This Is Not Rocket Science!
We are going to put up a WordPress website for you. It is by far the world’s leading content manager for websites because it is rather simple for you to learn how to manage your website yourself… without an expensive “IT guy.”
WP is popular also because it uses what are called “themes.” This is the “look and feel” of your site. You can change the total look of your site with a click by switching to a different theme.
We have put up a QUICK START GUIDE PDF file which might help you.
Step 1 – Pick a Theme
You might want to read our Pick a Theme FAQ page before continuing.
We have standardized on the offerings of several vendors. The links are on the sidebar to the right.
Pick a theme. We recommend you choose a simple theme because they are usually the most effective, especially if you don’t have much content to put on it. We also suggest you pick one labeled as “responsive.” We will tell you why when we talk to you.
Take your time in picking a theme because while the common wisdom is that you can easily change themes, the reality with the complexity of today’s sites is a bit different. See our page on “Changing Themes” via the link on the sidebar to the right.
With the themes, what you see is pretty much what you SHOULD want. If a theme shows a homepage with three boxes that is the way it was designed to work best. Yes, we can change it to put up a page of text instead, but you will lose some other functionality. So find a theme that “out of the box” looks the way you want your site to look.
If you can’t find a theme you like and can’t visualize how your site will look from a demo then do this: Find a website you like, let us know the URL and we’ll find a theme that we can modify to give you something very similar. You might start here!
IMPORTANT: THE PICTURES YOU SEE IN THE THEME DEMOS DO NOT COME WITH THE THEME. YOU HAVE TO PROVIDE YOUR OWN GRAPHICS. WE CAN HELP WITH THAT.
Step 2 – Content and Images
Obviously you have to have something to put on your site… unless it is just going to be a gallery of your photos. We will put up the following pages for you and we will need to have the material for:
- home page (often with an image slider)
- bio/about-us page (about you or your business)
- services pages (up to 5… on what you do or sell)
- blog or “news”
- contact form (address phone number etc. if you want them listed.)
As noted above, the pictures you see in the demo do not come with the theme. Any pictures you want on the site must be provided by you (we can help) and should be scaled to the appropriate size… with a low 72 dpi resolution… which will make them small files that will load quickly. You will have to send us the .jpg files. If you don’t have pictures that are scaled, we will do it for an added fee. You can also get tons of free pictures… or at very low cost. (We will help you with the information you need to do this.)
Your content should be sent to us using the the method shown on our Contact page.
Work on your content while you are looking at themes and also doing the other steps below.
Step 3 — Domains
A domain is simply the name for your website. It starts with “www and most often ends with “.com” or “.net.” We recommend the “com” extension.
If you are a business you probably want a domain close to the name of the business (JonesEngineering.com” or maybe a name based on what you do or where you are… “MayburyBikeRepair.com” (note the mixed case… but it is not necessary… makes no difference.)
If you are a book author, the name of your book should be the domain. Often adding “the” or “book” to the beginning and/or end of the title will work. If you write a children’s book called The Blue Chicken you might get the “TheBlueChicken.com” or “BlueChickenBook.com.”
First thing to do is find a domain name. There are tons of places to do this, we recommend the PairNIC site as it is fast and easy to pop in a name and see what is available.
Step 4 — Registering The Domain
A domain has to be registered with a domain registry. There are many companies that register domains. These days most of the companies that host domains (see below) also have registry divisions. If you have a good host it makes it simple to register your domain with them. And it makes it easier when everything comes from one company.
Step 5 — Hosting
Once your domain is registered it has to be hosted… a fancy word for having it be on a computer with its own disk space so you can develop your website. There are lots of web hosting companies out there—many that are good, some that are terrible. You can host anywhere you like. We recommend one company in the sidebar to the right, but you can host anywhere you like (that will run WordPress… and most do.)
Some hosts offer a free domain registration—some for a year, some for longer, so check it out.
If you already have a website and domain, and you like the host, no problem, we can easily work with any hosting company out there.
Step 6 — Taking the Plunge
Pick your domain name, decide on your host and sign up with the host online. Most have several different plans to choose from… and all you need is the basic plan since you are probably not going to get the number of hits that MSN or Yahoo gets!
When you sign up they will offer you the ability to register your domain with them. This is probably a good idea. It makes it easy because you won’t have to mess with something called the DNS… a topic for another day.
Once you register your domain and have it hosted, it usually takes several hours before the domain name “resolves” to your new host/server. Some hosts will give you special name or a bunch of numbers to use until the domain name is up and working worldwide. You will know the site is up when you pop in www.YourDomainName.com and up comes some page.. usually “under construction.”
Step 7 — Website Username and Password
Every host has an online system called the “control panel” or “account control center” or something similar. We call them the “c-panel.” Your host will assign (or let you choose) a username and a password to the c-panel. You need to send that to us so we can get in and install WordPress, create the MySQL Database, test it all, and start building your site. (There is nothing confidential on your site… it is just an empty spot on the disk when you start out.)
We also must have FTP access to the site. You will get instructions from your host on what the hostname, username and password is for FTP. Sometimes the username and password are the same as the c-panel, but most often not.
Step 8 — Add More Content Yourself
The absolute goal is for you to be able to modify your site yourself. This is why we suggest you choose themes that are not overly complex. We will give you a manual that you can use to add pages and make changes to your content. It’s not hard and there are many excellent YouTube videos on the subject as well as detailed tutorials.