This is part two of a series on building your own small business website. In this series we are covering
- Buying your domain name and hosting – Click to read part one
- Setting up WordPress
- How to customize your website
Now that you have your domain name and hosting set up it’s time to get started with step two.
Step Two – Setting up WordPress
This is the easiest step of the three. Once you have purchased your hosting and domain name it is time to start building your website. Most hosts provide easy installation of the already simple 5 minute WordPress installation. Each host can handle installation differently so now that you are logged into your hosting admin panel, do a search for “WordPress” and they will show you the steps to take to get WordPress installed on your website. One word of caution, do not use the username “admin” when setting up WordPress on your website. Choose a unique username.
Step Three – Customizing your website
Now it is time to install a theme for your website. Themes provide the visual layout for your website. You can change your theme as often as you like because WordPress keeps the visual component of your website separate from the actual content of your website. To install a theme go to Appearance > Themes. You will notice that right now you have either Twenty Fifteen or Twenty Sixteen activated. If you like that theme, you’re finished and can move on to the next step. If none of the three or four themes provided by WordPress are quite what you’re looking for you can add a different theme. At the top of the screen press Add New. From here you can browse through all of the free WordPress themes that are part of the WordPress repository. Some free themes provide more functionality than others. Some themes offer a free version to get started and offer more customization options with their premium version. One thing you need to look for is a responsive theme. If the theme you choose is not responsive it won’t look very good on a phone or tablet. Google now wants all websites to look good on mobile devices so if your website isn’t responsive it may not rank as high as your competitors who have responsive websites. Once you find the theme you want, install and activate it.
If you’re looking for a more robust theme that allows for more customization you can buy a premium theme from one of many providers. Theme Forest, Studio Press, Elegant Themes, and Woo Themes all provide premium themes for purchase. You can find an excellent theme for around $49-99. If your website will be an e-commerce website make sure the theme you choose is compatible with the e-commerce plugin you choose for your website, the most highly recommended being Woocommerce and another popular one being WP E-commerce. For both the premium WordPress themes or e-commerce plugins, you can easily find many options by simply searching in your favorite search engine for “premium WordPress themes” and “WordPress e-commerce plugins.”
After you purchase a premium theme you will have a .zip folder containing the theme probably in the Downloads folder on your computer. So from Appearance > Themes click Add New, then the Add New button will become an Upload Theme button. Upload the .zip folder that contains the premium theme you just purchased, install it, then activate it.
For ease of explanation I chose the theme Twenty Sixteen. After you have activated your theme a big blue button will appear on that theme that says Customize. Clicking on that takes you to the Customize Page.
The first thing you will customize is your Site Identity. You will fill out the Site Title and Tagline, and upload your Site Icon, which is your favicon.
Next you will customize your Colors. You get to select your Background Color, Page Background Color, Link Color, Main Text Color, and Secondary Text Color. Each color has a color picker so you can experiment with various colors and find the color that most reflects your brand.
Next you will upload your header image, which shows up on the page below the Site Title and Tagline. This header image can be changed frequently as needed. Use it as a way to highlight a special event or a sale you are having right now.
Then you will customize your Background Image. This image will appear in the background of your website and will replace the background color you may have chosen earlier. A word of caution here, if you want to use a background image, use one that will enhance the look and feel of your website, not detract from it. You do not want the background image to overpower and detract from the real content of your website.
Since we haven’t created any Pages yet, we will skip over the Menus section because there is nothing to add to the Menu.
WordPress automatically inserts various widgets in the Sidebar. Click through each widget and see whether or not you want to keep that widget. Click on Add a Widget to see the other options that come with WordPress.
Static Front Page
Again, we will skip the Static Front Page section because we haven’t created any pages yet. Once you have created a Home page you can come back to this section and set your Home page as your Front Page.
Now that you have customized each section on the Customize page don’t forget to save your changes. Click the blue button at the top then exit out of the Customize page. You can easily view your website by clicking on the home icon in the top menu bar of your dashboard. Right now your website is a bit boring, but now you can start adding Pages and Posts and fill your website with your content. Make it your own.
I wish you great success on your adventure as you continue to build your small business website. Stay tuned for more articles about building and improving your website, tailored just for you, the small business owner.
Over to you…so what did you think? Was it easy? Which theme did you choose? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.
See you next time!