This is a guest post by a chosen partner. We recommend Hypestar for digital skills and social media training because of our long-standing history with their training team, the experience of their training and the fact that we use them ourselves!
Congratulations, you’ve decided to start your own business! This is an exciting time – but also may be a time of confusion, with you not being entirely sure where to start with certain tasks.
One of these tasks may be getting your business online. You’ve heard about the value of social media, perhaps you’re a user of social yourself and you know that you definitely want to be on [insert your favourite social media channel]. But this amazing business you’ve just set up needs customers, people who are going to buy your product, book you or hire you.
You’ll have loads more control if you have your own website – you’ll be able to create your own pages, link to this site from your social and update it as often, and with whatever you want.
Where/what should I build my website in?
You may have heard about Wix, SquareSpace, Yola, VistaPrint – and while these have their benefits, they often lack certain functionality. At some point, you’ll likely outgrow these sites. So whether you’re wanting to build your own website, or have someone do it for you, you’ll need a platform that can scale with you and afford you all the functionality you can handle…and more.
That platform is WordPress.
How do I get my business online?
The process for building a website isn’t an overly difficult one, and if you’re up for doing it yourself, you can save yourself a bunch of money. Enterprise Made Simple asked me to write some guides for their clients, and the most popular request was exactly what we’re talking about here – how to get your business online.
So I’ve put together these 5 steps. Follow these, and you’ll get your very own website.
- Get a domain – Before you do anything else, secure your chosen domain name for your business. Generally speaking, this should be the .co.uk version if you’re based in the UK and the .com version if you’re planning on being more globally focused (but, you can have your choice really). You will need a domain name in order to build your own website – and please don’t forget to use this same domain name for your email address too! Domain names will cost around £10/year
- Install WordPress – You will need to arrange for hosting for your website. Hosting is the [tooltip hint=”The files that make your website work have to be stored somewhere, just like your photos may be stored in the cloud, your site’s files have to sit on a computer somewhere”]’space'[/tooltip] and[tooltip hint=”The providers who supply your hosting may restrict how many visitors can visit your site each month based on the plan you’ve chosen”]’bandwidth'[/tooltip] This is usually a one-click install option for most hosting providers, but they’ll be able to help you with this if you get stuck. The WordPress software provides the functionality for your site, but once it’s installed, you won’t need to do it again (though, it will need to be updated as it gets updated occasionally. WordPress software is free. Hosting will cost around £30-£1000/year, so shop around for the right fit for your business.
- Choose a theme – The theme in this case if the look of your site. Certain functionality of the site can also be provided by the theme. You can get themes from the WordPress Theme Directory or from 3rd party services like ThemeForest. There are literally thousands to choose from, and there really aren’t any poor choices – but check for other users’ reviews and experiences – you’re buying into something that someone’s designed to sit on top of the basic WordPress software, it’s worth spending a bit of time to ensure you’re getting exactly what you think you’re getting. Themes are almost always prices in US Dollars and will range from free to around $60.
- Add additional functionality – WordPress does a bunch of cool stuff out of the proverbial box, but you may need it to do something that it isn’t designed to do by default. For this, we have Plugins. These enhance the functionality of a WordPress site – you may want to add e-commerce functionality (selling things online), a booking calendar or automatically pull in your Instagram images into your site. All of this is possible, but you need to add plugins to achieve this. Plugins come from either the WordPress Plugin Directory or from 3rd party services like CodeCanyon. Plugins are also priced in US Dollars and will range from free to around $20.
- Optimise your site for search engines (Google, Bing) – If you’ve followed the previous steps, by now, you now have your website. You need to now ensure that search engines can find, see and understand what your site is talking about. WordPress is pretty awesome right out of the gate, but there are some significant advantages to installing additional SEO plugins to enhance the impact you can have. I tend to use WordPress SEO by Yoast as this provides some awesome features and is dead-simple to use.
And there you have it – that’s pretty much it for how to get your business online by creating your own website. This is the exact process we use on our Build Your Own Website course and it’s simple enough to do in just one day.
If you’d like to build your own website, but would like the support and guidance of one of our team while you work on it, check out our upcoming training events to grab your space.