How to Set Up a Business Site on a Shoestring
If you have a business, either online or not, in this day and age the one thing that you absolutely have to have is a website. Unfortunately most business owners don’t have the time, knowhow or spare cash to build one or have one built.
Fortunately, it real isn’t as difficult as you might think to bring your business into the 21st century. It is a learning curve, but this post will get you started.
First of all, you need a domain and you need hosting. If you are not technically minded it will make your life much easier if you just buy a hosting package and domain from the same supplier (most hosting packages will even include a free domain).
There is lots of jargon to confuse you, but for a simple site all you need is linux hosting with PHP and at least 1 mysql server. Anything else can just be ignored. There is no reason for your hosting to cost any more than $7-8 per month.
It will also make your life easier if you look for hosting that includes Fantastico or Installatron. These plugins will enable you to install a website with absolutely no technical knowledge required!
Ok, so now you have your hosting set up, log in and click the Fantastico or Installatron button – follow the steps and set up your WordPress site. WordPress is primarily a blogging platform, but it can easily be used to build a traditional website.
Once you have finished your installation that is literally it! You now have a website up and running; all you need to do is add the content and get to grips with the WordPress control panel.
During the installation you will have entered a username and password. Go to: yourdomain.com/wp-admin and log in to see your website’s control panel (you can also go to yourdomain.com to see your actual website and watch it take shape as you add content and tweak it).
There is a lot you can do in WordPress, this is the real learning curve. There are a few things to get started with though:
currently you have the standard theme – this doesn’t look professional, so click on the install new theme link (appearance -> themes -> install themes) and search through the hundreds of free themes available. Find one you like, click install and then activate it. You can now see the changes live on your site.
You should set your URL structure as simple as possible so that your users can easily understand and remember them. Go to (settings -> permalinks) and select custom structure, then enter /%postname%/ in the text box and save your settings.
- Home page
You will need to create pages for all of the content you need. Start by creating a home page and then probably an about us or whatever else you need. (pages -> add new) Write a title and then give it a simple URL and write some content. Click publish.
- Front page
By default the home page shows your latest blog posts. But this is a business site, not a blog, so you need to make it show your home page as the front page. Go (settings -> reading) and select show static page for home page. Then in the drop down box for home page, select the page you have just created. Update settings.
That’s your site set up. Now you need to get to know how all of the little bits work, tweak your site settings and get it looking the way you want it. Add some plugins for contact forms and potentially SEO and tweak your navigation.
There is a lot to learn at first, but if you just invest a couple of hours a week you will soon know your way around the software and you will really be able to own your website and save yourself hundreds of pounds on web design services.
About the guest author: My name is Muzammil Bashir. I’m working with the Senior Editor of Net Effekt –specialising in white label email marketing.
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