com is a domain, as is http://www.google.com. Websites will work whether or not you type in the prefix. We’re referring to the rest when discussing domain selection.
We discussed naming in the last lesson, so you should be ready with your domain or a small list of domains to check for availability.
If you are looking for a launch-ready service, we recommend using a WordPress-friendly provider like WPEngine, which boasts up to 30x faster page speeds and (we know) amazing service.
Choose A Hosting Package
Choosing the right host and package is extremely important. Get it wrong and your website will suffer. A host should empower you, never limit you. For example, some hosting packages allow only a single domain, so if you plan on having multiple websites (which many people do), these wouldn’t work.
When choosing a host, look for three key elements:
- Does the host support WordPress?
- How many domains can you host?
- How much bandwidth and storage are you allocated?
- What up-time percentage are you guaranteed?
- How long has the company been in business?
- Does it have positive reviews by users?
- What kind of support does it offer?
- How much is the package you need?
- Are upgrades available if required?
- Are there any additional costs (IP addresses, software, etc.)?
- Is there a trial period?
The best hosting recommendations will come from friends and colleagues, because they will have first-hand experience to share.
There are also high-quality WordPress-specific hosting companies that can take care of everything for you. Rather than simply host your website, they install and configure WordPress and support you every step of the way.
Configure The Nameservers
Depending on where you got your domain name and where your host is (most times, these are the same, but they can be different) you need to point your name servers to you hosting server. This is a 2 step process:
- Configure Name Server to to Domain Host
- If you purchased your domain from your hosting provider, this will be done already for you.
- If you purchased your domain from another provider, your host will provide name servers to update to.
- Configure Domain Host to point to Host Server
- Your host server will have an IP or Hostname (something like gator123.hostgator.com)
- You will need to configure your DNS records (A record) of your Domain Name to point to your Hostname as above
If your hosting provider have one-step WordPress installation, you can skip the next 2 steps and just follow the
Create A Database
A database is where all your WordPress data is stored, including your content (i.e. posts, pages and comments), configurations and user data. Each time a page loads, WordPress queries the database for all of the required information, such as title, content, categories, tags and published date.
Using your host’s control panel, create a database and a database user name and password for WordPress to connect with. If you are unsure how to complete this step, your host will be able to assist you.
Head to your domain. WordPress will request some basic information to complete the installation and create your account. The process is short and self-explanatory.
Choose A Theme
Your WordPress theme is the design foundation for your website. Literally thousands of free and premium themes are available, or you could have one custom designed, although this option is substantially more expensive and takes a lot of time.
Here are the absolute minimum requirements for the perfect theme:
- Great design (looks good)
- Valid HTML and CSS
- Rock-solid code
- Strong readability
- Compatibility with the latest version of WordPress
- Compatibility with the most popular plugins
- Extensive support and documentation
With the space being so competitive, all reputable theme providers will offer these features as standard.
With your foundation in place, ask yourself a few questions to ensure the theme is ideal:
- Does this theme meet all of my requirements?
- Can it be customized?
- How quickly will I outgrow this theme?
- Do any of its color schemes match my brand?
The 2 most popular theme frameworks out there are Genesis and Thesis which both tick all the above boxes and more. We use Genesis for our sites and absolutely love them. If you chose Genesis, make sure you check out this amazing add-on which makes updates super easy.
A website should focus more on what your customers like and what they will respond to than on your personal preference. People get lost in their own personal style all too often. If your blog is personal, that’s fine. But if it’s for business, then you must put customers first.
Create Essential Pages
When someone stumbles on your site, you want them to be able to find everything they need as quickly as possible. You want to make it easy. That means having a few basic pages that will help you help them quickly.
The is the landing page for your website. It can be either a static page that explains a little about you or your business, or a dynamic page that updates with each new blog post. By default, WordPress displays a list of your latest blog posts. If you would like a static page to be shown instead, first create that page, and then navigate to Settings → Reading and enable the static page.
Landing Page Bonus – Email Funnels
If you are just starting out and literally just need to have a landing page that captures people’s email addresses so you can start a conversation about your business, then using a super easy, yet powerful tool like Mailchimp is a must. Integrating it to a WordPress site is super easy too using. Best of all, starting out with Mailchimp is free for your first 2,000 sign ups! If you want to use the autoresponder function to send email automatically, you will need to get yourself a plan, but we highly recommend this. More on Autoresponders
If you’re not using the home page as a static landing page, then the “About” page is an ideal place to discuss you and your company. Present yourself in the best possible light by saying who are you, where you come from and why that should matter to visitors. Make the copy on this page informative and, if possible, a bit intriguing.
Visitors to your website might want to reach you and would expect to be able to do so with the ease of a click, which is the exact purpose of the contact page. Whether you use a form plugin or simply display an email address, the contact page makes it dead simple for people to connect with you.
Products, services or “hire me” page
You probably aren’t building the website for fun. Whether you’re selling a service or have a full-blown e-commerce website with merchandise ready to ship, the product page is essential to your revenue. Make it easy to see your offerings and as simple and quick as possible for users to find exactly what they’re looking for.
Optimize For Search Engines
Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential to ensuring that your copy draws as much targeted traffic as possible. Some themes come with built-in SEO features, and while this is great, I prefer to use a plugin so that my settings are uniform across all of my websites, regardless of the theme. The simplest plugin is the WordPress SEO by Yoast.
Set Up Analytics
Analytics enables you to track visitors, with a ton of useful data on their browsing, such as:
- How they landed on your website
- How long they stayed
- How many pages they viewed
- Which pages they viewed
Well, almost..please delete the SAMPLE PAGE and SAMPLE POST from your website! We are looking for speed here, but the simple act of removing these 2 default pages from a WordPress install will ensure your site doesn’t look like you have “rolled your own” in 15 minutes 🙂
Now, don’t fall into the trap of obsessing over your website, it can (and will…a lot) change over time, you just need to get the basics up there and move on.
The links above are all companies, tools, and references we have used ourselves and find tick all the required boxes when it comes to value and quality.
If you do need a hand getting all this done (yes, it can be done quickly, we can do it in under 2 hrs usually) contact us or if you have a question, leave it in the comments below and we will get you an answer.