There are several website builders out there, but we believe that WordPress is the best and easiest platform to use to build a website. WordPress enables website owners to update page content and operate a blog page through a friendly interface. To learn more, check out 6 Reasons Why You Should Use WordPress.
While WordPress itself is free, there are some costs involved in owning a website.
WordPress Basics Include the following:
Domain Name (street address)
A domain name is your website’s address on the internet. Think of it as the street address of your home. It typically costs $12-$15 per year, cheap enough that you could purchase not only the .com version but perhaps even the .net version as well. Or buying one with the full name of your business and one that is abbreviated or shortened.
Ideally you should stick to a .com domain name, simply because people often assume that it’s .com. Make sure that it is related to your business, easy to pronounce and spell, and easy to remember. Imagine directing someone to your website. Will they have a hard time spelling the name? Is it so long that they tend to truncate it?
Don’t use hyphens in the domain name (reserve hyphens for the title of your blog posts) and don’t use numbers, ie 2 instead of to or two. It just adds to confusion, and when people are confused or frustrated, they will leave and maybe never return.
A web hosting service is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their website accessible via the World Wide Web. Without it, the world will not be able to see your site.
Hosting costs roughly $100/year, depending on where you purchase it and whether you buy shared or managed hosting. It’s space on a server that you rent; it’s where your site actually sits. Think of hosting as the land your home sits on. That might seem like a lot of money when you’re first starting out, but consider it as on of the costs of doing business.
The top three hosts recommended by WordPress.org are BlueHost, Dreamhost and Siteground. My choice is Siteground. Their customer service is awesome and I have yet to have an issue they couldn’t help me resolve.
In our analogy, your website is like your home. It’s a collection of pages that contains specific information about your business. It showcase your products and services, can be a storefront, it displays your contact information, and much more. It consists of pages, posts, multimedia content, and blog posts.
Websites can have many functions and can be used in various fashions; a website can be a personal website, a corporate website for a company, a government website, an organization website, etc. Websites are typically dedicated to a particular topic or purpose, ranging from entertainment and social networking to providing news and education.
WordPress is the foundation for your website, one that you can build upon using themes, plugins, and widgets. WordPress allows your website to grow as your business grows.
Your WordPress theme is the framework of your website. It has code that sits on top of WordPress and tells WordPress how to look and feel. Think again about a house. The framework determines whether your house is one-story or two-story, 2-bedroom or 3-bedroom (or more), how many bathrooms, etc.
With your website, the theme determines whether you have two or three columns, a tall or short header, a graphic header, a footer, one or two menus, etc.
There are thousands of themes out there, some free and some premium. How do you choose? By default, each WordPress site comes with a basic theme. You can change your theme from within the WordPress admin dashboard (on the back end). Visit Appearance > Themes page and then click on the ‘Add New’ button.
However, my money is on Genesis by Studiopress, both literally and figuratively. I trust that their code is quality, and therefore safer than free themes. They offer several different child themes, as well as flexibility within each child theme.
But wait. What is a child theme? A WordPress child theme is a WordPress theme that inherits its functionality from another WordPress theme, the parent theme. Typically, when there is an update to a theme, it is applied to the parent theme. If you made all of your changes in the parent theme, those changes would get lost with the update. However, if you use a child theme to make your changes, the parent theme updates would have no effect on the child theme. Pretty good reason to use a child theme.
Plugins are little snippets of code that work with WordPress and your theme to accomplish a specific task. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites.
There are 55,000 plugins listed in the WordPress repository; you only need a handful. But how do you choose? In order to choose the right ones, ask these questions:
- How long has it been since it was updated?
- Is it compatible with the latest version of WordPress?
- How many downloads have there been?
- Are people getting answers to their support questions?
- What type of rating does it have?
Widgets are mostly standalone areas of code that perform a certain function. They were originally created to provide a simple and easy-to-use way of giving design and structure control of the WordPress theme to the user.
Widgets in WordPress allow you to add content and features in the widgetized areas of your theme which is mostly the sidebar. However these widget-ready areas can be in the header, footer, sidebar, body of the page, and basically any other area in your theme. The available widget areas that you have in your theme will vary from theme to theme.
Now that you know what you need to build a website, what are you waiting for? Whether you want to build it yourself or have us do it for you, you will want to get educated by reading our blogs. You can also follow us on Facebook.