Friday, October 22, 2010

How to build a business website using wordpress

I always prefer advice from someone who's DONE what they're suggesting others do. Someone who has been their OWN guinea pig.

So when it came time to pay my annual renewal for my Brazen.com.au website, I looked at the bill and thought "I can probably do something better and cheaper". For one thing, I couldn't change much on the site as it was a very early version CMS (Content Management System). For another, it had such issues as having meaningless URLs, not great for google loving.

So I decided to give it a shot.

I took my love of the simple wordpress tool and did some investigation on wordpress.org. That is, a version you can install with a web host to give you a lot more control over functionality and look and feel.

In summary, it wasn't super fast or super easy. But it wasn't super hard either, considering I'm not a techie at all. In fact, the tricky bits for me where learning how to FTP a file, something a techie person would probably laugh at.

How to build a business website using wordpress

Well, Wordpress.org have a little "it's as easy as 1,2,3" on their homepage.

And whilst it is pretty easy, I feel someone needs to spell out the steps in a little more detail.

So here goes.
  • Step 1. You will need a web host. This is not expensive. I decided to go with JustHost and it's a whopping $6 a month. Or $72 a year. And this included multiple websites, unlimited data and lots and lots of email addresses. To put this in perspective, my last "cheap" host was around $450 a year! Now, if you expect a tonne of traffic and need 100% uptime, this sort of cheap host won't be the right solution, but it's fine for your average SME website.
  • TIP: Most webhosts have a 1 click install option for Wordpress. So you DONT need to download and install the wordpress software. For example, with Just Host, there was an instructional page with a few steps to follow and in a few minutes, I was ready to start adding content to the site.

  • Step 2. You also need to buy a URL of course. I had one already but I wanted to build my new site without taking down the existing one. So I bought another URL for $12 from JustHost and built it on that. When I canceled my other hosting I didn't want to just re-direct the URL to my new URL. Now this might sound a bit tricky, but I just pointed my URL to a holding page that I also set up in JustHost for no extra cost and pointed to the "new" site. My plan is to MOVE the pages over, just working out how to do that now!
  • TIP: If you're building a site, it's much easier to START fresh rather than move pages.

  • Step 3: You need a design! There are about a thousand that are included with Wordpress BUT they are pretty much all set up to be blogs. Now, you can think a little creatively and make this work. For example, your "home page" that has the blog posts could just be headed up "latest news". But it isn't the ideal solution.
  • TIP: I purchased a design from Elegant Themes (the Minimal Theme). It was $39 to subscribe, MUCH cheaper than having someone build me a custom theme. I then had to install it via FTP. I had to install an FTP program - Filezilla - and this was what I was least comfortable with. It didn't work the first time so I posted a query on Elegant Theme's support blog, which was answered within 24 hours. And then all worked well!
I'll continue this " How to build a business website using wordpress" in my next post.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

Hey, thanks for the guide - I am starting up a confectionary business and need advice on budget marketing, especially the website setup. Will definitely be checking out your recommendations.