As a content creator it is crucial that you have a website that shows off your portfolio and your skills. Portfolios are the first thing that potential clients/employers are going to look at when they want an idea of what you can do for them. Have you ever heard that first impressions matter? Well they do. In fact they are critical and your website is your first impression. Make it professional.
What we will learn.
Once you go through this article you will be able to create a self-ststed WordPress website that you are able to easily and quickly add your blogs, videos, and other content to. WordPress supports millions of different themes out there so you can pick the perfect one for you.
Should you get a free website?
Personally I think the answer is a strong NO. I understand that when you are just starting out you might be tight on cash. I was too. However, like I said, your website is the first impression to your clients and/or employers. Those free website providers are able to be free because the websites the provide blend in. You use their own basic templates that have very limited customizable options. And in some cases you have to use part of their domain name! (Example: forgemediaschool.freewebs.com) Gross! If Freewebs.com forces you to use their domain in your domain, RUN. Reason number 1, nothing screams “I’m an amateur” more. Reason number 2, that website is just in it for themselves. You making a website is just free advertising for them.
So what are the steps to a professional website?
- Purchase web hosting
- Register a domain name
- Access Wordpress
- Chose a Theme
- Customize Your Theme to Fit Your Brand
1. Purchasing web hosting.
There are so many hosting services trying to get our business. They all seem to do the same thing from the outside, yet some come at higher and lower costs. It is impossible to see how each stacks against the other unless you have your feet in all of them, which many of us don’t.
After doing a ton of research before I decided to stick with one. I decided to go with GoDaddy.com and I have not been disappointed. I currently have a handful of websites that are all hosted through GoDaddy.
Click here to sign up for GoDaddy. I highly recommend them because of their reliability, fast customer support, and price (I like to do things on the cheaper side, yet making sure I’m not getting garbage).
- The price for what you are getting is unmatched.
- 24/7/365 support
- Easy to understand control panel
- 99.9% uptime, so your website will almost never go down!
I have never had any serious problems with them. And when I did have a problem one time (that happened to be my fault) I opened up a live chat with them and they responded in minutes, we got the problem solved and I moved on! They make it so easy to purchase a hosting account, download WordPress and get going.
I can’t think of a reason not to use GoDaddy.
Click here to be directed to GoDaddy’s wordpress hosting options. It is important that you use WordPress for the purposes of this walk though. Any other hosting plan will not work with the following steps so just use the link above.
Note: The images below might look different to you because GoDaddy is constantly updating their website. The principles are still the same though.
When you go to that link you will come across a list of possible hosting options. Quite honestly I would recommend starting with the BASIC package unless you know for sure that you need a higher option. The beauty is you can always upgrade later if need-be. If you have to upgrade, that probably means that you are bringing in a lot of website traffic and you are doing really well, in which case a dollar or two a month extra won’t hurt you.
Next you want to decide how long you want to have this website. Are you confident that you want it for 3 years? Or do you wanna test the waters with one year? Don’t forget that you can renew so when you’re year is up you can purchase more.
2. Register a domain name
Next you want to register your domain name. Your domain name is the “title” of your website. For example the domain of this website is “forgemediaschool.com.” A domain that everyone is familiar with is “google.com” or “facebook.com.” A domain does not have to end in .com though. You can chose from many different domain types such as .net, .info, .co, and so many more.
Click here to go to the domain search on GoDaddy.
You will be shown a search bar where you can type in your desired domain. This search bar will tell you if your desired domain is taken or not. Unfortunately “awesomepants.com” is already taken. But no need to worry! “AwesomePantsAndCats.com” is not being used and is available for purchase! Note: I am not actually buying this domain so you can have it if you want it.
The next step would be to hit select and this will add your domain to your cart. So now you just need to go checkout!
3. Access Wordpress
When you finally have your hosting and domain set up, you want to log into your GoDaddy account. This should bring you to a screen that has an option to Manage WordPress. Your options might look just slightly different than mine, however you are just looking for “Manage WordPress,” so as long as you have that, you are golden. Click “Manage.” And then hit “Manage” again on the next screen. This should bring you into your WordPress dashboard where you are able to make changes to your website. This is called the “back end” of your website.
4. Chose a Theme
There are thousands upon thousands of different themes at your disposal. Chose a theme that is based around your business goals. For example if you are hosting a portfolio website you may want to search for “portfolio WordPress themes.”
Themes can vary in price. There are hundreds of different themes out there for you to try out for no cost to you, but as you would expect, these themes are very limited. If you are looking to create a more complex website such as the one you are on right now, you really are going to have to shell out some money.
My favorite place to browse themes is Themeforest.net. At this website you are able to search hundreds of professional themes ranging from categories such as Entertainment, Design, Business, or Fashion. You are also able to use their filter tools to make sure the theme you are picking is in your price range. As you would hope, you are also able to play with a live demo of the website so you can get a sense of how your website would function if you were to choose this particular one.
Uploading Your Theme
When you decide on a theme, simply download the file. This should be a “zip” file. Normally when you download a zip file, you would click on it to unzip it. Don’t do that! You need the raw zip file to upload to WordPress. Go to your new WordPress website, then go to Appearance > Themes. At the top of your screen click “Add New,” then “Upload Theme” on the next page in the same spot. Here you will upload the zip file. When you’re theme is uploaded, make sure to click “Activate” to make your theme up and running.
5. Customize Your Theme To Fit Your Brand
This is going to be the last and probably most time consuming step. Your brand is strongly being represented by how your website looks and how it is laid out. Unfortunately every theme that you you upload to WordPress is going to be different and how you use it will vary dramatically, so it is impossible for me to walk you thorough how to customize your theme. The best advice I can give you is try to google tutorials on how to use your specific theme, see if your theme provider comes with tutorials or support, or just start playing with your website and experiment with different options.
And that’s it! There are other options out there for website creation but I really do highly recommend using WordPress. It is the worlds most popular web editor for a reason. Don’t get me wrong, the first month or so of trying to figure out how WordPress works might be a little clunky, but once you get through that stage, you will begin to see the beauty of WordPress.
Now go out there and start putting your dreams on the internet!