Sunday, 23rd December 2012
GETTING A WEBSITE UP AND RUNNING WITH WORDPRESS – If you are looking to start your own website then there are a number options open to you, including the popular use of WordPress. WordPress is not only easy and fast to set up you can also have your own website or blog up and running for less than $200.00.
Note: Meebal.com is in no way affiliated with any of the companies or organisations listed in this article. In order to remain impartial we do not earn or seek to earn any form of commission or payment from the companies and or organisations listed in this article.
There are other Content Management Systems available, such as Joomla and Drupal, both of which are also free and you may want to explore these options as well.
Let’s get started and you’ll be up and running in no time.
One of the easiest, cheapest and fastest ways to get a website up and running is by using WordPress as your CMS (Content Management System) and the best thing about WordPress is that it is completely free. So for the purposes of this exercise we’ll use WordPress because it’s easy to use and there’s nothing like getting something for free.
I know what you might be thinking – if it’s free it can’t be any good. Wrong! WordPress CMS is extremely powerful and there are simply loads of plugins available of which most are also free.
What’s a Plugin? These are applications, which provide additional functionality to your website, such as a Subscription System for your newsletter and others that will help your website to run more efficiently. There are quite literally thousands of plugins available to cover all manner of front end and back end functions you may want to perform.
OK, so we know we’re going to use WordPress but before you go looking at WordPress there are a few other things that need your attention. Please note carefully – with this exercise you will be using WordPress.org and NOT WordPress.com as you will be hosting your own WordPress site and therefore only require the WordPress CMS.
Getting a Domain Name
The first thing you will need to do is to come up with a Domain Name for your website. Think carefully about this and take your time to research your name well. It should be short, easy to spell, easy to remember, easy to say and reflect the type of website you will be operating.
Note carefully that I said “Easy to Say” – try running your chosen domain name past a couple of friends. If they say; “What was that?” or “How do you pronounce that?” or even “How do you spell that.” It might be a good idea to choose another name. It has to be clear if people are going to be able to remember it and be able to type it in their web browser.
Write down a list of domain names you would like to have and then use a service such as the couple below to see if any of your chosen domain names are in fact available to register.
You can use either of the website above to see if any of the domain names you have chosen are available. Don’t despair if the names you have chosen are not available. This part really is about perseverance and you simply have to keep searching until you find a suitable name that is available.
Once you do find a domain name don’t hang around, buy it before someone else does. Domain names vary in price, depending on whether it is a .com, .co.uk etc. On that note a .com should only come out at around $15 to $20 per year.
A word to the wise… whatever domain name you buy make sure you buy a minimum of 2 years. That way you won’t have to worry about it and there are, as some say, the search engine benefits for domains that ordered for long periods of time – it is perceived that the likes of Google can see that you are in this for the long term and give you search engine ranking points that will help increase your search engine position.
If you are new to the web don’t, at this point, get too bogged down with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – you can learn this over time and as Google clearly states; “Trying to manipulate search engine rankings can do you more harm than good. Write and produce content that is unique and useful to your visitors and your rankings will naturally increase.”
Hosting Your Website
As you are going to be using WordPress you need to find a hosting service that can cater for your needs. There are lots of hosting companies out there offering all manner of hosting levels and price packaging. Two of the best I have come across are:
Both offer reasonable packages, however if you are really looking for a cheap package to get you started then 5quidhositng really does have a range of very low start up packages and you can always upgrade as your website grows.
Most WordPress hosting facilities offer a Cpanel in which you can log in and set up all manner of preferences, including installing WordPress CMS. If you are not sure how all this is done then ask your hosting company if they will set all this up for you. Nearly all hosting companies will help if you explain you are new.
Once everything is set up you will be able to access your WordPress CMS by http://your-domain-name/wp-admin/ – replace the your-domain-name with the domain name you purchased.
When you enter your WordPress Admin System will find everything you need to create and manage all your content. However, before you start building content there is one thing missing… the Theme!
Getting a Theme for Your WordPress Site
A WordPress Theme is basically the design and functionality of your website. The theme you chose will largely depend on what you intend doing, for instance selling a product or running an article based website.
There are a number of websites out there selling WordPress Themes and one of the best ones I have come across is www.themeforest.net – these guys have a huge amount of themes, covering all manner of website genres, so head on over and take a look.
Note that prices vary from around $30 to $60, which is not bad considering you are going to get a full working website theme, complete with no end of plugins and other useful tools to help you and your visitors make the most out of your website.
CAUTION – READ THIS CAREFULLY – Make sure what you chose to buy IS a THEME and NOT a TEMPLATE! Each of the offerings clearly states whether it is a THEME or a TEMPLATE and you NEED to buy a THEME.
Setting Up Your WordPress Theme
Once you have downloaded your purchase you are ready to get started. You will find that Theme come in Zip Files so extract the Zip File into a new folder on your desktop. Once unzipped you will find documentation on how to install your theme and set it up ready for your visitors to use.
Don’t worry, it is actually very easy. When you unzip the content you will find, as I said, all the instructions plus another Zip File – DO NOT unzip this. Log in to your WordPress CMS and under the Tab Appearances select Themes you will be able to select the Zip File that you DID NOT unzip and upload this.
Once you have uploaded your Theme you will find that another section in your Tabs has appeared which directly relates to the setup and management of the theme you chose. Each varies depending on the Theme but basically this section will allow you to setup the menu bar for navigation plus the layout of your website and a whole host of styling options so you can really make your website look and feel totally unique.
If this is your first time then don’t rush – take your time to work through the theme’s instructions and spend a little time to carefully consider how you want your visitors to interact with your website.
Once you get the hang of things WordPress is very easy to use and you can then expand on the functions using Plugins.
At the beginning of this article I stated that you can have a website up and running for less than $200, so let’s look at the costs to ensure we are on target:
Domain Name: 2 years .com – $45.00
Web Hosting: 1 year – $100.00
Theme: Average Price – $45.00
Total price: $190.00
So, as you can see setting up a website using WordPress is a pretty cheap way of getting a business online.
Good luck with your website!