Getting Started

If you’ve been thinking about making your own website you might have realized there are many steps involved.
On the right you’ll see a list of things you need to get started – maybe you already have them covered, but it you are unsure simply click the little + sign to get more info.
There are lots of handy links to information designed to help you help yourself.
Find out how we can work together and a little more about me here.

Already Overwhelmed? I'm here to help!

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Why WordPress?

I’ve chosen to work with WordPress because its one of the leading platforms for web development.  I’ve been using it personally for several years and have come to rely on its stability and flexibility.  WordPress allows for both website pages and a blog all in the same place.  It is constantly under development – new features are added, security updates are timely and it is very well supported.  There are literally thousands of plug-ins available for WordPress, giving your site even more functionality if you need something that WordPress itself doesn’t offer.  If you’d like to dig a little deeper into what it can do for  you here’s the link to WordPress.org.

WordPress Dashboard

Here’s what your WordPress Dashboard looks like

WordPress on it’s own doesn’t look very pretty and that’s where themes come in – they help you style your site so that it looks good for your visitors.  I have chosen to work with Divi from Elegant Themes.

What if you don’t want Divi?

If you’ve got another WordPress theme that you would like to use for your site I can still help you.   For themes other than Divi I work at an hourly rate of $60.  If you choose one of Elegant Themes offerings I will be familiar with how the setup works.  If you choose a theme from another designer it will take a little more time, since each designer has their own way of allowing their themes to be configured.  Like anything new there is a learning curve, although the basics remain the same.

 

 

 

time to stop monkeying around
A Domain Name

If you haven’t already got a domain name here are some things to consider when choosing one –

  • Generally speaking the shorter the better – easier for people to remember and type into their browser
  • It goes without saying that it should have some relevance to your business
  • These days there are a lot of types – .com .biz .me etc.  People generally trust .com and country extension such as .ca or .co.uk over some of the less widely used ones
  • You might think that all the good names are gone but with a bit of creativity its surprising how many great domain names are available

Creativity gone walk-about?

Try one these domain name generators to help you come up with some ideas, once you have a name you like your best bet is to register it with your hosting company, that way everything is in one place.  You’ll also find that some hosting companies like HostPapa will include one free domain name in their hosting packages.

 

Don’t get guilted into registering your domain with the companies these generators partner with, Panabee links to GoDaddy who I avoid with a very long stick.

Panabee

http://www.panabee.com/

I like the simplicity of Panabee – all it asks for is two words, and lets you check several different domain extensions if you are looking for something country specific.

Bustaname

http://www.bustaname.com/

Bustaname lets you check the availabilty of .com .net and .org extensions and offers more detailed generation options.

Nameboy

http://www.nameboy.com/

A simple two word generator.


Still unsure?  Contact me and I’ll do my best to help.

 

Hosting

If you don’t already have an account with a hosting company you will need one.

A hosting account is where your website files will reside.

Prices and offerings vary – I use HostPapa and am happy with them.  I do not recommend GoDaddy, in my experience they over complicate things, nickle and dime you for add-ons and last but definitely not least I’ll just suggest a Google search on ‘godaddy ethics’ if you are considering using their services.

Here’s a handy link to HostPapa, this is the hosting company I have the most experience with – please note this is an affiliate link, if you sign up for a hosting package using this link you are also helping me earn a little commission. Thank you :)

WordPress recommended hosting companies include:

bluehost dreamhost laughingsquid


Still unsure about Hosting?  Contact me and I’ll do my best to help.

 

A Design Idea

A good website takes some serious planning.  The last thing you want is to have everything done and dusted only to realise you’ve left out something important, or notice that you’ve used exactly the same colours as your competition, or… well you get the idea!

At the very least your site will have contact information so that your people can find you.

Here’s a list of pages that are commonly found on websites – you won’t need them all, they are just suggestions.

  • Home
  • About
  • Contact
  • Product / Services
  • Gallery
  • Shop
  • Downloads
  • Testimonials
  • Help
  • FAQ
  • News
  • Newsletter sign-up
  • Freebies
  • Location

Click here to download my simple pdf questionnaire designed to generate ideas on how you want your site to look and what you need it to do.


Still unsure? Contact me and I’ll do my best to help.

 

Graphics

Images!  They are what make your website eye catching if done right.  They are also a whole learning curve unto themselves.  If pixels and dimensions have your head spinning it might save you a lot of time and frustration to have someone make your graphics for you.

If you are creating them yourself you’ll need some image editing software and there are gazillions of different ones available, suitable to all kinds of price ranges and technical ability.

If you are just starting out, probably the most important piece of advice is SAVE COPIES OFTEN!  You can resize images smaller, BUT you cannot resize images larger (unless they are vector art), without ending up with a soft or pixelized end result.

No image editing software?  Try one of these online solutions:

Sumo Paint offers a Photoshop-like interface as a free online tool.  Here’s a review of what it can do.

Picadilo seems to offer nice photo editing options and is free to use online.


Still unsure?  Contact me and I’ll try and help, my services do include custom graphics and image editing.

 

Copy - Words for your site

You can have the best looking site on the web, but, if the first thing your prospective customer sees is a typo or confusing text you’ll probably loose them.

These days there is so much information pushed at us everywhere we go people want less, not more.  Its important to deliver your copy in a succinct, accurate manner.

At the very least have someone read through your copy for you, to make sure its easy to understand and that there are no spelling or grammatical errors.

Consider having a professional copy writer & proofreader generate your information – it could soon pay dividends if you aren’t a confident writer.


Still got questions?  Contact me and I’ll do my best to help.  I have an in house (literally!) copy writer and proofreader available at reasonable rates.

 

What is Divi and why do I use it?

WordPress is great but as I said, it doesn’t look very pretty and so after it’s been installed the next step is to add a theme to make it look nice.  I’ve chosen to work with Elegant Themes – again because I’ve been using them for several years now, they offer dependable, high quality themes with good support.  Divi is fast becoming their flagship theme – it offers a huge amount of customizable options and also a ‘theme builder’ that allows content to be added to WordPress pages in many different layouts.  Using Divi along with WordPress allows me to create sites that are not only functional but also look great, it lets me to work more efficiently because I am familiar with the environment.

premade_example

Can I update my site myself?

Once I’ve built your site and handed it off to you, you are free to make any changes to it that you want.

Both WordPress and the Divi theme offer lots of customization and are fairly easy to come to grips with when making changes.  HOWEVER!  As with all things new, be prepared to spend some time finding your way around your new site and becoming familiar with how things work.

Do I offer support for updating your site?

The answer is YES I do!  I have a help page here with videos, 3rd party links and tips on how to get the most out of  your website.  Jump in, you’ll most likely find the answer to that question that you have.

Can’t find the answer?  Not confident enough to make the changes yourself?  I can make updates to your site for your for my regular hourly rate.