Long gone are the days when man requires a $2000 budget to hire a web developer to create a professional looking site from scratch.
Software such as WordPress has made the process so simple that literally anyone who can read and click can build a professional looking site from scratch on a $5/month budget (the cost of hosting).
I’m going to skip over all the filler and just lay it out like it is step by step.
Step 1: Register your domain name.
Cost: FREE of charge if you (go through me).
The first step is finding a suitable domain name. If you are creating a website for a product,
If your website is a blog such as this one, create an easy to remember name that is relevant to the focus of the site, easy to pronounce, and is available in .com.
If the .com is unavailable, give up and find another name. Don't settle for a .org or .biz. Although Google is starting to give more weight to these newer funky type endings like .rocks and .online, most people are familiar with .com.
When someone hears your brand and wants to find you online, the natural tendency is to type yourbrandname.com.
Even if you have no intention of using yourbrandname.com to market your brand (you should), it would be brand suicide to leave the domain name wide open for a stranger to snatch when everyone is on the Internet.
Jeb Bush made that mistake in the last election when he left forgot to renew his own domain name jebbush.com.
Even if you're not going to build a website today, you absolutely do need to lock down your brand's domain name or risk losing it down the road.
Step 2: Select a Hosting Package
Having a site online on the Internet is like living in an apartment. You can't permanently secure your spot just because you own the rights to a domain name. Owning a domain name and having that domain alive on the Internet for anyone to connect to are two separate things altogether.
When you buy a hosting package, its like paying for the apartment rent up front. Your site will be live on the Internet for the number of months you pay for in advance.
THIS is what the hosting plan selection screen will look like.
Personally, I go with Prime because it has domain privacy protection and a free website backup service included with it. If you care at all about not having your name and address available for the entire world to lookup through a domain query you HAVE TO get domain privacy protection. That way, instead of your domain name displaying your real name and real home address on a WHOIS query, it will display a proxy name and address of the hosting company.
If you're not sure what a WHOIS query is, its basically a search that allows you to find info about the owner of a domain name.
Regardless of what setup you opt for, you will also receive 24/7 complimentary customer support for the duration of your hosting. This is by far one of the most valuable perks.
I have no idea how many
dozens hundreds of times I've had an issue with my website or wanted to know something and took advantage of my unlimited 24/7 customer support. To date, I've never had a problem that they couldn't fix. You're not just paying these guys to host your site, you're also paying them to take care of any problems that arise. If you have a problem, take advantage of them and give them a call.
Step 3: Get WordPress Installed and find a Sexy Theme
Unless you're a pro coder and you can built a top tier website from scratch in Adobe Dreamweaver complete with the framework, CSS, graphics, and backend security, hats off to you. Chances are if you were that savvy to begin with, you probably wouldn't need a guide like this.
Its a common misconception that you need to know ANYTHING about coding to create a good looking website on the Internet. Make no mistake, looks absolutely do matter and you will be judged for it.
If your website looks like ghetto trash that some novice built from scratch, it will only hurt your overall image.
So how can we go about making our site look good and run it without knowing any code?
That's where software comes in.... You will need 2 pieces of software for the following purposes
1) A clickable interface that allows you to add content, manage plugins, and control the entire site from a single dashboard.
There are several options out there but I'd recommend just going with WordPress.
WordPress is the most used site builder for a reason - it's clean, it works, and its easy to use.
In case you're curious, this is what the dashboard looks like from my perspective as I'm writing this.
(How do I install WordPress?)
There are guides out there on the Internet, but they are completely unnecessary.
If you go through me, just ask them to install WordPress for you and the hosting guys will do it for FREE.
2) A paid theme that controls the visual appearance of your site.
Notice I said paid theme.
Trust me on this. If you're going to scrimp, the theme is NOT where you want to cut corners.
The theme (and the framework that comes with it) controls the complete design and "look" of your site. There are a million and one free themes on the Internet and I've yet to find one worth my time.
They all have more or less the same problems...
- Generally speaking, look like shit in comparison to the paid professional themes
- Contain ads that you CANNOT get rid of. May or may not lead to spam or malware.
