Recently, a friend approached me and said: “Did you know, even Karen from high school has her own website? KAREN!”
I said: “Yes, the entire world has switched online”.
My friend is an entrepreneur who has recently became aware that everyone needs a website, especially small-business owners if they wish to promote their products and services.
And although he would love to have one, he is honest admitting that, like most owners at the beginning - his budget is kinda thin and he's looking for options.
Why don’t you make a website by yourself? – I suggested.
He thought I was kidding.
Seriously, we are in 2020. You don't need coding or designing skills anymore to make a business website. Heck, there's even a no-code movement!
All it takes for you to build your first website is little patience and time.
And a good tutorial you can follow.
So here’s one. For all small-business owners who want to build their first website and promote products and services.
What you need to have before even starting to build a website from scratch
There are three things you need to prepare before even making the first step.
- Pick a domain name
That's your first pit-stop. Mostly because it's not that easy nor practical to change a domain name afterwards.
You might be interested in: How to choose a website domain name
2. Choose a website hosting provider
You need to put your website somewhere. Choose a reliable hosting provider. Take speed, security, and storage space into consideration when choosing.
Check our recommendations in the article: How to save money by choosing the right website hosting provider
3. Choose a website building platform
The final step is deciding what website building platform you are going to use.
Today’s tutorial will be made in WordPress. It’s a free and commonly used website platform. Most of small business owners you know probably have their website right there.
Of course, there are various website builders. Some of them are free, some paid, you’ll find easier and more complicated ones.
Peek into what market has to offer here: Best free and paid website builders
Getting your foot in the door - first steps with the Wordpress website builder
Ok, type wordpress.com in your browser's search bar.
On their homepage you’ll see the button saying Start your website. Press it.
You’ll have to sign in with your email address as a mandatory step. Do it, we won’t peek 🙈.
Now comes the part with website domain and hosting. It’s possible to make both of them right there on the spot. For example, we could register “creative artichoke” domain for free.
Or we could insert an already bought domain from some other place. If this is your path, next steps should look like the pics below.
Once everything checks out, click the Continue button. By the Wordpress policy, your domain transfer should be completed in 5 to 7 days.
And the final step is to choose your package.
If you're trying things out, invest in Personal plan. If you need something serious, Business might be the option you're looking for.
Of course, there's an option to try a free plan, which comes with a .wordpress extension between the domain name and .com and has limited functionality.
This article handles things you could do both in free and paid plan, except for plugins. You can install them only if you're using a paid plan.
Time to get your hands dirty with the appearance of your website
Let's assume you already have idea in mind on how your website should look like. There are two options to make it come alive.
- Use Available themes
In the sidebar, choose Design option, and then Themes.
A window with available themes will open.
Choose a theme you like, install it OR install a theme from your PC by choosing an option in the top right corner - Install theme.
After choosing your theme, check that sidebar again and now choose the option Customize.
That'll take you to the Wordpress built-in customizer.
Feel free to play around and add elements, widgets, pages, logo...
2. Option number 2 is to install an advanced customizer/builder
For example, we recommend installing Elementor. It's easy to use, basically drag-and-drop, and has tons of nice features.
Please note: Elementor is a free plugin with paid premium options, and you can't install any plugins when using a free Wordpress site.
Of course, there's always an option to add code by yourself and customize your website that way.
Customizing builder theme’s content
Fun, fun, fun.
We are finished with most of the technical details. You’ve got the frames of your website that should be filled with your own content.
A standard on most business websites is to have
- Home page,
- About Us
It’s a minimum of info needed to present yourself and your products/services.
- Homepage is your shopping window
Home page should contain your main offer. Focus on your customers' needs and what you can do for them to make their life easier.
Pro tip: Test your content with your friends. Can they read your main offer at your homepage for only 5 seconds and have a basic sense of what you're offering?
If not, you need to polish it.
This is where you present your offer in details, as well as pricing and ordering options. Make sure to include a step-by-step guide on ordering. People like to know what their next step should be.
3. About us is... Well, about you!
About page is a perfect place to tell some story about how you started and what motivated you to do what you do.
The best scenario is if you can describe the annoyance you had with something that resulted with you becoming an entrepreneur.
You might be interested: 15 Simple but Powerful Quotes from Influential Entrepreneurs
This is where you write about your journey, solve customers' problems, and answer their most frequent questions. Your blog also drives traffic from search engines to your website.
Don't forget the contact page. Show clearly where and how your customers can reach you.
You might be interested: 10 Website Mistakes That Chase Away Your Readers. Here's How to Fix Them.
Installing and Setting Up Plugins
“What the hell is a plugin now”, you may be wondering.
Awesome thing. Prepare for 🤯.
Plugins are tools, little software, that broaden the possibilities of your WordPress site. The best thing is - you don’t need to know code for them. Simply install them in your WordPress dashboard and you're ready to go.
What do they do? Well, magic.
Some of them help you with securing the site against malicious attacks and hackers. For example, Wordfence Security plugin.
Other make your content SEO friendly, so they can appear on a browser when people search for keywords connected to your business. Yoast SEO is the absolute winner in this category.
For checking the actual traffic on your website, use Google Analytics for WordPress. Optimole is for optimizing images on your website.
Installing them is a painless process.
Go to your WordPress dashboard and find the tab Tools > Plugins on the left side.
Choose a plugin from your PC or from a database and install it.
Please note: Users of a free plan can't install plugins.
Your website is ready to attract new customers
If you've been following this whole process, by now you should have a fully functional website.
Well done. 👏
We hope that the final product meets your expectations.
If it’s not as impressive as you thought it should be, or you just don’t have enough time to play with it, reach out to us.