Here’s my 5 steps to your first website…
1) You need a domain name, mine is SteveHart.co.nz. Yours will be your company name or words linked to your industry. Having your own domain name means your email can be YourName@YourFirm.co.nz / dot com etc
2) Once you have a domain name you need somewhere to host it. A hosting company provides the hard disk space / storage your web pages are saved to. It is the hosting company that allows people to see your website on their computer, smartphone or tablet.
3) Once you have a name and a hosting package sorted, you need a website designed and to have your text and photos etc added.
4) Not sure what your site should look like? Do a search and look at all the sites you can to decide which ones appeal to you and fit your business.
5) You will need content – words, pictures, audio and video – to engage your audience and build a Google search engine profile.
Other things to consider
- Logo / web masthead design for the top of your web pages
- Content: You’ll need SEO articles written and pictures to tell people about your business and its services/products
- Domain suffixes: should you have dot CO.NZ , dot NZ and a dot Com? What about country neutral dot CO (Colombia)?
- Membership: restrict certain web pages and content to members only
- Email database (EDM): build an email list from your members and visitors so you can bulk email them special offers and industry news etc – I use MailChimp.com
- Podcasts: Audio is a great way to talk about your services so people on the move can listen at any time.
Common questions answered
Q: WordPress is a free content management system, why do I have to pay for it?
A: It is free, but installing WordPress, configuring its look and feel, and extending its functionality to meet most people’s needs requires a mixture of plugins (additional software / apps) to be installed and configured. All changes need to be checked and tested.
Q: I hear these sites need to be updated; why is that?
A: The WordPress core installation files and all the plugins that enhance its functionality are updated on a weekly/monthly basis. This means that unless they are all kept up to date then security vulnerabilities can develop and the site may eventually stop working.
Q: Are all the plugins WordPress uses free?
A: A lot are; but sooner or later you may need something specific that requires a paid plugin. Some plugins can be bought for a one-off fixed price, others are sold under annual license – incurring annual payments. Free plugins often go so far, and then one needs to buy the full version to obtain its full functionality.
Q: Once the site is built can I create pages and add content to them.
A: Sure, once you get the hang of it it is very easy.
Q: What do I need to get started?
A: A web domain name and a website hosting plan.