How to start a WordPress website

 

Get a domain

(and probably hosting from the same company)

Domain and Hosting Companies to Avoid:

  1. GoDaddy used to be a great company in the late 2000s but is now a bloated, money-hungry monster.
  2. iPage, horrible support, and uses a platform called Foundation that is very pretty but functionally awful.
  3. StartLogic, a horrible company all around, and also uses Foundation
  4. Any company running a platform running Foundation.
  5. Any company that seems to have a very dated website.
  6. Any company that seemingly has 1 person running it.

What is a domain name in regards to my business?

The domain name is the string of letters and/or numbers that point to where your website files reside (on your hosting). For example, Hourglass Media’s domain name is “hourglass-media.com”, because the person in Albany who owns “hourglassmedia.com” without the hyphen still won’t sell me that domain after 10 years grrrr… This is an annual fee paid to a domain registrar (just means a certified company that can register domain names).

We use NameCheap to register domains which you can do here: [get-affiliate-link].  They are a great company with products, services, and fast knowledgeable support.

Check out NameCheap

We don’t recommend GoDaddy because their products are the same as any other company, prices are much higher than everyone else, services are meh, support is often slow and not very knowledgeable, and their platforms (while looking very pretty) has serious functionality issues which have (in our experience) caused website outages due to these issues. i.e. their domain DNS platform not saving or reverting to its original settings without warning. #endrant that could go on for so so much longer…

Get hosting

Keep in mind, if you also need basic email make sure you either get hosting that includes it or are able to buy an email along with the domain, or use Google Workspace (advanced).

If you didn’t just bundle hosting with the same company you bought the domain name, you will need to find a reputable hosting company and point your domain to that hosting using the guides from the domain registrar company and unfortunately, these vary per registrar company.

Research Competitors

Skip this if you are trying to launch quickly.

A bridge is easier to fix a bridge than to build one from scratch, thus we won’t overthink the website too much (yet) and just focus on the objective of creating a good website to represent your business.

  1. List your top 2-3 competitors, their company names, and websites.
  2. What do they do well?
  3. What do you do better?
  4. What do you like about their websites?
  5. What do you not like about their websites?

Plan your content

When you’re planning your site, think about what you want your customers to be able to do via your website. This will help you work out what sections or pages you want to include. Consider what information or transactions your customers will want and make sure

If you’re not sure how to write well, you might consider hiring someone to do that for you.

If your website is well designed and easy to use, it will help you stand out among your competitors. And if you update content and images regularly, customers will be more inclined to stay loyal to your business.

Plan your website

  • Sitemap
  • Customer Facing Contact Information
  • Copywriting
  • Photos/Images/Infographics
  • Video

Build your Website

There are two main ways to build a website: Do it yourself or hire a professional. If you go with the DIY approach, make sure you plan on keeping it updated.

If you are not already familiar with web design and the basic parameters of a good website, it’s best to hire a professional web developer or designer to build your site for you. They will be able to create an effective site quickly and help you determine the best course of action for your objectives.

A growing number of people are using phones and tablets to access the internet, so you will need to use a mobile-optimized version of your site.

  1. Install WordPress on your hosting. This will vary per company, so make sure you either utilize their support to help you or use their guides.
  2. Setup WordPress or just log in with the credentials your hosting company gives you.
  3. Make sure everything is updated
  4. Change the basic settings in WordPress 
  5. Pick your WordPress theme under Appearance
  6. Install, activate, and configure your plugins under Plugins
    1. See our commonly used plugins
  7. Learn to use your Page builder
    1. Elementor
    2. WPBakery
    3. Gutenberg
    4. DIVI Builder
  8. Set up and organize your pages
  9. Setup the main menu