A starter guide to building a new website

A starter guide to building a new website

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If you have been thinking about starting a new website, don’t wait anymore. This is the best time to build a site and start taking hold of your future! More millionaires have been minted in the last couple of years because of online businesses, than ever before. Starting a new website takes three simple steps:

  1. Picking your website name and host
  2. Setting up WordPress
  3. Building your site layout and content

Building a new website

First, you want to come up with a domain name that suits your business or brand. The hardest part is usually finding a domain that hasn’t already been taken. Hosts like DreamHost give you a free domain name when you sign up for hosting… and because you need a host anyway, this turns out to be a nice bonus.

For this guide, I will walk you through everything you need to know using DreamHost. Head over to DreamHost here and click “All Services” at the top. For most sites, the Shared Hosting plan with free domain should be good enough. If you want to take it to the next level, you can choose the WordPress Hosting option which is optimized for WordPress sites (domain names start at $6 more with this option).

build new website dreamhost

 

After selecting your hosting, continue through any additional Sign Up pages. In my case, I clicked through the “Sign up for Web Hosting Today” button:

build new website dreamhost

 

Then, you should be brought to the “Create an Account” page. Here you want to fill in your details and hit “Continue”, after you fill out your information:

build new website starter guide dreamhost

 

Here is where you choose your domain name. If the domain name you wanted is taken, try adding a descriptive word to your brand or business name. For example, if your business is a creative agency called Calyin and the .com is taken, you could try something like CalyinCreative.com instead. Try different combinations until you get the domain that is right for you. Once you have the domain name you want, hit “Continue” again:

building new website starter guide dreamhost

 

If you signed up for shared hosting, you should get a screen that has you pick your payment plan. Choose month to month or get a nice discount if you choose yearly/bi-yearly. After you hit continue, or if you went with WordPress Hosting (DreamPress) then you should get to this screen:

building new website guide dreamhost

 

This is the last step! Fill out all your information and click “Complete Signup”. Thats it!

Congratulations on taking your first big step. After everything is all set, you will want to install WordPress. (This section of the guide is being updated and coming soon)

After setting up WordPress, you might want to start by installing these essential plugins for your new WordPress site. Also, look into making it look good with a awesome theme.

 

So, you have taken the first step, registering a domain, setting up hosting, and installing WordPress. Now what? When you start setting up your website you might not know where to start or how to lay out your content. This part of the guide lays out some recommendations to help get you started.

What is your site’s purpose?

First think of what you are trying to achieve with your new website. Are you using it to inform potential clients about your business? Are you looking to have customers buy from your online store? Once you know what the goal is, designing a site is a lot easier.

Site layout

When laying out a new website, design the site around the content. Use a theme that is designed for what you are looking to do. For example, if you are building an online shop, you would want to transform WordPress into an eStore. WooCommerce for WordPress does a great job and pairing it with Elegant Theme’s Divi theme will make it look as good as it functions.

There are some common pages that you’ll want to include on any site you have. These would be pages like an About Us page, a Contact page, and a way back to your homepage, via your logo or a separate link – ideally both. Other pages or sections could talk about you or your company, what you do, how you help your customers, or maybe product/service features. If you are trying to provide information to potential customers, you’ll want to feature some of that information on your homepage, and then think about breaking out a separate page that can dive into categories or further details.

You will want to feature important content “above the fold” on your homepage. Above the fold is a concept that originated with newspapers (newspapers were sold folded, front page facing up) with the most important news or photos being featured on the front page above the fold. Today, the term still applies. When a visitor lands on your website, you want to have your most important content as high up on your homepage as possible. Having important content here is key so that you can capture the attention of your visitors and entice them to keep looking at your website. If you have an eStore, you will want to drive potential customers to take action. This means featuring your best-selling items on your homepage near the top.

Don’t forget to include any social media accounts you may have. Icons work well at the top and bottom of you site, or additionally in a sidebar area.

Content

Content is king. You want to have well written, organized, and original content on your website. This is important because search engine’s like Google favor website’s with unique and helpful content. Without getting into SEO (Search Engine Optimization) too much in this article, it is important to note that you want to use your “keywords” throughout your homepage. So for example, if you are a pool builder in Orlando, you might use the keywords “pool builder Orlando” throughout your home page.

When you are adding pictures to your website, ideally you want them to be sized at the actual size you will use them. If you’re handy with Photoshop, there is an option to save out your pictures for web. Play around with the different formats to see what format produces the smallest sized file size at the best quality.

Videos are a great way of showcasing what you do and what your brand is about. If you can afford a one minute web video or shoot a professional looking video yourself, then you will want to include this on your homepage somewhere near the top. Having text that illustrates the same point as the video next to or below the video will help you explain your brand in case the video does not show or in case a visitor does not view the video.

Additional content

If you are passionate about what you are doing, consider adding a blog section. Here you would want to frequently update the blog on topics that pertain to your website or business. This is important because not only does it engage your visitors, but it also allows you to set the tone of your brand. Additionally, it can help you rank better in search engine rankings, because sites like Google favor up-to-date quality content.

 

This wraps up the website starter guide. I hope this guide provides a good starting point. Think I forgot something or have questions about any of the points? Leave a comment or reach out to me here.

 

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  • Arnold P.

    Thanks JC! Al lot of good information here.