If you’re an entrepreneur who wants to create a WordPress blog, but you don’t know where to begin, this guide will help. WordPress is a popular platform because it’s relatively easy to use compared to other options.
There are a few things you’ll need to put some thought into – such as WordPress hosting and your domain name. But as you’re about to see, these issues don’t have to be complex.
Are you ready to create a blog for your new business? Let’s get started!
Choose the Right Content Management System
If you’re not a tech expert and you’re going with WordPress, you’re already using the best content management system for your skill level.
Yes, WordPress is a content management system, or CMS. A CMS is a software platform that enables you to create content and publish it to a website. The CMS needs to be installed on a server (usually provided by a hosting company. More on that later.)
There are obviously other content management systems besides WordPress, including Drupal and Joomla. So what makes WordPress such a popular one?
First, WordPress is perfect for entrepreneurs who aren’t tech savvy. The platform’s themes, plugins and configurations tend to be simple for anybody, including laypeople who have little web experience. As your website needs to be updated and adapted over time, WordPress will make such changes easy and straightforward.
Secondly, WordPress is easy to install onto the server that will host it. Because of the widespread popularity of WordPress, many hosting providers feature a simple one-click process for installation.
A third reason for the popularity of WordPress is the vibrant community around it. Because it’s open-source software, it’s used by many people who create free (as well as paid) plugins and themes for it. The WordPress community is also there for each other on forums and Google searches to answer questions and help troubleshoot.
If your website is fortunate enough to one day recieve massive amounts of traffic, you might then want to consider using another CMS (such as Drupal.) But until that day comes, WordPress is your best choice.
Come Up with a Good Domain Name
Before launching a new website, you’ll obviously need a domain name for it. And to have a domain name, you’ll need to purchase one (usually around $15 per year) through a domain registrar. A domain registrar is a company that manages the reservation of your domain name so you can use it for your website.
Chances are, the company that will host your site will also serve as your domain registrar. So you probably won’t have to spend time looking for a registrar. (We’ll discuss web hosting companies later in this guide.)
What you will want to spend time on is choosing an effective domain name for your site. Here are a few tips.
Do your homework. Make sure to research the name you come up with to make sure it isn’t already trademarked by any other business.
Keep it short and sweet if possible. Shorter and simpler domain names reduce the chances of typos as people look for it online. Shorter names are also easier to remember.
Keywords matter in domain names. If you can, use keywords in your domain – words that reflect your business’ products or services. It will not only help your SEO efforts, but will also be more memorable.
Include your city if your business is local. When someone Googles “pet shops in LA,” the domain names that include those words will have a better chance of showing up in searches.
Consider using a generic top-level domain (gTLD). Besides .com, .net, .org and the other traditional extensions, domains can end in a vast array of ultra-relevant names. Called gTLD’s, a few examples are .insurance, .fun, .design, .pizza, and an almost endless list of others. There are many advantages to using a gTLD, including the ability to have a domain name that’s short, memorable and relevant.
Choose Between “Self-Hosted” WordPress.org and “Hosted” WordPress.com
Two versions of WordPress exist:
This confuses many people and leads to questions like, “Why are there two versions? What are the differences between them?”
WordPress.org is the self-hosted version of WordPress. This means you have to do the legwork of finding a hosting company to host your site. Then, this WordPress version needs to be downloaded (for free) and installed onto your hosting company’s web server. Luckily, this is not a difficult process.
What is web hosting? Think of hosting as the place where your website and all its content is stored, or “housed.” Every website must be housed on a server somewhere. And with WordPress.org, you’re responsible for finding the company that will house your site.
Many people choose to use WordPress.org because of the control it gives them over their website. It allows website owners to use any theme, any plugin, and provides the flexibility to customize their site any way they want to.
WordPress.com, on the other hand, is the hosted version of WordPress. Since it’s already hosted, you don’t need to find your own hosting company. Nor do you need to install WordPress.com onto a web hosting company’s server.
When you first create a website using WordPress.com, your domain name will end in the extension “.wordpress.com.” For example, “yoursite.wordpress.com.” But you’ll be able to buy an upgrade that will allow the use of your own domain (“yoursite.com”).
A disadvantage of WordPress.com is that it doesn’t offer the same amount of control that WordPress.org provides. If you want more control and customization while using WordPress.com, you’ll have to pay for upgrades.
Here’s an informative infographic that explains the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
Which version is “best?” There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong WordPress version. But those who want total control over the appearance and functionality of their website usually choose the self-hosted WordPress.org version.
Select Your Hosting Plan and Provider
If you’re choosing to go with WordPress.org, you’ll need to select a hosting plan and find a hosting company. You will upload WordPress onto your hosting company’s server, which is usually a quick and easy online process.
In many ways, the performance of a website is dependent on the quality of the hosting provider and the server it’s housed on. Bad hosting can cause slow websites, downtime, security problems, and website maintenance that winds up being more trouble than it’s worth.
There are many good wordpress hosting solutions out there, and they’d all love your business. There wouldn’t be enough room in this article to go over every web hosting provider.
Also, several kinds of hosting plans are available:Shared Hosting
- Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
- Dedicated Server Hosting
- Managed WordPress Hosting
Each of these types of hosting options come with different price ranges and various skill requirements on your part.
If you’re new to WordPress, your best hosting-plan options will probably be either Managed WordPress Hosting or Shared Hosting.
Managed WordPress Hosting: Many hosting companies offer hosting plans specifically for WordPress websites. With this hosting arrangement, the hosting company manages and optimizes every aspect of your WordPress site for you. Website speed, security, uptime, performance… it’s all taken care of without you having to spend any time on such issues.
The downside of Managed WordPress Hosting for beginning bloggers or website creators is the cost. While price ranges vary depending on the hosting company, you can expect to pay $30 per month or more.
Shared Hosting: This kind of hosting is far more affordable for those entrepreneurs who are just starting out with a blog or website. The cost is sometimes as low as $3 or $4 per month.
With Shared Hosting, your website is housed on a server that also hosts other websites. So your website “shares” the server with other sites.
This arrangement works well for websites that don’t receive massive amounts of traffic. Why? Websites that don’t carry huge daily traffic loads do not take up a lot of a server’s capacity.
Once your site starts earning high amounts of traffic, you may need to upgrade your hosting plan. But until then, Shared Hosting will probably be the best option for your new site. If you decide to hire a WordPress developer, make sure to consult with them on their preferred hosting solutions.
Feeling More Confident? Give It a Shot!
This checklist is certainly not an exhaustive guide into every aspect of creating a WordPress website. But it has hopefully given you a little more knowledge and confidence. No matter your skill level – even if you have never created a WordPress website before – you can do this.
It probably seems like there’s a lot to learn (and there is.) But as with anything else, practice makes perfect. So take the first step, learn from your mistakes, and start creating your website! Who knows. Maybe one day it will become a high-trafficked behemoth that you never dreamed possible.