Whether you are a blogger, charity or small business, getting onto the web for the first time can be a little daunting. This post aims to give you a few pointers to give you the confidence to get online.
If you are completely new to the online world it is probably best to experiment with social media applications such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These give you the opportunity to create an online identity, share/create content, and build networks of ‘friends’ or ‘followers’.
However, in this post I am concentrating on using WordPress to create a website or blog for you to share your ideas with the world. WordPress is open source software that is developed be volunteers. It is very popular as it is supported and developed by a huge worldwide community of computer software developers. More than a quarter of websites on the internet are developed using WordPress.
There are two ways you can get a wordpress site. The first is to use a company that allows you to set-up a WordPress website or blog for free. An example of this is WordPress.com. WordPress.com will host your site for free leaving you to add the content. You can choose from a selection of site designs (Themes) as well as many other options and be on the web in no time. You will have a URL which includes wordpress.com – so it may look like https://SallysFlowers/wordpress.com
This is a great way to get started as you can experiment with different settings and become familiar with how WordPress works. However, if you have a more ambitious project in mind and need more flexibility, you may choose the second option which is to use a web hosting company (e.g. WordPress.com, 1&1 or GoDaddy). This will cost you a small monthly fee for hosting your website and a fee for registering a domain name. Hosting is where a company allocates you some space on their servers and keeps your website online 24/7 You can buy additional hosting services as you need them, such as extra space and more domains. Installing WordPress onto hosted websace is quite straightforward as all the major companies provide wizards to simplify the set-up. These companies will offer domain registration services so that you can choose your preferred name, check to see if it is available and pay a small fee to register it to you. This is done on an annual basis and will typically cost £10-15 per year. Added to the hosting cost you should not have to pay more than £70 per year for a basic package.
Once you have got yourself a domain name (e.g. www.sallysflowers.co.uk) and set-up your WordPress site onto your hosting service you are ready to start configuring your site and adding content. This second paid-for model offers much greater flexibility than the first free option. Once you have set up your basic site here are some steps I suggest you consider:-
- Choose a Theme – design template for your site
- Install and configure the plugin Google Analytics (e.g. ) – this shows how many people are visiting your site
- Install a spam blocking plugin – this blocks unwanted junk messages
- Install an SEO plugin – this helps to make your site easier to find by search engines
- Install a plugin to clear your site cache – this speeds up your site
- Consider a photo compression to reduce page loading times
- If you are customising your site consider using child themes as this ensures your customisations will not be lost when you update your themes
- Consider a plugin to create an XML sitemap which helps search engines catalogue your site
- Consider backing up your site – just in case
There are many many Themes, Plugins and Widgets available to customise your site. Which you choose will depend upon what you want to achieve. You can create incredible sites using these user friendly features that are part of WordPress but if you want to totally control everything you will need to learn some coding. There are some great videos on Youtube which help with this. A website or blog is an ongoing project and should be seen and managed in that way. A website can become part of your digital footprint which if it is linked can be a very powerful tool to promote you, your organisation or your business.
I hope you found this short overview useful. As always of you would like to know more get in touch.