- Difficult to customize
- No customer support whatsoever. If you have a problem, you're on your own. Good luck!
Once you buy a theme once, its yours for life. You can use as often as you like on as many of your websites as you like.
As far as themes go, stick to StudioPress themes. In addition to the sexy look, you get the invaluable Genesis Framework which makes everything else easier (security, setting up newsletter, customization of widgets).
* How do I select a theme that's appropriate for me? *
That depends entirely on the purpose of your website. You wouldn't want to use the same theme for a blog and an e-commerce website. They both have their unique needs and need a design suited to them. It wouldn't make any sense to use a blogging theme for an online store or vice versa.
If you're curious as to what ModafinilExpert is running, we currently use the Metro Pro theme.
Its a great blogging theme and I love it.
For my e-commerce sites, I usually go with Altitude Pro (comes with the Rainmaker platform).
Its also worth noting that once you buy your first theme along with the Genesis framework, you can buy additional themes at a steep discount. Since I already have the framework bought, a brand new theme would only cost me $35 as opposed to the $100 I paid the first time for a theme + the Genesis framework.
Regardless of what theme you go with, visualize ahead of time how you want your content to look and what additional things you would like to add on (such as a newsletter sign up or paypal checkout button, social media buttons) and map out in your mind what your ideal layout would look like.
* Help! I'm stuck. I don't know how to do XYZ on this theme! *
Down the road, you'll want to add some cool new feature to your website or swap things around and you may find yourself in a position where you don't know how to go about doing it. Not to worry, there are a number of easy solutions you can choose from.
- You can use the forum. Chances are, someone's encountered the same problem as you before and the answer is on the forum. (The forum I'm referring to is the StudioPress forum that you get access to when you buy a theme).
- Search YouTube and Google "how to add XYZ to ABC theme"
- Contact customer support on StudioPress
- Contact your hosting provider and ask them to handle it for you (they will, at no additional cost)
Step 4: Final Configurations
So you've got your domain name, you selected a hosting package, got WordPress installed, and have a badass theme.
Alright, lets kick some ass!
Not quite yet... there's still a couple of important things we need to configure before we start adding content.
Admin and Regular User Accounts
If you're running a blog, this step is mandatory. Even if you're not, its still recommended.
You want to create two different accounts on your WordPress login - an admin account, and a regular user account.
The admin account will have full administrative privileges and be able to modify anything and everything from the back end.
The regular user account is the one that you will be using to post new content. It will have the rights to add and remove information, without having access any of the security or back end framework. The account that I use to write these posts (Joel) is an author account. Even if it were to somehow get hacked, they wouldn't be able to interact with the backend because it uses a completely different account.
In no particular order, these widgets are worth installing on WordPress.
- Jetpack (for tracking stats + security)
- Genesis - eNews Extended (for newsletter)
- Askimet (for blocking spam comments)
- Ultimate Social Media Icons (links to social media)
- Yoast SEO
Anything else is up to your discretion. As good security practice, don't leave too many inactive widgets lying around. If you don't need it, delete it.
If you want your viewers to be able to contact you, there needs to be a Contact page somewhere on your site and it has to connect to your email server. Your email name is the same as your account name.
In my case, its firstname.lastname@example.org
Call your hosting provider and ask them how to setup and configure your e-mail account, and they will setup everything for you.
There you have it! Who said creating a website from scratch was hard?
There's hardly 3 easy steps anyone could follow and execute to the letter. Once everything is up and running, the rest is on you to release useful content or products for your viewers. Unfortunately, there's no step by step guide in the world that can help you on the actual content itself. You have to be creative and provide something of value that enough people need or want.
Don't get obsessed with SEO in the beginning.
Don't think any harder than the basic steps you can take with Yoast SEO. Focus on delivering something valuable. If the material is good, people will find it and Google will rank it higher over time without you having to manipulate anything at all. In the beginning, you need to focus on your content and building your audience. SEO is absolutely meaningless if you have no content and no audience.
Snag a FREE domain name along with your hosting package
Wow your viewers with a killer professional theme!
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