Starting your own website today is easier than ever, but to get the best results, it pays to get help.
You don’t need to spend a ton of money hiring a programmer or web designer to create a great website, though. It’s simple to do it yourself, but there are a few pitfalls and common mistakes to avoid.
We’ve all seen bad websites around the web: Sites that have forgettable or unfortunate names, are slow to load, difficult to use, or just plain ugly.
Don’t fall prey to those commons mistakes – use our step-by-step guide below to create a great-looking website that just works, using WordPress.
WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that makes it easy to create websites and blogs. The software is free to download and use on your own server, after you purchase your domain and web hosting.
WordPress is the most popular blogging platform, and for good reason. It makes it easy to run your website and blog from a simple dashboard. The software is free and open-source, and supported by a huge community of developers, designers, and bloggers. With so many WordPress experts out there it’s easy to get whatever help you need.
There are also thousands of different themes to choose from to make your website stand out with a unique, professional look. WordPress is also extendable via the use of plugins, which can change the site’s default behavior or add all kinds of new functions.
Choosing the right domain name will give your site’s success a big boost, while a bad domain name can really hold you back.
Bad domain names can make you lose out on traffic and repeat visitors. If your domain name is forgettable, your visitors will be less likely to remember you and return to visit your site again. If it looks suspiciously like a spam website, they’ll be much less likely to visit in the first place.
The best domain names are short and simple, and relevant to the topic of your website. The graphic below gives more tips on choosing a good domain name.
A bad web host may mean your site loads very slowly for visitors, or even crashes altogether. A good, reliable web host will make sure your website is always up and loads quickly, so your visitors aren’t frustrated.
There are several methods for installing the WordPress software, some easier than others.
We recommend choosing a web host who provides a one-click installation option. This means that once you create your web hosting account, you can login and install WordPress at just the click of a button.
If your web host doesn’t offer this option, or you’d prefer to install the software manually, check out the steps below to do so. WordPress does offer a famous “5-minute install,” even with the manual option. While it may take a bit longer than 5 minutes, it’s still pretty quick and easy to do.
After you first install WordPress, you’ll want to log into your dashboard and change some of the default settings in order to have a more secure, optimized website.
Changing your user settings will help with your site security, and the default URLs for your future blog posts can be changed to optimize your site for search engines.
There are several other settings you should take a look at before you get started blogging, because some of them can be tricky to change once your site is established. The graphic below will walk you through the optimal settings for your new blog.
WordPress functions best when you install plugins to give it the features and tools you need. There are some standard plugins we recommend installing, including:
…and others — see below.
Now you can choose a theme to give your site a different look. The default theme is nice, but you don’t want to look like every other WordPress blog out there.
For a truly stand-out, professional site, consider purchasing a premium theme. Premium themes also come with support, so you can ask for help if you’re having trouble getting your site to look the way you want it to.
Now your site is all set up, and you’re ready to start blogging!
Got suggestions for other visual tutorials we should do? Let us know!