In my last post, I shared several other website builders. Most of them are good. Easy to set up, and pretty to look at. However, using your own “self-hosted” website built with wordpress just can’t be beat.
Let me share why.
I have long thought of building a website like building a brick and mortar building. You can rent your platform (the land) and build your building on it. If you rent, you are going to be limited by what the landlord says can be build there. Maybe you can only build a certain type of business. Maybe your sign has to match everyone else in the neighborhood (or strip-mall). There are usually a ton of limits to building a business on rented land, right? This is how I see most all-in-one website builders that also host your site. You are limited by what the website builder already has in place for you to use. If you do something they don’t like, they can shut you down too, just like a landlord can kick you out for not following their rules.
However, if you own the land, you can pretty much build whatever you like. You could have a grocery store, or a tatoo parlor. You can pretty much paint it in the colors you like, or use neon lights for branding. The only real limit is how big your parcel of land is. If your business gets so big that you need more room, you can buy more. This is how I see using a self-hosted wordpress website. You can use any plugin that you find that offers the technology you need to run your business – maybe that’s a simple social sharing option, or maybe it’s your affiliate program that helps you bring in more income.
What Is WordPress?
For those who don’t know, WordPress is open source software that can be used to start a blog (WordPress.com) or a self-hosted website or blog (WordPress.org). We’ll be speaking about the latter today. There used to be a need to know code in order to use WordPress, but not anymore. Now, you pretty much just click a couple buttons and your site is ready to use. You’ll want to beautify it, but you don’t have to edit files or anything complicated.
WordPress comes with everything you need. In fact, it is the most popular content management system around, with almost 60 percent of business websites using WordPress as their platform. Better still, a lot of the themes and the plugins are free to download!
The Advantages of Using WordPress
WordPress has been worked on by thousands of designers and programmers over the years to build a competent platform for anyone to use. It is versatile, expandable, flexible and can grow in any direction that your business wants to grow.
In today’s world of responsive design, WordPress makes it easy to kill two birds with one stone (figuratively speaking). Each website you create is mobile ready. You don’t have to adapt your website later in order for people to see it well on their smart phones or tablets.
The WordPress content management system makes it easy to upload, edit, share and schedule content for your website. Integrating needed plugins is also easier here. And, when you get stuck, there is a community of professionals and novices ready to help with their experiences.
So, What Are You Waiting For?
There are four steps to setting up your own site or blog using WordPress.org. The greatest thing is that usually, you can get two of the three steps done in one place.
1. Before you can get started you will need a name. Your domain name is your address in cyberspace. The name needs to communicate something about your business and be relevant. I personally recommend that you register your domain name in a different place (with a different company) than your hosting. Things go wrong sometimes and your hosting server could crash. If your domain name is registered there, you could be stuck with no site at all. But, if your name is bought separately, you can re-direct it to another host if you need to. I use Namecheap.com or Godaddy.com to register my domain names.
2. Depending on the size of your website and what it will be used for, choose a hosting company with enough server space to accommodate you now and in the future. Plenty of places offer dedicated WordPress hosting now, and you get a better price for buying longer amounts of time up front.
3. You’ll have to “point” your domain name to your hosting account. You should be able to get help from your host – or look for a youtube video specific to your host that shows you how.
4. Inside your hosting account, you can set up your WordPress site. If you get a c-panel with your hosting option, there is an app that helps you turn on your site by walking you through the steps of creating it, naming it and more.
Now, you get to actually flesh out the site! One important feature of WordPress is its plugins. Plugins are like performance enhancers. While frowned upon in sports, they are heavily used in WordPress websites. Thousands of plugins can be found in the WordPress directory for download.
Here are just a few of the free basics that many people start out with, but there are thousands more:
* Contact Form 7 – Easy form for use on your website
* Google XML Sitemaps – Generate a sitemap to help search engines index your site better
* Akismet – Check comments for spam
* Yoast SEO – Improve SEO of your content on the site
* Jetpack – Protect yourself from hackers, check stats, share to social media, and a lot more
* WooCommerce – Add an e-commerce component to your site seamlessly
We’ll continue to examine what to do with your site in future posts. If you have any questions, please, let me know in a comment below!